The Tribune feels duty-bound to expose more of our fascinating Swedish culture to the rest of the world. Appreciation of all things Swedish requires a rudimentary understanding of our magnificent language. Here we will begin to explain the basic rules to allow you to glean a fluughenshcloff more of Sweden’s charm.
Swedish, like all languages has its idiosyncrasies–there are 104 words for “herring” but no word for “pizza”! Similar to the Asian languages there are different tones where–depending on the pitch used to enunciate–the meaning of the word can change significantly. In Chinese there are 4 such tones yet we have 27, which can be daunting to a beginner. For example, the word hoovlen (“anticipatory procrastination”) can mean different things according to the tone used to pronounce it. Spelling four of the different tones for this word phonetically shows the diversity of meaning in a single Swedish word:
hurven: sweating earlobes (3rd tone)
glurven: bicycle rack (13th tone)
hoofen: decrepit tree stump (19th tone)
schloofen: box (21st tone)
Don’t be discouraged! Let’s start at the start with a simple greeting:
Juurkliinghfschoikarlldt: “hello” (informal). Note – if talking to a moose a different form of the greeting is used.
More to come in further articles, get practicing!