I was constantly amazed at English in Sweden. The Swedes have it down to an art. They are damn good at it. They speak it well and they speak it fluently. But regardless of their level of fluency, it is not their native language. And sometimes I couldn’t help but notice.
Let me preface this by saying that I am well aware that my Swedish is by no means perfect. It’s good, but I made plenty of mistakes. And continue to do so. My pronunciation is good, but by no means perfect. I say things and occasionally realize that had I should have shortened the vowel. It happens. Doesn’t mean that it isn’t funny though.
And so, long after having left the country (and safe from the reach of the Swedes), a short list of words that made me laugh:
Unique became eunuch. Which are two very different things. One means well, one of a kind. The other means, well, none of a kind. See what I did there? None, because the man has been castrated. I am hilarious.
Cheap became sheep. At first, I found this cute and endearing. Mostly because I like sheep. Then Tele2 came out with an entire marketing campaign focusing on the play on words. And I learned to hate it.
Three became tree. It’s a tricky sound. The ‘th’ sounds. Kind of like the ‘sk’ or ‘sj’ sound in Swedish twists the tongues of Americans everywhere. I suppose it is only fair.
Skeptic became septic. When I think of septic I think of septic tanks. And poop. Of course I have the mindset of a five year old boy. When I think of skeptic I think of conspiracy theorists. Of course, they also have the mindset of a five year old boy so maybe these two aren’t that far off after all.
And, maybe my favorite, bear in mind became beer in mind. Bear in mind that if you make it to happy hour you may end up with a beer in mind. Which is a hell of a lot better than a bear. Although, both could result in a few dead brain cells.
What did I miss?
Welcome to Swedish-America. And Swenglish pronunciation.
Subscribe to a Swedish American in Sweden