Happy Birthday Swedish Blog! Posted by Transparent Language on Jun 24, 2009 in Grammar, Swedish Language
I don’t know if you’ve noticed (because I must say it has totally escaped even me) that our little Swedish Blog is one year old now! Can you believe it? I’m not sure about you, but somehow this fact is enough to put a big smile on my face.
You’ve survived one whole year with me! And frankly, I couldn’t have done it without you. Your comments, support, suggestions, and just plain being there and reading what I have to say ten times a month is more than what any blogger could have asked for. Because what’s a blog good for if no one ever reads it, right?
So, while we’re on the subject of age, let’s learn how to say how old we are in Swedish (well, not “we” because you’re not supposed to ask a lady’s age, but just in general) , OK?
- Swedish Blog är ett år (gammal). – Swedish Blog is one year old.
See? It’s easy. Very similar to English. That final “gammal” is not even necessary. Just like we would say in English that someone is (for example) 14, with “years” and “old” being understood and omitted.
Same in Swedish. You could say that:
- Han är 14 år. – He is 14. And that’s good enough.
Notice anything interesting about that final “år”? Even though it looks like a singular noun, in reality it’s not.
Take a look:
- år (def. året, pl. år, pl. def. åren) – 365 dagar * – year
This is the kind of stuff that happens with many “ett” nouns, and unfortunately, there’s no way around it – you just need to learn it.
And how do we ask about someone’s age?
- Hur gammal är du? – How old are you?
And our young friend would answer:
- Jag är 14 år. – I am fourteen.
But what happens if the object about whose age we are inquiring happens to be an “ett” noun? Then of course, instead of “gammal”, we have to say “gammalt”.
- Hur gammalt är ditt barn? – How old is your child?
“Barn” is an “ett” noun, and so the adjective “gammal” acquired one “t” at the end.
But wait a sec. Now take a look at this:
- Hur gamla är dina barn? – How old are your children?
“Barn” is one of those pesky nouns, just like “år”, that look the same in both indefinite singular and plural forms. But because “gammal” morphed into “gamla”, we know we are talking about more than one of your children here.
And this is how a simple birthday celebration turned into a grammar lesson. Ouch!
Har den äran på födelsedagen, Swedish Blog! – Happy Birthday Swedish Blog!
* A year with 366 days is called “skottår”.
PS. Even though it’s after Midsommar, it’s not too late to enter my Midsommar Swedish book contest!!! If you a reader from a country other than Sweden where Swedish books are hard to come by, all you need to do is to leave a comment under this post telling me IN SWEDISH why I should send the book to YOU (and not to someone else)! Good luck!!!