Tuesday, April 25, 2006

It's been a while since I checked in on Bogdan

Sadly, Bogdan has been relatively quiet for a while. I hope he gets back to writing. In the meantime, here’s a bit I translated of his about how hard it is to learn Swedish.

Yesterday I was talking with a Swede who said that Swedish is an easy language. What’s he talking about, easy? He’s a Swede, maybe that’s why he thinks it’s easy, yo! A Bosnian thinks Bosnian is easy for example. The hardest part about learning a new language is dealing with those words that can have more than one meaning. Like in this joke I heard: A Swede asks, “What do you do?” The other Swede answers, “I’m an artist.” “Oh, so you paint?” “No, I make umbrellas.” “But that’s not an art!” “Yeah, well you try it then.” When I heard it, I didn’t get it. For me, art means art, painting and sculpture and things. THAT is the hardest thing about a new language. A grammar book or a course will NEVER teach you how people really speak. The way I learn Swedish is to first read a grammar book, then read the newspaper, then read a book and at the same time try to talk to as many Swedes as possible. You can’t be afraid to embarrass yourself. You’re going to anyway! For example, Swedes always ask, “How are you doing?” and at the beginning I always answered how I was doing: “I’m good, yo, but my wife is a little sick and is throwing up and I don’t have a job so I’m out looking everyday but I still haven’t found a job. Otherwise I’m doing pretty good actually, except that I have a headache and it’s a little cold out.” That was just wrong, yo! You have to answer “Thanks, I’m good, and you?” NOTHING ELSE! They don’t want to talk. And if they say, “I’ve had enough of the snow, it’s time for summer. What do you think?” You shouldn’t answer “we didn’t have snow where I come from, I like the white stuff and the cold and my kids get to go sledding.” Instead, you have to say “That’s true, I want the summer sun and BBQ and beer and schnapps and bottom’s up and how nice that the Social Democrats won the election.”
Maybe you can explain why you are not so good at the language but you always have to show that you are willing to learn. I myself, have a long long way to go before I can speak Swedish perfectly, as the prophets Muhammad and Jesus know! But I dare to try.
But Swede, don’t tell me that Swedish is an easy language. Okay buddy?


Eric said...

That makes me want to learn Swedish, yo!

But really, I just want an excuse to write 'å'. So maybe I'll just do that: åååååååååååååå ...


liberal elite said...

'å' is definitely a perk of writing Swedish.

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