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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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? 🙂

The most popular names in Sweden

Yaay! My curiosity has been quenched! Swedish ranking of most popular names in 2018 has just been released a little while ago! And so I reblog the post from Watching The Swedes about most popular of them. It seems like William and Alice are ruling again. Which ones out of all these mentioned here do you like the most? Off to look up the whole statistics now. 😀

Watching the Swedes

Oliver was the most popular name for male newborns in the UK last year. And Olivia was the most popular female name. In London, it was Amelia and Mohammed and in Ireland it was Jack and Emily.

So what about Sweden in 2018? Just-released information from Sweden’s office of statistics give us the following answer.

The most popular top 5 names for male newborns were:

  1. William
  2. Liam
  3. Noah
  4. Lucas
  5. Oliver

In fact, there are 44010 males in Sweden with the name William. And 58 females!

And for newborn girls it was:

  1. Alice
  2. Maja
  3. Lilly
  4. Ella
  5. Wilma

Interestingly, there are 38957 females called Alice in Sweden. And 22 men!

The names Ture, Lias and Amir are the fastest climbing names in the list of boys’ names. And for girls, Hailey och Bianca. The names Sebastian, Neo, Simon, Emelie, Ellinor, Idun and Noomi have left the top 20 list.

If you want…

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Ice, ice baby: 15 Swedish words for ice

I didn’t even know that!… And I thought I can speak Swedish! 😶 It’s fascinating for me, especially that I’ve always been so fascinated with ice!

Watching the Swedes

Currently in the depths of winter, the Swedish landscape is covered in snow and ice.

I previously published a blog about 50 Swedish words for snow. So I became curious about how many words are there to describe ice.

I was surprised to find an enormous number of words. I guess it’s not so surprising for a Nordic country with so many lakes, rivers and waterways that there are many words to describe the different stages and shapes of frozen water.

Here are 15 of the words I found: 15 words for ice.

  1. Is – the standard word for ice
  2. Blankis – ice that shines like a mirror
  3. Nyis – ice that’s only a couple of centimeters thick and transparent
  4. Fast is – thick ice, often not transparent
  5. Issörja – when the air is cold but the water is moving, a kind of ice slop forms
  6. Tallrikis – plates of…

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Question of the day.

Do you ever talk to yourself?

My answer:

Of course I do! As one of my acquaintances once said: “It’s good to talk to yourself because then you can be sure that you are talking with an intelligent person”. 😀 I can only agree, plus it’s just very interesting, you can come to some very interesting conclusions while talking to yourself, and of course improve your language skills. It sometimes happens that I’m alone for the whole day or so, so then I at least talk to myself (or Misha) to make sure that next time I’ll have to talk to someone I’ll still know how to speak and my vocal cords won’t get too rusty. I’ve once read a story years ago about a monk who was an anchor living on the desert, not having contact with people at all, though it seemed more because of pride and haughtiness than being so very devout, anyway after all those years when he finally did meet another human being he as unable to speak because he simply didn’t know any longer how to do it. Don’t know if it’s inded possible, but it sounds likely so I’d rather avoid it myself, communication is already enough of a struggle for me. 😀 alking to yourself is also less stressful than talking to other people, and well just fun. What I really really really dislike though and can’t understand, and it just drives me crazy, is the connection people make between talking to yourself and being either mentally ill, or even delayed in intellectual development or something. I just DON’T get it! What does it have in common? I can appreciate that maybe sometimes when you’re delusional you make an impression on healthy people that you talk to yourself, or when for any other reason you don’t have full touch with reality, but lots of people seem to assume that anyone who talks to themselves is mentally ill. I know that nowadays it’s more of a joke for many people, like: “Oh, I’m talking to myself, I must be mental”, but while I’m all for handling things with humour and distance to oneself and the world, I think this can lead to many misunderstandings and it’s a very strange view completely lacking flexibility. I guess lots of people talk to themselves: extroverts – who are always happy to chat and can’t stop even when there’s no one to listen, as well as introverts, who, like me, often even prefer talking to themselves than to others and sometimes might find it helpful to make sense of what’s in their brains. Are they all freaks? On the other hand though, well since I live with mental illness myself maybe there is something true to it but I am just biased. 😀 Do you have any thoughts on this issue?

Anyways, I find talking to myself a highly useful and enjoyable activity, particularly when it comes to talking in other languages, since in my surroundings it’s quite hard to find anyone that would be willing to talk in Swedish for example. 😀

So how about you? Why do you do it, if you do? 🙂

Why Swedes celebrate their names

I’ve always been curious why actually Swedes celebrate names, since they are mostly protestants, and now I finally know! 😀 As Poland is a Catholic country, we also have this tradition here, although I have an impression it’s generally better organised in Sweden, because we don’t really have a universal calendar and even a single calendar can be very repetitive and some names may have multiple days while others are mentioned hardly anywhere despite being used and sometimes it can lead to quite funny situations, or just to a bit of a chaos. As both a Christian and a name geek , I think in a way celebrating your name’s day can be even more fun than birthday. And I was quite surprised to see that Emilia’s nameday in Sweden is 14 November, when in Poland it’s Emil’s day. Though it makes more sense than making separate days for Emil and Emilia. If you aren’t familiar with this tradition, or like me, love Sweden, or names, I highly recommend you reading this post. 🙂

Watching the Swedes

Today is Svea’s Name’s Day. And October 8th is my Name’s Day. Well, not quite….but almost. It is Nils. And since I’m called Neil, well, I take Nils as my day.

Some of you might be wondering what the hell I’m talking about. What is a ‘Name’s Day’? Well, it’s like this. In Sweden, every day has a name, sometimes two. And if your name happens to be represented in this way in the calender, then you can celebrate your day. Strange? Maybe. Unusual? Not really.

A Name’s Day is actually a tradition in lots of countries such as Bulgaria, Croatia and Ukraine. According to Wiki, the custom originated with the Christian calendar of saints: believers named after a saint would celebrate that saint’s feast day. In Sweden, however, there is no longer any explicit connection to Christianity. It’s been a tradition since the Middle Ages and started…

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Keeping it Peel – Cerddoriaeth heb Saesneg

As someone who is deeply interested in Welsh culture, loves Welsh language music and generally likes to explore music in different languages, I think this post is really worth reading!

Squimple

The BBC have produced a program compiling bits of various sessions of Welsh language rock music that were broadcast as part of John Peel’s regular radio show. There’s even been a re-mix of Datblygu’s hit “Maes E” and one of my favourite bands of the time Melys have a new LP due out next year; exciting times.

This was of interest to me as I used to listen to these sessions when I was a younger man and also because I can now speak Welsh. So, listening to these recordings was strange as I was listening to something I used to hear in an unknown language to one I now speak; a big wow basically.

I’ve never quite understood this English language bias in the British media. There is an awful lot of English language music out there and sure, you can be perfectly happy only listening to English…

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