Swedish false friends - Livre d'Or








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livredor
Swedish false friends
Monday, 10 December 2007 at 09:27 pm
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There aren't very many false friends in Swedish. Or at least, few that aren't transparent with a knowledge of Scots and German. But most English speakers take a while to get past the initial shock of seeing SLUT written everywhere in large letters. In fact, it simply means end (and is pronounced to rhyme with shoot, not with shut).

hugger means stab or cut down, which makes for some odd-looking crime reports.

hitta means to find, while fynda means to make a bargain.

fart means way, or speed, leading to lots of amusing signage.

fack means pigeonhole, or sometimes union; it's pronounced with the vowel sound closer to English suck than sack, and Swedish people like making elaborate jokes about English immigrants mishearing it.

There are some word pairs which are the opposite way round to English; for example, glas means glass and glass means icecream. This actually makes sense once you know Swedish pronunciation rules; a vowel preceding a single consonant is long, so glas is pronounced as "glass" (with a southern English accent like mine, mind you), and glass is "glace" after Swedishifying (does anyone know the proper word for that?) the spelling.

gud means god while god means good. Actually "good" is somewhat complicated to translate; some of the time it is god and some of the time it is bra, and I don't entirely know how to choose between them, but there are lots of bras and gods around in unexpected places. (On a more serious note, the comparative of god is godare, godast, whereas bra becomes bättre, bäst, ie irregular but only slightly so. So you can see where English got its completely illogical comparative form for good, by combining two different words into one.)

Anyway, the point of this is that my inner eight-year-old found this banner disproportionately hilarious; it's a combination of the unfortunate to an English speaker URL with the picture of someone's bum that set me off. (The website is actually a directory of builders and handymen, if you're curious.) So I'm posting about it for the delectation of anyone else who happens to find this kind of childish stuff amusing...


Whereaboooots: Älvsjö, Stockholm, Sweden
Moooood: annoyedpuerile
Tuuuuune: Smashing Pumpkins: Bullet with butterfly wings
Discussion: 26 contributions | Contribute something
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(no subject) - monanotlisa (12/10/07 09:13 pm)
mummimamma: Posing with book (Lecturing)
From:mummimamma
Date:December 10th, 2007 09:55 pm (UTC)
45 minutes after journal entry, 11:55 pm (mummimamma's time)
(Link)
*giggle*
We have many of te same words in Norwegian too, and there are a couple of words that never fail to make my students giggle. I usually save them for the slow and dragging days. Never though about the "fart" though (same in Norwegian:)
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smhwpf: Misbehave
From:smhwpf
Date:December 10th, 2007 10:18 pm (UTC)
1 hours after journal entry, December 11th, 2007 12:18 am (smhwpf's time)
(Link)
*giggles inanely*

That is rather a prize one.

Hmm, there was another Swedish faux ami occured to me just a few days ago, but I can't remember what it was. I think there's quite a lot of minor ones, like 'fast' meaning 'fixed' (as in telephone) that aren't really as it does also have that meaning in English (hold fast, steadfast) and that presumably derive from a common ancestor.

Oh yes, that was it. 'Kissa' is the childish form of 'to piss'; 'do a wee-wee' being probably the best translation. (Kyssa is to kiss. Really got to get those vowel sounds right.)
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livredor: hands
From:livredor
Date:December 11th, 2007 07:30 pm (UTC)
22 hours after journal entry, 08:30 pm (livredor's time)
(Link)
Oh, I'd forgotten kissa. Good example, especially since it's such a delightfully onomatopoeic word! (I have to admit I don't actually know the proper word for it, because adults don't tend to discuss such things in the absence of young children!)
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cartesiandaemon: default
From:cartesiandaemon
Date:December 10th, 2007 11:56 pm (UTC)
2 hours after journal entry
(Link)
but there are lots of bras and gods around in unexpected places.

I want to live your life :) Except not really. I was also thrown by false friends, having completely forgotten what the term meant, and thinking "Wow, I'm glad your foreign social life is so open, friendly and straightforward."

Swedishifying (does anyone know the proper word for that?)

