Sunday, August 24, 2008

Farts and tomatsås (tow-maht-soooo-s)

You've read about hejdå-ing, grandma warnings and birthday pranks, but I haven't yet told you about farts.

People pick up on things I say while on the phone with relatives or friends in Sweden. My dad called once when my roommate and I were watching a movie, and I had to pause it. The trick with our DVD player at the time was to hit "play" and "pause" several times, which I explained to dad. My roommate immediately started saying "play-eh paos-eh, play-eh paos-eh," thinking she was making sense in Swedish.

Another time my grandmother called, and asked what I was making for dinner.
"Pasta och tomatsås," I said, and my roommate immediately started saying "tow-maht-soooo-s." Extremely exciting!

(Trying to spell the words phonetically in English is difficult, by the way. I have to write it out on a piece of paper, then run downstairs so Albie can look at it. "How would you say this?" I say. "I know what I want it to sound like, I just don't know how to spell it!")

When Albie came with me to Sweden last year, he - understandably - was able to pick up on lots of words that sounded funny. He now says "slew-tah" when he wants me to stop doing something, and he practices calling the kitties with "ks-ks-ks-ks."

But perhaps the best word Albie has found so far in the Swedish language is "utfart." After a trip to the American Embassy in Stockholm, Albie, my dad and I went to eat at Max - a hamburger restaurant. While pulling into the parking lot, which was part of a giant shopping center, Albie suddently spots a large, blue sign with white letters on it.

"Ut-FART!" he exclaims, and laughs. "Hey, it says FART on that sign! What does it mean?"

Dad and I calmly explained it just means "exit." A few minutes later, we spotted an "infart" sign - which means "entrance." This led to a whole new set of explanations, about how "ut" means "out" and "in" means "in" (simple enough, right?)

Well, if you think about it, I guess it is pretty funny to an American. To "fart out" actually explains pretty much what happens... and to see it on a sign and be able to read it, that's gotta be priceless.


kajsamaria said...

har du tänkt på när det är rea i varenda affär står det slut rea på stora skyltar... vad tror du alla turister tänker när det står SLUT över hela skyltfönstren...? :D tycker jag är lite roligt... så har jag tydligen kiss och bajs humor också... :D

Ed Stannard said...

Hi Viktoria,

I just found out you have a blog! I may have to read your archive because my wife is part Swedish! Anyway, "utfart" may look strange to American eyes--but isn't it on the side of the IKEA building? (If it isn't, it should be!)