Hungarica – “Burzliwe Stulecia / Viharos Szazadok” (Stormy Centuries).

Hi guys! 🙂

You know it’s Independence Day today in Poland? Yaaay! It’s 101 years since Poland regained its Independence, and, while you can hear so much about it in the media, especially on a special occasion like this, I have a feeling like we still so often take it for granted a bit, and that so many people had to die and suffer their personal losses for it to happen. Sofi is having a concert tomorrow at her school because of that, and she is going to sing solo one verse of a song, as she is in a choir. I’ve always thought that, while she loves to sing, her ability to sing in tune is very questionable, but it seems like her music teacher’s opinion is different, so hopefully it goes well for her, she’s very stressed now so any and all crossed fingers will be appreciated! 🙂

Last year on this day I shared with you a song “40:1” by a Swedish band called Sabaton, sung in Polish, about the Battle of Wizna. You know I’m into language so I like to kinda incorporate this holiday into the overal feel of my blog. So, there is such a radio programme on Polish Radio Programme 3, called “Strefa Rokendrola Wolna Od Angola” (Rock&roll Zone Free of English), where you can hear a lot of good rock music and some related more or less closely genres, and it’s in all possible languages but not English. Not because anyone has any problem with English, but because English in music is definitely overrated and it’s unfair for all the other languages. Polish is also rarely heard, because you can hear Polish music in Polish media on a daily basis. The only times you can hear Polish in this programme is when it’s on air on Independence Day, or on May 3, when we celebrate the anniversary of proclaiming the Constitution of May 3, which was the first modern constitution in Europe. I really like to listen to it then, because you can hear foreign bands and musicians singing in Polish, or making any kind of Poland-themed music, it’s very interesting. And the song I have for you today is from there as well.

Hungarica is a (surprise!) Hungarian national rock band, whose songs usually are on the topic of Hungarian history, and from what I’ve read they are one of the most popular Hungarian rock groups. They had a concert in Katowice in Poland some years ago and from the band’s history it seems like they feel a strong bond with Poland, which is not much of a surprise, as Poland and Hungary have a history of quite close relationship, and have a lot of similarities in our histories. And one of this manifestos of their bond with Poland is the song “Burzliwe Stulecia”, “Viharos Szazadok” in Hungarian, which means Stormy Centuries. The group’s vocalist sings it entirely in Polish and does it really wel. Better even than Joakim Broden from Sabaton, who said he struggled with Polish very much and needed frequent breaks throughout the recording, but suppose Hugarian (as weird and enigmatic as it sounds to Poles, and not belonging to the same language family) has paradoxically more in common with Polish phonetically than Swedish. Though you can see that the word accents work much differently in Hungarian, as he does them rather funnily in Polish sometimes.

The song is great. It is a short retelling of Polish history, accentuating what a brave and strong nation Polish people are, despite, or maybe thanks to, all we have been through over the ages.

I managed to write a very rough translation, I don’t think it’s very good this time round, but it’s just so you know what it is about.

   Since a thousand of stormy years
Courageous people are lasting by the Vistula river
Misery and glory
Partitions and occupation
Fake transformation
Despite the storms, Poland has survived
Hey, hey, forward!
So brave for centuries
Hey, hey, forward, Poles!
Hey, hey, forward!
So brave for centuries
Hey, hey, forward, Poles!
We didn’t disown our motherland
We raised the banner of Poland
Though our freedom was taken away from us
We were sold out at Yalta
But we have survived that too
We ended communism
Hey, hey, forward!
So brave for centuries
Hey, hey, forward, Poles!
Hey, hey, forward!
So brave for centuries
Hey, hey, forward, Poles!

Question of the day.

Will you tell us a joke?

My answer:

Sure. I’m not the kind of person who would tell loads of jokes from the top of my brain but Zofijka is, and here is one she told me today:

Two guys are waiting for a bus at the station. A foreigner comes and asks a question in English. No response. He tries German… No response. French… No response. Spanish… The same. One guy says to the other: “See? Maybe we should start learning languages”. “Why? He knows four, and doesn’t have anything out of it”.

Your turn. 🙂

Question of the day.

What are you most proud of yourself for?

My answer:

Honestly I’m not proud of myself particularly often, it’s a bit of a weird feeling to me, but I’m trying to be more often, even if I’m just forcing myself to feel it because I think I normally should. If I do more or less genuinely, it’s usually because of my linguistic achievements. Like the one I’ve posted earlier today, in one of my song of the day posts, when I was able to understand a larger portion of spoken Norwegian for the first time. I’m proud of myself for learning English mostly on my own, of course I’ve had it at schools for years but I’ve only really learnt it when I started teaching myself, schools are rubbish at languages, and I’m proud of how quickly and how far I’ve gone with it, though I have a feeling like it’s not exactly something that I’ve achieved thanks to myself – my level of fluency, that is, and the pace of my English learning. – I mean of course as a Christian my way of thinking always is that we should be thankful to God for our talents and that without Him we wouldn’t be able to do anything, and of course I wouldn’t achieve quite as much if not all my pen pals and other online friends and such, because it’s the contact with the living language that matters, but I feel like I’ve got more than just an ear for languages. When I look back at my English journey, it feels like a miracle, because of how quickly and unefortlessly it happened that suddenly I was able to think in English with no problem, in some instances that comes to me even easier than in Polish, or without realising it instantly that I’m thinking in English, and suddenly I’ve got quite an English accent that a lot of Polish folks say is British. You’ll hear so many stories of people – whether linguistically gifted or not so much, but still trying to learn a language – putting so much hard work into their learning, or at least having some fancy methods that work for them or that don’t work. Neither was true in my case. It was similar with Swedish as well, though only to some point, I still don’t consider myself fluent in Swedish though my Swedish is good and definitely comunicative. I wonder why Welsh is such a slippery slope then. I’m not used to that hahaha but I mostly like it, I’ve got something to occupy my brain with. Oh gosh! I nearly forgot! I have a news for you people! Does anyone remember my “Reasons Why I’m Learning Welsh” post? One of my reasons was that I wanted to learn to say Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch properly and by heart, just for fun and for quirkiness’ sake (Llanfair Pg is a small town in north Wales). For a long time I was only able to read it fluently, which was still a huge thing for people who knew it, but not for me, because after all I knew Welsh phonetics and then it’s easy to read pretty much anything in Welsh. But, just today, I came across Llanfair PG somewhere and tried to say it just from my head without looking at it and… I just got it right. I did it once again and I got it right, and then I looked it up online to make sure I really got it right, and I did! now I can say it. There is such a Polish website called Nonsensopedia, aka encyclopaedia of humour, and they say something like even if you poop your pants here and now, you won’t say it. I’m not sure what has pooping to do with that but I assure you I didn’t poop while saying that. 😀 Isn’t that a reason to be proud of? I’m not a Welsh native and I said Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch about 5 times today and didn’t poop. Yay me! 😀 And stupid Nonsensopedia, maybe the person who wrote that article just had diarrhea, and thus really lacked sense of humour! I just wonder why it took me that long, but I guess if I really did work hard on it I could nail it much earlier. I like it though how spontaneously it came. So typical of my brain. 😀 Now I guess I need a new Welsh goal in place of that.

