Saturday, April 13, 2013


On my last trip to Sweden, I finally discovered Språktidningen, a fascinating magazine on language. I promptly bought and/or borrowed all the issues I could find.

In one issue, there was an article about the Romani language and how there are many words in it that are derived from Sanskrit, and most of them have to do with the basics of life, such as bread, yellow, water, wheels, and more. The article, which was by Per Westergård, also talks about the different names of the ethnic group. The big question when it comes Romani is whether it is “one language with different varieties or if it really is many different languages.” This is the same topic sometimes discussed regarding Swedish/Norwegian/Danish, among other languages.

In the same issue, I read an article by Nils Svensson on “uncreative writing”, or using the words of others. For example, Caroline Bergvall made a “compilation of the first three lines of Dante’s Inferno from the 47 English translations.”

In another issue, I read an article by Karin Westin Tikkanen about people who get tattoos with Latin phrases such as “memento mori” and “amor vincit Omnia”, and an article by Fatima Grönblad on code-switching, where people use two or more languages ​​in the same call. It was also interesting to read that research has shown that more Iranian mothers in Sweden speak Swedish with their children than Iranian fathers do, and it seems that “the benefits of using Swedish in everyday life - to integrate and achieve gender equality – take precedence for the women over their feelings about their mother tongue.”

In each issue, there are short reviews, news, discoveries, games, and questions and answers about language - both English and Swedish, interestingly enough. Then there is a column about people who work with language, such as a language consultant, a tweeter, a speechwriter and, yes, even a translator - in the issues that I got hold of, there were articles by Anders Bodegård, who translates from French and Polish to Swedish, and by Jan Stolpe, who translates from French and Greek to Swedish.

I really enjoyed this magazine and look forward to catching up on it on my next visit to Sweden. I recommend it to those of you who can read Swedish.

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