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Sep 22

Swedish or International?

Posted on Tuesday, September 22, 2015 in Writing

I posted in Swedish about this too, because I was hoping I could get the opinions of other Swedes, but I realize that I’m not going to get that many replies, simply because there are very few Swedish people, at least on Booklikes. That’s why I’m going to ask in English too. After all, there’s no reason why English-speaking (and other) people shouldn’t have any opinions about this.

For many years now, I’ve had both a Swedish and an English/international version of my homepages. I want that, because I’m an enthusiastic supporter of people’s own languages, in this case my language Swedish. (I also love English, but I’m guessing my support isn’t really needed for that).

When it comes to my fan fiction page, I have chosen to use the exact same setup on the Swedish one as the international one. That is, each fandom has a page in Swedish, where you can also see what the Swedish name of the fandom is. This may be too much info, but Swedes mixing in English words in their Swedish and not taking the trouble to check what the corresponding word/title/name etc in Swedish is can really drive me up the wall.

On my fan fiction page I have very much fewer Swedish and/or Nordic fandom where I have actually written my fanfic/s in Swedish, instead of in English. So one possibility is to make the Swedish homepage much smaller/less extensive, where the fics are only in Swedish. Though I’m guessing that most people would never even visit there.

So my question is: which is most reasonable? Having a homepage of a similar size, where I link directly to the English fanfics most of the time, or a much smaller one where there are only Swedish/Nordic fandoms and just one link to the index page of the international page?

Aug 11

How India changed the English language

Posted on Tuesday, August 11, 2015 in Links

For hundreds of years, words have flowed along the routes of trade and empire. Rahul Verma follows some of their remarkable journeys.

Read more here.

Mar 16

A Double Negative Is Not Always UnOK

Posted on Monday, March 16, 2015 in Links

Read more here.

Sep 10

My Swedish book collection

Posted on Wednesday, September 10, 2014 in Literature

I have decided that I will make a point of buying books in my own language (Swedish). It’s not that easy anymore. When I was a child, I was given plenty of great books on birthdays and Christmas. My mum had bought me so many books, before I could even read, so I had a head start on my Swedish book collection. These days I struggle to find good books in Swedish. The ‘toplist’ is artificially made up by the big publishers. It no longer consists of the best selling books, but the ones the publishers would like to sell best. And apparently, their criteria for publishing a book is not quality, it’s saleability.

However, I’m doing my best looking for Swedish children’s and YA books, non fiction and – naturally – fantasy, science fiction and mysteries. They’re usually more expensive than books in English, naturally enough, since the editions are much smaller. I usually can’t find books of the very highest quality either. It’s sad, but true. But I really want to have a Swedish book collection so it’s going to be worth it in the end. I also want to have smaller collections of French and German books, maybe others too. Fortunately, those aren’t usually that much more expensive than English/American books. Clearly, French and German are big enough languages to produce large enough editions of every title.

My ‘policy’ when it comes to book buying is to, as far as possible, get books in the original language, and if I can’t read the original language, the one I know best. I’ll make an exception if the Swedish translation is far less expensive than the original. Some years ago, there was this Chinese book I really wanted to read. Naturally, I can’t read any Chinese language, so I looked around for an English translation (unsurprisingly there wasn’t one in Swedish), but there wasn’t one. Fortunately, there was one in French, so I bought that.

Mar 31

Ten words not found in English (sort of)

Posted on Saturday, March 31, 2012 in Humanities

I just read this article on the Local. It was quite interesting, despite the snarky tone that I’m more used to from the Guardian’s site. Actually, I never thought about most of these words (and ‘vabba’ is relatively new). I won’t go into the pronunciation (but if you’re curious, comment and I’ll try to explain).

I’ll add ‘lagom’ – a sort of “Goldilocks” word, meaning ‘just right’. ‘Duktig’ reminds me of a word in LOTR (the book) – doughty. I’m sure they have the same base, even though doughty can’t be used very often in English-speaking countries today.

