Thursday, May 28, 2009

Fika småpratar: A Freudian slip

JenniferAt afternoon fika today I attempted to speak Swedish, and was describing one of my samples. I'll report the content of the conversation in English, with the Swedish in parentheses:

Me: "I have a sample that comes from... Wolf Island." ('Jag har en prov som kommer ifrån... Wolf Island.')

Grad student N.: "Every beer?" ('Varg Ö?')

Me: "Ahh... one more time please?" ('Ahh... en gång till tack?')

N.: "Every beer?" ('Varg Ö?)

I admitted defeat. "Wolf Island," said N., "Varg Ö." Which is literally Wolf Island: Varg = wolf, Ö = island. I had misheard "Varg Ö" ('Wolf Island') as "Varje öl" ('every beer'). Everyone had a good chuckle, including myself. "Sure, sure," I said, "Varg Ö. I could have figured that out. I have to remember that the first thing to do when someone speaks Swedish at you is not panic."

Silence fell.

"When someone speaks Swedish at you?" said K., sounding almost hurt. "You make it sound like it's an attack."



  1. That's when you tell them, "But in English, speaking AT someone is considered a great compliment." Bet they'd believe it, too. If you can keep a straight face.