kareina: (Default)
One of my favourite books growing up was Anne of Green Gables; I have read it many, quite probably literally hundreds of, times in my life. Therefore it was one of the first books I obtained translated into Swedish, since I know the story so well even in my first year in Sweden I didn't have to pause while reading it to look up words, I could tell from context plus my own memory of the story what everything meant.

Now that I am making it a habit of reading books at the same time as I listen to the audio version I have purchased an audio version of this book, and am enjoying listening to/reading it. Until I hit places where the translator completely left behind the words of the original and put in something totally new. Just now a chapter ended by deleting one of my favorite quotes in the book and putting in new word that are completely out of character.

At the end of the chapter En storm i ett vattenglas (originally "A tempest in the school teapot"), when Marilla finds Anne crying because she has been busy imagining how, when she and Dianna grow up, Dianna will get married and the two girls will be parted forever Marilla first tries to hide her amused reaction, then laughs outright, then (when she recovers enough to speak) says "Well, Anne Shirley, if you must borrow trouble, for pity's sake, borrow it handier home. I should think you had an imagination, sure enough."

For reasons I cannot understand the translator (Karin Lidforss Jensen), chose not to translate the bit about borrowing trouble at all, and instead the text says:

--Kära barn, pustade Marilla så fort hon kunde tala, så du kan sitta och göra upp saker och ting! Men det kanske ändå för säkerhets skull vore skäl att du började med skolan igen, så du ändå hinner vara tillsammans med henne en liten rid innan hon gifter sig och du börjar hata hennes stackars man. Vad säger om mitt förslag? (Dear child, panted Marilla, as soon as she could speak, you can certainly sit and make things up! But, perhaps, for safety's sake it would be better to go back to school again, so that you have a chance to spend time with her before she gets married and you start hating her poor husband. What do you say about my suggestion?)

This departure from the original annoys me not only because it skips the fun quote about borrowing trouble, but because it had only been a couple of pages since Marilla resolved to follow Mrs. Lynde's advice about not mentioning School to Anne again till Anne mentioned it herself. There is no way Marilla would have ever said the bit about going back to school here!

(Edited to add, I can't even complain to the translator--according to Wikipedia she died 4 years before my father was born...)
kareina: (me)
I know that one of the best ways I can improve my Swedish pronunciation and ability to understand spoken Swedish as well as I can read it is to listen to audio books at the same time as I read it. However, life is busy, and making time to actually sit down and do that hasn't been very high on the priority list, given how many other interesting things there are to d. Besides, I have a strong preference for just picking up a book without the bother of trying to find the correct place on the recording where I last paused it, to say nothing of the ability to read as fast as I like when not listening to a recording, or being able to stop and look up a word if I need to, without needing to hit the pause button.

Be that as it may, today I have finally picked back our copy of Röde Orm by Frans G. Bengtsson (there is an English translation available called "The Longships" if anyone is interested) and started listening to and reading it again. The last time I made time for this was September, when I made it to the end of chapter 3. Just now I made it to the end of chapter 5. With luck I will keep making time for this--the story is interesting (about a boy who sets of a Viking (not exactly of his free will) and the adventures he has, and finally learning how sounds map to letters will do me in good stead. Only 12 more chapters to go...
kareina: (stitched)
Very soon after moving to Sweden they explained to me that in Swedish vowels are either long or short, depending on if they are next to a single or double consonant. For example: väg (road) vs vägg (wall). This is a concept I have had problems with ever since. In part because I don't really hear much difference between them, and in part because I have a bitch of a time remembering which is which, since they look and sound so much alike to me.

This morning [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar finally helped me to distinguish these two words from one another. Now there are just all of the other 100s (or 1000?) of pairs to learn to tell apart.

The useful clue here is that while the vowels are, supposedly, short vs long, in reality most Swedes use pretty much the same number of beats per second to pronounce both of them, unless they are emphasizing the difference for non-Swedes, so "length" as I understand the word, doesn't really come into play. However, they do, in fact, change their pronunciation.

