Mall-ing the language

This week, Matt and I started intensive Swedish courses.

It’s sort of amazing how difficult it is for my brain to wrap itself around a new language.  The first day was so tiring, plus it made me homesick — a bit because we are among a group of very diverse people, who hail from Peru to Thailand.  And also, to think, this will be my new spoken tongue!

Even so, I’ve learned quite a bit, even in the few days we’ve attended.  I know that the verbs in Swedish don’t get conjugated, and I know that I am having the most difficult time pronouncing vowels.

Even consonants are a surprise — the “k” in kyckling (chicken) sounds like “sh.” The “sj,” used in sjuk (sick) and sju (seven), can sound like “hu.”

And speaking of numbers, I almost can count to ten. The easiest numbers to remember and pronounce properly are fem and sex — 5 and 6, they follow each other, right? Nudge nudge, wink wink.

You see, Swedish seems to invite these kinds of unfortunate (and juvenile, I confess) misunderstandings.  My favorite so far has been at the mall, as summer draws to an end and stores are putting on final sales, or slut rea:

In this context, "slut" means "final," and "slut spurt" is "final sprint." Unfortunate.

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