Swede and Sour Kitchen

Written by a gal from NYC living in Sweden, this blog dabbles in Swedish food and culture!

Food FOR thought

Swedish goat

I was about to call this animal a “får”, which sounds like “for” in English, but it is obviously not a “får” because it is a “get”, or a “goat”. Perhaps it’s not just grammar that confuses me.

For any of you English speakers learning Swedish, you probably already know that the language can be a bit tricky. It’s tricky because there are so many words that look and sound like English words, but don’t mean quite the same things.

For example, “glass” in Swedish means ice cream. “Slut” means done or finished. “Fart” is speed. “Semester” in Swedish means vacation and not a term in school, and “grind” is gate and not a word that describes reducing something to small particles. You get the point, right?

One of the more confusing things, I think, is the word “för”. It looks like “for”, it almost sounds like “for”, but it is almost never used as the preposition we know as “for”. There are like a million other words other than “för” that are used to express”for”. Don’t let the Swedish TRICK you!

FOR example (TILL exempel):

I bought a pillow for you (as a present)- Jag köpte en kudde till dig.

I bought a pillow for you (as a favor, perhaps you were too busy to go pillow shopping)-Jag köpte en kudde åt dig.

We are having potatoes for dinner- We ska äta potatis till middag.

I have been in Sweden for three years- Jag har varit i Sverige i tre år.

It is a bit tough for him- Det är lite jobbigt för honom.

For these reasons, I think we should be vegetarian- Av dessa anledningar, tycker jag att vi ska vara vegetariana.

The list goes on. FOR heaven’s sake! and I don’t  even dare go into phrasal verbs with the word “for”.

8 comments on “Food FOR thought

  1. Liza
    March 12, 2014

    …and I just can’t get my supposed-to-be-Swedish kids to say “kan du läsa för mig”… I’ve worked on it since they started speaking and I still have to correct them every time…

    — although “FOR heavens sake” goes with the English rule ;-)

    • Gypsee
      March 12, 2014

      Does that mean- can you read for me?

      And if I want you to read to me, is it- kan du läsa till mig?

      Or am I totally off? I suppose I could just ask Aron who is right in the other room. ;)

  2. shoshoit
    March 13, 2014

    Ack. I hate prepositions, they will always make me sound like an invandrare. För real. Sometimes I think throwing in some åts every now and again makes me sound more genuine, doesnt always work out though.

    • Gypsee
      March 13, 2014

      I feel the same way about “hos”, such an advanced form of “with” or “at”!

      I had to make a recorded introduction yesterday to turn in for my online class. I listened to it and I’m not sure I ever want to speak a word of Swedish ever again.

  3. coffeewithstring
    March 13, 2014

    I’ve recently started trying to learn Svenska, as my partners parents are Swedish and as they get older, they have started reverting back to Swedish without thinking. I am finding it very confusing! This post gave me a giggle, and also the realisation I may have to get the in laws to teach me rather than using Babbel.

    • Gypsee
      March 14, 2014

      I have a friend here who learned Swedish completely by speaking with his in-laws and reading Stieg Larsson books. There were never grammar exercises or vocabulary books.

      Maybe rather than have them teach you, just have them speak to you!

      Good luck with your learning!

  4. linda
    April 28, 2014

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for clarifying something that’s been confusing me forever!

    • Gypsee
      May 2, 2014

      No problem Linda! Hope I will be able to clarify more confusing things in the future!

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This entry was posted on March 12, 2014 by in English, svensk grammatik, Svenska, swedish grammar and tagged , , , , , , .
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