Sunday, 25 January 2009

And you thought they only ate meatballs?!

The strawberry thing got me thinking! I need to know more about what the Swedes eat.

I could go over there with a bunch of recipes for meatballs, but I'm pretty sure I'll be sick of the stuff after the first few days.

So what else do they eat?Returning to my gospal Book of Swedish:

Inlagd sill - Every self respecting Swede has his/her own - or his/her mother's recipe for pickled herrings!

I must be completely honest - even though I'm British and they love to pickle stuff - eggs, onions, gherkins... I have never been a fan of it myself.

But okay... pickled herring! It is written down - to be tasted when I am next in Sweden. erm... can't wait.


Dillpotatis - Swedes are very partial to new potatoes boiled with dill. They also use this herb in white sauces, with fish and crayfish.

Now that's more like it. Tomorrow I shall hit the shops and buy some dill to have with my potatoes!!

Will it go well with pork?

Smultron och grädde

å, ä, ö

According to the book of Swedish:

Smultron (wild strawberries) are probably the Swedes' idea of heaven on earth.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Meet the Royals

Sweden, like England has a Royal family.

As far as I can tell - apart from being much better looking than the English version, they seem to serve as much purpose as good old Elizabeth's clan.

I plan to speak to a lady in more detail about the Royal Family when I am in Stockholm at the end of April.

The girl in the blue dress is Princess Madeleine. I am going to try and leave my phone number for her... you know, just in case she fancies a coffee when I am living there.

And then he woke up - again to the sound of his Swedish language tape running on a loop in the background. Yes I am still falling asleep to the sound of my How to speak Swedish tape. The hope is I will learn subconciously whilst sleeping... alongside propper studying too of course!

Can I say?

å, ä, ö

I'm trying to construct a sentence based on words and rules I have remembered....

Can I say:

Kan gå vi för en öl?

I want to say - Can we go for a beer?

If I was to write it the way it is said in English I think I would write - Kan vi gå för en öl?

But if I have understood my book correctly, I put the verb after the question word. The verb in this case being "go"

So it becomes Can go we for a beer?

Have I got this sentence right? I plan to use it a lot, so it is important.

I also have a feeling I should take the letter "a" / "en" out?

This is because when you say "someone is a policeman" for example, you just say "He is (Han är) policeman"

So it would then become Kan gå vi för öl?

Tack mycket.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Att, Till, Bor du i?

I was browsing Youtube a few days ago and came across a guy called Philip Hansen from Landskrona - the far south of Sweden! He kindly agreed to be on hand if I ever had a question about the Swedish language. Figured the more Swedish people I can be in contact with the better.

StEvE says:
I have a quick question re: the langauge, if you don't mind?

- напѕеп. says:

StEvE says:
when someone asks "bor du i oxford?" What exactly is the question?

- напѕеп. says:
"Dou you live in Oxford?"

StEvE says:
can it also be asked "kommer du från oxford?"

- напѕеп. says:
yeah, I guess you could

StEvE says:
my book has been telling me the kommer du way, and has switched to bor du without explanation so i got a bit confused

- напѕеп. says:
but the sentence "Kommer du ifrån Oxford?", could also be used to ask people "where they're from" - if you'd like to ask where the person grew up you should use "Kommer du ifrån Oxford?"

StEvE says:
cool - one more quickie, att and till - do they both mean "to"

- напѕеп. says:
"Att" is used in sentences like "Att spela fotboll är roligt" > "It's fun _to_ play soccer
"Till" is used when you say: "I gave it _to_ my sister" "Im going over _to_ my friends house now"

StEvE says:
so if you are to play, or to sleep, or to smell it would be att, but if you were going somewhere would you say till?

- напѕеп. says:
yeah, you got it

StEvE says:
would you mind me quoting you in my blog?

- напѕеп. says:
no, not at all

StEvE says:
brilliant, your name is Hansen?

