Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Svensk mat utomlands

Swedish food abroad

... more correctly: this text is more about the Swedish food that we don't find abroad - not in Canada anyway, where I presently spend some time. All cultures and countries have their different items, goodies, treats etc. Canada has a lot of them, that I miss when back in Sweden, but Canada is also missing out on a lot.

This one, for example:

Photo: Åsa Bouck

Kalles kaviar!

The picture is taken in Canada. I had my husband export it in the suitcase together with a block of ice from Sweden to Canada. Because the list of things I miss to eat over here is a lot longer now since Ikea took away all the genuine Swedish imports in  their food section and replaced everything with Ikea brand! The charm is gone. Ikea probably makes tons of money on the change, but I am disappointed.

What else can't be found here... Filmjölk! Leverpastej! Saltlaktris! Mjukost på tub! (Yes, they laugh at us Swedes here in Canada, thinking that we put any food into a tube. Well they can laugh! They just don't realise how convenient and smart that is.)

And even though some things can be found abroad, the selection of certain items are different between countries. I know that my kids miss the "forever-long" isle of sugary breakfast cereals in the stores when we go back to Sweden, but their health-conscious mom misses the variety of healthy cereals, because that is a bit harder to find in North America. I also miss the selection of bread and the selection of cheese.

What's the point of this little text? I'm not sure. Maybe to prepare people going to Sweden that there's a lot of good stuff over there, but also that you will for sure miss things that you can't find. See the positive things in each country (and bring with you what you can't find). That's why I am going out for lunch, eating an amazing hamburger after having a restaurant breakfast with American pancakes, eggs and bacon!

(Living in Sweden, but from a different country? What eatable things do you miss? Are you a Swede living somewhere else? What do you miss? Please share with me.)

 Photo: Magnus Skoglöf/    Photo: Miriam Preis/ 

And don't forget to keep your eyes on the web site that shortly will have a new design:

Monday, 24 September 2012

Swedish sayings with the butt!

Svenska talesätt

Don't ask me why, but Swedes use several sayings including the butt, (häck, rumpa, ända, bak...)sometimes translated by Google translate with the ass (yes, I know I have advised you NOT to use google translate, but I find it amusing so I do it once in a while anyway, and maybe also with the purpose of showing why you shouldn't...)

Here's a few sayings for you to learn:

Jag har häcken full

Now, try this on Google translate! What we mean with this is that we have a ton to do, so we probably won't have time for anything else. This is commonly used among staff in Sweden (according to my North American hard working husband who thinks that the one thing Swedes are good at is FIKA!)

Hur man än vänder sig har man rumpan bak

Now, this situation is never fun: meaning that no matter what you do, you are in trouble. Maybe this saying is popular in Sweden because the country is full of people scared of conflicts. And we all know, that we can not always make everyone happy.

Smaken är som baken, delad

...just meaning that we all have a different taste in things and there's nothing we can do about it. Normally this can be used to avoid conflicts, when we feel the tension build up about our different opinions regarding for example a movie, a sports club, or even politics.

Att ha eld i baken

= to be in a huge hurry, running around like crazy. Usually used as a contrast from being totally relaxed and maybe even lazy, to, for some reason, being totally stressed and focused.

... and eld i baken is what Swedish2go has right now. The web page is currently being renovated for your convenience and the first online group classes are being prepared. Hectic and fun! Sign up for a class and see what it is all about! ( (Read about the courses on

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Be careful with translations!

Dictionaries, and sometimes even Google translate, are important tools when learning a language, but don't forget your common sense! Your brain is a better tool than any dictionaries. Here's why:

We can say: "Slå upp ett glas vitt, är du snäll."

Well - that doesn't make much sense if you look in the dictionary: "Beat up a glass of white, are you kind."


The English language has some verbs with particles to it, giving the verb a completely new meaning. And the Swedish language does too. In fact, we've got tons of them! So "Slå upp" doesn't mean "Beat up" in this situation, it means "Pour". But in other situation it could mean "look up". Huh? Well, use your brain and figure out if it makes sense. Because we can't poor a telephone number, and we can't look up a glass of white wine.

So, please, when studying Swedish, or any language, don't take the dictionaries, or even less Google translate, too seriously. Use your brain!

