Sweden. Day 23. The funny Swedish language

We were watching a Swedish movie the other night. It ended with a woman driving away, furious, and a man, her ex-lover, walking backwards and forward in despair. Then large black letters appeared on the screen: “SLUT”! For a few seconds, I thought it was a comment on the actions of the female character, until I remembered that, of course, slut just means “end” in Swedish. (Slampa means “slut”).

There are other Swedish words that may sound funny to speakers of other languages. Kiss means “pee”. “Kiss” is kyss (or puss), but I think it’s pronounced the same way, which may cause certain confusion. Sex means “six”, but it’s also “sex”. “Meet me at six for sex” could be Träffa mig vid sex för sex. Bra means “good”. Kaka means cake. Kul means cool, fun. Skit means shit. Fika means coffe break. Fick is “got”. Kock means “cook” (chef) and kuk means “cock”. And so it goes.

If you know English and a bit of German, then you will find that you can understand a few Swedish sentences — or labels. For instance, Sveriges mest sålda diskmedel was easy: “Sweden’s most sold (best-selling) dishwasher (detergent)”.

Swedish road signs are not always clear, and it might be helpful to learn a few terms. Fart hinder, for instance, means speed bumps; if you see it written in a sign, slow down.

Reading longer texts is much trickier. I had difficulties even with very simple books for children. In most cases, I couldn’t go past Det var en gång.

I like the sound of Swedish, even though it is harder to understand a spoken conversation than a written text, and I can’t make head or tails of it. But it has a nice rhythm and seems softer on the ears than German. The classic comedy movie “Top Secret” has a scene where “Swedish” is actually English spoken backwards, and in fact it really sounds like Swedish a little bit.

In terms of grammar and pronunciation, it doesn’t seem like a completely impossible language to learn; contrary to English, German or French, everything sounds more or less as it’s written, as long as you master the difference between å, ä and ö.

I haven’t learned much so far, but perhaps one day I will…

As for local news: today, a new artist, a Swedish musician from Stockholm, is coming to stay up here for a couple of days, so the time will be spent in preparations for her arrival. Instead of doing my daglig promenad, I may have to spend the time doing other things. Actually, I think will make a kaka now…

Hej så länge!