How about you? 🙂

Song of the day (29th September) – Mari Boine – “Alla Hearrá guhkkin Osllos” (Hey, Mr. Almighty Down There In Oslo).

Here’s another Mari Boine’s song. I originally wanted to share it with you on one of the future Sami National Days (February 6), but I might as well do it now ’cause why not. This is a very interesting song for someone like me who is passionate about endangered languages and rights of the speakers of such languages, media in endangered languages and all that. I have no English translation for you, and I can only clearly understand one word in the Sami lyrics – “giella” which means language. – But, hey, not all is lost! There is a part in Norwegian in the lyrics, and actually, that Norwegian bits and pieces are of very deep historical and personal value for me, because that was the very first thing I was able to understand in Norwegian. I don’t speak Norwegian, mind you, but of course Swedish and Norwegian are close enough to be very much mutually intelligible. I used to be frustrated because I could never understand more than a word, or a small string of words in Norwegian, and that if I was lucky, I didn’t even understand svorsk too well (svenska – Swedish – +norsk – Norwegian – =svorsk). I still often don’t understand Norwegian too well but am often able to at least figure out the context. And that Mari Boine’s song was the first ever spoken – or sung, but I don’t think that matters – word, much more than a word actually, that I understood. Not all of it but I definitely got the gist of it plus some more than a gist, I’m not sure about one line. Bibiel is so smart, yayyy for Bibiel!!! 😀 And thus, Bibiel can tell you what the song is about.

“Hey, Mr. Almighty, down there in Oslo. Do you have time to listen to us? We watch Tv evening after evening, but don’t hear anything in our own language. Hey, MR. Almighty, down there in Oslo. Do you have time to listen to us? We listen to us? We listen to the radio day efter day, but hear hardly a word in our own language. Could you give us a little bit more? Language has such a great power [or your language has such a great power, I’m not sure] (…)”. And then I only understand that they are afraid of something, I am half-guessing that that their language will disappear. If there are some Norwegian peeps out there (or even better Sami!) I’d appreciate any corrections. I’m assuming that the Sami lyrics are mostly the same.

The song was released on Mari Boine’s 1986 album, originally, and, while I don’t know what was the situations with the Sami media back then, and I have no idea if they have their own TV right now, I do know that nowadays, there is a public radiostation called NRK Samiradio in Norway. I’m not well acquainted with it and I don’t know if it is sufficient for the Norwegian Sami community’s needs, but I’d think the situation has improved since the 80’s. There is also SR Sápmi to which I listen a lot, and some Finnish Sami radiostation as well. I also have no idea who the Mr. Almighty exactly is, as I don’t have a broader background context about the song.

Oh, and I forgot to mention one more interesting thing about Mari in my previous Mari Boine post. She is a paternal relative of Kevin Boine, whose song “Komm Till Finnmark” I featured on National Sami Day this year. Apart from the joiking, and even despite Mari’s huge musical versatility, the difference between their styles is vast and almost startling hahaha!

 

Question of the day (19th May).

Is there any random language you find interesting and would like to learn, that would have no relevant benefit to you personally, in terms of your career, heritage, where you live, etc.

My answer:

Well… do I really need to answer this question? I have a feeling that in my case, it’s pretty irrelevant. 😀 But, OK, in case you don’t remember, or don’t know, about all the languages that I find just flamin’ hot interesting and would like to learn, that, according to most people’s view, don’t have any relevant benefit to me, other than just satisfying my crazy brain, here’s the complete listonce again, excluding those I already know/am learning, of course, no specific order:

Cornish, Scottish Gaelic (and Doric too perhaps), Scots, (Ulster Scots as well and it would be cool to know all the Shetlandic/Orkney etc. dialects), Dutch, Frisian, Manx, Irish, Finnish, Sami (North Sami seems the easiest to do as it’s the most widely spoken and accessible, although I’m dreaming about Luleå Sami) and Faroese.

Some time ago, when our Zofijka was in some sort of a counting-everything developmental phase, she asked me how many languages I like – like overall, with those I can already speak. – I never know/remember how many, because in contrast to her, I never care about such things, assuming that quality is more important than quantity, and my brain just doesn’t deal with numbers. So I told her all of them and she counted them, and then she was like “Wow you’re really nutty!”. 😀 So that’s the only kind of tangible benefit you’re gonna get from learning weird languages, people will start to think you’re a nutter, so I’d advise you to think it through before you pick your random language… Kidding of course. Nuts are good for your brain, just as language learning, so in the end it’ll be you who will win. 😉

So what would be your choice? 🙂

Question of the day.

Hi people! 🙂

I have a sort of linguistic question for you today.

If you have trouble understanding a person with a very thick accent, do you feel bad about it, and you apologise if you have to ask them to repeat things?

