Saturday, January 30, 2010

Interna

We've had some more snow the last days. Sweden is very family friendly, but some restrictions do apply ;-)





This reminded me that when I was moving to Stockholm I joked the trajectory I'm on, Santa Barbara - Waterloo - Stockholm, is not good. If I continue this way, I'll get tenure in Novosibirsk. I was terribly wrong with this because Novosibirsk is in fact more south than Stockholm. No kidding. The extrapolation looks in fact like this:



Uuh-ooh. Looks more like the Siberian Islands than Novosibirsk. But of course that's all a matter of perspective.

My Swedish hasn't made significant progress. There's bits and pieces that I understand in the news on the radio. "Olycka" (accident), "kallt väder" (cold weather) "flygbombade" (air bombing). Do I really want to know more? So far I have encountered a total of two Swedes who didn't speak English, one of them an elderly lady who answered my question where to find the exit with "I love you," followed by what I believe meant "This is the only English sentence I know." I found out of the garage anyway, thus the pressure to learn Swedish is low. Only problem is the mail I receive, since I'm typically not in the mood to get a dictionary and find out what exactly it says. Such it turned out that I have happily thrown away letters containing forms about my pension fund, thinking they were advertisements. On the other hand, I received a letter from the German Society in Stockholm, kindly offering me German lessons.

In fact, many Swedes speak English so well that I, not being a native speaker myself, sometimes can't tell whether they are British or Swedish. Tale-telling though is the melody of the language. Meanwhile, my English that used to be American English with a German accent and lately some Canadian impact, threatens to pick up that melody too. The Uncyclopedia kindly offers "Eeengleesh vid de Sveeedeeesh acky-centy eees de moost hilariooos dialectas of de Eeengleeesh lengveeege." If anybody has a good advice how to get rid of the Canadian "ou" pls let me know (watch this, min 1:07, listen to "anything abOUt Newfoundland"). These two Newfoundlanders of course give you a totally wrong picture of Canada. Watch the below to see how successfully they've been working on their inferiority complex...



The Germans of course also have mounted police.

32 comments:

Arun said...

Extrapolated, you'll eventually be working for Santa Claus! :)

Anonymous said...

The song is kind of catchy ;) I now which I was Canadian !

Christine said...

Let me see: if you continue extrapolating on and on, not along a geodesic but according to "some" projection of your preference, swirling around the globe some 5 times or so, you might actually be going *down* towards the southern hemisphere in the future, so who knows-- you might end up in one of those a warm paradisiac beaches in Brazil? :) Not sure if that is good, but I suppose you are sick of snow.

It's 25.8 C here right now... I wouldn't mind some of the snow you have there, but just for a few days, of course. It never snows here of course, and you'd be alarmed to learn that I have *never* seen snow!

John said...

Haha, you should read some of the youtube comments about the "Canadian Please" song, it's quite amazing how such a harmless song can bring so much hate. Americans are complaining and saying that the US is much better than Canada, French Canadian are also complaining and saying that the rest of Canada sucks, and well Canadians are telling Americans and French Canadians to shut up and enjoy the song ...

Uncle Al said...

Your trajectory narrowly misses USSR's 50 MT Tsar Bomba hypocenter, 73°32'40"N 54°42'21"E. Wave "Hi!" as you go by.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ivan_bomb.png

OMG said...

Hi Bee,

Sorry to be off topic here, this is just in case you now consider the DIVISION BY ZERO thread closed.

Please see my late comment and proposed solution for your email problems.

Brrr (in Montreal too),
Thanks.

Anonymous said...

John,

Actually the Canadians are complaining too, they say that the guy is not a real Canadian because he's asian... but that's just the youtube community.

Bee, do you really have the abOUt problem ? I though this was just a Newfie issue...

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

I truly do hope that plot is not as predictive as you make it out to be. Actually so far you’ve missed out on a fairly mild winter this way, as all the cold air was dispatched to Florida. No kidding a few weeks back we had a daytime temperature higher than theirs. I’m also looking forward to seeing your next lecture they video tape, so i can hear for myself this English with a Swedish accent you have acquired. As for the Canadian rap video it certainly projects a better image of us then those Monty Python skits used to, yet I think all such things indicate a hidden endearment; sort of like what it meant when a boy would tease a girl in grade school:-)

Best,

Phil

Bee said...

