Not sheepish, but individ-ewe-al (livredor) wrote,
Not sheepish, but individ-ewe-al

Swedish false friends

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...
Tags: silly, svenska

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