I was going to write a longer post with a lot of photos but frankly, I’ve had other stuff on my mind today. So we’re settling for one picture:
A simple but useful and seasonal word today: julpynt.Jul means Christmas (related to English yule) and pynt means… deco, I guess. A thing that is used for decoration. The word isn’t used much outside of compounds like julpynt and påskpynt (Easter deco), and there’s also a verb att pynta (to decorate). Note that this is only decoration in the sense of adding decorative items to an already decorated rooms. So the initial decoration of a room would not be called att pynta. I’d also argue that julpynt is usually a collective noun. Some people do use it in the singular for “a piece of Christmas deco” but personally I find that a bit odd-sounding.
It’s been pretty quiet here at Zero, Eight, Love, lately. I’ve had a bit of a hectic fall, and not much time or energy for blogging. Well, it’s about to get busy in here! From today until Christmas Eve, I will be posting daily in a sort of advent calendar. All the posts will be themed around Christmas in Sweden, and it’ll be a mix of post types, some Word Pantry and Music Monday posts with other things inbetween. I might even throw in a recipe or two!
I thought we’d start at the beginning, as it were, so the first post in this calendar is a Word Pantry post about…. advent calenders!
This is one of those words that’s pretty easy to understand even if you don’t know any Swedish. Advent means advent (d’uh). Kalender means calendar. The s between is a sort of genetive (which technically I think is not supposed to be there, but is there anyway because its been lexicalized that way and that rule has about a million exceptions it seems). Advent calendars, at least in Sweden, consist of 24 doors and one is opened on each day from December 1st to Christmas Eve.
I’m not very familiar with how common or uncommon advent calendars are in other countries or what the customs around them are, but without comparing here to anywhere else I can say that we’re pretty fond of our advent calendars here in Sweden. Let’s go over some of the most common kinds:
Chocolate calendars. When I was a kid, these were a must have every Christmas. Since we usually only had candy on Saturdays, it was a thrill to get a piece of candy every day for a whole 24 days. Eventually I outgrew the rather icky cheap chocolate that most kids’ chocolate calendars contain so I didn’t have one for quite a while, but a while back I discovered that the chocolate company Lindt has calenders with high quality chocolate, so last week I bought my “grown up” chocolate calendar for this year. Delicious!
Tv and radio calendars. Every year, SVT (Swedish state television) and SR (Swedish state radio) air a 24-episode advent calendar program. I never really listened to the radio one, but the TV one was a given when I was a kid. The episodes are short, usually about 15 minutes long, and vary quite a bit in style. Sometimes they’re old-fashioned Christmas stories filled with snow and candles, sometimes fairytales, sometimes comedic, sometimes more like a fantasy story etc. This year’s calendar seems to belong in the first category. I don’t watch the TV calendar too often these days, usually I check out the first episode and then decide if I’m going to keep going. I’ll probably check out the first episode or two of this year’s calendar tomorrow.
Gift calendars. My family always has a gift calendar with tiny, cheap presents (small chocolate bars and the like). My mom keeps a schedule of who gets a gift which day, though now that my brother and I don’t live at home they don’t always get opened on the right day. We hang our gifts up in the living room at my parents house, so they become part of the Christmas decorations, but I’ve seen all sorts of setups for gift calendars. Some have these sort of wallhangings featuring numbered pockets to put gifts inside, others hang up boxes or baubles filled with things in their tree.
I sort of consider these the three “main” kinds of calendars, but of course there’s many others. A few years ago, for example, I got an advent calendar for my birthday from The Body Shop, which was fun and felt very luxurious. Some stores will also have “advent calendars” with new discounts each day, which I don’t quite think counts but oh well! Some day I’d like to find a tea advent calendar. Now that would be fun!
This post turned out rather long for a Word Pantry post, but there you go! See you again tomorrow. Oh and, you should check out my main blog where I’m doing a different kind of advent calendar. Over there, I’m signal boosting marginalized creatives every day until Christmas. Today’s post is about an awesome literary magazine called Capricious! Check it out!
Today, after a period of silence, I come to you with a word that I often see on those “beautiful words from foreign languages” lists. Namely:
Beautiful, right? I need to find a reason to put this in a book one day.
The amusing thing with those lists is that they often write out the word as mangata instead of mångata. Which makes the meaning manstreet or manestreet rather than moonstreet. Not quite as poetic, I think.
