May 05, 2005

Tedious Sweden

The Swedish word traakigt means boring or tedious, but for me at least, it is interesting to see how it is used. Its a very common word, and about the worst thing a Swede can say about a given experience. For example I was reading yesterday's newspaper this morning (today is a holiday, Ascension Day, so there is no newspaper and I don't have to go to work). There was an interesting article about some adventurers who went on a 10 month journey along a river in the heart of Siberia. They got around by canoe and dogsled and became friends with the Inuits. During the winter it got down to -60 F, and at those temperatures you learn what the 'F' stands for.

They had planned for a three-person expidition consisting of a husband and wife and a friend, this was their fifth such trip. The woman handled the logistical planning. About a month before they were going to leave they all had medical checkups and it was discovered that she had a heart defect, and the doctor strongly advised that she not make the strenuous journey. She insisted that her husband and the other guy still make the trip. 'Of course it was traakigt to get this news and have to stay at home' she said, closing the subject in a typically Swedish way.

Traakigt is as bad as things can get in Sweden. Is that why Lou Reed says Manhattan is fine but Sweden scares him?
Note on English spelling of Nordic words:
a with a ring over it = aa
ö=o with a slash=oe
ä='ae' joined as single letter=ae


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