For those of you who don’t like The Local’s site, these are the words:

Orka (have the strength to, feel up to)
Harkla (clearing one’s throat)
Hinna (have time to, or ‘catch’ as in ‘I managed to catch the bus’ – in the latter case with the addition ‘med’, in this case meaning ‘to’ but normally it means something else)
Blunda (closing one’s eyes/to close one’s eyes or close your eyes!)
Mysa (snuggle/cuddle, but also enjoying oneself)
Vabba (this simply means taking a paid day off to take care of one’s sick child, it used to be an acronym then turned into a verb)
Duktig (skillful, good at etc, often used when referring to child, but also as a polite remark ‘vad duktig du är’ – ‘oh, you’re good’ (at something or other)
Jobbig (tiresome – actually I think that pretty much covers it, so it’s a bad example)
Gubbe/Gumma (old man/old woman, can be used as a derogatory term, but also as a term of endearment meaning little ‘old man’ or little ‘old woman’ when you use it about a child or dog etc, some people mainly use it as a colloquial term for husband/wife (“hubby” etc)


Specific words for maternal grandmother (mormor eg ‘mothermother’), maternal grandfather (morfar eg ‘motherfather’), paternal grandmother (farmor eg ‘fathermother’) and finally paternal grandfather (farfar eg ‘fatherfather’). As they point out in the article, grandchild is called barnbarn – eg ‘childchild’ as in (my) child’s child. You can also say daughter’s daughter ‘dotterdotter’, daughter’s son ‘dotterson’, son’s daughter and son’s son ‘sondotter and sonson’. It may look funny, but I think it makes sense.

Jul 3

Language – Anglo (English)

Posted on Thursday, July 3, 2008 in Humanities

English might not need a closer introduction, but I’ll say a few words about it anyway. Nowadays, you simply can’t get along without english.

Personally, I don’t find english difficult at all. Unlike many other languages, you can practice English almost daily. English is all around. That can be practical since you need to learn it. I started learning it when I was about two years old. Actually, it was mom who was going to study, but I was the one who found it a lot of fun, so I was the one who learned the most.

English is spoken practically everywhere, by several billion people (at least as a second or a third language). As a first language it’s spoken by about 300 million people. Wherever you go, you can probably get by with English.

I prefer to refer to the international version of English as Anglo. That’s because I live in Northern Europe, and my friends in for instance Lithuania and India, hardly speak English. I mean, we don’t live in England, and we’re not from there. We don’t speak American either, like the people of the USA, or Canadian, as they do in Canada, or aussie or oz (or whatever they call it in Australia) etc. Anglo. If you have a better suggestion, please let me know.

Jun 30

Language 2

Posted on Monday, June 30, 2008 in Humanities

In general, I can say, that with the exception of English (Anglo), it’s difficult to become really fluent, unless you’re prepared to travel to the country where the language is spoken, to work or study, for at least a year. Sure you can do that, if you’re content to study one or two languages, but if you want to know several it could be difficult. The best I can do, is read as many books as possible and watch tv and movies in the language in question.

Another thing you can do, is to take advantage of the internet. There are news sites, in many different languages and sometimes free literature for download. Of course there are all kinds of web pages in many different languages. Apart from that, there are also sites dedicated to the study of languages, with forums and chat rooms, where you can use the language.

Without the internet, I would have been able to use so many of my languages.

I’ve chatted with people in French, German, Spanish and Italian (not always completely successfully, I might add). Unfortunately, not everyone you encounter want to help you out. Instead they choose to get by in their own, not always so great, English. But if you do meet someone who wants to help you, it’s the best. Much better than any dictionary.

You can also use the computer offline. I’ve bought a language software, Languages of the World. Most of the major languages of the world are available on those CD:s, but I think it might be best to just use the program to practice languages you’ve already studied, rather than starting out with a new language.


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