Swedish: försökte förvirrat

Astrophel

New Member
English - US
I'm confused about what these two words mean when they occur together, particularly förvirrat. I'm unsure whether it's acting as a verb or an adjective in the following sentence:

Jakob försökte förvirrat vifta bort solen ur ögat.

Is this "Jacob tried to pretend he was wiping the sun from his eye", or "Confused, Jacob tried to wipe the sun from his eye", or something else entirely?
 
  • MattiasNYC

    Senior Member
    Swedish
    Ehm... I'm not the greatest at talking about grammar, but..

    First of all I think "confused" is probably appropriate. Perhaps "disoriented" is a better alternative depending on context.

    "förvirrat" looks like it's the adverb. If it was an adjective in Swedish I think it would read:

    "Jakob försökte förvirrad vifta bort solen ur ögat."

    Having said that saying that an "attempt" is "confused" seems peculiar to me. "I tried confusingly to rewrite this sentence"... so taken as a whole I actually think it may function as an adjective modifying Jakob rather than an adverb modifying "tried". Not a verb though. I think your second translation looks good regardless of whether or not it's an adjective or adverb. It seems to translate better to English the way you did it.

    And lastly - on further thought - I actually think there might be a difference here: In the original sentence I feel like "förvirrat" tends to paint a picture of a person "flailing" rather than "wiping". In other words by making "förvirrat" point to the waving it makes it sound more 'chaotic', whereas the examples in this post possibly are invoking less vivid imagery in the reader....
     

    Astrophel

    New Member
    English - US
    As a native speaker, when you read this, your impression was that Jacob was flailing and rubbing his eyes because of the sun in them? Regardless of what's going on with the grammar (because it sounds like it's confusing you too), how does this sound? "Disoriented, Jacob tried to swat the sun from his eye."

    "
     

    Segorian

    Senior Member
    Icelandic & Swedish
    "Disoriented, Jacob tried to swat the sun from his eye."

    I was writing a slightly different answer, but this looks good to me, although I would suggest “…from his eyes”.

    This is one of those expressions where it feels more natural in Swedish to use the singular even if the plural is meant. Another example would be så långt ögat kunde se (which could be translated into English using either the singular or the plural, but few people would say …så långt ögonen kunde se).

    Another possibility: “Jacob tried in confusion…” (using an adverbial phrase to render the adverb).
     

    Swedish Anna

    Member
    Swedish, Sweden
    Yes, förvirrat is an adverb. It tells you how he does it. In a confused or disorientated manner he tries to get the sun out of his eyes.
     

    MattiasNYC

    Senior Member
    Swedish
    As a native speaker, when you read this, your impression was that Jacob was flailing and rubbing his eyes because of the sun in them? Regardless of what's going on with the grammar (because it sounds like it's confusing you too), how does this sound? "Disoriented, Jacob tried to swat the sun from his eye."

    Well I think the word can be translated somewhat differently depending on context, so that's why I don't feel we can say whether or not it should be "confused" or "disoriented". The fact that it implied the sun was in his eyes could indicate that it was mostly a physical sensation of disorientation, but it could just as well have been that he was generally confused because he bumped his head or whatever and now tried to wipe the sun out of his eyes even though there was no 'reason' to do so.

    In other words I would pick a word based on context in this case. If you gave the complete context it'd be easier to understand.

    In English, which isn't my native language of course (but I've been here for a couple of decades now), I would imagine that you could possibly structure your sentence differently depending on that context. Your translation above seems fine if we're talking about his physical or mental state. If we're talking about how he did it, as Anna wrote, then a different structure might be possible... like "Jacob tried to chaotically swat the sun from his eyes". I'm not saying that's a good description, just pointing out that in that version we're now using an adverb just like in Swedish, and it does as Anna says more vividly paint the picture of a physical act whereas your translation above points more to a mental/physical state of the person.

    For what it's worth I still think that the original sentence could be interpreted either way. I suppose the cause for why we might not give you a clear answer is that apparently an adverb can modify a verb, or it can modify a verb but really talk about the person. So "the car moved slowly" is pretty self explanatory and "slowly" modifies "moved". In contrast I think "the car drove erratically" implies that it really was the driver who was behaving erratically, and thus the sentence could be rewritten so that it more clearly points to the driver's mental state.
     

    raumar

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    Hi Astrophel, you have got good answers from the others, but you have made it difficult for them to answer your question. Without any context, your sentence isn't very clear. Google helped me to find the source, which is Nordisk fauna by Andrea Lundgren. Thanks to Google Books, I found some information that we need to interpret your sentence.

    First, a sentence that explains the sun in Jacob's eyes: "Ett solblänk trängde igenom persiennerna och skavde i hans ögonvrå". This means that Jacob is not flailing or rubbing his eyes, he is just using his hand to try to block the shaft of sunlight coming through the blinds. Also, the fact that the sun only reached the corner of his eye may explain the singular "ögat".

    Second, the wider context may help us explaining "förvirrat". Jacob seems to be a temporary university lecturer. His department chair comes into Jacob's office, and starts to talk - rather evasively - about some "difficulties". It seems likely that this is a cause of Jacob's confusion (at least an additional cause) - he does not understand why the chair has come to see him or what the chair is trying to tell him. Later on, after the sentence in post #1, the chair finally manages to get to the point: because of budget cuts, Jacob's employment contract will not be renewed.
     

    MattiasNYC

    Senior Member
    Swedish
    Well, "vifta" most certainly makes me think of literally moving ones hand back and forth, not just blocking.

    Also, considering the context, does anyone think that "förvirrad" would be equal or better?
     

    raumar

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    Well, "vifta" most certainly makes me think of literally moving ones hand back and forth, not just blocking.

    You are right, of course, What I meant to say (but did not express clearly) was that he probably was moving his hand up and down and sideways to find the position that blocked the sun. He may have done it in a confused way, but not aimlessly.
     

    Abbe

    Senior Member
    Swedish
    From reading the text I understand that he is trying to wave a way the sun in the same way that you wave away a fly, hence the word förvirrat.

    Right after he seems to understand that it's not possible to wave a way the sun and ..."Jakob pressade ihop munnen ett ögonblick, lutade sig sedan fram över skrivbordet för att slippa ljusblänket."
     
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