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by Diane Stringam Tolley

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Saturday, October 8, 2016

Sweglish

Bergs. My best people.
Marrying into a family is a happy, joyous proposition.
It can also be daunting and just a bit scary.
Even when everyone is on the same page—linguistically speaking.
Aunt June joined the Berg family way back in the sixties.
A city girl, she had a lot to learn about her future husband’s ranching family.
That had nothing to do with . . . ummm . . . ranching.
His parents had immigrated to Canada from Sweden.
He and his siblings were first-generation Canadians.
And Swedish terms largely peppered the family’s daily speak.
So to speak.
Such terms as (forgive me, but I’m going to write these words as they sound, which will probably horrify my Swedish relatives.) Hell. Ringadongen. Shurkfasta. And the ever popular Yamen Ha Do Sit Promaken.
And these were just the words she encountered on her first visit.
Perhaps some explanation is in order . . .
Approaching the house, Uncle Leif and his future bride were met at the door by my MorMor, (Mother’s Mother) and invited in. “Just hang your coats here in the shurkfasta,” she told them.
Okay. That wasn’t too hard to figure out. Coats. Hang.
This may not be so bad.
They walked from said shurkfasta into the large kitchen, where one of the boys was trying to save a step and attempting to pour milk from the crock into a glass.
“No! Hell with the pitcher! Hell with the pitcher!” MorMor said.
Admittedly, future Aunt June’s ears pricked up at that one. But she soon figured that too. Pour.
She even figured out from the conversation about wrangling cows that a ringadongen was a coulee.
Smart girl.
But the one term that stumped her was ‘Yamen Ha Do Sit Promaken?!”
Said with just a touch of wonder and amazement.
And even a bit of head shaking.
Let’s see if we can figure this one out.
Someone was doing something amazing.
And MorMor was watching.
And she said: that phrase.
Okay. That’s as much as I’m going to tell you.
Let’s see what you come up with . . .
Aunt June happily joined the family.
And learned to appreciate, and even participate in the occasional lapses into Sweglish.
It was a very special price to pay for happiness.



17 comments:

  1. Good Glorioski...what does it mean? um.......aren't you going to wash your hands before you sit down to dinner? or....are you just going to stand there? or ...I don't know, I give up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love your guesses better than the actual one! The actual loose translation? Have you ever seen the like?! I know. It wasn't as easy without the proper inflections . . . :)

      Delete
  2. 'Every family has one?'
    Colour me clueless, and you lost me at 'a coulee'.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love it! The real translation? Have you ever seen the like?!
      And a coulee is a wash. Or a fold in the earth leading down to a water source. There. You're up on your 'Canadian' today. As well as your Sweglish! :)

      Delete
  3. Ringadongen is coulee, but what is a coulee?
    "Yamen Ha Do Sit Promaken"- please have a seat?
    please sit while I make a cup of tea?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A coulee is a wash. Or a fold where the earth has washed away leading down to a water source. Now you're up on your 'Canadian'! Yamen Ha Do Sit Promaken: Have you ever seen the like?!

      Delete
  4. Coulee sounds familiar, I've read it in novels about the deep south I think, a natural corral of some sort?
    I'm reminded of raspberry coulis which is a raspberry sauce surrounding a creme caramel type dessert.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mmmm. And now I want some raspberry coulis!
      A coulee could be a natural corral. It is where the earth has washed away leading to a water source, sometimes forming a deep channel. And Yamen Ha Do Sit Promaken? Have you ever seen the like?!

      Delete
    2. Thank you, I never would have guessed that and now I'll probably never forget it.

      Delete
  5. Hah! Sit here while I make you a cup of tea!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I remember crapkaka, and I wasn't interested!

    ReplyDelete
  7. My guess was going to be "where did you learn to do that?" but I see by your replies I was wrong!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah. If I didn't know the phrase, I would have been stumped, too. Who am I kidding? I knew the phrase was was still stumped! :)

      Delete

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