OMG: If the thread was closed, you couldn't post there.

Bee said...

Hi Phil,

Ha. The Swedish Chef doesn't sound very authentic to me though. I find the rap video rather awful, both the song as well as the kids. Especially the girl, sorry to say, but if she really speaks like this I can basically see her spit around or why is her tongue constantly on her nose. Anyway, it's amusing. Best,

B.

Tkk said...

As I plot the trajectory corrected for frame dragging, it points to you getting tenure at the Moscow Institute for Supersymmetry.

If the idea of speaking English with a combined German, Swedish and Russian accent sounds somewhat depressing, there is still time to counter this force of destiny.

Bee said...

Arun: And wouldn't that be great. I'd only have to work one day every year. And the rest I'd spend in vacation in Florida, letting my beard grow. Wait... Best,

B.

Bee said...

Anonymous: No, they also pronounce the "ou" this way in Ontario. I wasn't there 2 months when I had picked it up. (I pick up on accents very easily, not sure why. When I spend a day talking English with an Italian, imagine what the result is.) Is not that I didn't notice, it just crossed my mind recently because when I was in England last week somebody pointed it out to me. It is also funny because before I moved to Canada somebody told me that he had picked up this pronunciation during his stay and I didn't know what he was talking about, thus forgot about it. Best,

B.

Bee said...

Christine: Yeah, I had the same thought. If I jump far enough, I'll come out in South America. Well you can see snow on my blog :-) Looking at snow is nice actually, it's pretty. I just prefer to avoid physical contact. Best,

B.

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

So the Swedish Chef is not authentic enough, so how about Jonas Gustavsson, nicknamed the the monster, a Swede who plays as goaltender for the Toronto Maple Leafs. I would have asked about Mats Sundin the most famous and beloved Swede in the country, yet he has been too Canadianized to notice a difference:-)

Now as far as Canada’s image this is one place we all unite and get serious about it . So for all you Swedes, Russians, Finns, Germans, Americains etc. out there, you won’t stand a chance against us in the upcoming Olympic Hockey tournament , no matter how many monsters you throw at us:-)

Best,

Phil

Bee said...

Hi Phil,

Neither of them has a particularly obvious accent. (But did you notice the "abOUt" in the Gustavsson interview at 0:30?) Google brought up this piece of self-irony that might give you an impression :-) Other than that youtube only seems to feature Americans or Brits trying to fake a Swedish accent with varying success this guy comes pretty close. Along the way I found Arnold's idea of German *lol*. Best,

B.

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

Well that fellow at the barbeque was totally unintelligible for me. Let’s hope not too much rubs off for between the Swedish abOUts and Canadian ehs your public lectures could become quite confusing. One thing I do hope is that your time in California didn’t leave some residual effect which could be more seriously damaging:-)

As for Arnie it’s probably good he is perceived as a German speaker, as he would have been found out that his English speaking had more to do with him not knowing what he’s talking about rather then hampered by his accent :-)

Best,

Phil

Bee said...

Hi Phil,

I managed to circumvent the eh's. It seems to be dominantly used by people >50 or so, so maybe the eh's are about to go extinct.

Oh, yes, and it is, like, amazing how many like's one can, like, cram into a single, like, sentence, like, you know? Best,

B.

Kay zum Felde said...

Hi Bee,

I can imagine how difficult it is to learn a language different from english if nearly everybody speaks english. You need to bravo yourself for every word swedish you learn, I guess :-)

Best Kay

Steven Colyer said...

What do Swedes and other Norse do with their toddler children in winter (and how long are Norse winters, 8 months?) if outdoor activities (other than snowboarding/skiing) are out of the question?

Eh, feh, meh, pfft!, whatEVer.

Bee said...

They take them to the supermarket, which is, pooh, where I have to go now.

