You’ve read about our long weekend activities in English, now see how much simple Swedish you can understand. Following is my Swedish writing assignment for the week. Tonight I’ll find out how many mistakes I made. Hopefully I’ll have less verb tense errors than last time, but invariably there will be a number of English word order problems along with use of the wrong prepositions.
På torsdag, min fru Catherine och jag gick till Åland i bus sedan båt. Vi gick Gävle klockan halv åtta i morgonen och kom vi tillbaka klockan fem i eftermiddagen. Vi såg flera ny städer från bussen och gjorde oss forsta båt rida på Östersjön. Vi också köpt taxfree alkohol och mat på båten.
På fredag vi gjorde en spinpass i gymmet och gjorde ett träningspass. I eftermiddagen gick vi till parken och sedan träffade våra vänner Elja och Hasse på Harry’s för en öl på uteplatsen.
På lördag vi också gjorde en spinpass i gymmet i morgenen. I eftermiddagen hjälpt vi Catherine:s arbetskompis Eva till med hennes trädgård. Catherine planterade blommorna och kryddor och jag flyttas stenar på gården. Eva lagt middag för oss och åt vi ute på uteplatsen. Efter middag gick vi till en trettiotreårsfödelsedagsfest för vår kanadensare kompis Richard. Vi åt en mycket trevligt kak och drack bra vin.
På söndag, vaknade vi klockan åtta och lagt scones. Vi tog med cycklar till Hemlingby och sprang vi en mile med våra kompisar Jennie, Richard och Hasse. Efter springa, gick vi tillbaka hem och gjorde fika av kaffe, apelsinjuice, och scones med våra kompisar. Resten av dagen avslappnade vi.
Since January I have been taking once-weekly 3-hour Swedish classes. Almost every Tuesday evening for 5 months I spent at the Municipality’s Komvux, or adult school, to take SFI: “Svenska for Invandrare” (Swedish for Foreigners, the equivalent to ESL in Canada). It has been going pretty well. I have met some nice people, and my teacher’s insistence on proper pronunciation has helped a lot. I think I can even make that rolling musical sound of Swedish sometimes.
At this week’s class I found out that I have been nominated to take the C-level exams and move on to the D-level of Swedish next term. It is a long exam, with reading, listening comprehension, dialogue and written components. It is nice to think that I have improved enough to move to the next level. I think I have to thank my ‘arbetskompisar’ (work buddies) since they have all been unofficial tutors for me. I haven’t written an exam for quite a while… I wonder how that will go?
The Swedish happy birthday song, “Ja må hon leve” (remix!)
I turned 31 on Saturday. Thanks for your happy wishes, emails, and phone calls. It was sad to be away from home, but I had a great weekend. Graham made one of my favourite dinners on Friday: homemade ravioli with ricotta and spinach inside. He did a great job! Saturday we went to the gym and I did a spin class and some kettle bells with one of our buddies here. Then we went to a house-warming party at Hasse and Elja´s (whom we helped move a few times). Hasse was previously trained as a chef, and he and Elja had made some great mini quiches (including some vegetarian ones, aw!) a nice salad, and lots of other treats. They had baked me a surprise cake and sang happy birthday in English and Swedish. (The Swedish version is really different, different tune and not so repetitive; they wish you to live to 100.) After the house party, we went out dancing with the gang. So fun! We were up kind of late, but happily got to go with Camilla to see the world cup racing Graham posted about. My birthday weekend in one word: rad!
The hockey playoffs have started here in the Elitserien. Unfortunately our local team Brynäs lost their first game (of a best of 7 series) last night to a team from Stockholm. I was reading an article about the game in the local paper and came across a new word – possibly my new favourite svenska ord. The article was describing how Brynäs has a number of very young players that may have watched playoff games on TV before but have never had the chance to even try to grow their own slutspelsskägg. That’s right, the Swedes have a dedicated word for ‘playoff beard’. I figured the tradition of not shaving during the playoffs was a North American thing, but apparently they have adopted it here as well.
Like many good Swedish words slutspelsskägg is a compound word – in this case a triple compound word. Slutspels combines slut which means ‘end’ with spel which means ‘game’. So the playoffs are literally the end game. And skägg means ‘beard’ so put them together and you get slutspelsskägg – the playoff beard!
Although I know it can’t compare to the excitement back home, people are getting pretty excited about the Olympics; Sweden has a lot of great winter athletes.
A professor at the University sent me this clip from Swedish public radio about the history of Vancouver, including English soundbites from Canadian author Stephen Bown who wrote a biography about Vancouver. The reporter takes a trip on the BC ferry to Victoria. Take a listen and see what words you can pick out.