My answer:

First of all, in Polish we definitely don’t have such a variety of accents as you guys have in English. There are accents, dialects and stuff but the language is fairly universal and most peopleactually don’t even know the features of most of them unless they’re just into observing how different people speak. So, if someone speaks in Polish with an accent that I have some trouble understanding, and this person is Polish, I don’t really feel bad, I feel surprised and like “How come they talk like this their whole life?” or something. I listen to English every day, write in English and read English, but I’ve never been to an English-speaking country and I haven’t really had many conversations with English natives, so I don’t have much experience here. But yeah, I think I would feel bad. I’m normally not really a perfectionist, but I definitely am when it comes to languages, or some aspects of language learning, and I’d just feel bad about myself in a way I guess if I couldn’t figure out what someone’s saying to me. I also love accents, I love how rich English is with all the accents and dialects and everything, so I’d be frustrated if that were a significant barrier in communication for me and the person I’m talking with, even though I do know that there are still a fair bit of English accents that I don’t always understand even though I’m normally pretty good at figuring out accents or even mimicking them as for someone in whose language they almost don’t occur, Ithink. I’d also feel a bit bad for that person, I wouldn’t like them to feel that I am discriminating them in any way or something. And my social anxiety and generally anxiety in regard to communication would come up stronger probably. But I also love a language challenge so I would also appreciate a chance to learn something new and have a new experience as a result of such a communication barrier. When I was in Stockholm, I already knew earlier that people are pretty laid back in Sweden about accents and everyone talks with their own accent, it’s like there’s no actual standard version of Swedish unless you perhaps consider the Stockholm variant as such. But I was surprised how many different varieties of the same language I could hear. I also had a long conversation with a gem stones shop owner who was from Scania, I always have a bit of a trouble understanding people with a strong Scanian accent. It was difficult, and because of my anxiety a bit exhausting, but also very rewarding. The whole Stockholm trip was like that for me. And it was so interesting to hear all those different dialects, even though I think in English they are even richer and more diverse. SO how about you? 🙂

Question of the day.

What are you looking forward to?

My answer:

Hm… I guess I don’t have any very specific plans or anything that I would specifically look forward to very much. But because, again, I am writing this post almost straight after my little language learning session, and a little frustrated with myself, I’ll say that I’m really, really, really looking forward to the moment when I’ll be finally able to understand more in Welsh, and have better listening skills in this language. I always like learning my languages, but recently it’s been quite a struggle with Welsh and I can see that my understanding of what people are saying is not the best. I may pick up a lot of separate small words or phrases but somehow often can’t make sense of them together. And there have been so many things lately that I’d like to understand, and often I can’t even get the gist. You’d think that because I pick up the phonetics quickly, and have been absorbing new vocabulary speedily in the last couple of weeks, that wouldn’t be a problem, but it is. I suppose that it just simply needs time and even more practice, but I still wonder what if there is something that I’m doing wrong, or maybe I should do something more, or not do something. 😀 I must also admit that I am not used to that much trouble with a language. I mean both my English and Swedish have been evolving a bit like by some miracle. I was learning English at school, but didn’t like the subject, and although I was fairly good in comparison to most of other students, I was still rather mediocre and couldn’t really communicate, because school won’t teach you that, not a Polish school at least, unless you put a lot of your own effort into it and will do more than they do at school. Only when I started to teach myself more, it turned out that I actually don’t have to teach myself anything, because my English was practically developing on its own at an extreme speed and the only thing that was left to me was observing this strange process happening, until I suddenly found myself blogging in English and thinking in English often very automatically. 😀 With my Swedish it was like that I had a very long break in learning, so that I had to actually start all over again, but it went really quickly and as my teacher said, I sort of skipped the most difficult and laborious stage of learning Swedish, which was kind of mysterious for both of us, I was a beginner, and then suddenly started to express myself in a very sophisticated way, translate pretty complex articles and such. Both my English and Swedish, especially Swedish, are still in development and I have to put a conscious effort into it, but the most difficult things my brain did on its own, so that it feels as if I skipped some of the learning process, if it makes any sense. My language learning was kind of happening beside me. And with Welsh it’s much more real work. Not that it discourages me, not at all, but just frustrates a bit. Maybe something radical must happen and then my Welsh will speed up too, I don’t know. So I just can’t wait until I’ll finally be able to understand people efficiently without my brain getting all sore from it. 😀

And you? 🙂

Question of the day (30th April).

Hi people. 🙂

OK, so my question for you guys for yesterday is still about what you’re doing right now, and it is as follows.

What are you reading?

My answer:

Most recently, I’ve just read some of my Welsh learning stuff, and I’ve learnt 10 new words today, yaaay!

And what are YOU reading, be it a book, or whatever? 🙂

Question of the day (28th April).

Hi guys. 🙂

Here’s another little series of questions, this time about different kinds of things that we are doing. The first one I have for you is:

What are you thinking?

My answer:

I’m thinking that I’m soon going to sleep, or to bed at least, and then hopefully to sleep, and that I’d like to have Misha with me. I am also thinking about a great deal of Welsh learning that I did today and am glad of it, I mean of my hard work at least, not much of the results, but I think they’ll come with time and I guess they aren’t that very bad, as the stuff I’m doing is really quite tricky.

How about you? 🙂

Question of the day.

What are your feelings/thoughts on butterflies? Do you have a favourite type?

My answer:

Don’t have a favourite type, but I really like butterflies. Can’t exactly pinpoint why, because, well, if you’re blind, you wouldn’t think you can have much to do with butterflies, right? I had butterflies sitting on my hands a few times but you can’t really touch them so that you could get an idea of them as they are so fragile. But I like butterflies. I like the fragility of them, that they are so free and beautiful, and some of their names are cute and beautiful and evocative. Misha also loves butterflies, but his love is a little bit, hm, intricative and sadistic. I also really like the words for butterfly in different languages. I particularly adore the Welsh word pilipala, isn’t it soooo cute? And Swedish fjäril is very lyrical in my opinion. I also like Polish motyl, though in comparison with fjäril it sounds a little bland. Even French papillon is very nice, though I’m generally not big on French. But I absolutely hate English word butterfly. When I think of it, I see a big, fat, heavy fly, being trapped in a butter-dish, or some similarly aesthetic imagery. I just don’t know, whoever came up with this word had to lack imagination quite severely. 😀 But that’s all I can say about butterflies.

How about you? 🙂

Friday nights in Sweden = ‘Fredagsmys’!

Funny that I only heard about a similar thing in Denmark, from a friend who used to live there, – don’t know how they call it there but he told me they like to have it hygge at Friday evenings, eating yummy food and watching the telly – but never knew it’s a thing in Sweden too! What a powerful thing for marketing it must be! But even though, it really sounds good to me to have such a nice and cosy end of the working week and start to the weekend. What do you think. Shouldn’t fredagsmys be introduced to other countries too? 🙂 I’m all for it! It somehow appeals to me despite I am usually not too crazy on all those newly invented traditions created mainly for marketing reasons as I feel like they are often a little artificial.

