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.