Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Swedes have 95 different words...

… for “shoving snow in someone’s face”.

Research on Swedish dialects by the radio program Språket i P1 shows that dialect differences in the tiny country are large when it comes to this time-honored and perhaps universal tradition.

If you mular me, I’ll görar you.

That’s what Swedes say when they mean “shove snow in someone’s face…”

Mula is the most common term. But kröna, pulla, and mubba all mean the same thing. Ice-cold snow, in hard lumps pushed into an unprotected face.
There are many names for a snow-facial. At least 95. That is the result of research done by the radio program Språket i P1.
Listeners were asked to explain how Swedes distinguish themselves in different parts of the country. Over 6000 people took part.
One of the questions was about snow-facials:
“What/Which words did you use as a child to mean “rub snow in someone’s face”?

Many words
Lars-Gunnar Andersson, professor of Modern Swedish, thinks that the number is surprising. We’re talking about a word that is almost only used in spoken language, in the winter, and among young people.
Mula and pula are standard across the country.

The young say mylla
Some expressions have nearly disappeared completely. Like mosa in Småland. It is stuck in the older generation. The kids use mula and mylla. Other favorites in Småland are mulla and myra.
Snöpudra (“snow-powder”) sounds nice—and is used in Västmanland.
In Västerbotten the brutak mubba and mobba pop up.
They gnuggar snow in each other’s faces on Åland and among the Swedish-speaking Finns there is also: möda, skura, and pesa.
Kerstin Danielson

I can’t wait for this meme to take off. I want to hear liberal-arts types making all sorts of goofy statements starting out, “Did you know that Swedish has 95 different words for shoving snow in someone’s face…”


boredoom said...

This is fascinating. We called it "mula," and possibly also "pulla," in Växjö, which is in Småland. I had no idea there were so many other words.

I guess it's one of those words that only seldom shows up in writing, so there's room for a lot of oral variants.

Neil Shakespeare said...

Can't wait to hear all the variations for having shit thrown in your face by the Bush administration. Ah, my ancestors! Actually, my parents spoke Swedish but wouldn't teach it to us. They wanted us to assimilate, to be Americans. Actually, of course, it was their secret language so could talk about us.

liberal elite said...

You should shove snow in their faces!

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