Here are some more particle verbs that you can't translate word by word:

(Emphasis in our pronunciation is on the bold particle:)

Komma av sig (to suddenly forget what you were supposed to say)
Komma bort (could mean to get away, but also that something has disappeared)
Lägga av (to quit)
Lägga ner (to shut down, or quit something (like a project or business))
Känna till (to know of something)
Känna igen (No... not feel again! It means recognize)

You get to know more about "partikelverb" in the higher levels of the Swedish studies! Keep it up! (See! That's an English "partikelverb"!)

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

New course added!

Ok, I can't only have a class for total beginners. What are all the other people, who knows a little bit of Swedish, going to do? So on the same day as the beginner class starts, the intermediate lesson is following: October 11th at 21.00 in Sweden.

Yes, it may be late in the evening for those of you already living in Sweden, but for all parents of young children, it's probably perfect. And the very hard working ones has time to come home. In north America, it could be perfect to put your lunch box in the microwave and enjoy your lunch break while learning Swedish from your teacher in front of the computer. For you in Great Britain/Ireland, 20.00 is regular evening course time, so congratulations! I guess in Australia... do you like very early morning studies?

I guess, with a global virtual classroom, there is never a time that is good for everyone.

This intermediate course, which also has a duration of 8 weeks, 1 hour/week, is for those who has some basic knowledge of Swedish, but is missing quite a bit of words and grammar understanding. Here is an example of what the course covers:

Phrases while shopping, groceries, Swedish traditions and customs, describing the way, phrases while at the doctor, talking about the weather (last subject VERY important in Sweden!).

Of course this course also includes quite a bit of grammar (also explained in English) and pronunciation drills. And just like the beginner course, you will have a chance to ask questions in writing, test your understanding of the last lesson and practice more on your own before the following lesson. You will be guided to free online study material related to what the last lesson covered and you will also be provided with Swedish2go video tutorials containing the same grammar as the teacher has taught you.

Please look at the Swedish2go website for full course description!

When interested in trying the first lesson for free, please write an email to and let me know! Don't forget to say which course you want to participate in. (You are of course welcome to join both!)

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

The date is set for beginner Swedish class - distanskurs i svenska!

October 11 at 19.00 Swedish time!*

That is the date you can look forward to starting your Swedish language lessons. And you don't have to come to me. I will come to you - in the computer. The meeting will be all online. For one hour, you will hear me teaching you about grammar, words, phrases, pronunciation. You will also be able to ask questions in the chat function.

Between each class, which will be once a week for 8 weeks with last class ending November 29, you will be directed to specific work material online - free material for those who wish, payed online textbooks for those who want something more thorough. This material will help you increase your reading and listening comprehension. Along with that you will also get access to related tutorial grammar and/or pronunciation videos from Swedish2go.

The first lesson is free of charge - you don't have to commit to anything. However, you do have to register to get access to the online meeting. If you decide to continue, all you have to do is pay the 399 Swedish kronor (approximately US$ 65) and you will have access to all the following classes in the course, including extra material.

This is a beginner course in Swedish, Nybörjarkurs i svenska på distans, and the special thing about it is that you will get a lot of Swedish grammar explanations in English, to help the understanding of the rules. Grammar is hard enough, so we don't have to do it ALL i Swedish!

After this course, you should have a basic understanding of the most important Swedish rules of grammar and pronunciation. You will also know how to talk about basic topics, such as time, family, introduction and hobby.

Below is a description of the course content:

Svenska online, nybörjarkurs (Swedish beginner course)

