I am a native in this world And think in it as a native thinks

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Adventures in Svenska

My favorite challenge in any language is when I can conduct an entire transaction, however small, without inspiring the other person to switch to English. It doesn't count if English is clearly not an option, which is unlikely in Sweden, since everyone I'm probably going to encounter speaks fluent English, and I only speak a little Swedish.

Today I got my museum tickets in Swedish, which wasn't difficult as all I had to say was that I had a Stockholm card, and that, yes, I wanted tickets to both museums. But I also bought souvenirs at Skansen, and demonstrated a mastery of the language that would have made Strindberg weep.

Here's the dramatic exchange, translated to English for the benefit of those of you whose Svenska may be a little rusty.
Cashier:  Hello!
Me:  Hello!
Cashier: (holding up one of the crystal bracelets I was buying) This is beautiful.
Me: Very beautiful.
Cashier: Three hundred twenty kronor.
Me: (handing her a five hundred kronor bill) I think I have twenty kronor.
Cashier: Perfect. Thank you.
Me: Thank you.
Cashier: Goodbye.
Me: Goodbye.
But my proudest moment came when I was looking for the correct ferry to come back to the hotel. "Till Skeppsholmen?" I asked the woman checking the tickets.

And she said Ja.

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