Svengelska bloggen

Svengelska bloggen

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I aim to use this blog to keep up my English and maybe give others some insights in Swedish language. It's not a diary - well not quite...

Dammsugare

Husgeråd/Household utensilsPosted by Gunvor 2011-10-30 15:32:35

Dammsugare is ’vacuum cleaner’ or ’hoover’. Damm is ‘dust’, earlier damm has also meant ‘vapour, ‘steam’, the English relative is damp. Both the Swedish and the English words probably derive from German Dampf, ‘vapour, Germanic *dampaz.

English dust derives from Germanic *dunstaz, German Dunst, from which comes Swedish dunst, meaning just ‘vapour’, ‘fume’. Further back is the Indoeuropean root *dheu-, also leading to Latin fumus, ‘smoke’.

Att suga is ‘to suck’, both go back to an Indoeuropean root *sug- with the same meaning.

Hoover is a trademark for a vacuum cleaner, that is also used generally for ‘vacuum cleaner’, also as a verb to hoover = ‘to vacuum’. Swedes often mix up hoover with hover ‘soar’, ‘hang suspended in air’ which is what helicopters and hummingbirds do (Swedish = ‘sväva’, ‘kretsa’).

Sax

Husgeråd/Household utensilsPosted by Gunvor 2011-10-03 23:17:15

Sax is ’scissors’, originally a plural form meaning ’the two knives’, from a common Germanic word for ‘knife’, ‘short sword’, related to Latin saxum, ‘rock’. Whether Saxons are ‘sword-bearers’ or ‘rock people’ is not clear. (Oh, and German Messer comes from Germanic *mati-sahsa – ‘meat-knife!)

Scissors come a long way via French ciseaux from Latin caedere ‘to cut’.

‘To cut with scissors’ is ‘att klippa’, a Nordic word, probably onomatopoetic, also borrowed into English as clip. The homonymous noun klippa 'rock'– English cliff - is not related. The Swedish version comes from Dutch or Low German klippe.

These are the best scissors I’ve ever had.

Stilleben

Husgeråd/Household utensilsPosted by Gunvor 2011-08-31 17:10:42

Stilleben is borrowed from German. The English term is still life, with plural still lifes. The French term is nature morte.

Fika

Husgeråd/Household utensilsPosted by Gunvor 2011-07-16 22:54:13

Fika means ‘coffee’, ‘coffee break’ and as a verb ‘to drink coffee’, 'to take a coffee break’. The common opinion is that this word was created through so-called back-slang, by reversing the letters in kaffi – ‘coffee’ in Dalecarlian dialect. This is said to have happened in the so-called Skinnarmålet, a secret language used by leather workers in Dalecarlia and later by peddlers travelling around the country.

From fika comes fik, (ett fik, fiket, flera fik, fiken)‘café’, ‘coffee house’

More about fika in Wikipedia.

(Fika efter means ‘to hanker after’; that is an unrelated word, see Nyfiken below)

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