It is curiously elusive. Some creative googling turns up:

* You, being the second of two hits for *that* word
* A wikipedia page on localisation, listing such words from Africanization to Westernization, but not this one
* The wikipedia page on Fennicization, mostly of names *from* Swedish *to* Finnish
* An okcupid profile for SwedishIce
* "Did you mean: swedishish"
* "e.g. two Google hits for Swedishise. and one for Polishise" being the teaser text for the only hit for "Swedishise"
* Onelook Reverse Dictionary suggests "lapponia", "dodo knyphausen", "finnicize" and "Pippi Longstocking" (This confirming the existence of said girl, who I'd *heard* of but never before believed existed independently)

The only word I found more than one hit using was "Swedishize", but it generally seemed to have quote marks round. I assume/hope there's a *Swedish* word meaning that, though I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to turn it up; if so, using that would make sense. Or sticking with Swedishifying, which remains my favorite. Of course, I'm probably missing an obvious spelling I didn't think to try, nor found mentioned.
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lethargic_man: default
From:lethargic_man
Date:December 11th, 2007 07:43 am (UTC)
10 hours after journal entry, 08:43 am (lethargic_man's time)
(Link)
Swedicising? Svenskifying?
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livredor: letters
From:livredor
Date:December 11th, 2007 08:10 pm (UTC)
23 hours after journal entry, 09:10 pm (livredor's time)
(Link)
Swedici(s|z)e is the most sensible suggestion so far. Google has only a smattering of hits for those, though, and none convincing as a source for a real word. Bother.
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lethargic_man: default
From:lethargic_man
Date:December 12th, 2007 08:13 am (UTC)
1 days after journal entry, 09:13 am (lethargic_man's time)
(Link)
Neither dictionaries nor Google are prescriptive. Use it and help make it a real word!
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pne: default
From:pne
Date:December 11th, 2007 11:57 am (UTC)
14 hours after journal entry, 01:57 pm (pne's time)
(Link)
Suecifying, perhaps, from Latin Suecia "Sweden"? (Though googling "suecify" turns up what seem to be typos or scannos for "specify".)
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livredor: geekette
From:livredor
Date:December 11th, 2007 08:08 pm (UTC)
22 hours after journal entry, 09:08 pm (livredor's time)
(Link)
Hee, there's a reason why "use-mention distinctions" is one of my LJ interests. Thanks for the Google assistance; I am not very clever at googling for words I don't know, and you've done a good job here. (I'm also quite impressed that Google recorded my post so quickly after it appeared!)
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cartesiandaemon: default
From:cartesiandaemon
Date:December 12th, 2007 04:56 pm (UTC)
1 days after journal entry
(Link)
For some reason I've never felt like listing lj interests. But it bears on the other discussion; we should cut out the middle man, and date from the pool of people with "use-mention distinction" listed as an interest :)

Thanks for the Google assistance;

Thanks. I don't promise it's perfect, but it's a start. (Googling is a weird skill. It's a combination of choosing search terms vague enough it can pick the right hits, but inventive and triangulating that you find relevant things...)

I'm also quite impressed that Google recorded my post so quickly after it appeared!

Yes, someone else commented on that: they reckoned either google or lj had a pipe to the other. But it's disconcerting when you post about something, think "ok, I really should research it before I go any further", search, and discover now *you're* the expert :)
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livredor: Amelie
From:livredor
Date:December 17th, 2007 09:04 pm (UTC)
6 days after journal entry, 10:04 pm (livredor's time)
(Link)
we should cut out the middle man, and date from the pool of people with "use-mention distinction" listed as an interest :)
...

...

...

You askin'?
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cartesiandaemon: default
From:cartesiandaemon
Date:December 17th, 2007 11:48 pm (UTC)
7 days after journal entry

Livrebirds

(Link)
Why, you listin' such an aforementioned interest?
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livredor: hands
From:livredor
Date:December 18th, 2007 07:44 am (UTC)
7 days after journal entry, 08:44 am (livredor's time)

Livrebirds

(Link)
Happen I could be. Listin' an int'rest, anyhow. Dunno 'bout "aforementioned".

(I was actually going for old-school Brooklyn, rather than hillbilly, but it wasn't very obvious from two words, and this reply cracked me up anyway. Also, your subject makes me think I should try to reply in broad scouse, only I am not very good at that.)
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cartesiandaemon: default
From:cartesiandaemon
Date:December 18th, 2007 01:31 pm (UTC)
7 days after journal entry

Re: Livrebirds

(Link)
ROFL. I actually snorted coke[1] reading that interest, please keep it, I feel so flattered :) I thought we were doing Scouse, but I wasn't going to actually reproduce the accent, I was just going to drop a 'g' and let our imaginations fill in how it sounded. Except I couldn't think of a one-word regular verb meaning "list use-mention distinction as livejournal interest" :)