Watching the Swedes

fredagsmys2

I was just in my local supermarket doing a quick bit of food shopping. Although the place was relatively empty at that time of day,  I noticed that a few of the aisles were the most popular. Throngs of people gathered in the TexMex aisle, the soft drinks aisle and the aisle displaying crisps.

Of course, I thought! It’s Friday! And in Sweden, that means Fredagsmys!

‘Fredagsmys’ is loosely translated as ‘Friday Cosying’, and it is a relatively modern ritual in Sweden established in the 90’s. Prevalent up and down the country, ‘fredagsmys’ is when friends and families gather together to mark the end of the working week. it’s mostly associated with families and children and traditions differ family to family. However,  one common denominator seems to be that food should be easy and quick to make. In other words, Friday night is a huge night for tacos and pizza in Sweden.

Gathering around food for cosy…

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Reasons why I’m learning Swedish.

Hey hey people! 🙂

Do any of you who were already around here a year ago remember my post

Reasons Why I’m Learning Welsh?

Well I got an impression that it got quite a lot of reaction, at least more than I’d suppose it could on not even a month-old blog, and it seemed like people were interested, and some time before I published that post on my Polish blog where even though I had only a couple of readers it also got quite a lot of attention and more that I initially expected. It was also lots of fun for me, so let’s see how it goes with Swedish this year. I actually should write the Swedish post earlier since I started learning Swedish earlier than Welsh, but who cares about chronology nonsense. Not me anyway hahaha.

I’m going to refer to some reasons I posted in the Welsh post because some of the reasons for learning both languages are the same for me. Also they are in no particular order, just as they come to my mind, and I don’t have any particular number that I’m aspiring to, we’ll see how many I can come up with.

1.

Because I just plain like it. What better reason can you have? I like Swedish language, I like Swedish culture, I like Swedes, (even though I don’t always agree with them or support them in all that they do and in all that is going on in their country but I don’t have to, and diversity of views, opinions and ways of doing things is in my opinion, among others, one of things that makes this world interesting 🙂 ). I love the sound of Swedish. My first contact with Swedish was when I was a very little child, we lived in the countryside, on a bit of a hill, so that when there was good weather, or after the storm, and you went upstairs, you could find Swedish radiostations in the radio. And sometimes I listened to them, absolutely hypnotised by the sound of swedish. I didn’t even know for sure whether it’s Swedish,I asked my parents what it is and they said maybe Swedish, maybe Norwegian, maybe Danish, or maybe something else. But I liked to think it was Swedish, and it was Swedish. I could listen to it for hours, and I still can. After some time I watched “The Six Children Of Bullerby” with my Mum. I always loved the book and Mum read it to me countless times before watching that film. She read the subtitles to me so that I knew what they were saying, but I remember that I didn’t really care about it, I didn’t care about what was going on in the film, I just listened to the language and nothing else interested me, it was so beautiful. So then my obsession with Swedish developed fully and when I was 10 years old, Mum found a teacher for me. I was at the integration school back then for two years, not the boarding school, so it was possible for me to learn Swedish at home which I really enjoyed. Unfortunately, we had to face the fact that integration was not for me, and there were also some external factors involved, so I had to go back to the boarding school,which meant there was no point in continuing my swedish lessons as they would be rare and very irregular, and when I was home from school I didn’t really feel like learning anything. I yearned for Swedish terribly though, so had to sort of suppress it, put it deep inside my brain to not have to think about the fact that I can’t learn Swedish to be able to accept it. I succeeded at it, only when I happened to hear something in or about swedish, my brain exploded with longing all over again. But I was able to restart my Swedish when I got out from there. Swedish is one of my most favourite languages, in case of which I feel some sort of pressuring need to be in contact with them, use them, explore them, just be in touch with them as much as possible. It’s a bit strange and hard to explain for someone who doesn’t have, it, it feels like some sort of a strange calling. 😀

   2.

Because one of my music crushes – Cornelis Vreeswijk – lived in Sweden, created music and poems in Swedish, and I usually tend to love my crushes’ languages, since my languages are my fetishes, yeah it might sound crazy but I’ve just had to accept it hahaha. I actually feel like in a way I owe my reunion with the Swedish language to Cornelis. It was in my last year of being in the boarding school, I was at home for some short break, working on some project for school. And in my mind I was hearing a song which my swedish teacher showed to me years ago which we used for learning some new words. I memorised it back then but I didn’t think I could remember it after all those years of not thinking about it, but turns out I did and quite clearly. The song was called “Balladen Om Herr Fredrik Åkare Och Den Söta Fröken Cecilia Lind” (The Ballad About Fredrik Åkare And The Sweet Miss cecilia Lind), which surprisingly I also remember despite the long title, and was a real brainworm, but I didn’t know who did it so I just googled it. And so it was my first conscious contact with Vreeswijk’s music, and I slowly started to get this strange crush despite that actually he wasn’t really my style. If I have a crush, I’m very nosey and want to know everything possible about them, their music, their life, their personality, likes, dislikes, views, whatever. Vreeswijk was quite easy to get a lot of info about, as he was quite (in)famous in his time and still lots of Swedes love him or hate him and he’s well known, but in order to get that info, I had to understand at least basic Swedish. So I had to learn really quickly to quench my thirst, both for Swedish and for knowledge about my crush. And, despite at the beginning before I left school I really suffered for lack of resources, it was speedy, almost miraculous! I could amost feel the words I learned before and forgot coming back to my brain, and the more I listened to Vreeswijk’s music, read and worked on it, the more intense this process of language recovery felt, and it felt gorgeous! Summer holidays came, and passed away, and surprisingly and very dynamically my life changed diametrically and I got out of that school, that’s another story, and quite a yucky one despite a happy ending so I won’t write much about it here. But that paradoxically opened new possibilities before me, and because I had individual education for the next year which was less absorbing, time consuming and anxiety provoking than normally going to school, I had a lot of time to devote myself to my Swedish studies. By sheer luck and a very weird and funny accident my Mum got in touch with my former Swedish teacher so we could start all over again. Well not really all over again, because to huge surprise and amazement of both of us it turned out that my Swedish is actually a bit better and more communicative than those six years ago. 😀 Funny innit? He said that I had to literally skip some stages of development of my Swedish. With time I learned more about Vreeswijk, among others that he migrated to Sweden with his family at the age of 12, with no Swedish at all, but managed to start attending a normal, mainstream Swedish school after a year of learning. And I suddenly felt very competitive. Because wow, he learned Swedish in a year enough to communicate in it properly, and then was fluent like a native as an adult. I want to be like this too! I’m gonna do this! I guess his task was easier than mine as he lived in Sweden, didn’t have much choice about it, and Dutch is much more similar to Swedish than Polish, he was also younger than me which I guess does make a difference. But I guess i accomplished this goal really well. I still am not fully satisfied with my Swedish, but I think I would manage in a Swedish school if I had to. My crush on Vreeswijk has faded, which means that I still have it but it got dominated by my newer crush from Wales – Gwilym Bowen Rhys –  but my crush is my crush so I’m loyal to them all. Vreeswijk was a socialist and had quite controversial views on lots of things, which I most often don’t agree with him about, but I love his lyrics and poems that don’t regard politics and other stuff like that, and my dream is to translate them to Polish. Don’t know how realistic it is, and how realistic and successful could be introducing him to Polish people, but I’d like to try, and I’m still trying, very strenuously, even just for myself.

