Friday, January 09, 2009

I can't even believe I'm doing this...

Ok, I was going to keep this a secret longer but it's just too fun and funny so I'll have to share. For a long time, I've wanted to do something and I've finally embarked upon it, to find out that I'm probably in over my head. Wanna know what it is?

I'm attempting to learn to speak Swedish.



For the one of you who probably doesn't know yet, my great-grandparents on my mother's side all came from Sweden in the late 19th century. My grandparents spoke Swedish at home when they were children and occasionally at home when I was growing up with them, when they didn't want us to know what they were saying.

Heretofore, the only Swedish words I knew were the ones for thank you, cheesecake, daughter, and some inexplicable word my grandfather used to call us (Cousin Monica may need to translate for me).

Well, I'm hoping to get to visit with my Cousin Monica in person sometime, but even if I didn't, I wanted to be able to at least attempt a written Swedish conversation. I mean, I know I'm an American and we only learn English, but I thought it might be a lark. After all, I learned Spanish as an adult, surely I could learn Swedish, right?

Um, yeah.

Yes, I knew it would be difficult, but I didn't realize that the first difficulty would be finding a way to learn it. Surprisingly, there are not many venues for learning Swedish in the greater Cincinnati area. As far as I could find, there were zero. Ok, no problem, I'd look for online resources. There were, of course, the ubiquitous Rosetta Stone programs. Those, unfortunately, cost a gold brick. I mentioned to Friend Husband at some point that I have this odd drive to learn Swedish and he came up with a couple of ideas, one of which I've been working on. I've learned a few new words (animal words) but my favorites are these: en kackerlacka and en fluga. I think that mostly I like the way they sound. They have that stereotypic bouncy sound that people like Garrison Keillor have brought into semi-popular notice. By this point, Cousin Monica is probably holding her sides laughing. I'll let you into the secret.

My favorite two words in Swedish thus far are their equivalents of the English "cockroach" and "fly". Yep, that would be me. I thought it was hilarious myself, but then I may have an overdeveloped sense of humor.

But, in case you want to laugh with me, there it is. And expect more stumbles and hilarity in Swedish and English in days to come. For now I have to go figure out what my Ethiopian-American twins are doing to each other over my head, in their bedroom.

4 comments:

Ohio_Momto3boys said...

My maternal grandmother arrived in Boston from Stockholm in the early, early 1900s as an orphan. She was 'adopted' by a preacher's family, although my guess is she was more hired help than family. She refused to speak of Sweden to my mother as a little girl.

I know I inherited my love of nicknames for loved ones from her (there's a Swedish saying, something about 'a child with many names is loved many times'). I know I inherited my stubbornness from that genepool too (probably the temper that goes with it also).

Good luck with the language; I've heard it's a toughy.

msta62 said...

"Way to go" Cousin! Yay! I'm amazed that you learn Kackerlacka first - Ha ha!!! We really do need to install speakers - that way I could listen AND laugh. Sorry CL - I have a hearty but sometimes also hard & weird sense of humor... Good luck and give me a holler if/when you need some assistance ok!! (Now I really do need to come to the reunion!)

Happy Weekend!

amy said...

Im proud of you..What a cool thing to do. Good luck!

acceptancewithjoy said...

When Beverly was in the hospital her translator grew up in Haiti. He spoke 6 languages. He learned most of them as adults. I asked him how he did it. He told me... "All languages are easy to learn if you need them."

That has certainly been true for Creole. I learned much more Creole in the first several weeks after Beverly and David joined our home than I did the entire year before that when I was just studying the book.

So, I think you should go to Sweden! ;o)