Simple Swedish Podcast #2

Yo, second episode here! Here I’m talking about cultural differences when it comes to how you greet people in Hungary, Sweden and other places, including another weird detail about Czech people! And don’t forget to download the PDF transcript:)

6 thoughts on “Simple Swedish Podcast #2”

  1. Great podcast, easy to follow even for a beginner like me.
    The choice of topic is interesting too, i would like to add my take on the handshake issue as a Hungarian.
    The custom originates from a time when in any particular village the men and women would have their own separate domains, working together on particular tasks that either the men or the women had more natural aptitude to perform. Now in such a setting, especially considering the competitive nature of males, you would want to know what sort of people you are dealing with, and how healthy, competent and cooperative they are. Generally, since traditionally most of the work was physical, a strong and firm handshake as a measure of grip strength was a pretty good indicator of health. Eye contact is also important during the handshake, as eye contact together with gripping each other’s hand firmly can reinforce an attitude of respect and willingness to work together constructively.
    I can remember that back in my school days, the boys usually mocked those who had a weak or limp handshake and avoided eye contact during the handshake, as these would either be signs of submissive behavior, or of not respecting you as a man (or rather boy, i suppose). So, the two important aspects of the handshake are 1. a measure of strength and integrity, 2. a sign of respect and cooperation.
    Now, grip strength has generally not been viewed as an important quality in women, nor have men and women worked together on the exact same tasks too frequently in the past, nor was there any sense of competition between the sexes like sadly there is today. The kiss on the back of the hand worked for some time, and this difference in greeting highlights how we naturally admire different qualities in the two sexes – respect the more rough and raw qualities of men, and adore the delicate and finer qualities of women. I suppose the hand-kiss started going out of fashion during the socialist times, when women started doing the same 8-hour work schedule, many times working the same jobs as men, as this was the new doctrine. Nowadays it might be viewed as condescending/sexist or downright sexual assault, since the modern interpretation of equality is that the two sexes are only treated as equals if and when they are treated and represented similarly in any scenario, which i think absolutely conflates equality with similarity or sameness.
    I’m not sure what the best solution would be, as i am reluctant to kiss someone on the cheek when i meet them for the first time. When women initiate a handshake i’m sure to reciprocate out of respect, but the fact the a handshake with women misses the firmness aspect and only has the aspect of touch, tells me that this is just sort of a compulsion based on the doctrine of inclusivity, rather than something genuine. Actually, hugs sound like a pretty good solution now that i think about it. I’m down, but it would still be pretty awkward here.

    1. Hi Alex, thank you so much for your comment and insight. There are definitely some interesting subjects to discuss here. For me it’s very normal to shake hands with both men and women, and I haven’t even thought about the reasons you mentioned, that it used to be a way to assess the other person in competitiveness. Personally I don’t like when men squeeze really hard, it seems try-hard to me, like they try to prove something. But I guess it made sense in the past. I guess it’s all mostly about what you’re used to, and I also don’t think equality is necessarily the same as sameness.

  2. This is exactly what I was looking for. I have a lot of vocabulary, way past the beginner stage, but I have a problem with listening, also if you can’t listen it’s hard to talk, and I need to get used to native Swedes way of talking. So I’m very greatfull you made this podcast. It’s fantastic. Next autumn I’m moving to Sweden with my (swedish) girlfriend so listening to your podcasts will greatly improve my listening skills and hopefully also my speaking skills. Häsningar från Kroatien!

    1. Jag är glad att du gillar den! Och det är exakt för såna som dig som jag gör den för, när man redan förstår mycket, men det är fortfarande för utmanande att lyssna på saker gjorda för modersmålstalare. Lycka till med flytten till Sverige!

  3. Hej,
    Jag heter Michelle, jag kommer från Colombia, jag har bott i sverige i 2 år och närvarander studerar jag svenska SAS grundläggande och jag vill kompletterar mina klasser, eftersom har jag några problem med skriva och lyssna ibland och hittade din podcast i Spotify och jag gillar så mycket pratar du, du pratar mycket tydlig och långsam som jag kan förstå många ord och lära sig nya ord också.
    Jag är så räd att skriva på svenska därför att ideligen jag är förvirrad för att jag pratar engelska hela tiden i sverige och när ska jag tänka på svenska kom till mig orden i engelska, spanska och ibland i tyska, eftersom jag studerade i 1 år tyska och jag gör misstaget att använda översättaren men det hjälper mig inte mycket därför jag vågade att skriva denna kommentar på svenska.

    Tack för ditt arbete i detta webbsida.

    Hej då.

    1. Hej Michelle och tack för din kommentar! Jag är glad att min podd hjälper dig 🙂 Jättebra att du skriver på svenska också, det är viktigt att använda språket så mycket som möjligt! Att vara förvirrad och göra misstag, det är något man måste gå igenom när man lär sig ett språk. Det viktigaste är att få mycket input på svenska (läsa, lyssna, titta på videor/film/serier), och att använda språket mycket. Fortsätt lära dig och lycka till! Skriv gärna om du har frågor 🙂

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