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.

Pronounciation: Chuttt-hoaeg.

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!



Francis S. said...

Speaking of kött... I've always thought the word "tandkött" to be, er, rather unpleasant: teeth meat? It kind of puts you off your dinner.

(And on your link to me, you have me listed as Swedish in only 100 lessons... 100 lessons is nothing! Now 1000 lessons, that is painful and drawn out.)

-e said...

I'm always so impatient! 100 seemed like a good, fast number. But of course I'll change it right away. Should I write 1000 or up it to 10 000 while I'm at it?

Anonymous said...

Too funny. I had a visit from some Finnish customers this week, and they told me a great story. One of our software products was made by a company called Pure Atria, and these guys were customers even back there. They were given a company T-shirt with the company name Pure Atria on it. They thanked them very kindly, but could never wear it.

They told me in Finnish, "Pure Atria" means "Bite sausage" :-)

Anonymous said...

Oh god, I know exactly how you feel.

     _.'__    `.
.'@         /###\
:        ,   #####
 `-..__.-' _.-\###/
      `;_:  `"'
    /  Honk \
   // Honk \\
   __`. | .'__

alanna said...

haha, you were in the english times yesterday, i love your blog

ET said...

I think 'mother cake' is kinda nice!

Anonymous said...

I had to buy a finnish windscreen-wiper fluid additive for winter use.... brand name, Superpiss!

Anonymous said...

Suck mark (love bite) is another highly romantic word...