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Swedish cat grammar.

Swedish grammar is, well, easy for me… but I have NO idea how to diagram a sentence, what the various sentence structures are called, and so on. I could not identify a verb, adjective, or plural-possessive.

I can’t do that in English, either, so it’s all fair.

Here’s a snippet from this morning’s conversation in the kitchen while I was making myself coffee and talking to our cat. My spouse came downstairs from her workout, and walked in right as I was singing Meghan Trainor’s Louis Vitton to the redheaded beast in the front room.

“Kom, så, misen… kom här.” I motioned for him to come close for a scritch on the head. His eyes back from “the wild,” he moved closer.

“Aw, he’s such a cutie, isn’t he?” Jae said.

“He sure is. Did I ever explain the nickname for cat in Swedish to you, and how to bend it?”

“Bend it?”

“Yeah, you know, the grammar stuff…”

“Ah.”

I’ve been known to switch topics lightning fast, from one to the other, mid-sentence even. Whiplash territory.

In Swedish we have words for the real thing, like cat, and then, of course, also ‘pet’ names, and nicknames for cat (a whole other word). The nickname for katt is mise. En mise. Like en katt. A cat. Kitty, of sorts, but not really. Or misse, depending on where in the country you’re from…

Here’s how the structure works:

En katt <– a cat
katten <– the cat
kattens <– the cat’s, as in kattens pajamas
katter <– many cats
katternas <– the many cats’, as in katternas pajamases

And so, we also call cats mise. Here’s how:

En mise <– a kitty cat
misen <– the kitty
misens <– the kitty’s, as in the kitty’s banana
misarna <– the kitty cats / notice the a, instead of e…
misarnas <– the kitty cats’

“Kom, så, misen… kom här.” <– “come here, kitten, come on…”

See how easy the grammar structure is?

“But how do you know if it’s ‘en’ or ‘ett’? As in ‘en katt’, or ‘ett djur’ (animal)?

“I have no idea. You just know. We never diagrammed anything. We just knew. It’s easy.”

Bananens katt.
Kattbanan.
Katten har en banan.
Misen vill ju ha en banan for sig själv.

One of those words is both a cat banana, and a racecourse for cats. And that’s all there’s to it. 😉 We, along with the Germans, love to combine words into new things…

Learning a language as a native is VERY DIFFERENT than learning it as a foreign language.

Did you know English is not my first language?

I guess you do, now… And English is infinitely more difficult to learn, and to use, than Swedish. So there’s that.

Enjoy your new knowledge. There’s no limit to what you can learn, or the pleasure derived from the company of cats.

“Kom, så, kisse-missen…” 🐈


Cat Photography Credit – Emelie Russ Johansson