Monday, August 25, 2008

A comparison of the vocabulary of English and Swedish

English and Swedish are related languages. They are both classified as members of the Germanic language family. The similarity between them is reflected in many words: for example, the Swedish words "hus", "nu", "liv", "vi", "oss", "tre", "se", "nummer", "mus" and "fisk" mean "house", "now", "life", "we", "us", "three", "see", "number", "mouse" and "fish".

In certain cases, Swedish words do not appear so similar to English ones but a semantic relationship clearly exists. As a result of this semantic relationship, the connection between the two words can be clearly seen.

For example, the Swedish word "kvinna" means woman. The two words may not appear similar but the word "kvinna" is very similar to the English word "queen" and one of the semantic properties of the word "queen" is +female.

The Swedish "bord" means table. It is very similar to the English word "board". The Swedish word for "chair" is stol which is similar to the English word "stool".

The word "mo:rk" means dark. It is very similar to the English word "murky" as in murky water. Murky water is difficult to see through because it is dark. Again the semantic relationship is clear.

The Swedish word "dyr" means expensive. It is related to the English word "dear" which can mean valued and treasured. Though it is now considered rather archaic, the word "dear" can also be used to mean expensive as in "a dear necklace".

The Swedish word for Christmas is "jul". It is related to the English word "yule" and is in fact pronounced similarly because the Swedish "j" corresponds to the English "y".

The Swedish word "kuvert" may appear unrelated to the word "envelope" but if one thinks of the word "cover", that is exactly what an envelope does. It covers the letter that goes inside it.

Another example is the Swedish word "gul". It means yellow and may appear unrelated. However, the English word "gold" is similar. When the words "gul" and "gold" are compared, the similarity between these two words is evident.

The English and Swedish languages have a number of words which are related to one another. A number of words may appear unrelated to one another upon first glance. However, when viewed from a semantic perspective, the similarity in meaning often becomes evident.

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