lördag, oktober 23, 2004

Eating Disorders

Maria är student.
Maria har ganska dåliga matvanor.

Maria is a student. Maria has quite (ganska) bad (dålig) foot (mat) habits (vanor).
I love this book.

Most language books and tapes create ridiculous sentences to prove a point or teach a lesson.

Is the cat a red crayon? No, the cat is not a red crayon.

Not this one. Couples fight. Husbands get hangovers. People slurp coffee.

fredag, oktober 22, 2004

Ho, ho, ho

Oh, this is rich. "Swedish is probably one of the easiest languages to learn to pronounce as it is usually pronounced as it is written." Teach Yourself Swedish, Vera Croghan

Sure it is pronounced as it is written, as Swedes pronounce it. They have eight vowels pronounced at least 16 different ways. The reason the Swedish Chef always sounded like he was singing is because when a vowel is long, it is really long. As in drawn out. If you don't draw it out right, then it will probably sound like a different word to your impatient Swedish listener. And they will be impatient. You have 20 seconds to convince them you can communicate. Othewise they will switch into their perfect English with a perfect English accent and you will have to wait until you corner an unsuspecting Swedish shopkeeper before you will get a chance to practice again. And that is just the vowels. For example, a simple phrase from yesterday's homework was

Jag gick.

Go ahead. Guess how it is pronounced. Nope.
Try yahg yick. J is always a Y, and G is a Y before an I. See how much fun this is? One time I said to my Swedish mother-in-law,

Jag ska sittar på soffan. I shall sit on the couch. Or over the couch.

Simple enough, I thought, but it was clear she did not understand me. "Soffan!" I repeated. "Soffan!" I said again, pointing toward the couch.

"Ohhhh, you mean 'sohfffaaan'. You said, 'sewfffaaan', the nickname we have for Santa," she exclaimed.

I could have sworn I said it exactly as she, yet it was different enough to make her think I was going to go sit on a giant elf. I wish this weren't a true story. I must just really suck at this.

onsdag, oktober 20, 2004


From Essential Swedish Grammar:

If this is your first acquaintance with Swedish grammar, the following suggestions may be of help:

1. Before beginning to work your way through this book, master several hundred useful phrases and expressions . . .

How about, Tack sa mycket Mr. Granberry. There is an expression for you. Several hundred. Right. I don't want to memorize several hundred phrases like, "How much is that cup of coffee" and "Can you tell me where the nearest public restroom is." I am older than 24. Memory functions are weak. I would rather learn this logically and in pattern. So here goes.

Lesson 1. Word Order

Noun followed by verb in normal word order.
I joke. Jag skämtar

Inverted word order when

1. Asking a quetion. Du skämtar? [Are] you joking?

Got it.

Also inverted when:

when the independent clause is preceded by a dependent clause
when the independent clause begins with an adverb or an adverbial phrase
when the object of the independen clause precedes the subject.

My brain is made of wood. Min hjärna är . . .