Good examples of colloquial Swedish....?

Moorland

Member
English - England
I'm still looking without any luck for some good examples of colloquial Swedish which don't make much sense in English, when I found this one "Sitta med skägget i brevlådan" which sounded not only odd but somewhat painful "sitting with one's beard in a letter box" as I can't think of any equivalent in English, unless Swedish postmen are always in a hurry and somehow get trapped....?
 
  • MattiasNYC

    Senior Member
    Swedish
    I'm not really sure what your question is, if you're looking for more Swedish examples or if you're looking for a decent translation that's similar... uhm… "aesthetically"...

    To me that particular phrase seems to have a slightly varying meaning. In some cases it's similar to being "in a pickle". You're obviously not physically in a pickle, you're in trouble, or maybe "stuck" in a bad situation. In other cases I find the term to imply that you're caught with 'the hand in the cookie jar". You're still stuck in a bad situation, but it's arguably more embarrassing and more importantly you got caught in the act - almost like you were trying to look into someone's home (through the mail box) or look at someone's mail and got stuck and then someone showed up while you were still trying to get out.

    Not sure if that helps... And curious to see how other Swedes view it.
     

    Moorland

    Member
    English - England
    I'm not really sure what your question is, if you're looking for more Swedish examples or if you're looking for a decent translation that's similar... uhm… "aesthetically"...

    To me that particular phrase seems to have a slightly varying meaning. In some cases it's similar to being "in a pickle". You're obviously not physically in a pickle, you're in trouble, or maybe "stuck" in a bad situation. In other cases I find the term to imply that you're caught with 'the hand in the cookie jar". You're still stuck in a bad situation, but it's arguably more embarrassing and more importantly you got caught in the act - almost like you were trying to look into someone's home (through the mail box) or look at someone's mail and got stuck and then someone showed up while you were still trying to get out.

    Not sure if that helps... And curious to see how other Swedes view it.
    Both in fact. An interesting very original and imaginative phrase making you wonder what could have given rise to it to begin with, whether it's very old and there really "was" an angry Tomte upset with some superstitious farmer at Christmas time, or quite recent given the beards that are around these days. :)

    More Swedish examples would be great, will try to find some UK ones especially Irish and Scottish....
     

    Moorland

    Member
    English - England
    One reputed to come from the 19th C. Cornish fishing industry "His face t'is as long as t'is broad" meaning someone can't be trusted....:)
     

    Sepia

    Senior Member
    High German/Danish
    I'm still looking without any luck for some good examples of colloquial Swedish which don't make much sense in English, when I found this one "Sitta med skägget i brevlådan" which sounded not only odd but somewhat painful "sitting with one's beard in a letter box" as I can't think of any equivalent in English, unless Swedish postmen are always in a hurry and somehow get trapped....?
    It seems to me you actually found one that does not make much sense in English. Congratulations. I could give you numerous metaphors in Danish, that wouldn't make any sense at all if you simply translated them.
     
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