new words

Every morning, I get emails from two, Swedish, computer magazines. I’ve been subscribed to those for ten years or more. Every now and then I find some interesting articles there and it keeps me updated on what’s going on in the computer-world there.

The other day, I read about a new app for storing files in the cloud. I thought the name of it was clever [younited] so I checked it out. One sentence in the article really stood out; «the service is hosted in Finland». Now … this being a Swedish magazine, it was obviously written in Swedish … they couldn’t come up with a good, Swedish word for «hosted», so they took the English word and put a Swedish ending/suffix to it. That turned out to be «hostad». If I look at the word ‘hostad’ without any context at all, it would mean ‘coughed’.

Languages are always evolving, and that’s just fine, but with the addition of the Internet in our lives, it has happened so FAST! I started noticing this already 1996, at work … probably earlier … that all of a sudden we used words [in Swedish] like ‘default’, ‘purge’ and ‘backslash’.

I had this word ‘hosted’ in the back of my mind, yesterday, when I came across something in the very same magazine … someone brought up the word ‘smartphone’ … what it should be called in Swedish, and an endless discussion ensued. It was quite interesting to read it, especially as I’ve been away from the language for almost ten years. I think that fact, that I’ve been away, makes me more conservative and I tend to think that certain words look ‘ugly’! They take the English word and spell it the way it’s pronounced, i.e. ‘mail’ turns into ‘mejl’ … ‘like’ would be ‘lajk’. Even worse … since most people nowadays, are on Facebook, ‘like’ has somehow turned into a verb, so I’ve seen ‘lajka’ written in Swedish. Would be interesting to see what they do with a «Facebook word» like ‘unfriend’ 🙂

Then we have the Swedish Language Board … they sit there and make decisions about what words should be ‘adopted’ and how they should be spelled. I recall, many years ago, when they tried to make the Swedes write the word ‘juice’ as ‘jos’… It doesn’t really matter what they decide …people do what they want with it anyway … ‘jos’ never flew 😀

Whether I like it or not … this won’t go away, so I might as well ‘lajk’ it! 🙂 You know … «accept what you cannot change» and all that!


26 thoughts on “new words

  1. A great a read.

    Personally, I favour ‘first past the post’ – in other words, whoever gets there first with a new word – others in every language can follow.

    From my limited knowledge of other languages it is French that seems to hold out for the most home-derived ‘translations’ of new words. And Hebrew tends to look back to the bible to reinvent new words for modern usage. My favourite Hebrew adaptation is not from the bible, though, It is the word for the ‘@’ sign in email addresses. The Hebrew is ‘strudel’. Can you get the connection? 😉

    1. Yes, and there are so many words in the Swedish language from French! That fact came up in the forum that I was reading, several times … words, that the average Swede would never reflect upon as a borrowed word! I, myself, didn’t either, until I came to live in Quebec.

      ‘Strudel’ …that’s wonderful! 🙂 The Swedish word for @ is[snabel-a], refers to the trunk [=snabel] of the elephant .

  2. I have been looking from this side of Øresund what is happening in Sweden with different words ( almost all of them American, even not English). It seems that Sweden is much more protective about their own language- what I find is good. Here we are not at all worried or hesitant about using many American words. All PC words as an example. Often the words are spelled in the original way, and not as it is done in Sweden. Here we go in on FB and liker something LOL.
    There has been attempts to change spelling of many words, but not always with a lucky outcome.
    The word mayonnaise was spelled majonæse, awful and ugly, now its back to basics so to say.
    These changes go very fast not at least because many TV programs and films are American, adverts and so on.
    On the other site, it has always been like this in Denmark. Before WWII it was German, many of our words are of German origin, if not French, italian or latin.
    No its not possible to stop it or change it, here we say: If you cant beat them, join them LOL

    1. Hej Annette,
      Interesting point of view about the spelling, and that you see Sweden as being more protective. I’ve never thought about that. In fact, I never thought about any of these issues before I lived in Quebec. When I learned about the language laws in QC, I began to think the Swedish language was going to the pits! 🙂
      To me ‘mejl’ och ‘lajk’ looks so UGLY, but then again I have no problem with ‘möbler’, ‘fåtölj’ och ‘portmonä’ because they’ve been there all the time I’ve been alive. Majonäs too! Thanks to the å, ä and ö we save a lot of letters in some cases 😀

      1. I think we eventually will loose our æ, ø and å because they cant be used in many connections in cyber. I agree with you about mejl and lajk, ugly- we write mail and we mailer to each other as we liker in FB.

        1. Yes, that might be the case in Swedish too. Ä could easily be replaced by E. The ö-sound is very close to u, but I don’t know what they’d do with it in writing … not å either..

