Swedes and their dubious use of the English language

Swedes are generally good at English – but not always. Here are some funny examples people have shared with me:

A Swedish tour guide is on a study visit to an airport in the USA. Suddenly, he points up to the sky and says ‘oh look! A fish moose!’ (Seagull is ‘fiskmås’ in Swedish)

A Swedish visitor in the USA is impressed by the car he is travelling in and says ‘it must be nice to have a fart-controller in the car‘ (speed-control)

A Swedish woman wanted to explain to her English boyfriend why there were so many cars parked along the road side in a woodland area. ‘It’s bear-picking time’ she explained. (Berry)

On a sunny day in May, a conversation was overhead between a pilot and a Swedish air steward over Malmö airport. The pilot wondered what all the fields of yellow were. The steward replied ‘they’re rape fields‘. To which the pilot responded ‘oh you have special fields for that in Sweden?!‘ (it’s better to say rape seed).

A Swede and an Irishman met for the first time. The conversation went like this,

You’re not English are you?’

‘No I’m Irish’

‘Yes I could tell by your R’s’

The Irishman was confused as to how the Swede could tell this by looking at his backside. (Arse = backside in English)

A Swedish man stood at a hot dog stand in Trollhättan and was waiting for some new mashed potato to be made. Another customer arrived, who was not from Sweden. ‘You must wait for the moose’, the Swede informed him.

Two Swedish friends were drinking glögg at Skansen and they were approached by a group of tourists who wondered what they were drinking. ‘It’s warm red wine with Russians in’ said one of the Swedes. (Raisins would be the better word)

A Swedish tourist in a hotel was asked if everything was to their satisfaction. ‘It’s pretty fishy’ replied the tourist to the hotel representative’s confusion. (Pretty fishy means something is untrustworthy. The Swede wanted to say ‘fina fisken’ which means everything is really great).

And one that happened to me. When I was newish in Sweden and met my then mother in law, we were walking in Stockholm. She was telling me about the buildings in the city and she pointed at the city hall with its three crowns on the roof. ‘That’s the city hall’ she said, ‘that building with the three pricks in’. (Prick is dot in Sweden, but means penis in English).

Do you have any funny examples? Please share them with me!

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5 thoughts on “Swedes and their dubious use of the English language

  1. blockquote, div.yahoo_quoted { margin-left: 0 !important; border-left:1px #715FFA solid !important; padding-left:1ex !important; background-color:white !important; } Well, an old one:When old Skånska became international and Å changed to A. the CEO presented the logo change to the clients in London – “We have lost our prick but we’re still the same!”Many smiles and giggles was heard!

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPad

  2. Another Classic: On the opening of an international trade fair the Swedish representitive said: Welcome to this Mess! (Mässa)

  3. Saw on an interior page on Instagram a post that said along the lines of: “My lunch brick”. The writer meant to say: “My lunch tray”.

    “Bricka” in Swedish is tray.

  4. Swedes use many incorrect expressions when speaking English but because they use them so often they have become standard. It’s Swenglish. Here are two examples.
    1. Let’s take it in English (= let’s speak English).
    2. If you would have come earlier you would have seen him (= if you had come earlier you would have seen him).
    Of course, English speaking people also make horrible mistakes, but the point is that expressions like the above are “standard Swenglish”.

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