Monday, December 19, 2011

Language notes part 6: procrastination

Jennifer"De satt och jämförde sina händer: hans var större men hennes var vackrare."

The object of the lesson was the use of comparative words. T., the eldest of my teachers, read this sentence out loud from a textbook, surely for the umpteenth time in her life. T. is very Swedish (despite, or perhaps because of, the fact that she's part Finnish). T. likes to use the chalkboard and thinks grammar is neat-o. T. gives the impression that she has worked at the University all her life. T. is not above cracking a simple joke now and then for us poor foreigners, but usually she plays it pretty straight.

This time, though, this time she almost snapped. She read the sentence again out loud: "De satt och jämförde sina händer: hans var större men hennes var vackrare" (which translates to 'They sat and compared their hands; his were bigger but hers were more beautiful').

There were a few seconds of silence, during which T. pursed her lips and she appeared to be thinking. And then she said, out loud to the whole class, slowly, her voice dripping with sarcasm (in translation now):
Yes. So. How interesting Sweden is. How nice. "They sat, and compared their hands." Oh, yes, how very interesting. "His hands were bigger but her hands were more beautiful." Oh, can it be true? Well, you know it is winter now, in Sweden, and we have nothing at all to do but to sit inside and compare our hands.
She sighed. "But the author of the book is from Gothenburg, so what can you expect?"

Right, so I had Part 1 of 3 of my final exam today. Part 1 was reading comprehension; Part 2, which I take tomorrow, is writing. Thus, I am reviewing notes about words used for making comparisons. I guess I had better get back. It's been years since I've procrastinated like this for a test. Thanks for your enabling! (that's not a word in English, is it?)


  1. How nice to have procrastination documented on the web, eh? Your shortest post and yet I'm sure it took you away from the fretting/studying...;) Good luck, Jennifer. I'd feed you bourbon balls and chinese 5 spice caramel corn for fortitude, if I were down the hall...

  2. It was fun to do, though... and I am not convinced that my essay today on 'why education is important to me' would really have been any better or worse if I had spent that extra 20 minutes studying last night... only one more day to go! Next up, speaking. Ugh. The hardest part by far.