Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Learning Swedish - fun Swedish words

One of the questions amongst the infamous questions James Lipton always asks Hollywood celebs in his bastardization of Proust's Questionnaire is 'What is your favorite word_.' Of course this can only be asked with the overdramatization and English accent in which Lipton excels.

Myself, I love words that roll of the tongue in a fun and pleasing way - the meaning I am less amused by. My favorite words are the ones that are fun to say.

My ideas are a bit along the lines of the mismatched history of 'cellar door' even though cellar door is not my favorite selection of words in English (check out Donnie Darko if you haven't heard of this phenomenon - or check it out if you haven't seen it yet - or just do an internet search and then check out Donnie Darko)

My favorite Swedish word?   ömsesidig - pronounced Ohmseseedee (g) (it is my understanding that the final g kind of dances off your tongue at the end)

For me, ömsesidig (despite its confusing spelling) is a word that rolls off the tongue in a most pleasing manner.

It also means something positive - mutual - unlike one of my favorite English words - perturbation which feels almost as uncomfortable as it is.

If you have a favorite word in English or Swedish - what is it? And why?

ETA: For some reason my unedited version was posted here - so I've touched this up. Sorry! Oh, and The Swede says omsesidig starts with an ö.


  1. Teaterföreställningen. I learnt it in Rosetta Stone, and I think it means play/show? I'm not entirely sure, but I adore the way it sounds!

  2. I love the English word "snuggle". I just love the meaning and the way it sounds.

  3. I don't know about favorite words. I know I am always talking about how "not impressed" I am by things (usually Swedish things) so by virtue of overuse I guess I like to say that phrase.

    I love all the Swedish words/phrases my kiddo comes home with. But I guess I just like hearing her language develop.

    I love the super-literal Swedish words for anatomy. They crack me up.

    For English I really can't even say. I'm a word person. Can't pick just one!

  4. First off I love Donnie Darko!

    Second off my favorite Swedish word is sluta, just because the first time I went to Sweden I was watching 7th Heaven on tv and kept thinking they were calling a girl a slut which I found funny.

    Third my favorite English words/phrases is comfy cozy. I use it all the time, such as while on the couch with a blanket I am comfy cozy or my new yoga pants are comfy cozy.

  5. Oooh good ones - I think it's always interesting when you are learning a new language because you are a lot more aware of the sounds of words than otherwise.

    Interesting that a lot of cozy, snuggle words came up, too! I like all of those, too.

  6. W-words: wonky, waddle, wallow, willow, slew, wad, paw, pew, swagger, etc.

    Thingamajig is a great word, and the swedish counterparts are pretty good too: mojäng, grunka

    Assorted words that shouldn't need any explanation: zounds, nincompoop, buffoon, hodgepodge, spelunk... these are quite hard to remember out of context.

    Assorted swedish words: kålsupare, sluring, horunge (typographical term), rallarsving, ättestupa, kvillra, hejduk, sinkadus, lusidor, gona, rotvälska, glufsa, byling, plurra, krubb, tryna, syrak, tjacka, kinesa, kuckelura, knega, torska... I guess I have a weak spot for archaic words. Most of these will still be understood, but maybe not used by any swede. Translations available upon request.

  7. Wow, Mazui - amazing list of words that has been fun to dissect- and I can see you are making up for the lack of 'wuh' sounding 'w's in your life :). Spelunk is also one of my faves in English.

    So I managed to figure out, with assistance, many of the words listed. The following stumped us a bit - and I haven't had a chance to use the magic wizard of google yet - syrak, gona, sinkadus, svillra and gona.

    Thanks for playing!

  8. It was fun trying to think of all funny words. :)

    syrak = annoyed, angry
    "Sluta med det där, annars blir jag syrak!"

    gona = feel good (especially under warm bedsheets)
    "Jaha, du ligger här och gonar"

    sinkadus = 5 and 2 in a dice roll (lucky chance)
    sinkadus = wallop
    "Han fick en redig sinkadus när han bråkade med sin fru förra veckan"

    kvillra = ripple, purl, twitter
    "Jag gillar bäckar och småfåglar för de kvillrar så fint"

    Just thought of a set of words that are funny because they are so dangerously close:

    pokulera = carouse
    kopulera = mate (sexually)

  9. :[ I still am terrible at Swedish. The nice thing about it though is you can kind of tell what written words say a lot of the time, because it is so similar to english. But anyway yeah I can't think of any favorite Swedish words yet. In english I just don't really have any. XD Interestingly, for some reason many people hate the word moist (I like it!). Most of my friends like the word defenestration. :P (Spelling?)

    Completely unrelated but, thought I would ask someone in Sweden. Have you noticed a lot of housepests?

  10. I've lived here more than 30 years and haven't seen anything worse than silverfish. Apparently bedbugs has been on the rise lately due to people travelling more to warm countries. Sometimes you hear reports of cockroaches, but usually only in rental apartment buildings with irresponsible owners. I've never seen a cockroach on the loose in Sweden.

    Defenestration sounds like a great d-e word for the bowels of your lungs. :)

  11. Ditto what Mazui said about the housepests - mostly silverfish - some spiders - and last year there was a week where ladybugs took over and it was uncomfortable to be outside - but other than that not too bad (a perk of the terrible weather :)) But that's just my experience in Swedish rentals - don't know what it might be like for homeowners or renters of subpar appartments!

    Defenestration is a pretty cool word, too - very passive for an extremely active thing!

  12. Another word that may be funny for english speakers: spankulera

    It has nothing to do with spanking, it just means to saunter.

  13. spankulera - HA! Love it. I've been trying to find a good excuse to slip it into my vocabulary -but haven't quite found the perfect occasion yet.