Click on the mini speaker icon above the seascape picture:
“In the river, there is an island.” This is particular to the Gävle region and wouldn’t be considered strictly correct elsewhere. (Not the Queen’s Swedish, as Graham would say)
However, it is a great test of vowel enunciation; if people know what you said, you win! It also uses all three extra letters in the Swedish alphabet. I think this should be first on the curriculum of every Swedish class.
Here is my Swedish writing assignment for the week. I wrote a bit about our trip to Vancouver over Christmas. Unfortunately I had to leave a lot out because it takes quite a while for me to compose anything in Swedish as I still need to look up a lot of words, but it’s getting better…
You can use Google Translate to get a feel for what I’m trying to say. I think it works better when you write at a higher than fourth grade level :).
På tjugoandra i december Catherine och mig flög från Stockholm till Vancouver i Kanada för semester. Vi besökta många kompisar och familj under två veckan i Vancouver. Väder var mycket bra med mellan åtta och tio grader på många dager; mycket varmare än Gävle med minus tjugonio grader.
För julmiddag vi äter på mig föraldär hem. Mig mamma kokta många traditionella jul mat inklusive kalkon, potatis, morötter, broccoli, blomkål, gröna bönor och köttsås. Och vi äter pumpor tårta för efterrätt.
Andra höjdpunkter av semester inkluderade:
Parten för min mamma är sextionde födelsedag
Kinesiska middagen med kompisar Andrea och Tim
Besökta från Catherine:s syster Bridget, svåger Ed och systerdotter Kristina från Washington i USA.
Paddla kanot på False Creek med kompisar jag inte sett sedan augusti.
We have started SFI, the Swedish for foreigners offered free by the local municipality. Graham and I are in different classes, but on the same evening. We get to practice listening, reading out loud, writing, grammar, and conversation. My class has all 20-ish Chinese University students, so in ‘Swedish conversation time’ I am learning a lot about South-East China. Rockover London, Rock on, Guangdong!
We now average 4 hours per week, so we should learn much faster. We are also still doing the bi-weekly study circle. Part of our study-circle homework this week is to email some Swedish prose to our Swedish teacher. I had the awesome idea of sending her a link to a blog post instead!
Here is my Swedish post about how we spent our Saturday. You can use Google translate to see what it says. I have done this and it mostly makes sense. 🙂
Igår, min man och jag hjalpa våras kompisar flyta. Våras kompisar flöt från Stockholm till Gävle 21 december, men de flöt till en lilla lagenhet I Gävle central. Igår de flöt (igen) till en storra lagenhet på S. Kungsgatan. Vi lyft och bära våras kompisars möbler och lådor fran deres förvaringsenhet och fran deras lilla lagenhet till deras storra nya lagenhet. Vi var klara halv när hissen bröt. Lyckligtvis fick vi redan på pianot!
Deras nya lagnhet är mycket bra, med 3 soverrumar och två badrumar, tvättstuga, en bra kök. Der finns flera skåpar, en balkong, och en lilla garden bredvid ytterdörr. Der finns också en fin utsikt från kyrktornet, och flera butiker och restaurang närheten. Vi sager att: välkomna till Gävle och lyckn till!
We have a break from our Swedish lessons for the month of December. We come back at it when we return after our Christmas break in Canada. I found this video and I think it is just hilarious. Swedish is not really a bad language to learn, but this guy is so funny in his descriptions of the rules and how to say the right thing. I think he is actually quite charming, and very cheeky!
One of the responsibilities of each Kommun (roughly municipality) in Sweden is to provide, free of charge, Swedish language training to those whose native language is not Swedish. The national program is known as Svenska för invandrare (Swedish for immigrants) or SFI for short and has a standardized curriculum, but the actual application of the curriculum differs from Kommun to Kommun. Since I’m officially an immigrant I’m eligible for this course. In Gävle, the process is to first fill out this form which is all in Swedish. Remember this whole course is for those that don’t speak the language – I don’t expect all government bureaucracy to be available in the language of my choice, but in this case it might be appropriate. Heck, even the local library web site has information in 8 foreign languages.
Anyway with a little help from Google Translate (which has been a lifesaver for us) I filled out the form and mailed it off. A couple weeks later I received a reply in the mail (again all in Swedish) telling me to come in for an interview to assess my background and learn more. I went in for the interview today and was placed in the “advanced” track. Which pretty much just means I can read/write in my mother tongue and have completed a high school education. I had to do a reading test and the tester was surprised that I could already pronounce the vowel sounds – so I guess I have learned something in our few lessons so far!
The interviewer wanted me to do the 3.5 hours each weekday option, but I opted for the 3hrs one evening per week. If I were planning to staying in Sweden long term I’d have gone for the every day option, but I’m treating this more as a fun learning adventure than something I need to be able to get a job. Plus it keeps my time free to do more work if it’s available; plus the start time is 08:30 which would mean a shorter workout each day which would also be a negative!
The course starts in January; I’m sure there will be plenty to write about then.