3.

Because I wanted to read “The Six Bullerby Children” in Swedish. I did. A few times. 🙂

 4.

Because of other Swedish language music. I feel like Welsh music speaks much more to me than Swedish, but they still have loads of great music.

5.

Because so many people think it’s difficult. OK I can agree with you on Welsh, Celtic languages can feel a little abstractive at times, though I am also pretty sure there are more difficult languages. But Swedish isn’t difficult at all. It’s childishly simple. It has some annoying grammar quirks and a few sounds that might be a little challenging, but that’s all. Just because you don’t hear it as often as English, doesn’t mean it’s difficult. I’d risk a statement that it’s easier than English, well my ENglish is better than my Swedish at the moment, but I think overall Swedish is easier.

6.

As I already wrote in reason #1, I like Swedes, I like all of the nations that speak my favourite languages/dialects/accents, and I feel a strange sense of bond with them. Obviously my Polish people are closest to me than any other but I feel really close to all of them. I also want to connect with my people via my languages

7.

To show Swedes that their language is beautiful. I don’t know for sure and I know I shouldn’t generalise but it feels to me like many of them don’t fully appreciate their language, even though Swedish is not like Welsh almost on the verge of extinction. I think we all often take our own mother tongues for granted. All Swedish people speak English, or almost all but I’ve never come across anyone who wouldn’t. It happened to me countless times with Swedes with whom I initiated contact online that I wrote them in Swedish and they wrote to me in English. I know it’s just their kindness and they want to adjust to me (or maybe my Swedish is still so shitty hahaha), but it always sort of frustrated me because it felt like they didn’t want to give me a chance to practice, or maybe felt like Swedish is something exclusive, I don’t know. They were of course happy with it when I told them they can write to me in Swedish, but it felt weird. Same when I was in Stockholm, whenever I couldn’t find a word and automatically used an English one, they would respond to me in English. Ughhhhh. Maybe it’s a little incomprehensible to me because many people in Poland wouldn’t do it. I think I wouldn’t either if I saw a foreigner here and realised that he can speak at least basic Polish. And maybe Swedes just got used to speaking to all non Swedes in English by default because of so many imigrants that are in Sweden who can’t speak Swedish. So I want to show them that their language is also beautiful and worth learning, not so very difficult that a foreigner can’t learn it, and it’s not them who have to make all the effort, the other side can do something too to make the communication easier. If they can learn English, why can’t we learn Swedish.

8.

Because people wouldn’t treat me seriously if I only learned some endangered languages on the verge of extinction about which most people don’t even have the slightest idea. My Dad still thinks I’m making up this whole Welsh learning thing even if I talk to him in Welsh. But Swedish, yes! Swedish is a serious language! You can earn a lot of money in Sweden, you can translate crime novels, you can work in transport or in embassy! Swedish is well respected and recognised. In Welsh post I said that my learning Welsh is a good conversation starter ’cause people always ask either why or what it is or how it sounds. With Swedish, they always say: “Aww, that must be difficult. But you can do lots of things with it.”

9.

Don’t know how anywhere else, but in Poland people really dislike German language. All the WWII associations aside, they just think it’s an ugly, harsh language. And for some stupid reason they think Swedish is as well. Especially older people for some reason. But it’s not. It’s maybe not as softy as French or Italian, it has a character and is, as I like to put it, al dente, but it’s definitely not harsh.

10.

To scare my grandma. Yes I put it already in the welsh post. No my grandma doesn’t really believe that Swedes are pagans too like Welshies, but she has very conservative views and is slightly obsessed with religious matters, and constantly worries about the whole world like Filly-Jonk from “The Moomins”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a rightist and a Christian as well, but she is a little extreme and, oh well, I just like to make fun of people, even of my tribe. So, any time she sees me and conversation is focused on me/my languages, she asks me what I see in Swedish. “Sweden is such a cold, lawless, self-devastating country of lonely people! Why do you like them so much?” She is very intelligent but can’t comprehend why I like them so much. We often talk about Swedish politics, she asks me whether I know what’s going on there. I’m not always up to date and while I do care about politics, I don’t trace it all the time and for all my favourite countries, but I try to update my knowledge at least once in a while and with Sweden it’s rather easy. So I tell her about some spicier things that I’ve heard, often colourising it, and relish her utter fright.

11.

To develop my brain. For more details on my brain wellness obsession see the Welsh post.

12.

TO scribble in Swedish in my diary. I like my scribbles to be private and in my household no one else speaks Swedish, so I can have a guarantee that if I write in Swedish no one here will get it even if they would find my diary and figure out how to get to it. Also, for me, all of my languages correspond with particular feelings. As I wrote in the Welsh post, for Welsh main ones are anger, enthusiasm, longing and joy. For Swedish it’s happiness, (not like euphoria but just calm, stable, peaceful happiness, contentment and strong pleasure), amusement, surprise, serenity and disappointment/grief/apathy. So I feel particularly inclined to write in Swedish when feeling any of those things. Also, when my crush on Vreeswijk was at its best, I tended to even write to him. You know, if someone is dead, it’s different than when they are alive and don’t know you and don’t care about you. I believe that if there is an afterlife, which I believe there is, those who passed away can know what’s going on on Earth. I was sure that he must know me, and liked to think that he would be proud of me because of my Swedish and all that, and that he likes me. So I took an example from my Mum, who also wrote her diary in form of letters and wrote letters to Cornelis, in Swedish. 😀

13.

