Saturday, March 25, 2006

Lost and found in translation

Conversation has been enjoyable for the language as much as the content. A direct translation of the local town names includes New Hammer, Old Nest/Living/Home, and Copper Mountain (it's a mineral-rich area). People also frequently use words that are correct but not usually used in the present context by a native Engligh speaker. For example, last week Johan brightly announced, "There is a new cock in our henhouse!" I suppressed a smirk until Anna began laughing uncontrollably.

Other conversations have degenerated into games of Taboo, in which the other person desperately talks around the English word they don't know and I try to guess what they're thinking of.

'warm fridge' = pantry

'almond' + [drinking motion] = amaretto

'glacier' + [cake context] = icing

'Norwegian wood cat' = ????

Other things, which have a specific name in Swedish, don't seem to have one at all in English.

Johan: "What to you call it when your muscles are sore, like from going to the gym?"
... I don't go to the gym. If I did I'd call it 'hell', and after that I'd probably just call it 'sore muscles'.

Johanna: "Cindy, what is the name of the food when you bake breads again, to eat with jam at morning fika?"
... I don't think people do that in Australia. Ever.
[Edit: I am not talking about toast. This is stale bread, oven-baked into dry crustiness, cooled to room temperature and put into a little gingham-lined basket for morning tea.]


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