In this case the "ä" in vägg is pronounced nearly the same as the "e" in the American pronunciation of the English words "egg" and "elephant". This can be remembered because walls are convenient places to attach hooks to, and one normally needs more than one hook on a wall, so, just like the elephant's two tusks (which are also convenient hooks upon which to hang things) the word needs both "g"s (and their descending hooks) to show that this is the word for wall and not the word for road (in which the "ä" is pronounced more like the "a" in the American pronunciation of the English word "apple" (which, not surprisingly, is not at all pronounced like as the "ä" in the Swedish word "äpple", which, since it has two "p"s next to it, takes the same pronunciation as "vägg").

Now, if I can only remember this long enough to use the correct one, with the correct pronunciation, in casual conversation, and correctly recognize them if someone else happens to use them...

hos vs hus

Jun. 7th, 2014 11:58 pm
kareina: (stitched)
Some things take longer to notice than others. I learned fairly quickly after moving to Sweden that the word "hus" means both "house" and "building" in Swedish--they don't distinguish if the building is residential or not. I have also been hearing them use the what I thought was the same word as part of a phrase that meant, so I assumed "at _X__'s house", and, since I was already ok with the word applying to many different types of buildings (even though it sounds much like our word "house"), it didn't worry me that sometimes the context clearly didn't actually include their house, but just meant with them.

It turns out that, actually, it is my hearing that is an issue (again!), and when someone says what sounded to me like "hus ___X___", they were actually saying "hos ___X___", and hos = at or with (or in or among, or about, depending on context). Oops. Funny that it has taken me 3.5 years living in Sweden to realize this, and then only because I tried to use the phrase myself in writing, and it got edited. It had to be in writing to figure out my mistake though--if I had used the phrase in speech they would have just assumed it was my bad accent that was the issue, and not realized that I was trying to say a different word than is meant to be there...


Jun. 7th, 2014 10:16 pm
kareina: (stitched)
Today we went to a gathering of musicians, held at the home of the couple who teach the nyckleharpa course. Theirs is a lovely old farm house on the Luleå river, about half way between the cities of Luleå and Boden (so about 20 or 30 minutes drive from our place). I always love visiting them, since their house and property are so beautiful, and it is even more fun when they host one of these gatherings.

Picture, if you will, a beautiful summer day with one group of five to ten musicians gathered at the porch to the house, all playing, another group of 4 to 8 musician a short way across the yard, under the trellis, also playing, another small group gathered inside the house to play, in the room that is furnished authentically for when the house was built, sometime in the 1800's, and other small groups scattered here and there for conversation or yet more music.

I set my hammer dulcimer up inside, in that beautiful old fashioned room, and spent a the first couple of hours after we arrived with it, either playing or, more often, showing it to others and encouraging them to try playing it. Most people had never seen one before, and it was fun to share it with them. Not everyone was willing to try, but most of them were. I taught one friend, who had come out with us, how to play a simple waltz on it (with the ironic name of Svara valsen). Another guy is one of those confidant musicians who knows he can play anything, and he did--I think he was making up the tune as he went, but he sat down and just started playing with confidence, and it sounded great.

I took a break from demo mode when food was served, and then spent most of the rest of the afternoon relaxing and occasionally chatting with people (and still, sometimes, taking them in to see the dulcimer and try it), and also spent a bit of time reading, and even got in a half an hour nap on a couch listening to the musicians on the porch. All and all a wonderful, relaxing day.

The only people I spoke English with all day was David and the two friends we drove out there with, and only rarely had to ask people to repeat themselves, so, clearly, my Swedish is getting better. However, my accent must still be strong, since pretty much everyone I spoke with asked me where I come from and how long I have been in Sweden. However, by the time we got back in the car to head home I was really ready for English again. I look forward to the time when it is as easy to speak Swedish as English, and wonder when it will happen. No doubt sooner if I keep making the effort.

Next weekend is the big Spelmansstämman event where our folk music group will be performing, and there will be dances in the evening. After that we only have Midsummer's dance performance, and the folk music season will be done and we can focus on the Earth Cellar. (Hopefully [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar will have time to go fetch his dad's tractor sometime between now and then.)
kareina: (stitched)
Yesterday we hosted another music night for folk in our choir. This time there were five us, and over the course of the evening between us we played two guitars, one each violin, nyckleharpa, cello, hammer dulcimer and harmonica, and we all sang. It was ever so much fun! I am getting much better at playing with other people, though I still can't play very many songs on the dulcimer. They arrived around 18:30 and we played till around 21:00, took a break, wherein I fed them some freshly baked rieska with butter I had churned from some cream just before they arrived (I, of course, ate my share when the bread came out of the oven, as I knew I wouldn't be hungry later, and who can resist rieska when it is hot?), and then we returned to playing. One of them (who had biked over) left at midnight, and the rest of us continued to play (interspersed with singing along with youtube videos of songs we might want to add to our repertoire) till nearly 02:00. We agreed to do it again next Friday :-)

