Svengelska bloggen

Svengelska bloggen

Om bloggen/About the Blog

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...

Elektriker

Teknik/TechnologyPosted by Gunvor 2011-12-06 21:38:59

Elektriker is ’electrician’, both derived from Latin electricus ‘electric’. The word was created in the 17th centuary from electrum, Greek elektron, 'amber', to describe substances which, like amber, "attract other substances when rubbed" (like a cat;-)) . Since then the import of the word has grown with the increase of knowledge about the phenomenon, and an electron has come to mean a negatively charged fundamental particle circling the nucleus of an atom.

Amber, probably from Arabic anbar, is a beautiful word for beautiful things but it has been taken over from something else: an oily bad-smelling stuff spewed up from the stomach of the sperm whale floating around in the Indian ocean and after some years hardening into greyish lumps. Doesn’t sound very nice, but it has been used in perfumes thousands of years, and is very rare and expensive. This is called ambra in Swedish. In English it is now called ambergris, borrowed from Old French ambre gris ‘gray amber’ to distinguish it from ambre janue‘yellow amber’ from the Baltic which now has taken over the English word amber.

The Swedish word for amber is bärnsten, borrowed from Low German bernsten ’stone that can burn’. Rav is the name in Swedish dialects, Danish and Norwegian, from Old Norse raf. From this comes radband, originally ravband, ‘rosary’.

(Picture taken on November 7.)