Friday, August 14, 2009

Tala svenska

I am slowly finding myself understanding words here and there when someone speaks to me in Swedish. This is a good thing. I know quite a few words and can, myself, put basic sentences together. When I see it written, I can generally make out enough of what has been written to get the gist. I do always have a hard time understanding what is being said. It probably has more to do with poor listening skills than much else. I probably should work on that.

Today while shopping the clerk told me the price and I could make out the numbers well enough to know she had given me the 25% discount that was advertised. I was quite pleased. Then for some reason, out of the deep recesses of my brain, when she handed me the receipt I responded with "Danke". She looked at me quite confused as she had already heard me speaking English with my children. Why I would be thanking her in German was a complete mystery. To her and to myself as well. More than once all the words have come to German.

I like the challenge of learning other languages. Swedish and German are very similar and many of the words are nearly identical. The sentence structure is pretty similar. I am slowly getting used to the strange U sounds that in the beginning really irritated me. A lot of ewwwws and ulllll sounds. In Swedish, there is a strong emphasis on stress of certain syllables which is not as common in English. There are a few more vowels, ä and ü and strange letter combinations such as sj or tj.

The Swedes are more than willing to speak English and most have an excellent command of the language. A few have even acted surprised that I would bother learning Swedish as so few in the world do. I can not see why you would not try to learn the language of your host country, just as a sign of respect for their culture and way of life.

1 comment:

  1. There are three more letters in our (Swedish) alphabet. You mentioned ä and ü but ü isn't a Swedish letter it's a German letter. The other two letters besides ä is å and ö.

    I recently found your blog and I really like it.