Särskrivning. Not sär skrivning. The act of spelling two words as one instead of two. Some see this as akin to kicking puppies. And no one likes that. Now I’ve never kicked a puppy, but I’m sure I’ve been a särskrivare before. But come on. It’s just a couple of words. People write into the newspaper complaining about the downfall of Swedish education. There is even a Swedish Facebook group against it.
Ofcoursethisresultsinverylongwordsthatmakeitarealpainintheassfornon-nativespeakerstodealwith. But so it goes. Personally, I’m amazed at the emotions that this issue raises. Discussions are had about this, people get into heated arguments about it. Tempers flare. Emotions are revealed that most people never knew Swedes had. All because of grammar.
Särskrivning makes it easier to read texts without a string of big words. And who decided it was a good idea to smush two words together? And for those us, like me, who managed to avoid Swedish grammar, how do you know when to smush words together? The only rule I’ve ever seen was a teacher who wrote a letter to the editor in the newspaper and said that when in doubt write them together.
It just seems like it would be easier to always write them separate. Is there a Swedish literary department who keeps track of these rules? Are new words constantly being added to the dictionary because two words are combined? Why does English still have so many more words than Swedish if Swedes can combine everything into a legitimate word? So many questions. So few answers. There has to be a Swede out there who has command of this. I need your help. Comment.
The särskrivning phenomenon says a lot about the Swedish way of life. The Swedish people in general I think. This blog, being very much a serious cultural and anthropological study of the many nuances of Sweden, never fails to tackle new theories about what makes a Swede a Swede. And I believe this plays an integral role in the development of the Swedish psyche.
Clearly, the dark and massive amounts of space in this country (I just read that only 10% of Sweden is cultivated) give people a lot of time to think. Maybe too much time. Holding the Nobel Prize for Literature gives Swedes everywhere a sense of literary vanity. Maybe too much vanity. Despite their claims to modernity, Swedes love tradition, and so new, single words are frightening. Sweden has very few big issue problems. The US has Iraq, Sweden has grammar. I love it.