(photo from weheartit)
OK, Bjorn Borg is a bit before my time – but rumor has it, he was a constant abuser of this particular English mistake common to Swedish speakers.
(Please note: I KNOW that Swedes are awesome English speakers, and I am only an OK Swedish speaker. That's why I began my language commentary on this blog by pointing out my own mistakes before looking at others)
For some reason Swedes LOVE the 'ings'.
Here's a common business introduction in the circles I run in:
'Hello, and Welcome to Company X. My name is Sven Svensson. I am working at department Y. I am sitting in Stockholm at our head office.' (He says as we are standing in the reception).
'Hello Sven, I am SurvivinginSweden'
'Please hang your clothes over here. Do you like Stockholm? I am living here ten years. Would you like some coffee? I am drinking it every morning.'
(sorry, I ran out of -ing examples in my brief dialogue. Sven looks a lot dorkier here than most of the great folk I work with)
I know the hang your clothes bit always gets a laugh. But I cannot figure out really where all of the 'ings' come from. As far as I am aware (which isn't very) the tense, present continuous, 'I am sitting, I am walking' doesn't really exist in Swedish.
The ings, in this tense, are used in English to show something that is happening right now and is of a temporary nature (the explanation is really not THIS simple, but it's the gist of it). When talking about things like work it would be better to say “I work at department Y and I am based in Stockholm” or something of that nature. And if it is a habit, you would say 'I drink coffee every day'
I hate being a grammar cop, since I take a rather lazy approach here. I guess I just am curious as to why this particular error is so pervasive with Scandinavian speakers.