Nyheter

Ann-Christine Olofsson: ”We’ve talked about swear-words, sex-words and bad words”

Now in my old age I’ve got a new job – teaching Kb Mosaik’s journalists Swedish. For the first time in my life I’ve used a daily paper as teaching material. It has been a great pleasure. Goodness, what fun we had!

I qualified as a teacher of Swedish and German in 1968. I’ve had a long career teaching Sfi and work-related Swedish at AMU/Lernia. I’ve gone through the theory for almost every work-related training programme to be able to explain things in simple Swedish: recipes for chefs students, theory for driving-tests (cars, lorries, buses), theory for welders, how to read technical drawings, theory for mechanics, electricians and so on.

”I’ve never found texts about the Bengtssons and their cat Missan particularly stimulating”

Sfi is indispensible. And you have to start from the very beginning. But I’ve never found texts about the Bengtssons and their cat Missan particularly stimulating. I’ve preferred to go deeper into texts that are relevant to a trade.

Getting a glimpse into the newspaper world and the language of journalists has been extremely interesting and rewarding. I’ve always read the newspaper with my pupils, but now we studied headlines, articles and the finer rhetorical points in a completely new way. To formulate a snappy, selling headline demands a good knowledge of a language. Words have a double meaning – they can either be amusing or arouse interest – preferably both.

”What does it mean to say ”to have skin on your nose” or to ”elbow your way forward”? When can you say ’shit’ as a word of approval, as in ”skitbra” or ”skithätftig”?”

I’ve had the privilege of teaching/tutoring fantastic pupils at Kb Mosaik. It has been fun to share their rapid progress. Their eagerness to understand the Swedish language in depth has inspired me. And I too have learnt a lot. If a pupil is particularly interested in politics, it means that the teacher must also read leaders and political articles and understand political questions to be able to help the pupil in his writing.

We’ve talked about swear-words, sex-words and bad words. I’ve never tried to skate around the subject. How can they otherwise learn the shades of meaning and differences between words that are acceptable and those that are unacceptable?

”It’s also important to learn the difference between ”pizza” and ”pissa””

Once the pupils have learnt some Swedish, it’s time for idiomatic expressions. What does it mean to say ”to have skin on your nose” (to be able to take care of yourself, not to let yourself be pushed around), or to ”elbow your way forward”? When can you say ”shit” as a word of approval, as in ”skitbra” – really good, or ”skithäftig” – awesome?

Vowels present problems, for instance the difference between ”o” and ”u”. One of my pupils went into a shop and asked for a tin of ”kokpotatis”– boiled potatoes. The shop assistant burst out laughing – what she heard was ”kukpotatis” (kuk – cock). It’s also important to learn the difference between ”pizza” and ”pissa”.

Thank you, dear friends at Kb Mosaik, for two interesting and rewarding years. They have given me new experiences, as regards both language and general knowledge. Not to mention new friends!