Dialogue

Vocabulary

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Lesson Notes

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Lesson Transcript

Intro

Alisha: What are augmentatives and how are they formed in Swedish?
Jesper: And are they commonly used?
Alisha: At SwedishPod101.com, we hear these questions often. Imagine this situation: Ben Lee watched a superhero movie and is now talking to his college friend, Sandra Strom. He asks,
"What superpower would you most like to have?"
Ben Lee: Vilken superkraft skulle du vilja ha?
Dialogue
Ben Lee: Vilken superkraft skulle du vilja ha?
Sandra Ström: Jag skulle vilja flyga.
Alisha: Once more with the English translation.
Ben Lee: Vilken superkraft skulle du vilja ha?
Alisha: "What superpower would you most like to have?"
Sandra Ström: Jag skulle vilja flyga.
Alisha: "I would like to fly."

Lesson focus

Alisha: Did you notice how Ben Lee forms a word by combining,
Jesper: super
Alisha: and
Jesper: kraft?
Alisha: The resulting word is what's called an augmentative. An augmentative is a word that has been modified to express a greater intensity of its root meaning. It's the opposite of a diminutive, but, like diminutives, augmentatives are formed by attaching prefixes or suffixes to nouns, and in some cases, adjectives and verbs.
[Recall 1]
Alisha: Let's take a closer look to understand this better. Remember how Ben Lee says, "What superpower would you most like to have?"
[pause 4 seconds]
Jesper as Ben Lee: Vilken superkraft skulle du vilja ha?
Alisha: Here, we have the noun,
Jesper: superkraft
Alisha: It may sound like Ben is talking about spaceships and such, but the word actually means "superpower." It's the combination of the noun
Jesper: kraft
Alisha: which means "power" or "strength," and the prefix,
Jesper: super
Alisha: which is derived from the English word with the same meaning—perfect, excellent, or beyond ordinary. Not too many Swedish augmentatives begin with this prefix, but there are a few that have been borrowed from English that possess a prefix similar to this one. One such word is
Jesper: hyperdrift
Alisha: which is the equivalent of the English "hyperdrive," a term often used in science fiction. In English, we know that "hyper" is equivalent to the word "over" or "beyond." It's also true in the case of this Swedish augmentative.
[Summary]
Alisha: In this lesson, we have learned that an augmentative is a word that has been modified to emphasize the size or importance of its root word. We can create augmentatives by adding certain prefixes to nouns. So far, we've covered two prefixes used to form Swedish augmentatives, which are
Jesper: super-
Alisha: and
Jesper: hyper-
Alisha: Why don't we take a look at some more examples? One of the most common prefixes used to form augmentatives in Swedish is
Jesper: jätte
Alisha: which literally means "giant." As an augmentative prefix, however, it functions more as the word "very." There are several Swedish augmentatives that begin with this prefix, one of which is
Jesper: jättesnabb
Alisha: which means "very fast." Another one is
Jesper: jättegott
Alisha: which means "very good." The same word can be used to describe food, which in such a case would mean, "scrumptious" or "very delicious." In some cases, it can also be used to describe how bad something is, such as in the word
Jesper: jättedålig
Alisha: which means "awful." Another common prefix used for Swedish augmentatives is
Jesper: mega-
Alisha: This is a prefix that's commonly used in English augmentatives too. It's of Greek origin, and it means "great" or "large." One Swedish augmentative that uses this prefix would be
Jesper: megahus
Alisha: which means "gigantic house."
Alisha: Most of the prefixes we've covered are only used in colloquial speech, which means you will rarely find them being used in formal speech and writing.
Practice Section
Alisha: Let's review. Respond to the prompts by speaking aloud. Then, repeat after the Swedish speaker, focusing on pronunciation.
Do you remember how Ben Lee says, "What superpower would you most like to have?"
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Jesper as Ben Lee: Vilken superkraft skulle du vilja ha?
Alisha: Listen again and repeat.
Jesper as Ben Lee: Vilken superkraft skulle du vilja ha?
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Jesper as Ben Lee: Vilken superkraft skulle du vilja ha?
Alisha: And how Ben's friend says, "I would like to fly."
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Jesper as Sandra Ström: Jag skulle vilja flyga.
Alisha: Listen again and repeat.
Jesper as Sandra Ström: Jag skulle vilja flyga.
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Jesper as Sandra Ström: Jag skulle vilja flyga.
Cultural Insight
Alisha: You will find one Swedish augmentative prefix to be very interesting. It's the prefix,
Jesper: bauta-
Alisha: Not a lot of Swedish words use this prefix, but one word that does is the word
Jesper: bautasten
Alisha: which means "boulder." It's a combination of the prefix in question and the root noun,
Jesper: sten
Alisha: which means "stone." The word
Jesper: bautasten
Alisha: is a loanword in Swedish, and refers to monument stones that people would place on tombs and other special locations.

Outro

Alisha: Do you have any more questions? We're here to answer them!
Jesper: Vi ses!
Alisha: See you soon!

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