Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Swedish Humor

I absolutely love when I come across somebody's humor unexpectedly. Maybe it's in something they say that is otherwise serious. Maybe it's something they say in an email.

Maybe it's out in the middle of a field.


Yup, I stumbled across somebody's humorous installation in the middle of a seldom-seen field in a northern part of Öland, a long, skinny island off the eastern coast of Sweden. I was on vacation and out for a walk with a group of adults and kids.

There, on the side of this seldom-used dirt road, was a viking boat grave.

This isn't it. But here's what they generally look like so you have some sort of reference:

Here's what another boat grave looks like, also on Öland. Photo: C. Michael Hogan
The one we found was also a bunch of large stones in the rough shape of a viking boat.

The stones were set down in the field in the shape of a boat hull.

...But wait, there was a sign explaining things...

...So we stepped forward to read the sign,,,

...See below for the translation...

Translation (trying to be "Old Swedish"...doesn't really translate?):

This type of boat grave (?) of the type, spurius, positioned facing south, derived probably from the early 2000's
constructed in the days of Ch. Sachs and T. Birath

These Swedes. A veritable laugh riot.


  1. "This stone ship, of the type spurius, oriented southward, probably originates from the early 2000's.

    Brought into existence by Ch. Sachs and T. Birath."

    "Spurius" seems to be the Latin origin of the word spurious, which makes sense in this case. "Bragd i dagen" is a Swedish idiom the literal translation of which would be "brought into the day". One could use "made to see the light of day" but that's a bit awkward.

  2. Thank you very much for the help, Emil. I definitely struggled trying to translate the sign. Did you think it was funny?

    1. It's a bit dry but it does the job. The 2000's thing works as a punchline. It's rather Swedish. :)

  3. It is very interesting Kristin. And I am assuming they mean coming from the time of 2000 years ago and not this current time of 2000?

    1. Hey Monica, Sorry, I tried to reply to this numerous times but it would not keep my text. Actually, they DO mean that the boat grave was built int he 21st century. That's why it's so funny. It's not old at all...

    2. Okay that makes more sense now thanks for the explanation and yes it is funny!