Music Monday – Ingen Vill Veta Var Du Köpt Din Tröja by Raymond & Maria
I’ve been thinking for a while that one of the things that I want to do with this blog is post about some Swedish songs I like, and maybe even provide some translations of lyrics so that my non-Swedish speaking readers can enjoy the meaning of the songs as well as the sound. I know when I listen to music in a language I don’t know I always like having some idea about what the lyrics are about.
Today, for the first Music Monday, I’d like to play Ingen vill veta var du köpt din tröja by Raymond & Maria for you guys. I had planned to translate the lyrics and post them too, but I discovered that the song has already been translated into English by the original musicians so I thought I’d save myself the trouble. Admittedly, I disagree a little with a couple of the translation choices but not enough to take the time to reinvent the wheel, as it were. Here is the song in the original Swedish:
I remember that when this song came out a lot of people made fun of it. There was a lot of “how silly to care whether someone wants to know where your shirt was bought!” going around. For me, that’s part of why I like the song. Because it is silly. Because it sings angst over “luxury problems”. It speaks to a very specific kind of existential crisis that I sometimes experience. The fear of being plain. Unmemorable. Unnoticable. A wallflower, a beige blur, someone whose name gets forgotten. Someone who’s entire self gets forgotten. The fear of being mellanmjölk (literaly middle milk, milk with 1.5% fat. An expression roughly equivalent to the English white bread). And I have to admit… as fears, at least realistic fears, go, this might be my biggest fear. Some day, nothing makes you feel more real than someone noticing you’ve done your nails.
So what did you think of the song? I will not be doing Music Monday every week, but just once in a while when the desire to share a particular song with the world strikes me. I hope you’ll enjoy it.
Earlier in the week dad and I were out running, just at the edge of the nature reserve that starts not 10 minutes on foot from my flat. It was almost dusk, and we were pleasantly surprised by a deer hanging out by the side of the road, just looking at us. We jogged on and discovered he was waiting for his buddy who was moving his way through the bushes.
But yeah… There’s nothing out here but concrete, right?
Hello everyone! It’s August now, and I thought I’d start August off with a new Swedish word for you:
This is one of those words that are very, very specific but sometimes just the thing you need. For example, in April-May I usually get very dagvill because there are so many red days and long weekends that end up messing up my day job schedule. Dag means day and I think that the -vill part is related to vilse which means lost (as in having lost your way, not as in being misplaced). A similar, older, word is veckovill. I used to think that meant being confused about what week it was, but apparently it means being confused about what day of the week it is so they’re synonyms. The more you know!
My neighborhood, Tensta, and similar neighborhoods tend to get a lot of crap in the media. It’s always bothered me, because I really love this place. I’ve lived here nearly 30 years, and honestly, the only think that’s ever really tempted me to move away from here and the wonderous, spacious balconies I’ve seen in the apartment complex my landlord owns in a nearby (and in many ways similar) neighborhood. Stockholm is my city and Sweden is my country but this place, Tensta, is my real, true home, where my roots have sunk deep into the ground. So I am going to make a habit of telling you all about the thing, places, people, events that make me love Tensta. It’s not meant to be a list of things that only happen here; I don’t care if the things I love are specific or general, common or uncommon, widely enjoyed or widely disliked. It is the amalgamation of all these things together that make this a place I love. But as often, I am explaining myself too much so let’s just get on with it!
Love Tensta #1:
I see two tough-looking dudes in their early 20s as I walk towards the subway. Goattees, hoodies, over-sized brand baseball caps. As I pass by them I hear one of them say: “I like bluebells. They’re pretty.”
One of the things I wanted to do on this blog is to teach you guys some Swedish words. And, suitably, I’m starting with the word ordförråd, which is the Swedish word meaning vocabulary (usually in the sense of the range of words a particular person knows, rather than the wider sense of the lexicon of a language). Ord means word and förråd means storage or inventory, like for example a basement storage unit. I’m not sure exactly why, but I tend to associate the term with the concept of a pantry (even though that’s actually called skafferi in Swedish). It’s just a nice image. A little door in your head, behind which all the words you know live on little shelves covered in gingham paper.
So, for this reason these vocabulary posts will be called The Word Pantry. Hopefully you’ll find lots of tasty morsels in it.