Today's home improvement project was hanging a large white board cabinet on the wall in the living room. On of the businesses where [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar was fixing computers last week was tossing it out, so he brought it home. This is one of those things which would have been in a conference room, with a white board on the inside of the cabinet, the doors are lined in cork so things can be tacked to it, there are rings inside one door for hanging notebooks from, and a holder on the other for a pad of paper. We think it will be useful for designing projects together. And we couldn't hang musical instruments on that wall anyway, since it is an outside wall.

This week I had a couple of days of additional work: getting cold feet in the name of science. Some researchers at the uni who do things with winter research had a project to test a variety of winter shoes and anti-slip devices, so they put out a call on the uni email list looking for people in the 40 to 60 year old age range to be the test subjects--we would get paid for our time and they provided lunch and fika. So I volunteered. They had originally planned to do this back in March, and I participated in the first part of the project there, wherein they did tests of our balance and how quickly we walk on clean, dry, indoor surfaces. However, we had really weird weather in March, and it turned out not to be possible to do the walking on ice tests, because it wasn't cold enough to make ice. (This is the first March on record where it was not.) So instead they booked time at an indoor ice arena, but the earliest time that wasn't already booked wasn't till this month.

Inside the ice rink the air temperature is between -5 and -10 C, so we needed to dress warmly. The tests consisted of a set of 40 different anti slip devices or shoes that we were each to try in turn (they had prepared lists for each of us as to which number we should test in what order to make certain that no one had to wait for the one they wanted to use next). For each of the anti slip devices they timed us to see how long it took to put it on, and we had to record if it was "difficult" "a little hard", "kind of easy", or "easy" to put on. Then we did the walking tests, with half of us wearing mobile phones strapped to our ankles that would measure our movement patterns. I was one of that group, so for me each walking test started with the man kneeling at my feet, activating the program for the next recording session, then I would walk the ten meters along the clean ice track, stop, turn around, then start back quickly, stop after two steps, back up to the start line again, then walk "as fast as possible" back to the beginning (the latter to simulate traffic issues). Then we repeat that on track of snow on top of ice (man made snow in this case, since we have none left here (unless you count a few shady places where it had been plowed up into piles). Repeat again on a plain concrete track, and once final time on a packed snow surface. Then time how long it takes to take off the device and record our thoughts on the advantages and disadvantages of that device on each surface. It took all day Tuesday and half a day Wednesday to test all of them.

There are an amazing number of uncomfortable things one can attach to the bottom of one's shoes to prevent one sliding on the ice. A few of the devices we tried were actually comfortable. Since it was so cold while we worked (expect for when we were outside for the packed snow--even though it has cooled down again since the unseasonably warm weather we had in April, it is still above zero) I wound up eating nearly twice as much over the course of the day than I normally do (and I really doubt that my weight will go up as a result).

Tomorrow is folk dance, Monday I have Swedish class and a meeting with my Master's student, and Tuesday is the first day of the national exam to be done with the Swedish for immigrants course.
kareina: (stitched)
The weekend has been full of acquiring supplies for working on the walk way and earth cellar in progress, and the walk way is now 3/4 of the way complete (it was only 1/3 of the way done when the snow started falling last autumn and we had to stop work for the winter. I truly enjoy working on these project, and finding good stone cheap and free bricks is happy-making. Would love to elaborate on how things are going, but it is pretty much time to get ready for folk dancing tonight, and tomorrow night is nycklharpa, Tuesday is choir, Wednesday is our traditional spring choir performance for spring, Thursday the choir members who feel for it come here to do instrumental music (+/- singing), and I many not get another chance to post with all that going on.

