Robert Birming

To write or to "skriva"

I just finished The Last of Us. Wow! Probably the best series I have ever seen. And Ellie, so cool — like an apocalyptic version of the Swedish children's book character Pippi Longstocking.

A recurring element in the show is the scenes where they pull jokes from the "No Pun Intended" book. Even for someone living in Sweden (like me) - where we get to learn English early on in school and all movies and shows are in the original language - it can be hard to grasp some of the jokes. And the subtitle translations rarely work, of course, since puns are based on playing around with words.

This got me thinking about this idea of writing to learn a language that I have with this blog...

It's no surprise that it takes longer to write in a language other than your own, and I don't see that as a big problem. What's the rush? There's beauty in hurrying slowly. But there are some areas where I kind of see the language barrier as a problem or at least limiting:

The positive side of limitations is that they can bring focus and sharpness to a text. Like the quote:

I'm sorry I wrote you such a long letter. I didn't have time to write you a short one.

But it doesn't quite compensate for the downside, unfortunately. I like the English language. It's richer and more concrete. Something that can be explained with one word often needs more to bring the same meaning in Swedish. That's one of the reasons I always choose English as the default language on my devices.

Another reason for my choice of language is the poor translations one has to put up with. Take the Google Photos app, for example. One of the options in the crop settings is "Free", which in Swedish says "Gratis" (as in free beer). It works fine in the original language, but when translated as is, it makes no sense at all. It just looks weird.

I've come to understand that most people aren't bothered or even notice such things. Congrats to them! 🥳

For me, I always get a little annoyed. Can't help it.

Anyway, I haven't decided whether to write in English or "skriva" (Swedish for writing) in the language I know best. I just wanted to write down some current thoughts on the subject and share them. Either way, it's a fun and interesting process.

Take care, wherever you are and whatever language you speak.