As many people who know me know, Swedish has not been an easy language for me to learn. In fact, it’s been downright difficult. I was definitely one of the worst students in my classes and that is not an easy cross to bear for a former honor roll student. Though it’s been a while since I took Swedish classes, I do notice my gradual levels of improvement in learning the language. There are days when I am reading something in Swedish and understanding it and then suddenly realize, oh, that was Swedish. It’s almost like I’ve had osmosis of the language.
Swedish can be a funny sounding language as it is very singsong and does often sound just the way the Swedish chef on the Muppets pronounced it. In general, the Swedes aren’t as chatty as we Americans and there are many conversations where everyone makes a mmmmm sound as a filler during a lull. That mmmm used to throw me a lot in a meeting as it was typically delivered with almost a question sounding inflection at the end, leaving me wondering if I was supposed to be responding to something.
There are a lot of word definitions that amuse me as well, including the fact that gift means married and it also means poison. Bonusbarn means stepchildren, but if you look at it literally, it does mean bonus children. And on the purely useful side, I find it quite practical that in Swedish, there are words to specify grandmother and grandfather on both sides of your family. Your mother’s mother is mormor, while your father’s mother is farmor. And a person that you are living with but not married to is your sambo.