But I am probably soon done with my Swedish for Immigrants Course--my teacher wants me to take the National Exam to end it on 13 and 14 May. I am looking forward to that, since I love tests, and I would like the extra time I will get not going to school, but, on the other hand, I am enjoying the classes, too...
kareina: (stitched)
It has been nearly two years since I started keeping track of where/when I go for walks/cycling/skiing/etc using Runkeeper. During the 20 months for which I have records I have only exceeded 100 km in a month on seven different occasions. This month is only nine days old, and already I am over 75 km. What a difference it makes having a 8 km one way trip to get to class. When I first started the Swedish for Immigrants course I was driving in, since 8 km is really too far to walk for a class that starts at 08:15, especially when I already have too much to do and not enough time to do it. However, as soon as the spring was far enough along that the plows pushed back the snow berms from the edges of the road I have been taking my tricycle in, and I like that much better than driving. The down side is that, often, when I get home I just want a nap, instead of having energy to work straight away. Though that could be as much from my tendency to stay up rather later than I should as from the fact that I am not used to pedaling 8 km at a time twice a day. Imagine what the log would look like if I actually made it to class every day!

Somehow Tuesdays has turned out to not be a good day for making it to class. The first Tuesday in March class was canceled in favour of an open-air day when everyone was meant to gather in a park and try winter activities and eat semlor and/or sausages. However, I didn't bother to go, since I am not fond of driving and had never been to the park before and had no idea where I would have parked the car if I did. Ever since then something has come up to prevent me going on Tuesdays. Once I was sick, other times I had meetings or needed to work on my paper, or just plain needed to sleep in. It is starting to feel silly.

On the other hand, other than the week I had a cold and missed three days of classes I have been very good about attending the other days of the week. As a result my Swedish is improving, and I have been making good progress on various sewing projects. It will be interesting to see how long I stick with the program--if I wind up with a day job I will have to stop, but even if I don't, once the weather is warm enough to start working on the earth cellar again I expect my priorities will shift.

Those of you who have been paying attention will know that spring has come early to northern Sweden. However, it has also stayed spring for a very long time. Even now, after weeks of temperatures mostly above freezing (though rarely getting as high as 10 C), there is still a fair bit of residual snow/ice in our field and sections of our yard. I suspect that the pathetic attempt at winter this year is the reason the snow/ice is sticking despite the warmth--every time it snowed it was followed by warmth and rain, but only enough to melt part of it and then re-freeze it, until we were left with a very solid crystalline mass that kept getting denser and denser. Now that very density is permitting large areas to stay whiteish, so all of these bright sunny days we have been having are brighter and sunnier than one might expect.

Even so there has been a fair bit of melting/thawing (aided by some regular ice-chopping on my part) along our walkway, and the paving stones we put in last autumn are once again exposed, and I am wishing I had had time to finish the whole project, instead of getting the cobblestones set around only half of the walkway. Now I need to be patient until the ground along the rest of it thaws enough that I can finish the job.

The other day I saw a post to the Kingdom email list saying that no one had bid to host the Kingdom University in November, and asking some group to please step forward. So I posted a copy of the note to the Frostheim facebook group and asked if anyone knows of an appropriate site in this area, since I certainly don't. It has been four years since I moved to Drachenwald and I have yet to manage to travel to a Kingdom University event--perhaps we can get it to travel to me. However, if we want to make it happen we need to be quick--they need a bid by Monday, and I am told that at least a group in ID is also interested. A few people have suggested potential local sites and are calling them. It will be interesting to see if anything comes of it.
kareina: (me)
Yesterday evening [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar found an ad on line for a one year old washing machine that they only wanted 800 SEK for (£74.31, or, $123 US). To which I said "what is wrong with it?". So he called them, and told them that he saw the ad and then he said words which literally translates to "that is a very good price", and I realized that was Swedish for "what is wrong with it?". Clearly the guy on the other end of the phone understood that too, since his reply was "We bought a bigger one and this one is in the way".

The timing of this find is perfect, since we had only just noticed the day before that the washer which came with the house has started leaking. Not much, but it is clearly a "needs maintenance" sign, and the bearings were starting to sound like they needed more oil. Not only that, but yesterday evening was the day his dad came round to our place with the workbench that his brother didn't want anymore but will be a welcome addition to our shop, so after unhooking the trailer (he plans to leave it here while he heads to the mountains for a few days, during which time we can unload the work bench, and then fill the trailer with the debris from tearing out the floor from the downstairs room and he will haul it off to the tip for us when he gets back, since neither of us have the correct sort of driver's licence to haul such a large trailer) they took dad's jeep to fetch the new washer (which wouldn't have fit into our car), and I celebrated by washing a load of laundry.

