I had a meeting last week with 3 Finns. While their English is excellent, it’s funny to hear the different emphasis they put on certain syllables.
Categories – ka-TAG-ories
Development – dee-vell-OP-mint
Now, I can’t speak any Finnish, of course, but I imagine many Swedes get a kick out of the way I put the accent on the wrong syllables in Swedish. And in Swedish, this can totally change the meaning of the word.
Classic example – tomten
Tomten can either mean “the garden” or “the Santa” depending on where you emphasize the word. Here’s a great example from https://albrechtskom.se
My kids and their friends are always confused when I tell them that if they’re nice, the garden will give them presents, while if you water Santa well, he will grow.
Gardens do give presents. They’re called vegetables.
Ok, the British has ‘tomtar på tomten’.
I never thought about watering Santa before.