Love, waffles, horses and the power of cups

"Angela Merkel"

Der hat doch nicht alle Tassen im Schrank. He’s missing some cups in his cupboard!

Han har inte alla hästar hemma. His horses aren’t at home.

Der hat doch ne Schraube locker! He’s got a screw loose – at least this one matches, even in Swedish.

You recognize them when you see one but these expressions always just miss the familiar wording. Why? Bad hearing in the Middle Ages?

When Germans made themselves comfortable in Stockholm, everyone kept talking and they understood each other only partly?

Very strange.

Surely folks of all nationalities have a need to express others stupidity indirectly. Which means all these idioms actually root in compassion and love – or politeness alternatively.

How about the English ones? He is not the brightest bulb in the box? One sandwich short of a picnic? He’s got bats in the belfry – What?

En macka till då blir det picknick? I don’t think so.

But we understand each other, which is indeed convenient.

Idioms have been the hardest Swedish thing to learn – apart from prepositions and the concept of lagom.

You could get the feeling they had someone on their waffle. Det fanns någon på deras våffel. Die hätten einen an der Waffel.

PS: Swedes sit in the sofa and their kids go on kindergarten


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