I wound up staying home from school most of this week--I came down with a cold on Monday morning. Not a serious one--I had a slight sore throat for a couple of days and a bit of the sniffles, but I was low energy and it is kinder to my classmates not to share the virus--just because it didn't cause me major problems doesn't mean that the next person would be so lucky. Luckily I was feeling better today, because Thursdays are reading class. Our current book is one that is needed for more than one class, and there are only a few copies of it available, so she isn't letting us keep them after class so we can read ahead. Instead we only have the time during class when we take turns reading out loud, with pauses in between to answer questions about words we don't understand and discussing the plot twists as they occur. Clearly this is not a class I want to miss! It would be painful to show up next week and jump into the story a chapter or three after I left off and not know what happened.

Despite the cold (he got it too, but kept going to work all week anyway), we still managed to finish ripping out the floor and started the process of cleaning out the mold from the concrete under it. Eventually, that room will be usable again.
kareina: (stitched)
Yesterday, for the first time since I started reading/listening to Gösta Berlings saga, I opted not to do the reading/listening first thing when I sat down to the computer, but instead chose to work first on my report, which is finally getting close to done. I managed to get it to the point of sending a draft off to my colleague at the mine around the same time [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar got home from work, so I turned off the computer and we went off to his parent's house because his mother needed some computer help, and we hadn't seen them in a while. After we had been driving about 20 minutes I realized that I hadn't done my reading, and hadn't thought to bring the book. Oops.

We had a nice visit, but didn't start home till around midnight, so I didn't make it to bed till after 1, and was not feeling in any shape to drive across town for my SFI course when the alarm went off this morning. So I decided to stay home. Today's course is "Hör", where we listen to a recorded conversation and then answer questions about it. Therefore I decided to create my own course from my reading/listening. First I just sat down and listened to the last part of the chapter I had been in the middle of reading the day before. Then I found a copy of the book on line and opened it to that chapter (10) and started reading it again from the beginning. This time, however, instead of just listening/reading straight through I paused often to copy-paste words I didn't know into a Word document and look them up in an on-line dictionary, and at each major plot point in the story, I wrote a question in Swedish about what was happening, and then answered it. When I was done with the chapter I then wrote a short summary of it, and finally emailed the lot to my teacher. Total time elapsed for all of this: 4 hours, 37 minutes! But I am quite confidant that I understand this chapter!

For your amusement, here follows all of that homework, in Swedish. (If you can't read Swedish, google translate does a tolerable job with this--I know because I used it to check for (and eliminate) places where I had typed a similar word to the one I actually wanted.)

Kapitel 10 Unga grevinnan )

day 8

Mar. 7th, 2014 04:02 pm
kareina: (stitched)
Today I listened to 05:05:55 of the audio book, which leaves me ready to continue from the second to bottom paragraph on page 139 of Gösta Berling's saga. I am not certain I will ever *like* audio books (growing up with a hearing problem means that I *want* to see the speaker and read their lips), I think that it is totally worth doing this in terms of my actually learning how the sounds of Swedish relate to the printed words...

However, I am not certain I will ever get used to the fact that the two letter word "De" is pronounced as though it contained all three of these letters: "Dom"

some highlights of our story so far )
This is where I paused the book today, grateful that my dad wasn't mad like hers is, and grateful that I do not live in a time when women are property and men are the only ones with any rights.
kareina: (stitched)
Day three of Gösta Berlings saga: listened to audio book to 1:55:41, which is the end chapter 3 (page 55). Three days reading, and better than 30 minutes listening/reading every day--goal is on track.

Day four of reading/listening to Gösta Berlings saga got me to 2:32:17 in the audio book, which is the end of chapter 5 (p 72).

Day 5 of reading/listening to Gösta Berlings saga: to 03:16:28 on the audio books is the end of chapter 6, p 92. So for not only making time to listen/read every day, but also exceeding the 30 minute at a time goal....
kareina: (me)
I have now listened to 01:08:26 on the audio book of Gösta Berlings saga while reading along in the book to the bottom of page 34. our story so far )
kareina: (me)
The other day at my Swedish for Immigrants course my teacher asked a few of us students if we would go talk to the rector about how we felt about the program--what was working and what they could do better. I was the newest student in the group, since this is only my third week of class, but, since I tested into the highest level the school offers I was able to participate in the conversation, which took place only in Swedish.

