Archive for the ‘Swedish stuff’ Category


February 3, 2007

Melodifestivalen, the Swedish contest to pick a song to represent Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest, is run as a series of semi finals and a final. The first semi final is tonight, apparently. While I’m completely uninterested in the whole concept, it doesn’t bother me much — I am not forced to watch it after all. But I do find it slightly offensive that it is spoken about as if it something that interests the overwhelming majority of the Swedes, when that is patently not true. Being curious, I checked the viewer ratings for last year’s Melodifestivalen, and found that the semi final which had the biggest audience had about 2.3 million viewers, while the final had the largest number of viewers ever: about 4.2 million. That is not quite 47% of the population of Sweden: a very very impressive number of people to be sure, and kudos to the producers since they have obviously created somehing that many people want to watch.

But not even GW Bush could claim that forty-six point something percent is an overwhelming majority.


January 4, 2007

My Christmas holiday is winding down. I went to the department today, saw my tutor briefly and discussed my time plan. Once back home, I started tidying up my reference lists and making todo lists. Tomorrow I’ll start writing again.

I feel fairly good about the thesis right now. I think I can finish it on time – more or less. I feel less sanguine about the quality of my research, though. Sometimes I don’t think what I’m doing is relevant at all. But at the moment I’m not too panicked about that.

Ho hum. Here is a good link regardless of your nationality: The Local, English-language news from Sweden. Only from Sweden, and by a team of native English-speaking editors who live here (mainly expatriate Brits, I think). I enjoy reading The Local for many reasons – their articles are well-written and usually well-researched; even if the news are the same I get in DN the language factor makes it seem as if the perspective is somehow different; and knowing that Sweden is very small and very insignificant it nevertheless feels good to be able to point to news articles (not to mention in-depth articles about Swedish society, culture, traditions, science, politics…) for the benefit of foreign friends. Read The Local, it’s a good newspaper. Especially if you’re a forriner.


April 1, 2006

Today I read in the papers…

…that there will be a 20 km/h speed limit for bicycles in parts of Stockholm.
…that Carl Linnæus was actually born in 1706, not 1707 (the error probably stems from as far back as 1753, when the Julian calendar was abandoned for the Gregorian one) and so the big celebrations planned for next year will happen this year instead.
…that the recent Archbishop election may have to be declared invalid, since the previous Archbishop’s sister was one of the candidates. A never-repelled law from the late 17th century decrees that if possible, the position of Archbishop of Uppsala should remain within the family of the previous Archbishop. So there should never have been an election — Rev. Hammar should automatically succeed her brother.
…that on Monday when analogue TV transmissions cease in the Uppsala area, one can still watch analogue TV using one of a number of secret frequencies. (To find out these frequencies, send a SMS to the local paper.)
…that the Pope made a flying visit to a school in southern Sweden the other day.

April, April, thou stupid herring. (Yep, that is what we say in Swedish — it’s true!)


March 10, 2006

I give you… the Dala moose. To quote the manufacturer: “Quite an unusal item which leaves few unaffected!”

(If you have no idea what a dala horse is, you may want to take a look here, but it’s not required.)


March 4, 2006

Right, so this is a) only funny if you know Swedish and b) rather rude. It will help having some knowledge of the Värmland dialect as well (more specifically, in the ways that it is lexically similar to Norwegian).

This was published in Expressen a few days ago. My colleague Kicki (who does have some knowledge of the Värmland dialect) showed it to me, and we wondered together if that was the same edition of the rag in question that was published in Karlstad? Yes, knowing a bit about language is important…


October 17, 2002

Don’t visit them between noon and 4pm! (in Swedish only)


October 16, 2002

We were discussing foreign languages and our command of them, last night (“our” referring to Swedes in general and the four of us in particular.) Ulrika made a very good point: as Swedes, we are used to people being self-deprecating about their abilities, but when it comes to English many people seem to believe they are much more proficient than they actually are. Which is absolutely true, I think; I won’t cite instances but the Internet is full of examples.

Me, I write a lot in English (as you probably know if you are reading this) and do it fairly well, but it’s definitely true that I don’t command the nuances of English in the same way I hopefully do with Swedish. For instance, I was contemplating the poem Förklädd Gud (God in Disguise) ; in the last part, we have “Bjuder ett mänskoöga till stilla kärleksfest”. Right – if I wanted to translate this, the words themselves are no problem, but how to transfer the nuance and register of “mänskoöga” here; does “human eye” carry the same kind of connotation? And “stilla kärleksfest”. . .
Fortunately I won’t have to do this; God in Disguise is already translated – in spite of doing some research on the topic I haven’t been able to find out who did this excellent translation.

[later, much later addition: the webpage has been updated with the names of the translators, Caroline and Arthur King.]