  3. Many times, here in Canada, there’s no attempt to even change a word; it’s simply adopted as it is… I don’t know how many times I’ve overheard bits – be it Québécois in Ottawa (bilingual friends have called it
    Franglais since high school, so it’s nothing new) or Mandarin in the GTA – where a food item [hot dog] or tech term [Facebook] suddenly pops out of the conversation like a helium balloon out a child’s fist.
    Perhaps it’s because we’ve always been a nation of immigrants and using words from other languages are not considered foreign, but only common-place; words like: bannock, mukluks, toboggan, touque, fragile, poutine, escargot, tourtière, pierogies, sauerkraut, yogourt…

    1. I knew almost all of those words 🙂

      In certain suburbs of Stockholm, Sweden, where most of the immigrants/refugees live, a kind of pidgin Swedish has developed.

  4. Since arriving in France in September I’ve been astounded at the number of English words being used and all of them have French counterparts. It’s just plain weird to see or hear words like “self-wash” or “manager” or “email”. but the best was a TV show about home renovations and the contractor offered to “customizé” the kitchen. I keep telling folks that ten years from now Québec will have become the guardian of the French language. I realize a lot of this has to do with the influx of American TV and advertisement but, frankly, it’s also just plain lazy, imho!

      1. only in their own minds! Well, to be fair they’ve done a terrific job of doing away with so much English in the language. used to be all car parts were English, like le windshield, les brakes etc. While Quebec is conscious of using French words, France is using more and more English ones. it’s pretty weird.

        1. Swedish is only spoken in Sweden, so there I can’t compare that way.
          Quebec has all the laws and an authority to protect the French language, and I think they’re doing a great job with that. Now, I’ve been away from there for five years, but still I listen to G. when he’s talking with the lads and I don’t heat them using even the word ’email’.

          There are times, where you just can’t find a good solution in Swedish, like that example I gave about «the service is hosted in Finland». That word ‘hosted’, would take a whole new sentence to express in correct Swedish. I still think ‘hostad’ looks stupid, though 🙂

          1. hostad looks like it should be a Spanish word. Yeah, the annoying thing, here in France, is there are proper French words for all the English words they use. Like courriel for email. and so on.

            1. I can see using the original
              word, but only if there isn’t an equivalent… (Y’know, the old “lost in translation” thing; )

              1. Both Finland and German have been known for being very restrictive in importing words … they have Finnish resp. German words for telephone, for example. I don’t know if this is still true for these two countries … not to mention Iceland … but I’ve heard at least Germany is loosening up a bit. They’d still say Fernsprächer for phone, though, of course..

          2. You know, I missed the reference to car parts the first time, but now I’ve got an answer… There was a General Motors plant in St. Thérèse prior to Free Trade and the language of assembly was imported with the vehicles, naturally, from the United States.

    1. Funny you should mention about Québec being Guardian of the French language… I recall hearing on Peter Gzowski’s Morningside – when Ashley MacIsaac and the Rankin Family were heard across the country – that the purest Gaelic was spoken in our country; frozen in time, exactly as it’s been spoken since coming here so very long ago…
      I feel so incredibly lucky to live in a country where we, of so many different cultures, can retain our traditions and live in (relative; ) harmony.

  5. Sometimes when i read a newspaper I feel very old and starts ‘gagging’ about how they spell some words today. I wonder how much longer we are going to have o in front of some words in our part of Sweden

    1. Oh, I feel that way too … often, especially when I see «oxå» … talk about laziness!
      Since I saw your comment, I’ve tried to think which ones of the o-words that might be dialectal?! I think most of them are ‘real’ words … oknuten, omogen, okomplicerad … oi är ett skämt..jag har aldrig hört nå’n säga oi.

  6. It’s the same story here, Norwegian and Swedish being pretty close both geographically and in terms of language. When I grew up we had to write juice, but now you’re allowed to write it jus.
    When it comes to internet terms the media has started to use the word ‘strømming’ for ‘streaming’, which to me is just totally wrong and I’m pretty damn sure that it doesn’t sound good for you Swedes either!!
    What happens if the streaming is down or slow because of connection problems? Could that be considered a sur strømming?

    Some words are best left in their original language if you can’t come up with a good translation!
    The Icelandic are much better at creating good translations than the Swedes and the Norwegians.

    Example? ‘fast food’ in Icelandic? skyndibitastaðir (skyndibita).

    1. skyndibitastaðir!!! That’s beautiful!!! 🙂

      I totally agree … if you can’t find anything better, they should just be left as they are. I don’t know what the Swedes have done with ‘streaming’…but I sincerely hope they left it as streaming … «strömming» would be ridiculous … ‘strömning’ is a word that already exists, with a somewhat different meaning. Strömming, reminds me of in the beginning, when the Swedish Language Board wanted ‘webmaster’ to be called ‘nätmästare’ … that sounded just like some fisherman mending his nets LOL

      1. Yes, it’s the fish that comes in mind when I hear strømming. It sounds totally ridiculous to use it for streaming. Nätmästare could also be some sort of spider- they’re all pretty good at it.

        1. The spider … he’s the best nätmästare there is! 🙂

          I must find out what the Finns have done with all this — they’re usually pretty restrictive..

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