17.25 Söndag, 3 Februari 2013
Medan jag bor i Sverige tar jag en kurs i det svenska språk. Eftersom jag har redan studerat är jag i den andra nivå, svenska två. Jag har en kurs på fyra timmar varje måndag. Jag förstår mycket i svenska, men det är inte så lätt att prata själv eftersom alla svenskar pratar engelska mycket bra.
Ok, I’ll write in English now…
What I said is that I am taking a class in the Swedish language this semester, and because I studied the language on my own before I arrived in Sweden, I am in the Swedish 2 course, which is four hours long every Monday. I can already understand a lot of the Swedish I hear, but it’s not very easy to practice speaking because practically all Swedish people speak English very well, and for some reason, they love doing it. I suppose this is good for communication since there’s only 9 million Swedish-speakers in the world, but it makes it rather hard to learn.
Even though it’s not really necessary to know Swedish to live in Sweden (or at least in Stockholm), I have still found it to be useful. For example, it is nice to be able to at least have an idea of what I’m buying at the store. It seems that the most common pair of languages written on food in the grocery stores is Swedish/Finnish, with English appearing only occasionally. It’s also nice to know what some of the signs and other notices say, since usually only the most important ones are in both Swedish and English.
Since Swedish is a Germanic language, it is related to English and German, and has many things in common with those languages, although the grammar is much simpler. There are also many loan words from French (although spelled slightly differently, such as miljö instead of milieu), which is helpful for me because I happen to know many French words! Another interesting thing about Swedish is that it is very closely related to Danish and Norwegian – so close, in fact, that people from Sweden, Denmark, and Norway can often understand each other fairly well without even studying the other languages. Also related to the Scandinavian languages are Faroese and Icelandic. Finnish, however, is completely different.
To practice speaking, I have been going to something at the KTH library called Språkcafét, which means “The Language Café.” Basically, each day of the week is dedicated to a certain language, and you can go to the library from 12.00-13.00 to practice speaking that language. They even provide free lunch to everyone who participates, which encourages some native speakers to show up as well! I have been going to the Språkcafé for Swedish on Wednesdays and for French on Fridays. Hopefully, this will help me improve throughout the semester!
Some useful Swedish words to know:
Hej! (pron: hey) – Hello!
Tack! (pron: tahk) – Thank you!
Sverige (pron: svar-ee-uh) – Sweden
Kaffe (pron: kaff-feh) – Coffee
Kanelbulle (pron: kahn-eeel-bool-leh) – Cinnamon roll
Fika (pron: feee-kuh) – To have kaffe and a kanelbulle (more on this later…)
Hej då! (pron: hey doe) – Bye!
The longest official word in Swedish: Realisationsvinstbeskattning – Capital gains tax
And the longest unofficial word, according to Wikipedia: Nordösterssjökustartilleriflygspaningssimulatoranläggningsmaterielunderhållsuppföljningssystemdiskussionsinläggningsförberedelsearbeten – Coast artillery flight searching simulator area material maintaining follow-up system discussion preparation tasks of the Northern Baltic Sea
Some common Swedish words are not what you may think they are. For example:
- It is common to see signs that say words such as full fart, infart, utfart, or farthinder, none of which mean what you think they do. Actually, fart just means “speed,” and the signs are road signs.
- Often, you hear people say that something is bra, and they’re not talking about clothing. Bra means “good” in Swedish.
- Everyone finds it amusing when the train pulls in to the slutstation and all the passengers get off. It’s fine though, since it’s just the last stop on the line.