Kay: It's somewhat depressing though because I can easily imagine that in a century or so languages like Swedish or Dutch are about to be forgotten. Already today almost everybody in these countries speaks English fluently. I frequently notice parents with their children speaking both Swedish and English. I learned more than one word in the grocery store from parents pointing to items repeating the words in Swedish and English. How long till they find it superfluous to be bilingual? (The risk this happens is considerably lower for languages like Spanish, French, German, that are spoken by sufficiently many people so that books and movies are translated.) Best,

B.

Christine said...

They take them to the supermarket

God forbid!

That must be why tourists from cold regions go wild with samba at 40 degrees C in Rio. Now I get it.

Jérôme CHAUVET said...

Dear Bee,

For your translation issues, there is the link you need : Google's translator.

German people are generally good at learning languages, and Swedish has its root in old German, so what a surprise it is learning you can't this. But true that Sweden has English for a second language.

For tenure in Siberia, clearly no one really knows about how goes the research in Russia. It is not impossible that there is an excellence pole for physics here, which is worth working in, and if you do not mind working while wearing a straitjacket, it might be good for the career !...

Best,

Bee said...

Cher Jérôme:

Merci beaucoup! Je parle un petite peu français :-) Et si je ne sais pas, je consulte Stefan qui le parle très bien. Google translate works quite badly for Swedish though, I've tried it a couple of times. The problem seems to be (I already remarked that earlier) that Swedish (as German) contains compound nouns, so you'll have to creatively try to break up words to get a translation which isn't easy if you don't know the words to begin with (and then, needless to say the translation doesn't make sense).

Bien à toi,

B.

Bee said...

un petit peu?

Jérôme CHAUVET said...

Hallo Bee,

Ich kann auch auf Deutsch ein bissel schreiben. Nicht perfekt, aber nicht schlecht (meine Meinung nach ist es so). Meine Frau kommt aus Leipzig, darum bin ich da mehrere Mals gewesen (Sächs'sch ist sö wunderbor!)...

Ich weiss, es ist schon schwierig für die Deutschen alle diese Deutsche Dialekten zu verstehen. Wenn Schwedisch dazwischen kommt, wird das sicher total unmöglich!

Tchüss

Bee said...

Hi Jérôme,

Pas mal! Il me semble ton allemand est bien meilleur que mon français :-) Ich hab Verwandte in Leipzig! Best,

B.

Jérôme CHAUVET said...

Bee: C'est une bonne chose que tu parles le français... Si jamais un jour tu as un poste de physicienne en France (CNRS? CEA? qui sait!), tu verras comme la plupart des français sont incompréhensibles quand ils parlent une langue étrangère. Ta survie ne tient alors qu'à la pratique du français :)

Salut,

Anonymous Snowboarder said...

Bee - Regarding that Canadian accent of yours, eh?

1:00 in http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHt0TL9ft8Y&feature=related

But I have a feeling you may have had a run in with this guy:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-idxRl-6TIo&feature=related

Bee said...

Jérôme,

Je voulais apprendre le français comme langue seconde mais ce n'était pas possible dans mon école. Alors, j'ai dû apprendre l'anglais! I had French at school for 5 years as third language, but since I hardly ever use it it's not in a good shape. I can still read it fairly well (with some help of Google translate :-p), but since I've never been in France for more than a few weeks, I find it hard to understand, not to mention that I know nothing about idioms or colloquial use of words (something one doesn't learn at school). The French, they tend to slurallwordofasentencetogether which is very difficult to understand without practice. And what the French Canadians think is French that's a completely different story.

J'ai été visiter CEA Saclay pas trop longtemps. It's a very nice place, I liked it there. Best,

B.

Bee said...

Hi Snowboarder,

Howzitgoen eh? Now I'm somewhat confused about the oats in the boots, but for all I can tell the guy is pretty on spot with his accent summary. Best,

B.

Peter Orland said...

Hej Bee,

Jeg haaber det gaar mycket bra med svenska. At least you don't have to learn its even less-well-behaved cousin, Danish.

med venlig hilsen,
Peter