- напѕеп. says:
well, thats my surname

StEvE says:

- напѕеп. says:

StEvE says:
i'm getting there!

Monday, 19 January 2009

What are you listening to?

Today something arrived in the post that is really going to help me with the language.

I have been struggling on the past few weeks learning solely from reading a book - but last week I was getting frustrated as I wasn't sure if I was pronouncing the words correctly.

SO I ordered the CD accompaniment to my book.

I have now uploaded the CD to my MP3 player. Instead of listening to Abba (erm, yeah right) I am now walking the streets of Carlisle listening to Swedish dialog.

On my way into work this evening I finally put the letter "K" debate to rest! It is pron K as in kite, kitchen when it is infront of a hard vowel, and pron "ch" when in front of soft vowels.

I also have this crazy idea that if I fall asleep with the CD on loop in my room, I may subconciously learn Swedish in my sleep... it could happen???

Jag går nu! (I'm going now)

Hej då (bye)

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Bad student

Okay if I'm really going to do this I need to be better than what I was today.

Watching American Idol with James is not going to help me learn Swedish!

Perhaps if I watched Swedish Idol instead... ??

I don't know what she is saying... but I am afraid!!!!

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Showing off... ish

å, ä, ö

P.S. If Swedish readers spot mistakes, please correct me. Tack så mycket (thanks very much)

Okay so I'm trying this without my Swedish book - so might not be perfect:

Hej (hello)

Vad heter du? (What is your name?)

Jag heter Steve (My name is Steve)

Varifrån kommer du? (Where are you from?)

Jag kommer från England. (I come from England)

Vad har du för yrke? (What job do you do?)

Jag är radio producer. (I'm a radio producer)

Trevlig att träfass. (Nice to meet you)

Talar du Engelska? (Do you speak English?)

I know lots of other words of course, but this is the first conversation I've memorised.

There are things that I know that will absolut (definitely) come in handy:

Vad vill du Göra? (What do you want to do?)

En öl skulle smaka gott. (A beer would be nice.)

Det låter gott! (That sounds good)

Which reminds me, tonight I gave up the chance to go drinking so I could stay in and study Swedish! This is how serious I am.

Can you tell me about - Walpurgis Night?

I'm looking for information on how people celebrate Walpurgis Night in Sweden. This is what the wonderful internet has taught me...

"Walpurgis Night is a traditional religious holiday, celebrated by Pagans, Roman Catholics, and Satanists alike on April 30 or May 1 in large parts of Central and Northern Europe.

The current festival is in most countries celebrating it named after Saint Walpurga, born in Devon about 710. Due to her holy day falling on the same day, her name became associated with the celebrations. Walpurga was honored in the same way that Vikings had celebrated spring and as they spread throughout Europe, the two dates became mixed together and created the Walpurgis Night celebration. Early Christianity had a policy of 'Christianising' pagan festivals so it is perhaps no accident that St. Walpurga's day was set to May 1st.

In Sweden, Walpurgis (Swedish: Valborgsmässoafton or Valborg) is one of the de facto public holidays during the year. The forms of celebration in Sweden vary in different parts of the country and between different cities. One of the main traditions in Sweden is to light large bonfires, a custom which is most firmly established in Svealand, and which began in Uppland during the 18th century.[citation needed] An older tradition from Southern Sweden was for the younger people to collect greenery and branches from the woods at twilight, which were used to adorn the houses of the village. The expected reward for this task is to be paid in eggs.

The tradition which is most widespread throughout the country is probably singing songs of spring. Most of the songs are from the 19th century and were spread by students' spring festivities. The strongest and most traditional spring festivities are also found in the old university cities, like Uppsala and Lund where both current and graduated students gather at events that take up most of the day from early morning to late night on April 30, or "sista april" ("The last day of April") as it is called in Lund and elsewhere throughout the country. There are also newer student traditions like the carnival parade, The Cortège, which has been held since 1909 by the students at Chalmers in Gothenburg."

How do you celebrate it? And what day do you usually celebrate it?