[1] As in, pepsi.
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From:lunza
Date:December 11th, 2007 12:35 am (UTC)
3 hours after journal entry
(Link)
"Fahrt" is German for the same thing "fart" is in Swedish. And then there's the schiess/scheiss phenomenon in German, "Schiess" (pronounced with a long "e") means "shoot." "Scheiss" (pronounced with a long "i") means "shit." In my third-year German class in high school, some kids put on a skit that involved one of them running in and yelling "Don't shoot!" and of course he yelled "Scheiss nicht! Scheiss nicht!"
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livredor: letters
From:livredor
Date:December 11th, 2007 08:13 pm (UTC)
23 hours after journal entry, 09:13 pm (livredor's time)
(Link)
The odd thing is that as far as I'm aware there isn't a Swedish equivalent of fahren, just fart as a noun form. But thanks for the German examples!
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megamole: byggutfart
From:megamole
Date:December 11th, 2007 08:55 am (UTC)
11 hours after journal entry

This made me splorf.

(Link)
(As did the icon I've used for this post)

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megamole: default
From:megamole
Date:December 11th, 2007 08:56 am (UTC)
11 hours after journal entry

Re: This made me splorf.

(Link)
Sorry, wrong URL in previous post...

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livredor: hands
From:livredor
Date:December 11th, 2007 08:16 pm (UTC)
23 hours after journal entry, 09:16 pm (livredor's time)
(Link)
Yay, I was just waiting for you to comment with that icon. And the slutspurt image is quite special too, thanks for contributing that.
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pne: default
From:pne
Date:December 11th, 2007 12:00 pm (UTC)
14 hours after journal entry, 02:00 pm (pne's time)
(Link)
I'm reminded of fytta and fyta - the first is Swedish and means fuck, the second Greek and means plants (a Swedish friend of mine told me once he got uncomfortable whenever he saw a sign for Anthi ke fyta, "flowers and plants").

Or ficktelefon, which sounds like "fuck telephone" to a German but means "pocket telephone" (IIRC), i.e. "mobile phone". Similarly with jag fick, which is not "I fuck" but "I received" (again, IIRC; at any rate, past tense of jag får).

Another false friend with German is öl ("oil" in German, "beer" in Swedish).
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pne: default
From:pne
Date:December 11th, 2007 12:02 pm (UTC)
14 hours after journal entry, 02:02 pm (pne's time)

får

(Link)
And having mentioned får, I'm reminded of the tongue-twister Farfar, får får får? Nej, får får info får; får får lamm "Grandfather, do sheep get sheep? No, sheep don't get sheep; sheep get lambs".
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livredor: letters
From:livredor
Date:December 11th, 2007 08:20 pm (UTC)
23 hours after journal entry, 09:20 pm (livredor's time)
(Link)
I had forgotten that fick was German for "fuck". And you know, I've practically never heard fytta in Swedish; people here don't use sexual swears very much, the most common curse words are related to Hell and devils.

When I first saw öl & vin I was convinced it should mean "oil and vinegar" rather than "beer and wine". But of course it's cognate to ale, not to beer.
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From:(Anonymous)
Date:December 13th, 2007 06:27 am (UTC)
2 days after journal entry

Amusing topic

(Link)
Just a few corrections:

* Yes, there i s a Swedish equivalent of "fahren". The Swedish verb "fara" is a synonym to the more common verbs "resa" and "åka". Mind you that "fara" as a noun means 'danger'.

** "fytta" is not an existing Swedish word at all, while "fitta" is. However, meaning 'cunt' it's obviously considered vulgar.

*** And in the tongue-twister the negation should be "inte" and not "info". The latter is of course the exact same word as the English 'info', i.e. a short form of "information"/'information'

Nevertheless I loved reading it!
Regards,
Hansi
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livredor: teapot
From:livredor
Date:December 17th, 2007 09:26 pm (UTC)
7 days after journal entry, 10:26 pm (livredor's time)
(Link)
Greetings, Hansi, and thanks for weighing in! It's very useful indeed to have corrections from an actual Swedish person.

I had never come across the verb fara; somehow I feel better for knowing that it does in fact exist. Of course, at my level of language skill, it's always a mistake to assert that there is no such word!

It really does confirm my theory that Swedish people don't use sexual for swearing, that I am so unfamiliar with fitta that I didn't even notice pne's mistake in spelling or translation. Pne, by the way, is an amateur linguist who comes from Germany, so it's more surprising that he knows any Swedish at all than that he made a couple of slight errors. But I do appreciate the accurate information.
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lethargic_man: default
From:lethargic_man
Date:December 29th, 2007 07:49 pm (UTC)
18 days after journal entry, 08:49 pm (lethargic_man's time)
(Link)
There aren't very many false friends in Swedish. Or at least, few that aren't transparent with a knowledge of Scots and German.

What, as a matter of interest, becomes transparent with a knowledge of Scots?
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