The Swedish expression “mellan hägg och syren” really says it all. It is an expression rich in scent and joy.
I love this time of the year. Late spring (which came early this year) that promises a long, beautiful summer with endless time outdoors. The shades of green are soft and crisp; the white blossoms are abundant and simply breathtaking, and sometimes the white petals fall graciously through the air like soft snow.
It is the time “between Bird Cherry and Lilac” – “mellan hägg och syren”. The expression is said to originate from a cobbler’s sign saying his shop was closed “mellan hägg och syren”.
The Bird Cherry is in full bloom (depending on where in Sweden you are) and we are awaiting the Lilacs. Both add a wonderful scent to the gardens and the neighborhood.
Another word describing this time of the year is “försommar” – “pre-summer”
Watching TV or movies is a good way of learning a language. You
practice listening skills
you can read the subtitles to practice …
… and see spelling to understand how to connect sounds and writing.
You also learn about the culture (that is if you are watching a program made in the country of your target language), which is a significant part of learning a language.
You probably know that SVT, the Swedish Public Television, has an app and a website called SVT Play, where you can find and watch programs in every possible category. Not all are eligible though to be broadcasted outside of Sweden due to legal rights.
However this post is about SVT Språkplay. It is an app initiated by SVT, aimed at learners of the Swedish language, predominantly newly arrived, immigrants and refugees. Språkplay is only available in Sweden.
Using SVT Språkplay you get suggestions regarding what to watch as a learner. There are captions in which you can click, look up and save words according to your current level (A1-C2) of Swedish. The words are color coded; green means you know the word already, yellow is for learning right now and will also include the word in a test you can take, and red is for learning later. You can change the color of the words yourself.
The app contains 18 of the most common immigrant languages in Sweden.
February in Sweden is a month of both pleasure and pain – pleasure as in winter break (Sportlov) with possible skiing, and pain as in the month when kids apparently get sick the most – it is the peak month of parents staying at home from work to care for sick children.
The winter break is known as Sportlov, and occurs from week 7 to week 12 depending on where in Sweden you live. If the Sportlov is in February we also call it Februarilov. Week numbers? What?
Ok; back to the topic of February. Recall the sick children?
When parents take leave of absence from work to care for a sick child it is called
“Vård av sjukt barn.” = care of sick child in Swedish.
An abbreviation hereof is VAB (Vård Av sjukt Barn)
In everyday Swedish language these words have become a verb; “att vabba” = to “vabba”
“Jag måste vabba idag” means that I have to take leave of absence to care for my sick kid; well, you get the picture; we need a shorter way of saying it since a sick child leaves little room for long talks.
Remember the word februari (=the month of February) from the text above? Put together what you have learnt from the info above and you will understand why we sometimes jokingly refer to it as “vabruari”. Even if it is no joke.
And yes, I posted a photo of my tulips instead of a sick child.
3 svenska ordböcker på en gång! / 3 Swedish dictionaries at one glance
Sök ett ord på svenska och få svar i alla tre böcker. / Look up a word and it is generated in all three.
This is a handy one, and something I have been missing. I use SAOL (Svenska Akademiens Ordlista), mostly the app version, and I recommend it to my customers however there is far from always the explanation of a word that my students need. The SO provides that. It also gives you the pronunciation if you click the loudspeaker symbol. The SAOL however contains more grammar so you would want both. SAOL and SO come as apps, but using the website below gives you all three at the same time.
As an example I have typed the word “fönster” in the search field.
SAOL – en ordlista / look up a word; pronunciation, inflection and declension etc.
SO – en ordbok / a thesaurus; the meaning of a word
SAOB en historisk ordbok / a historical wordbook, origins, etymology