Swedetalker

The journal of language rookie Patrick Reilly

Day 26 – The Miracle Of Malmö

Something strange has happened. It’s weird, peculiar, just downright odd. I can’t properly explain it but hang in there as I’m going to try as best I can to document my most memorable week of class.

After missing two weeks of lessons I was convinced I’d be relegated out of the group. Going back on Tuesday was difficult as I’d convinced myself that I’d forgotten everything and would be ritually humiliated (something involved whips presumably) in the weekly conversation part of the lessons. During my two week absence I wasn’t arsed to even open a book or speak a word of my supposed new language.

Nail chewing time in other words.

Our first two lessons were fine as the countdown to the dreaded conversation reached its climax. Then something happened when our quintet were dragged to the ‘bunker’ to be interrogated by a pensioner. Suddenly I was speaking without a trace of nerves, the angst ridden ‘please don’t say anything to me in svenska or I will die phase’ had amazingly passed. I was on a roll! This session lasts for an hour and I must have ranted on for a good 20 minutes or so. Don’t ask me what I was talking about but it all made sense at the time. The old lady kept prompting  me and somehow the words kept coming. I simply can’t explain how this occurred but it did and has continued ever since. Tis madness I tells ye.

Let’s be clear though, the Swedish I’m speaking is nowhere near perfect and is riddled with basic errors like mixing up the tenses and poor grammar BUT I have overcome the barrier. Now I actually WANT to speak and raise my hand to volunteer answers. Last time I raised my hand was to walk out of the Leaving Cert exam over a decade ago. New words and phrases are popping into my mind and I can feel that I’m REALLY learning. I can communicate. What the hell is going on?

Mrs Swedetalker has assured me that my brain has been soaking the lingo up like a sponge. I’m learning by, erm, not learning in some bizarre way. Perhaps I’ve been listening to too much tactical insight from former Swedish star Glenn Strömberg on Viasat Futbol but the svenska is sinking in somewhere. It has to be as I’m understandings things. When I’m working I usually have the TV or the radio on in the background and most days I glance through the local newspapers. By osmosis the transformation from anxious pupil to swedetalker is actually taking place. For someone who has never been able to communicate, even at the most basic level in a second language, please excuse my obvious astonishment at the events of the past week.

As I type I’m watching ‘Kunskapkanalen’ where there is some interview going on. All the other channels are broadcasting programmes in English so I’m forced to endure this tripe. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. I wouldn’t dream of saying I’m thinking in Swedish when I’m in the shower. Heaven forbid…

P.S. The blog secret is out from my classmates. One of my learned friends discovered me on the auld interweb and the word has been spread. Even my teacher (hej snygging) is counted among the readers. Uh-oh

P.P.S. Word of the day ‘elak’ meaning evil or wicked. I was kidding around with a classmate who took offence when I used it and a potential diplomatic crisis nearly kicked off. Fortunately it was nipped in the bud before the U.N. had to be alerted.

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