Annelie on asthma, humor, and the world.

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DUM vs. DOM – stupid or mean?

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Another language trap in Swedish – Norwegian is the word DUM/DOM. In Swedish the word DUM means either stupid or mean, being bad or doing something bad to someone. Saying “Du är dum” in Swedish a person either says the person is stupid (You are stupid) or actually says “Du är elak” meaning in English: You are being mean, or: You are doing me wrong.  In Norwegian the similar word for DUM is DOM. But in Norway this word only meaning is being stupid. Saying “Du er dom” you are actually saying: You are stupid. In Norway they got their own word for being mean, and that is: slem. Mixing the two languages and say: Du er DUM and if you actually want to say: You are doing me wrong / You are being mean to me, can be interpreted by a Norwegian as you are saying: You are stupid. If you want to tell a Norwegian he is mean, you should not say Du er DUM, but rather say: Du er slem.

However being Swedish and using the languages it sometimes happens that one forget oneself and use the word in the Swedish way. That can certainly make a mess and misunderstandings. It was just recently I discovered I did this mistake. I have done it. That was no good at all.


Author: Annelie

I like canoeing, photographing, friends, movies, food, humor, and going on trips. I dislike rudeness, dishonesty, violence, nastyness, and people not caring for others. I do not drink much, I do not smoke and I do not do drugs. I love friends who are kind to me and stick with me. If you want to give me a gift, the best gift is to stop smoking and stop using fragranced products. Then you give me health and that dear friend, is the best gift a person can get. It is a gift of love. I got asthma and I am hearing disabled.

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