Monday, June 12, 2006

Monday, June 12th, 2006:
More juvenile ramblings about Swedish: Farts

What I think:

I know that I lowered the tone with the last post, and I felt it appropriate to keep it a bit low on this occasion as well. I don't want to shock you all by suddenly writing an intellectually highbrow post after the last one. I think I should do things a bit gradually. I have your best interests at heart. I care about your emotional well-being, you see.

When one first starts to learn Swedish, one gathers that many Swedish words are hybrids of smaller words stuck together to make new words. After a while, one is able to see the individual words, which gives one helpful hints about what the full word is (if one doesn't know all of the little words). The key is to find the root word and take it from there.

One word that causes much joy to us anglophones here in Sweden is "fart". As stupid and juvenile as it is, many English-speakers seem to have an inbuilt appreciation of farts and farting. I know this from experience, as I used to have a remote-control fart machine where I worked in London, and it was frequently borrowed from my desk for the purpose of trying to embarrass visiting Swedes in important meetings.

In any case, in Swedish, "fart" actually means "speed". Speed humps are called "farthinder" (read "fart hinder"- see Kodos's blog for an image).

But then there's also "infart", which is a drivers' entrance to a carpark (US/CAN: parking lot). "Infart" is a great source of amusement for us. It's seen as more of a rare talent than a carpark entrance.
During my visit to Gothenburg last week, I noticed this sign:
Now, I know that this is one of those hybrid words, and I do know what it means, but my stubbornly warped English brain couldn't help but ask itself a couple of stupid questions:

Does this mean that this will be your "last infart"? I can imagine that infarting could be a fairly dangerous action to undertake, so I wouldn't be at all surprised if one would only be capable of performing very few in one's lifetime.

Or, given that Swedish rarely (if ever) has apostrophes, could this be a "lastin' fart", you know the ones I mean; the ones that just seems to linger for what feels like an eternity?

As it turns out, it actually (quite boringly) means something like "loading entrance", or "delivery entrance". I know this because a van is a "lastbil" ("load-car"). How's that for an anti-climax, eh?

I'm convinced that the number of road accidents involving English-speaking drivers pissing themselves laughing could be reduced drastically if a different term could be used for these signs. It's time that the Swedish government did something about it. That's what I think.


22 Comments:

Blogger BrettBum said...

I don't know Swedish, but suspecte it might me 'last in fart' Kind of like 'last in shut the door!'

:)

Thanks,
Something About Harry - No In Farting here!

5:56 pm  
Blogger Kodos said...

I like Utfart. Uuuuuut-faaaart. Mwwwahahahahahahahaahaha.

6:45 pm  
Blogger Nixxie said...

lol one of my favorites is

http://static.flickr.com/23/34668579_f0e8f3e60b.jpg

so, it keeps you from farting.....? ;)

7:21 pm  
Blogger Tug said...

so if you measure burps by how far you can get in the alphabet, how do you measure lastin'farts?

9:06 pm  
Blogger Christa said...

LOL...I DO know swedish since birth and I can imagine it's...eh...confusing....LOL
"Lastin' Fart" sounds good to me. And it's not easy to translate word by word either. "Last" means load...and "infart" is the same as drive way...close to anyways. And there's no such thing as a Load driveway :pp
Hmm...delivery entrance is probably close enuf :)

I don't remember the numbers anymore, but you have lot more words in swedish than english...so you have some work ahead of ya ;)

9:59 pm  
Anonymous Pacific NW PETER said...

Hey Bro…Enough of the High Brow Architecture reviews…We prefer you keep the topics to Pussi and butt air…LMAO!

11:41 pm  
Blogger shirley said...

Farting with laughter!

6:11 am  
Blogger Helen said...

My nephew and niece thought going to the carpark here with its 'infarts' and 'utfarts' was the funniest thing ever! Helen

11:46 am  
Blogger montchan said...

Yes! farts! My favorite! next: bra and slut. :-)

3:02 pm  
Blogger angelfire said...

LOL. Thanx for Mark, work is really boring today, I needed that.

7:39 pm  
Blogger angelfire said...

Whoops, now I can't write proper english. Maybe your blog is having a bad effect on me.

7:42 pm  
Anonymous Max Magnus said...

It's you English speaking people who ought to learn to use compound words, makes texts less confusing. We Swedes have a whole genre of humour regarding the misuse (or rather lack of use) of such. Lastinfart = cargo bay.

More Swedish to make fun of:

infart = drive in
utfart = drive out
maxfart = maximum speed
prick = dot
anis = aniseed
pussi = cat food brand
socker = sugar
Gun Hellsvik = (name) former minister of defense

"The plane went away with a high fart, and soon all that could be seen was a prick in the sky..."

9:34 pm  
Blogger Cynthia said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog earlier today....

Your blog is one I actually read when I'm blog surfing and your past 2 posts have made me laugh out loud!

I lived in Germany for 6 years and always giggled when I read the words Ausfart and Einfart on the autobahn! Juvenile, yes, but it doesn't take much. I don't much prefer pussi myself, but would definitely buy it for my poor neutered cat!

3:15 am  
Blogger kT said...

Further proof that, in addition to an inner child, we all have an "inner 13 year old boy."

5:37 pm  
Blogger Tug said...

so not to interrupt the farting or anything (& thankssomuch for thinking of our well being), but did you ever find out what the glass igloo was?

10:36 pm  
Blogger Undercover Angel said...

LOL! I had no idea that fart meant something different in Swedish. My oldest son got suspended from school once for farting in french class...

5:44 am  
Blogger Maritza said...

**giggle** **snort** You said fart!

3:05 pm  
Blogger scott said...

I got a packet of sugar in Belgium that said "horescum" on it. Needless to say, I didn't put it in my coffee.

6:17 pm  
Anonymous Moo said...

I am waaaaaaay too amused by that!! xxx

6:28 pm  
Blogger Attila The Mom said...

Oh boy. LOL! Too funny!

2:15 pm  
Blogger 34quinn said...

hahaah thanks for the laughter..and yes I thought I would piss myself just reading this post and I can visualize as a Canadian driving there and reading those signs.
oh my 13 year old son would have a blast with the language!!!!!!!!!!
have a super day

2:15 pm  
Blogger lori said...

i took a photo of a speedhump which looked like a pair of breasts, with the sign under saying farthinder. rather amusing. I just returned from helsingborg last week and had a great time .. i don't remember seeing the golfball you took a picture of at the uni tho! must have been on the wrong side.

7:34 pm  

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