Tack (p.s I now know many more words - I will show off in my next blog entry)

Monday, 12 January 2009

Did you know? # 1

Don't be fooled into thinking that Abba were the only good thing to come from Sweden.

Did you know that Sweden is in fact the world’s third largest producer of pop music? With Roxette, Ace of Base and The Cardigans as best-selling artists.

Also Swedish producer Max Martin recorded and wrote major hits for Britney Spears and The Backstreet Boys.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

This is Swedish Midsummer

I'm going to do this - this summer

You can also take part in your own back garden...

The TV Pilot

I've just come from the production meeting for the now called tv show "Meat Pies to Meatballs - How I Moved to Sweden."

The content for the first episode looks great.

We plan to do our first location shoot in Stockholm on the 29th April 2009.

Friday, 9 January 2009

Fun Facts

Did you know many important inventions originate in Sweden.

The pacemaker.
The ball bearing
The safety match
The adjustable wrench
The zipper

...are all Swedish inventions — and products of a long history of science and research.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Language Lesson # 2

Remember these? Å, Ä and Ö (å, ä and ö)

So the vowels in Swedish are - a, e, i, o, u, y, å, ä and ö

Short and Long Vowels

The short and long vowels for the letters we have in English because are very similar - for example:

The letter "A" - The long vowel is pronounced like the A in father. The short vowel is prounced like the A in cat. Which is kind of how we do it.

The letter Y is slightly different though - I'll go through the pronunciations in a second.

SO how do you know when to use a short or a long vowel?

The vowel length is connected with stress. A stressed vowel is more prominent than the other letters in the word. (can you tell I copied that bit from a book?)

A stressed vowel is long when:
  • it is an end vowel in words of one syllable. for example "Ja" - it is a long vowel so pronounced like the A in father.
  • it comes before a single consonant - for example in the word heter, the E's would be long vowels. In the word "far" the A would be a long vowel.

A stressed vowel is short when:

  • it comes before two or more consonants - for example in Kall - the A will be short and sound like the A in the English word cat. There is an exeption though, when it is next to the consonant R it is pronounced long - i.e. barn, lärd etc.
  • It appears in a few common words of one syllable: han, hon, den, min, din, sin.
  • often in words of one syllable ending in m, or n. Vem, hem, kim, kam, som, rum, man, etc.

The vowels are divided into two groups:

a, o, u, å - these are hard vowels

e, i, y, ä and ö - these are soft vowels

Okay - I'll just tell you how to pronounce each vowel in long and short ways then I'll leave it for today:

VOWEL---LONG -------------------------------------SHORT

a - -------pron like A in father-------------------------pron like A in Katt (cat)

e - -------pron a bit like the E in ear ------------------pron like E in men - penna (pen)

i - --------pron like the ea in heat - Liv (life) ----------pron like the i in kiss - hiss (lift)

o ---------like the oo in moon -------------------------like the oo in book - blomma (flower)

u ---------like the u sound in true ---------------------like the u in full

y ---------like the long i, but with tightly rounded lips --like the short i - syster (sister)

å ---------pron like AW in saw -------------------------pron like "o" in Scott

ä ---------pron like air without the R -------------------pron like "e" in set

ö ---------pron like err like thats yuck (but no R sound!!) --pron like "u" in Curt

Say all your letters lightly, flowing and somewhat musical.

Snow Etiquette

Last night - here in Carlisle in England we experienced snow.

Comment from my Swedish friend and consultant Malin: "Haha I love it when Britain gets snow. You all become five year olds".

To fit in living in Sweden you must take snow with a pinch of salt. Yes they love snow, but they don't run around making snow angels at age 25.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

The hand experiment

According to the book of Swedish:

"Swedes have a reputation for being rather formal people. They are very fond of shaking hands and seldom meet without doing so."
Hmm. Normally I try to avoid shaking hands as much as I can, and usually deliver excuses such as:
"I wouldn't, my hands are clammy"
"I've just eaten a sandwhich"
Or I would noticibly cough into my hand to prevent the other hand being presented in the first place. I mean who would want to shake a hand that has just been coughed into?

