English and Svensk Jihadis

233 folks came to the blog yesterday from Google Sweden. What does this mean? I don’t rightly know. But as a linguist, I am going to try a little experiment. I am moseying over to Google Sweden. My first observation, it is interesting that they are featuring Miriam Makeba (Mama Africa) on the masthead here, but not on the English version:

Google Sweden Miriam Makeba (Mama Africa)
Google Sweden Miriam Makeba (Mama Africa)

I’ll head over to the News section. Hmm, trying to remember which button was the News button on the English Google, I click on Nyheter. (A quick check on Google Translate tells me I got lucky.)

Okay, I see this article Rebellgrupper i Mali kan falla på eget grepp. Hmm, this piece is about a rebel group in Mali. I’ve done enough stories on jihadis. What else we got?

Bomb vid shiamoské dödade 45Okay, let’s do this. A bomb at a Shia mosque kills 45? I think that is a probably a good gist. (I don’t speak Swedish, but I think that is pretty straightforward. I’ll head over to Google translate to check my gist. Yup, got it. Not that that was challenging.) And although I just decried any articles on jihadis, it seems that jihadis are in my future. (It is strange, no, that the only two Swedish articles I pull up are both on testy rebels? I’ll bet I was searching in the jihad section.) The article is from a place called Aftonbladet:


The Aftonbladet kind of reminds of the Sun. It has the same sort of look. Let’s get into the article:

Bomb vid shiamoské dödade 45

KARACHI. En misstänkt självmordsbombare attackerade shiamuslimer när de var på väg att lämna en moské i Karachi på söndagen. Minst 45 av dem miste livet.

– Det var en kraftig explosion i ett tättbefolkat shiadominerat område, sade polisbefälet Shabir Ahmad Sheikh.

Screen shot 2013-03-03 at 5.35.11 PM

Enligt polisen dödades minst 45 personer och ytterligare 149 skadades. Polisen misstänker att militanta sunnimuslimer låg bakom dådet. Om det stämmer är det i så fall ytterligare ett tecken på att religiöst betingade attacker ökar.

Okay, let’s try to gist this thing. We already have the title, right?  A bomb at a Shia mosque kills 45. Pretty easy. Let’s get into it. Karachi. Easy. A suicide bomber attacked a shia mosque near Karachi and 45 people lost their lives. The explosion occurred in the Shia dominant area, overseen by Shabir Ahmad Sheikh. 45 dead with 149 injured. The people mistook the attackers for Sunni Muslims. (This does not make sense. Perhaps, the police identified the attackers as Sunnis?And the attacks are part of a pattern of religious attacks in the area.

Let me plug it into Google Translate and see how I did. Here it goes:

Hey that is not Pamela Anderson, but Pamela Andersson!
Hey that is not Pamela Anderson, but Pamela Andersson!

Bomb in Shiite mosque killed 45
KARACHI. A suspected suicide bomber attacked Shiite Muslims when they were about to leave a mosque in Karachi on Sunday. At least 45 of them lost their lives.
– It was a powerful explosion in a densely populated Shiite-dominated area, said police officer Shabir Ahmad Sheikh.
Police said at least 45 people were killed and another 149 injured. Police suspect that militant Sunnis were behind the attack. If it is true, it is so, yet another sign that sectarian attacks increases.

Got some, missed some. See, the life of an ex-linguist is an exciting one. I used to work for a Senior Chief who would go in and take all sorts of language tests on languages he did not know. Like Icelandic. And, while he never passed, he could at least score in the advanced beginner category. After all, language is nothing but code, right? Maybe I’ll take the Svensk test next.

22 thoughts on “English and Svensk Jihadis”

  1. Are you the type that can pick up a language, quite easy? Like if you would read a few things in swedish, you would pick up the basics and work from there. How did you get to be a linguist with arabic? Just curious.

    1. I enjoy languages. I’ve met absolute language geniuses. I am not one of those. But it tends to stick with me. And I learned Arabic at DLI, the military language school in Monterey.

  2. Over the summer we started dabbling with teaching our 2.5 year old daughter french. Just stared with numbers and colors. We were thinking of using the Rosetta stone to teach us, and teach her. Any suggestions on language learning programs to teach a second or third language ? I want to learn German, heritage, teach the kid french as well.

    1. Great! I learned French as a kid and it was a great experience. I think Rosetta Stone is a great product. It tricks your mind into learning the language. . .

  3. Well, as one of your posters noted, there are some who approach languages as a code of sorts….that’s the sort of linguist I was….there are patterns in every language that would make it understandable from that point of view..I took that DLI initial test with that in mind….I did extremely well…and that was why I was selected to go there in the first place until timing was interjected into the mix…I think I told you before, they had just started a new session in Russian when my request was initially submitted….so it was inconvenient at the time….and as a result I ended up in the same community when I joined the Navy but not in the same field….k

    1. It is not too late to learn Russian, my comrade! (And that is an amazing story. If only they had a class, your life would be different. . .)

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