Thursday, November 02, 2006
Words that don't come easy
Dear Marc, I don't know if you read that letter about Swedish words? Now I can't stop thinking about this vulgar language of ours.
(If easily disgusted, stop reading here.)
We were talking about breasts the other day, and now I'm about to tell you a word somewhat related to mammaries. Let's talk a little about the placenta, the tree of life. Your clever people stuck with the latin word. My people did not. My people were nuts. They decided to call it "moderkaka". The mother cake. There is nothing more to say about this, although I would like to have the elders apologize for their unfortunate coinage.
After the birth of my first child, having declined to look at the miracle of pre-natal nutrition, I went to have lunch in the self-service dining room at the hospital. They were offering steak that day. Next to the dish, a small printed note (made by a vegetarian?) brusquely told us to control our appetite. The message was short and to the point: "Only one meat mound/person". Bara en kötthög/person.
Word of the day: Kötthög.
With a language like ours, it's easy to bow down to the English. But no one wants to stand on the lowest step of the language ladder. We Swedes want to look down on someone too. That's why we love the Finns. The Finns call bags "pussi". So when you're in Finland buying potato chips, you can choose between getting a "Minipussi" or a "Megapussi". So handy!