The reason I hate shaking hands is you quite literally don't know where the other hand has been! For all you know the hand you're shaking could have been touching some sweaty testicles moments earlier! Ick!

BUT okay, if this is the Swedish way I thought I would give it a try. But not without first purchasing this:

YES - Quash antibacterial hand foam!
Now I could safely go about my day looking for hands to shake!
(It's a good thing people at my work know I'm weird anyway!)
I started in reception, shaking a rather confused ladies hand as I walked into the office.
Then on my way up the stairs I ran into a fellow producer and offered my hand to shake as I said morning... the look on his face was if I had just spat on his sandwhich.
Then into the Newsroom shaking the hand of the person sat next to me. Okay, I felt at this point it was best to explain my sudden interest in other people's hands. He found it rather interesting.
But then I felt the need to sneak off to the bathroom and use my Quash antibacterial hand foam, he looked like a nose picker.
I shook a few more hands as the day went on, but decided I was all shaked out by 3pm.
What I have learnt from this is the English are not very big on handshaking. Something that might be seen as common practice in one country can be seen as odd in another.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Language Lesson #1

Okay - so I mastered the art of saying thanks in Swedish (Tack if you had forgotten) - But I realise I can't live in a foreign country and survive soley on my thanking ability - though I may earn myself the title of the politest Swede.

So it is time to learn the language.

I was in Stockholm on New Years Eve and stopped in a book shop and picked up Teach Yourself Swedish for a very reasonable 249 Swedish Kronas - what's that like £25 English money?

It is harder than you would think despite the first page saying "Swedish is not a difficult language for an English-speaking person to learn."

Okay in the first lesson we are going to look at the alphabet... Firstly think of the English alphabet. Now try and invent 3 brand new letters. Seriously give it a go! Impossible right?

WELL not if your Swedish! The Swedish alphabet has 29 letters!

Adding these:

Å, Ä and Ö

Now I could try and pronounce the Swedish alphabet to you by typing it, but why not visit here:

But it isn't as easy as that - they are pronounced differently when they are in words as short or long vowels. More on this in a future blog. For now - practice the alphabet until you know it off by heart.

Tomorrow I am going to try and experience the Swedish way of life in England... but need to make a quick purchase first!

The Face...

At my place of work, the BBC in Cumbria, I am chatting to Gayle about my plans to move to Sweden.

GAYLE : "Well you do have a face the Swedish would find attractive."

Well, that's half the battle won.

Tack Gayle.

(Still know that one word. It means Thanks if you have forgotten).

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Once upon a time in England...

Okay so I do not live in Sweden... yet. But I will.

This blog will document how I will transorm myself from a Northern English lad into a fully speaking and working Swedish citizen.

SO who am I?

Born in Blackpool, the tourismn capital of Northern England, fully equipped with theme parks boasting the biggest rollercoaster in England, a massive Tower that can be seen from miles around, and a really long promonade which has the (aherm) "cleanest beach" I have ever seen...

Okay so you're now thinking, why would anyone want to leave this wonderful town, with these big, long and clean attractions...?

Lots of reasons really, the main one is the lack of prospects.

SO I moved away - to Carlisle. Studied media at the - then named - "Arts College" - and eventually started working for BBC Local Radio.

So WHY Sweden?

I have visted Sweden on three occasions. Twice in Stockholm and once on an Island "Marstrand" (I think it's called), near Gothenburg - and I love it.

My best friend in the whole world is Swedish (but currently living in Carlisle) - and I have two more great friends living in Sweden at the moment.

So HOW will I make this move? and when by?

I have no idea! But I'm hoping to be ready by the summer of 2010. Keep reading to update yourselves on my progress.

(I know one word... that's a good start! - it means thanks, for those who will be taking this journey with me).