I was the last student to speak--the others spoke of things they and their classmates had discussed about what they did and didn't like in the program. I haven't been around long enough to have gotten involved in such discussions with my classmates, but I did have one thing I would like to see done just a little differently. Reading Class. (my mother will not be surprised to hear this one--ask her to tell the story some time about how and why the way the school I went to Second Grade for changed their approach to reading class.)

I love the format of our reading class--we sit around a (round) table and take turns reading a couple of paragraphs, and then we pause to discuss what we just read, explain (in Swedish) any words one or more of us didn't already know, and be certain we all understand, and then the next person reads. Sometimes, when the word is extra hard to pronounce, the teacher helps us with the pronunciation. So, what is the problem? The books are too easy! They have us reading "LättLäst" brand books, which are books designed to be very easy reading--very simple, straight forward sentences, without subordinate clauses or more than one adjective. Only a few sentences per paragraph, and no idioms for clever turns of phrase.

This is a good thing for helping to build student confidence if reading on one's own, but, I think it is too easy for this format of reading. If we are reading them out loud with someone to help explain what it all means I think it would be worth reading quality writing, and learning how Swedish *should* sound, when we get good at it. At least occasionally. So I mentioned this idea to our rector, and also confessed that there may not be so many of us who would like this, but I think it would be "jatte roligt om vi kunde läsa riktig literature".

The very next day was reading class, and, at first, it was only the teacher and I, so I talked to her about this idea, and she said that we don't have such a course at SFI, but they have them at the University and encouraged me to take them, then she took me to the library and found me a book my a noble prize winning author, Selma Lagerlöf called Gösta Berlings saga to check out.

Later in the day, in another conversation with someone else the topic of listening to audio books while reading the text to help me get better at Swedish pronunciation and actually recognizing words that I know to read when I hear them. So we looked on line and found a place where we could download an audio version of the book. They say that the audio version takes 14 hours to play, and the library says I can have the paper version for 4 weeks. Therefore, if I listen to it and read along in the book for at least 30 minutes every day, I will finish the book before it is due.

Today was day on on this goal, and I can report that the mid-chapter interlude on page 18 of chapter two falls at the 30:23 point on the recording. The plan is to listen/read every day till I finish the book wish me luck.

and a quick summary of what has happens so far behind the cut where those of you who don't want spoilers don't have to read it )
kareina: (stitched)
The lovely snow (mostly blown in drifts, not so much fresh fall, mind you) of the weekend was doomed. Monday the temperatures went above zero. Exactly how high isn't certain (though my car claimed +8 on the start of the drive home from my Swedish class), but high enough for there to be deep puddles on all the roads and slush or ice, or both, on all the walkways. This not-so-lovely set of conditions has lasted all week--this morning was the coldest day all week, with temps of +2 when I woke up.

The one real downside of this weird months-too-early to be spring weather is that while I have been good about waking up early enough so that I can go for a decent walk before my morning class starts, I have only been going for short walks, because the icy pathways and roads are just no fun for walking.

The upside of that is that instead I have done extra sessions on the SFI computers playing with the program wherein it says a word and I am supposed to spell it. I am pleased to report that I am finding spelling in Swedish to be easier than in English--while there are a few weird sounds I just can't pronounce yet, compared to English the letters (or, in many cases pairs or triplets of letters, since changing the vowel which follows a consonant can have profound effects on the way the consonant is pronounced) are remarkably consistent in how they sound, so that one really can "sound out words", like they used to tell me to do in school when I was little, but which never worked for me. Now, in Swedish, it does.

I continue to be very happy that I am able to take advantage of the SFI program--yes, it takes a huge chunk of time, but it is making such a difference in my ability to converse and write in Swedish.

I am also enjoying working with my Master's student. We have been looking at his rock samples this week--my they are pretty! I love garnets.

