Sunday, 10 August 2014

10 Cool Swedish Words And Expressions (Part 3)

Green carrots, dancing trains and breast warts...


All praise to the greatness.
Two posts on the Charles Fudgemuffin blog which get a lot of hits are my 10 Cool Swedish Words And Expressions and its follow-up post 10 More Cool Swedish Words And Expressions.  They say you should listen to your audience, so with that in mind here are ten more of my favourite Swedish words and expressions...

1) Breast warts

If someone refers to their bröstvårta, or breast warts, don't worry, they haven't been struck down with some Biblical contagious disease.  In Swedish, breast warts are nipples.  Perhaps not quite as appealing when they're described as breast warts, although admittedly still quite appealing.


2) Beards and cookies

An interesting Swedish expression is the phrase, 'Skägget i brevlådan,' which means to be caught with your beard in the letterbox, and is the equivalent of the American saying, to be 'caught with your hands in the cookie jar'.  If you took the two sayings at face value then you might perhaps conclude that Americans are more likely to be greedy whereas Swedish people are more likely to be snoops.  However, my experience of American and Swedish people wouldn't back that up at all, and I haven't met a great number of Swedish people with beards either, so I'm not quite sure where the inspiration behind this saying came from.


3) A matter of opinion

If you were Swedish and you wanted to say something was a matter of opinion then you might say, "Smaken är som baken, delad."  When translated literally this is quite a funny expression as it means, "Taste is like your bum, divided."  You can't deny that taste is a matter of opinion and that different people often have divided opinions, but whoever originally came up with this saying could perhaps have chosen a better analogy.


Swedish carrots are a type of 'green thing'.
4) Green things

The Swedish word for vegetables is 'grönsaker' which is a very literal description of vegetables as it literally means 'green things'.  You can perhaps see why this word sort of makes sense, as admittedly in most cases vegetables are green things, but it could potentially lead to confusion when referring to turnips, carrots, parsnips, etc.


5) Keep your opinions to yourself

'Attitydinkontinens' is a cool Swedish word which means the inability to keep your opinions to yourself, and it literally translates as 'attitude incontinence'.  We could definitely use a word like this in English because spouting off your opinion where it's not wanted often leads to unnecessary arguments and bad feelings.  For this reason I personally prefer to avoid talking about serious subjects, and prefer instead to just talk about daft jokey stuff.  Perhaps that means I've got 'attitude constipation', or should that be 'attitydförstoppning'?


6) Filling seven cottages

I suppose the closest English expression to 'attitude incontinence' would be 'verbal diarrhoea', but it's not really an exact match as someone with verbal diarrhoea is someone who just talks too much in general, and it's not necessarily to do with expressing an opinion.  If a Swedish person talked too much then someone might say they 'prata sju stugor fulla' which would literally mean they 'talk seven cottages full'.  In my opinion this is a much nicer way of describing verbal diarrhoea, but again it's still basically an insult as it's still a non-complimentary way of describing someone who talks too much.


A rabbit.  Strictly speaking, not a hare.
I haven't got a photo of a hare though, so a rabbit will have to do.
7) So close...

A Swedish expression with a similar English equivalent is the phrase, "Close shots won't get you the hare,' or 'Nära skjuter ingen hare'.  As you can probably guess, this is the equivalent of the English saying, 'A miss is as good as a mile' or 'Close but no cigar.'  The Swedish expession makes a lot more sense than 'close but no cigar' though, which to me seems to make no sense at all.


8) "You can't kill me, for I am undeadable..."

The Swedish word for 'immortality' is ''odödlighet, and when translated literally it means 'undeathliness' or 'undeadableness'.  I suppose that's what immortality is, but to me as an English speaker the word 'undeathliness' sounds more like a slang word than an official word.


9) Dance like a train

One of the most common traditional ways to learn Swedish is perhaps from a phrase book, or nowadays perhaps from a language app or Swedish language mp3 course.  But one of the most satisfying ways to learn Swedish (or any language) is from real life, and this next word was one I learnt in a Scandinavian club in Magalluf when a group of Swedish people started doing a conga.  Their conga dance was accompanied by the chant of 'Tåget! Tåget!' which literally means, 'The train!  The train!' so presumably 'tåget' is the Swedish version of the conga.  It wouldn't really work in English, as a line of people chanting, "The train!  The train!" would just seem a bit weird, but it seemed to work in Swedish, as somehow 'the train' seemed far less cheesy and much more fun than the English version of the conga.  Maybe that was just because I was quite drunk at the time, though.


"Don't make a chicken out of a feather."
Use an egg instead and you'll have
a far better chance of successful results.
10) Chickens and mountains

Finally, another Swedish expression with a similar English equivalent is the saying, 'Göra en höna av en fjäder' which literally translates as 'to make a chicken out of a feather'.  As you can probably work out, this is the equivalent of the English saying, 'To make a mountain out of a mole-hill' and is just another way of saying, 'keep things in perspective'.

. . . . . . . .

That was ten more of my favourite Swedish words and expressions and as this is part three, you can probably work out that I like a lot of Swedish words, and I'm a big fan of the Swedish language in general.

You can find more of my favourite Swedish words and expression in my earlier posts:
10 Cool Swedish Words And Expressions
10 More Cool Swedish Words And Expressions

. . . . . . . .

Anyone who has read my alien comedy 'How To Save The World' books may have noticed that several of the alien names and alien planets were inspired by the Swedish language.  Unless you don't speak Swedish in which case you probably didn't notice.

Anyway, whether anyone noticed or not, the 'How To Save The World' books are available from Payhip, Amazon and other ebook stores, and you can currently download the first book in the series for free from Pahyip.  Click the ad to the right for further details.

Please note, the 'How To Save The World' books are not suitable for prudes or squares.

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About The Author

The 'How To Save The World' books
by Charles Fudgemuffin
Charles Fudgemuffin is the author of the alien comedy 'How To Save The World' books which are available for Kindle from Amazon.  The first book in the series is available from the following link:
How To Save The World: An Alien Comedy

As with all Kindle books, you can also download a free sample of the first few chapters.

Please note, the 'How To Save The World' books contain material suitable for ages 18+ and are not recommended for prudes or squares.