Monday, February 27, 2006

More on Learning Swedish

I wrote earlier about my process of learning Swedish. There have been interesting points of discovery along the way. Here are a few of them:
  • During conversation I find that the Swedish word for a thing sometimes comes to mind before the English word. That most recently happened when speaking to my parents. I was looking for a word describing "people I work with". The first word that popped up was arbetskamrat, which was a better match than colleague, which took a half second or so longer to find in my ordförråd (literally, word storage, or vocabulary). I suspect this is no big deal for people with multiple languages. It probably happens often enough to not even be noteworthy. The reverse of this is even more true, unfortunately. When I am conversing in Swedish, English words pop up with distressing frequency.
  • Sometimes Swedish words lodge in my head and ricochet around without any apparent reason. Fanjunkare, or senior petty officer, as we would say, was a word doing that last week for a couple of days. The word appeared in Red Rabbit, a Tom Clancy novel translated into Swedish that Linda purchased for me in Uppsala a year ago. This book is a result of my sister's suggestion that this would be a good way to pick up vocabulary (she's right). Su is fluent in English, French and Spanish, and understands bits of others, so I think she knows whereof she speaks.
  • Very early this morning, I awoke from a dream that I realized was in Swedish. It probably wasn't very literate Swedish, but I was having a conversation in Swedish.
Learning languages has always had some appeal to me, and putting serious effort into this one has been fascinating and rewarding.

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