Travel. Sweden. People.

23.07.2018

Healthy humor, humor, not sarcasm or irony, are peculiar only to sincere and wholehearted people.
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Like all good neighbors , they make fun of the inhabitants of other Scandinavian countries in funny anecdotes. In Swedish anecdotes Norwegians look like simpleton, Finns are taciturn, and the Danes - funny, relaxed "rogue", a kind of Nordic Italians! I must say that in retaliation, the Danes and Norwegians also make fun of the Swedes, presenting them in anecdotes near and forever "tipsy" revelers!

It is remarkable that such jokes can be read in daily Newspapers absolutely quietly. And this is not the "yellow" press. Here, for example, a typical joke about the Finns Swedes:

"On the ferry Stockholm – Helsinki in the restaurant sits Finn, has Breakfast and reads the newspaper. Passes slightly tipsy Swede. Chewing gum, blowing bubbles. Stops at the table where Finn sits.:
- Oh, cool you Finns have Breakfast! Muesli, look, eat... Listen, do you eat bread with crust in Finland?
Finn nods.
– In Sweden we only eat the crumb and crust we collect in container, recycle, make them cereal and sent to Finland.
Finn's quiet.
- Oh, and there's jam on your Desk... Listen, and you in Finland with the peelings from the fruit that are doing? Throwing away?
Finn nods again.
In Sweden we collect cleaning in containers, recycle, make jam from them and send to Finland!
Finn is silent, and the Swede neighs and inflates another bubble of gum. Here Finn says:
- Listen, what do you do with used condoms in Sweden? Throwing away?
The Swede nods, puzzled.
- In Finland we collect them in containers, process them, make chewing gum and send them to Sweden...»

And this is the joke of the Swedes about Finns:
"A Finnish guy got a job in a painting company. Master handed him a jar of paint and a brush with the words:
- Kid, paint that window.
After a while the guy comes to the master and says:
– Readily. Paint the frames?»

And this joke about the Finns Norwegians:
"Electricity was cut off in Norway... Hundreds of Norwegians were stuck on escalators for several hours.»

Danes also consider their neighbors as members of the same family and, fraternally, make fun of them! Below is an excerpt From Helen Dirby's book  "These strange Danes":
"Other Scandinavian Nations are, of course, our brothers. Norway is perceived by Danes as an equal country; perhaps it is even slightly admired because of the proud beauty of its nature. Sweden is a boring older brother who believes that everything in the world knows better than you. Finns - people dull, unpredictable and, apparently, suffering from autism. And Germany is a condescending uncle who pats you on the head and expresses his love to you, making you feel uncomfortable.»

I think that only those people who have really trusting relations with each other can joke so openly on each other. Because here you need to be sure that a simple joke will not be a catalyst for centuries accumulated anger and hostility between neighbors.

Surprisingly another interesting observation. In normal everyday communication Scandinavians switch to each other's language. So the Swedish, referring to the Norwegian, will communicate with him in Norwegian. In any case, try to communicate, avoiding English. Of course, in difficult and long negotiations, English is the main language, but in everyday life - in everyday life is another matter!

Why is that? Scandinavians like to say that their languages are not "foreign to each other, but rather neighborly". Linguists are inclined to the theory that Swedish, Finnish and Norwegian are dialects of the same language, and Danish is very similar, but historically separated from these three languages.

But, in my opinion, it probably is:
this benevolent attitude of the neighbors and the sense of regional solidarity. Scandinavians do not intentionally learn each other's languages, but try to do it at the first opportunity. So in traveling, I often heard the phrase: "why do you answer in English? After all, we are Scandinavians!»

This is perhaps the reason for that all countries are roughly equal in their status: Sweden is the largest and most densely populated, Norway is the richest to date, Denmark, the former "colonial heavyweight" and the current cultural favorite, and Finland is just a favorite "little brother." There is no condescending attitude to each other, no expression of superiority and arrogance. And this despite the fact that Finland has long defended its independence from Sweden. Norway also nearly went to war with it in 1905. And before that, all three countries were part of the Danish Kingdom.

In fact, that these countries have matured, survived the "teen" Imperial ambitions and learned neighborly joking around, funny and harmless.

Friends, imagine how great it would be if people of other language groups could find their harmony in the neighborhood with each other. If Estonians spoke with Latvians in Latvian, Russians with Ukrainians in Ukrainian, and poles with Lithuanians in Lithuanian! How easy it would be to communicate and find language with each other! How many opportunities would be for cooperation - because the basis of such communication is always trust!