To talk to Misha or myself in another language. It was actually my Swedish teacher who suggested to me talking to Misha in Swedish because his point of view was that cats understand every language.

14.

It’s useful! If you can speak Swedish, you can understand at least to some degree Norwegian, especially Bokmål, and even Danish though personally I find Danish rather hard to understand while listening but if I read it I can get at least the mere context. Icelandic is related though not closely enough, but it happens that I also understand some interesting bits and pieces and it’s always nice. Recently I listened to an Icelandic song and understood that “The ocean is cold”, yay for me! 😀 It’s not much definitely but, hey, if I didn’t speak Swedish, I wouldn’t have a clue about it otherwise. One of my favourite languages is Faroese and while it seems to be even further related to Swedish than Icelandic, I believe that once I start learning it, I’m going to be very grateful for my Swedish. I also plan to learn Dutch which is of course not a Scandinavian language but shares some similarities and I can already see it very clearly.

15.

It’s useful not only with Germanic languages. I strongly hope that when it will be the time for me to learn Sami and Finnish, my Swedish will help me, as English helps me with Welsh because all resources are in it. Swedish is always close to Finnish than Polish because of Sweden and Finland being neighbours and influencing each other, and there is a Finnish minority in Sweden and Swedish-speaking Finns in Finland, and the Sami are also a minority in Sweden.

16.

Because “Swenglish” accent is cute, sexy and crasily amasing! I want to know why and how it is the way it is, and what better way could be than learning Swedish, figuring out its phonetics and putting myself in the same position as Swedes.

17.

TO be able to understand what they talk about in those radiostations I was so amazed with as a kid. 😀

18.

To read Swedish books, not only Astrid Lindgren’s. My vocabulary in Swedish is still a bit limited so it takes me a lot of time and effort to read something as long as a book and focus on it and enjoy it, but I try sometimes. I still haven’t read all the Swedish books I’ve got for myself during my trip to Stockholm. Not just because of the language but uhhh scanning sucks and is boring.

19.

TO scare strangers. See the Welsh post for details.

20.

To help me with my anxieties, depression and generally my freaky brain.

21.

Because every language you know gives you a different perspective on different things.

22.

Because if not my Swedish, I wouldn’t go to Stockholm and have so much fun there. I wouldn’t realise that although my anxieties including social anxiety can be really crippling and debilitating, my love for languages is stronger. And because if not Swedish, I would miss some other cool things in life too. Like I wouldn’t meet my friend Jacek from Helsinki. My friendship with him, although a bit stormy and weird, as he was stormy and weird, was also one of the most unusual and interesting things that happened to me, and now that he’s no longer on Earth, Swedish reminds me of his spirit and charisma.

23.

Because I like vikings and Norse mythology. I can like them without learning Swedish but this way it’s more fun. 😀

24.

Because I hope that indeed it will help me in future in some way.

   25.

Because Swedish is so uncomplicated in terms of expressing yourself. I consider myself quite a complex person, with lots of complicated feelings, ideas and complicated things going on, and sometimes I find it difficult and annoying that I can’t seem to be able to express myself properly and adequately, meaning that I can say exactly what I want and how I feel, not have to say that something is either black or white, sounding naturally and not too sublime and sophisticated or silly on the other hand. But in a way I love this trait of Swedish, because sometimes when I feel that my brain goes too complex and I get trapped in it, I like to just sit down and think it through in swedish. Things usually look much simpler then.

Oh my, I wouldn’t think that there will be more reasons than for Welsh! It’s a lot, isn’t it? So i can be sure that it’s worth it! 😍

 

22 Swedish farts

🤣 🤣 🤣 Well oh gosh, what a fart-obsessed country. As a non native English speaker I sometimes wondered a little what Anglophones in Sweden must think of all those farts and sluts and others being so prevalent everywhere and about Swedes being so uninhibited and open about their farting habits, but never analysed it so closely. It’s ridiculous hahahaha. 😀

Watching the Swedes

outfart or infart dr heckle funny wtf signs

One of the fun things about learning a foreign language are the words that are rude, or funny in your own language.

Swedish has a few of them: slut, kräpp, plopp, kock, spurt

But the funniest one is probably the most purile; it is the ever prevailing ‘fart’, especially when you see it on street signs. This is the word that has most visitors to Sweden holding their sides with laughter.

Even after all these years, I can still have a little giggle when I think about the word ‘fart’ and its various usages in Swedish. In Swedish, ‘fart’ can mean a lot of things such as speed, drive, route, pace, spirit, vivacity, rate. But it is when it is put together with another word that it becomes amusing. Childish, I know…but here we go…

  1. utfart – ‘out fart’ – exit from a building
  2. uppfart – ‘up fart’ – driveway

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The National Day of the Sweden Finns

Wow! :O I didn’t know they have their special day too. 🙂 How great! Happy National Day to all Sweden Finns out there in the world! I love both Sweden and Finland, so both these nations and both these languages are dear to me, and I find the Finnish Swedish accent very endearing and cute, one of my favourite Swedish accents or dialects actually.

Watching the Swedes

In Sweden, you couldn’t swing a cat without hitting somebody Finnish or of Finnish heritage. Almost everybody knows somebody with a Finnish connection. In fact, there are so many Finns living in Sweden that they have their own commemorative day. And today is that day.

Today, 24th February is ‘Sverigefinnarnas’ Day, (Sweden Finns Day) – the day that celebrates the roughly half million people who live in Sweden and have Finnish as their mother tongue.

So why are there so many Finns in Sweden?

There has been a long history of emigration between the two countries, especially in the border regions of the north. However, a larger emigration happened when 70,000 young Finnish children were evacuated to Sweden during WW2. 15,000 are believed to have stayed and an unknown number to have returned as adults.