Lesson 1, October 11th 2012 @ 19.00 - 20.00 Swedish time:
  • Phrases to (greet)
  • Presentation phrases
  • Grammar:
    • Verb: present tense
    • Questions/answers (question words/yes/no-questions)
    • Pronouns, subjective form
  • Pronunciation
  • Room for questions by chat
  • Optional homework, and sheet of questions in relation to the above topics for you to check that you have understood
Lesson 2, October 18th 2012 @ 19.00 - 20.00 Swedish time:
  • Presentation cont.
  • Week days and ways of saying time
  • Phrases to greet (cont.)
  • The Swedish vowels (short/long)
  • Grammar:
    • Prepositions in presentation phrases
    • Conjunctions
  • Pronunciation
  • Room for questions by chat
  • Optional homework, and sheet of questions in relation to the above topics for you to check that you have understood
Lesson 3, October 25th 2012 @ 19.00 - 20.00 Swedish time:
  • Telling time, the clock
  • Grammar:
    • Verb: present tense + imperative
    • Word order
  • Pronunciation
  • Room for questions by chat
  • Optional homework, and sheet of questions in relation to the above topics for you to check that you have understood
Lesson 4, November 1st 2012 @ 19.00 - 20.00 Swedish time:
  • Phrases to be nice
  • Translating "Like"
  • Vocabulary: verbs
  • Grammar:
    • En/ett
    • Adjectives, indefinite form
  • Pronunciation
  • Room for questions by chat
  • Optional homework, and sheet of questions in relation to the above topics for you to check that you have understood
Lesson 5, November 8th 2012 @ 19.00 - 20.00 Swedish time:
  • Hobby and free time activities
  • Grammar:
    • Verb: Present tense, helping verbs + infinite form
    • Sentence adverbial (satsadverb)
  • Pronunciation
  • Room for questions by chat
  • Optional homework, and sheet of questions in relation to the above topics for you to check that you have understood
Lesson 6, November 15th 2012 @ 19.00 - 20.00 Swedish time:
  • Talk about family
  • Grammar:
    • Objective pronouns
    • Possessive pronouns
  • Pronunciation
  • Room for questions by chat
  • Optional homework, and sheet of questions in relation to the above topics for you to check that you have understood
Lesson 7, November 22nd 2012 @ 19.00 - 20.00 Swedish time:
  • Talking in helping verbs
  • Grammar:
    • Past tense
    • Definite/indefinite form of subject/adjectives
  • Pronunciation
  • Room for questions by chat
  • Optional homework, and sheet of questions in relation to the above topics for you to check that you have understood
Lesson 8, November 29th 2012 @ 19.00 - 20.00 Swedish time:
  • Repetition of the course, in a bit more advanced level - getting ready to move on
  • Grammar:
    • Word order - repetition
    • Verb tenses - repetition
    • Adjectives - repetition
  • Pronunciation
  • Room for questions by chat
  • Sheet of questions in relation to the above topics for you to check that you have understood

Monday, 10 September 2012

Swedish online lessons live!

Swedish2go is adding on to its selection of how and what to study. Keep your eyes up for Swedish online classes live! Coming soon, in different Swedish language levels, are oportunities to sign up for a series of Swedish instructional classes online! After each class of Swedish grammar and pronunciation you will be guided to extra material related to the topic in the live meeting so you can work with the new Swedish grammar knowledge by yourself.

The beginner levels will be supported in English, with lots of translation help. As you move on to more advanced levels of Swedish, classes will be in Swedish for the most part.

Follow this blog to see when we go live, or keep an eye at You can also send an email to and we will keep you posted on when everything starts!

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Time to go outside!


Languages are interesting. It shows how different interest areas are valued higher in some languages than others. Take "mushrooms", for example. Yes, of course there are different names of the mushrooms in the English language, but I find that it's only the gourmet lovers who actually use the different type of words. For most people, a mushroom is a mushroom! Ah ah. Not for a Swede. We would never go to a store and ask to buy "mushrooms". That's like going into a candy store asking for "candy". There are so many kinds to choose from!

Swedes are nature lovers, and one thing we love to do while out in the nature is to pick "mushrooms" (or blueberries, lingonberries etc). It's a big hobby. Many fanatics find their favourite spot in the woods to come back to year after year. And if you do find your gold mind (the chanterells are called "the gold of the forests") you don't tell anyone! Keep it a secret, so you can enjoy your variety of mushrooms to yourself!

Time to harvest the wild  delicacies is from later summer until frost. That's now! So here are some vocabulary for you:

  • Plocka svamp - pick mushroom
  • Lingon - lingonberry (Ikea sells this jam all over the world if you haven't tried it and if you don't live in Sweden)
  • Vilse - lost
  • Svampställe - favourite place for your mushroom picking
  • Champinjon - champignon (or common mushroom)
  • Kantarell - chanterell
  • Karljohanssvamp - king bolete, or cepe
  • Flugsvamp - death cap/fly agaric (non-edible)
If in Sweden: enjoy your time in the cool fresh fall air and make sure you look for the gold while in the woods!