In other news, we have finally, once again, decided which settings to go with for my modeling, and I have begun re-doing all of the figures showing the results. Hopefully that will be done soon and I will be able to return, again, to the writing part. The end of this project is in sight. Blurry from where I stand, but I can see it.
kareina: (me)
This week was the first week of my Swedish for Immigrants Course. but before I get to how it went, let me re-cap the diagnostic test I took before the course started )

The way this program works is that the school is set up to make it possible for everyone to take the course half time--no matter if the rest of your life gives you mornings or after lunch free. They have five different classes Mentorstid (mentor's time, which meets Mondays starting at 08:15, or Thursdays at noon) Hör (hearing/listening, which meets Tuesdays starting at 08:15, or Fridays at noon), Skriv (writing, which meets Wednesdays starting at 08:15, or Thursdays at 14:00), Läs (reading, which meets Thursdays starting at 08:15, or Wednesdays at 14:00), Gramatik (Grammar, which meets Fridays starting at 8:15, or Mondays at 14:00). In addition to all of that there is Stuga/handledning (home room/tutoring, which meets every morning at 10:00 (save Mondays, which has a double dose of Mentorstid), or at all times in the afternoon that isn't taken by something else.

Monday's class )

Tuesday's class )

Wednesday's class )

Thursday's class )

Friday's class )

I will have to go into detail about how the tutoring sessions go on another occasion, since I have been reading email/LJ followed by typing for 2.5 hours now, and am tired. Time for yoga and bed! (Remind me to mention last night's couch surfers from Finland on their way to Stockholm for a yoga conference on another occasion, too. Oh, wait, that might count...)
kareina: (stitched)
Thanks to a conversation I had a 12th Night, where I found out that the Swedish for Immigrants (SFI) course that the government offers is actually a much better an more intensive course than the Swedish for Beginners course the Uni offers (and which I have taken), I have actually made the effort to track down the (SFI). (I tried sending an email (in English) asking about it back in August of 2011, when I first got a resident visa to live in Sweden, but never got a reply, and, as it turned out, I wouldn't have been able to make time in my schedule then for the course due to other obligations.) This time I found the same pdf document on SFI on line as I had discovered back in 2011, but this time I decided to send my email of inquiry as to when and where the course meets in Swedish, and I got a reply!

After exchanging a number of emails (all in Swedish) I am registered to take the next course, and just awaiting an opportunity to take the diagnostic test, so that they can determine which level course I should attend. I was slightly disappointed when she said that the next chance for the diagnostic test was next Tuesday, since I am also taking a GIS course this semester (since it wasn't an option for me to take such a course when I was a student, and the class was under-enrolled compared to what they were hoping for, so they are happy for post docs to sit in, too), and that class meets at the same time (and very different location) as that diagnostic test. However, the woman I have been corresponding with about the SFI course said that it wasn't a problem and that there would be other opportunities to take the test in February and she would get back to me to let me know when they were.

Then, this morning, I got an email from the GIS teacher letting me know that he has had a schedule conflict come up, and that Tuesday's course has been rescheduled. So I promptly forwarded the message to my contact for the Swedish course and asked if it was too late to sign up for the diagnostic test on Tuesday. She wrote back and said that it will be fine, so in just a few more days I will learn just how much Swedish I have really managed to absorb in three years living in this country. It will be interesting to see how I go with the course--four hours a day is way more time/effort than I have ever put into learning Swedish; I bet that after the first session my poor brain will be full, but I also suspect/hope that it will become easier with practice.
kareina: (stitched)
Back in the summer of 1989 I attended the Oslo International Summer School, where I took a class in basic Norwegian. One of the things I still remember from that class was a children's song. That song also exists here in Sweden, and I find it interesting to compare the two different versions. Since I am not the only person here on LJ who enjoys looking at language, I thought I would share:

The Norwegian version is:

Der bor en baker

Der bor en baker I Østre Aker
There lives a baker in east Aker
Han baker kringler og julekaker.
he bakes pastries and Yule cakes
Han baker store han baker små
he bakes large, he bakes small
Han baker noen med sukker på.
he bakes some with sugar on

Og i hans vindu står rare saker,
and in his window stand wonderful things
Tenk hester, griser og pepperkaker.
think: horses, pigs, and spice cookies
Og har du penger så kan du få,
and if you have money you can have some
Og har du ikke, så kan du gå.
and if you have none, you can go

and the Swedish version:


En sockerbagare här bor i staden
a desert baker lives here in the city
han bakar kakor mest hela dagen.
he bakes cookies most of the day
Han bakar stora, han bakar små
he bakes large, he bakes small
han bakar några med socker på.
he bakes some with sugar on
Och i hans fönster hänga julgranssaker
and in his window hang Christmas things
och hästar, grisar och pepparkakor.
and horses, pigs, and spice cookies
Och är du snäller så kan du få
and if you are sweet/kind/nice you can have some
men är du stygger så får du gå!
but if you are bad/misbehaving you may leave

I am amused to see how alike some of the lines are--only the spelling of those words changes as one crosses the border, but other bits are totally different. I wonder if it is a sign of cultural difference that in Norway one needs cash in hand to get holiday cookies, but in Sweden just being a good kid will get you them.

Wow, three posts in one day, one can tell that [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar is on his computer this evening. I often think of that many things to say, but it is rare these days that I actually sit down and type them. (If you saw only two you aren't on that filter; ask if you want to be.)
kareina: (stitched)
Back when I first moved to Sweden I took the intro to Swedish course at the Uni, but, since I moved here in January of that year I was only able to take classes till the end of the school year (May), and the sequence stopped--the Uni assumes that the students in the course starting in January are exchange students who leave in May. Therefore I needed to wait till the following January before I could take the next course in the sequence.

Note that in my case, I did leave the country in June to apply for my visa, so it was just as well that the next class wasn't available straight away, but it would have been nice if I could have taken it in that August. However, as it turned out, by that January I had started my job at uni, and I did a fair bit of travel for work that semester, so I didn't make it to all of the classes, and didn't progress as well as I would have liked. In addition there was a different teacher than I had had to start with, and I didn't click as well with her.

Therefore I never signed up for the next course in the series, and have been "learning" Swedish by reading books (that I have already read in English) and talking with [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar in Swedish (when we remember to do so). This has resulted in some progress, but, as I tend to tell people "Jag kan prata svenska, men jag kan inte säger någonting intersant." (I can speak Swedish, but I can't say anything interesting.)

However, this week a friend of mine who is learning French (having moved to France to do her PhD) told me about a web page she had found which has language lessons available in a variety of languages. I have been happily playing with the free intro lessons available in Swedish (like any good pusher, they assure you that the first hit is free!) ever since. My plan is to exhaust ALL of the free intro lessons in Swedish before I pay for a subscription to the full lessons. In part because we leave for Double Wars next Thursday, and I won't be back for ten days thereafter. I see no point in paying for time for lessons if I won't be home to take them.

However, I have so enjoyed the lessons I have had so far that I do plan on paying for the full set. Some of the lessons even have voice recognition, and it makes me say the word over several times if the computer doesn't recognize my first few attempts. Perhaps, someday, I will speak Swedish to a Swede and have them reply with something other than "What"? (never "Vad?", if they don't understand what I said they ask in English...)
kareina: (Default)
I used to read all the time, back before I started my PhD. I kind of thought that when I finished it I would return to reading all the time. Then I moved to Sweden and created a rule for myself "No fiction in English, only in Swedish*". This is doing good things for my ability to read Swedish, but it is much slower going. [livejournal.com profile] blamebrampton just posted reviews of the Books she read in February of this year. She read nearly as many in that month as I have read all this year. More if you count the fact that a couple of books I finished this year were actually started last year.

So, what have I managed to finish? So far it is mostly things I have read before in the English version:

Liftarens Guide till Gallaxen )

Anne på Ingelside )

Familjen Robinson )

Huset vid Plommonån )

Vid Silversjöns Strand )

Liten Stunden på Prarienen )

At this point I am able to read in Swedish for much longer at a session, and am sometimes resenting the fact that I have to put the book down to do other things. Indeed, I am only six days into the current book (Gyllande År, av Laura Ingals Wilder), and I am 2/3 of the way through it, so I am hopeful that while the year's reading got off to a slow start it will creep up towards a reasonable number before the end of the year. I will try to remember to report my progress now and then...

*OK, I confess, that I am reading aloud Patrick Rothfus's The Name of the Wind to [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar, even though we only have it in English, but reading aloud isn't the same as reading for oneself, and it is taking us months to go through it, and not just because it is a HUGE book...


kareina: (Default)

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