Then, in the 1950s and 1960s the migration from Finland to Sweden was considerable, chiefly…

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Thor-inspired names

What a beautiful diversity here! 🙂 As a lover of all things Nordic/viking related, most of these are already well known to me, but still looking at all these Thor-inspired names at once, it’s quite impressive how many of them exist. Despite my love for Norse mythology, I can’t say that I particularly love Thor, I am pretty neutral about the name itself, have nice associations with it, and with most of those names, usually because of some literary characters with these names that I know, I think if I wanted to have children I wouldn’t consider using any of these, though Thor reminds me also of my friend who did want to call his future son Tor in honour of this Norse god, haha, and given his incredible and steely determination I’m sure he would if he only got a chance.
I was quite surprised to see that Torquil also comes from Thor – I mean it sounds like it’s quite obvious but when I first stumbled upon this name, I only knew it’s used in Scotland so somehow didn’t think it could have anything to do with Thor or the name Torkel despite a very similar sound. – I do like Torquil a bit, it sounds a bit like the word tranquil, and is both strong and peaceful. I also kind of like Torkel, Torgeir and Torgny, and Torill is nice. Also I’ve heard somewhere about the feminine name Thorgunn, which I’d also suppose is derived from Thor, and I think it sounds so beautifully powerful.
Do you guys like any of these?

Onomastics Outside the Box

Dedicated in loving memory of Peter Tork, né Peter Halsten Thorkelson, 13 February 1942–21 February 2019, whose birth surname inspired this post.

Thor’s Fight with the Giants, Mårten Eskil Winge, 1872

I’ve wanted to do a post on Thor-inspired names for quite some time. Though many might consider the name Thor itself to be pompous and pretentious, there are quite a few other names whose meanings relate to Thor. If you wouldn’t consider the name Thor for a real child, perhaps you’d be more inclined to use one of these names.

Unless otherwise noted, all these names are male.

Thor was the Norse god of thunder, from Old Norse þórr, ultimately from Ancient Germanic *þunraz. The name was #48 in Denmark in 2017. Its modern form is Tor, and the feminine forms are Thora and Tora.

Haldor (Norwegian) means “Thor’s rock,” from Old Norse Hallþórr

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Yum Yum Sweden!

Which of these delicious Swedish words you like most? It’s so cool they have so many of them! I think my most favourite is mumsig.
I was only for a week in Sweden, so probably don’t have that much experience with Swedish cuisine as I’d like to, but what I can say is that it seems like there is lots of Swedish food I like, and lots of it that I dislike – I’m not a big fan of fish and some of other strange tastes Swedes like, but some are really interesting.
I got to eat absolutely smarrig ice cream during my stay in Stockholm, I guess I’ve never eaten such fabulous ice cream, and my family seems to think just the same! I also love pepparkakor (Swedish gingerbreads), and Swedish chocolate, I don’t know how it’s called but it has big hazelnuts in it and is just so very chocolatey, which you can’t say about every chocolate in the world, right? I got it here in Poland in Ikea. ANd I love those famous kötbullar (meatballs). Jätte smaskiga!
Have any of you, my lovely readers, tasted some Swedish foods? What were your impressions? Curious to hear. 🙂

Watching the Swedes

Working with many non-Swedes, I often hear the complaint that Swedish food is bland, boring and tasteless. But the truth is that Sweden prides itself on its good food and its number of top-notch, often experimental, restaurants.

The Scandinavian kitchen is full of mouthwatering delights such as warm-smoked salmon, creamed dill potatoes and shellfish by the bucket load. No surprise then that there’s a lot of expressions in the Swedish language for food being delish. When we in English might say ‘yum, yum’ or ‘scrummy’, the Swedes also have a plethora of words to use. Here are a few:

  • Smaskens
  • Smaskig
  • Läcker
  • Mumsig
  • Namnam
  • Gött
  • Smarrig
  • Delikat
  • Skitgott
  • Utsökt

So many foreigners might not think that Swedish food is great – but it’s clear that the Swedes do!

Let me know what Swedish food you think is ‘smarrig’!

Follow me on Instagram #watchingtheswedes

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The many forms of Christopher and Christina

How do you like Christopher and Christina? Which forms are your favourite?
I really really really like Christopher! To me, it has a bit of a similar feel to my most favourite Jack, strong, manly, safe, down to Earth. Though all the Krzysztofs I know well are quite impulsive and complex people paradoxically.
I also like most forms of Christopher, I think Chris is very nice, but not as cool and handsome as full Christopher. I didn’t even knew many of the forms that Carrie-Anne mentioned in this post, and they seem to be very varied and different.
I also love our Polish Krzysztof to pieces, it’s really really cool together with its nicknames. As a Pole I can also confirm what Carrie-Anne wrote, that rz and ż are pronounced the same way in Polish, but that historically rz was a bit different, more like Czech ř than Russian zh sound I guess. However in the pronunciation of Krzysztof the rz is not voiced, as it comes after K so sounds more like sh, otherwise would be a bit tricky to pronounce haha.
I can also say that in Poland we even have a feminine variant of Krzysztof, which is not very surprisingly Krzysztofa. I think it’s lovely, especially nicknamed to Krzysia.
I’m more neutral to Christina, Christine and all the like, but they are nice names, I particularly grew to like this name after reading Sigrid Undset’s “Kristin Lavransdatter”.

Onomastics Outside the Box

Saint-Christophe, by Claude Bassot, 1607

Christopher, which comes from the Greek Christophoros (Christ-bearer), has been an extremely popular name since the Middle Ages. Contemporary evidence shows the Saint Christopher of legend may have actually been the historical Saint Minas of Egypt. Though he was removed from the liturgical calendar in 1969, Christopher is still very much a saint. Decanonization isn’t a thing.

The name began rising in popularity in the U.S. in 1939, and entered the Top 100 in 1949. It continued rising, and broke the Top 10 at #9 in 1967. Christopher was #3 and #2 from 1972–95, and remained in the Top 10 till 2009. In 2017, it was #38.

Danish statesman Christoffer Gabel (1617–73), by Karel van Mander III

Other forms include:

1. Christoffer is Scandinavian.

2. Cristoforo is Italian.

3. Cristóvão is Portuguese.

4. Cristóbal is Spanish.

5. Christoffel is Dutch.

6. Christophe is…

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Question of the day.

Do you have a bucket list? If so, what’s the first item on it?

My answer:

I don’t have a bucket list as such, but if I was to make one, among other things I’d surely put all my languages I have yet to learn on there, and they would be on the first places. But now which one would be the very first? That’s my ongoing dilemma. As those of you who are my regular readers might know, I’m reaching the end of my Welsh course –
oh, actually I’m further than that, I’ve finished the last level of the course I was doing and now I’m finishing the last level of an additional course I’m doing, and after that I’m going to do some advanced stuff. –
But what then? 😀 The problem is not that I don’t have any options, but that I have way too many options and just don’t know what to pick first. A strong candidate for my next language is Scots, because I think it would be much easier than Welsh, I can’t say that Welsh is like terribly difficult but a lot of things are certainly different than in Germanic or Slavic languages which are the only ones that I’d known before starting Welsh, so it was a bit challenging, and I feel like I would like to try something easier now for a balance, as Scots is a Germanic language and so similar to English. Then there is Cornish, which is fairly similar to Welsh, also a Celtic language and from a Brittonic branch, so learning it straight after Welsh could be a good idea I feel, the more that the Cornish course is available in the same place where I’m doing my Welsh course so I wouldn’t have to worry about the resources, accessibility, finding a method, bla bla all those things I really don’t like about learning a language. Another language I’m considering is Dutch. I’ve heard a few Dutch people saying that their language is so very difficult, but somehow I don’t believe it. One of my crushes Cornelis Vreeswijk is Dutch although most of his music and poems is in Swedish, but when I listen to his music in Dutch I can figure out quite a lot of words basing on my English, Swedish and little bits and pieces of German that I still remember. Usually it’s not enough to figure out the context, but it really doesn’t seem that very hard, especially that they don’t seem to have such crazy grammar as there is in German. Also another plus of taking on Dutch is that there is also a course available in the same place where I’m doing my Welsh, and then after I’d have some idea about Dutch, I could move on to Frisian. Also it would be helpful IF I’d decide on trying to translate Vreeswijk’s Dutch poems and lyrics to Polish. And last but not least, from the options I’m considering at the moment, there is Finnish. I’m a little bit afraid of Finnish because I’ve tried it before, and the start was a bit rough, I didn’t know how I should approach it, I didn’t have any organised way of learning Finnish, and was just scared of all those cases and other weird phenomena. But it doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be doable, and as much as I am afraid, I also feel tempted to try Finnish, just aren’t sure if it’s the right time. All the other languages that I love (Faroese, Sami, Frisian, Scottish Gaelic, Irish and Manx) will have to wait, I’m definitely not ready for them just yet, although since a few months I think more and more and more about Sami, and would really like to be able to learn it very soon. But I think it would be wise to try other, more common language from the same family – Finnish – before such an ultra-rare and complicated thing as Sami, with little resources to learn from, lots of weird characters and phonetics that are still a bit of a mystery to me and I need to get used to them more. I don’t even know which Sami language I would learn because there are actually more than one Sami language. I had a once in a lifetime chance a few years ago thanks to my friend Jacek, that I could hear and learn a tiny little bit of Luleå Sami and I loved it, however this seems to be an extremely rare language and unlikely for me to learn on my own with just the resources I could find online, while the most common Sami language is North Sami, which Iäll probably have to limit to. Whichever Sami language Iäll be able to choose though, it would be a good idea to improve my Swedish before that and have some decent Finnish skills.

So, I really donät know as for now which one will be next. Iäll probably either have to draw lots or ask someone to make the decision for me, as Zofijka does, hahahaha. Unless I’ll come to some concrete conclusion very soon. 😀

OK, so how about your bucket list? 🙂

National day of the Sami – Sweden’s indigenous people

Happy National Day to you, all the great Sami people in Sweden! Any Sami people out there in the blogosphere? I love all the Sami languages, Sami culture, Sami music, I admire the Sami for being so determined and fighting for their own rights and their language(s) still surviving despite all that they’ve been through. So today I’m celebrating with them, and listening to lots of Sami music. And sharing this post so that you all can learn a little bit more about these people. I’m glad that Sami people also have their special day.

Watching the Swedes

Today is theNational Day of Sweden’s indigenous people – the Sami. So I thought I would share this blog again that I posted last year.

Did you know that Sweden has an indigenous people? I know, isn’t that cool?!

Just like Australia has the Aborigine and China has the Pamiri – Sweden has the Sami. For about 5000 years, the Sami people have lived way up in the arctic north of Sweden in thehomeland they call’Sapmi’. Today Sapmi actually covers not only Sweden, but also Norway, Finland and Russia. Historically, the Sami werereferred to as Lapps, but today this is deemed a derogatory term.

Today,February 6th,is the National Day of the Sami. Today,the Sami flag should be flown and the Sami national anthemis sung in the local Sami language.The first time this day was celebrated was in 1993 in Jokkmokk, Sweden.

The Sami are the only indigenous people in…

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The many forms of Magdalena

Do you like the name Magdalena?
For some reason, i’ve never been a fan. Despite (or maybe because) it’s been so popular in Poland since about 60’s I guess and that I know many really lovely ladies with this name. Well Magdalena is maybe not that very bad, and I slightly like that it’s so classic
and has so strong Christian conotations, but when it’s nicknamed to Magda… ughhh it really loses that tiny bit of charm it has for me. I love Madeline though, and even Madelaine (although slightly less since when someone made me realise it looks like Mad Elaine) and Madeleine. I also do like all those creative Madelyns, Madilyns and other Madelynnes, and some other forms as well. But Madeline is gorgeous! Oh, and there is also Dutch Madelief! Well I know it’s not linguistically related to Magdalena whatsoever, but it sounds similar and it’s one of my newest name discoveries. It means daisy in Dutch and I love it a lot! It’s beautiful.
So, how about you guys? 🙂

Onomastics Outside the Box

The Repentant Magdalen, Philippe de Champaigne, 1648

Some people express surprise the name Magdalena, so popular for so long in Europe and parts of Latin America, isn’t particularly common in the Anglophone world. It is, but the onomastic connection may not be so immediately obvious. English-speakers know this name as Madeline.

Magdalena, used in German, Dutch, Romanian, Spanish, Catalan, the Scandinavian languages, Occitan, the Southern Slavic languages, Polish, and English; Czech, Slovak, Hungarian (as Magdaléna); Latvian (as Magdalēna); and Icelandic (as Magðalena), comes from the Latin Magdalene. That in turn derives from a title meaning “of Magdala.” Magdala is a village on the Sea of Galilee (Lake Kineret), meaning “tower” in Hebrew.

Though nothing in the Bible calls Mary Magdalene a prostitute, she’s historically been conflated with Mary of Bethany and an unnamed “sinful woman” who anoints Jesus’s feet in Luke 7:36–50. Since…

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