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This is the fourth episode of our podcast series Learn English. You can listen to the previous episodes here:

Episode 1: My recipe for happiness

Episode 2: Keeping the spark alive

Episode 3: The myths and taboos of motherhood

In this episode, you’ll hear about the most popular American traditions and some fascinating travel destinations. Enjoy!

WordDive Learn English Podcast USA - SoundCloud
(264 secs long, 380 plays)Play in SoundCloud

My favorite things about the States

Hello, welcome to the show! Today, we are taking a look at some of my favorite things about the United States.

I lived in the USA for 2 years and during that time, I was based in Brooklyn, New York. I fell head over heels for American traditions, festivals, and cool travel destinations.

First off, let’s talk about Thanksgiving. If you’ve ever been in the States during November, you may know that the lead up to Thanksgiving is a big deal. There’s beautiful fall weather and everyone is eating pumpkin-flavored sweets. People are also starting to get excited about their return home for the holiday season.

People usually take a few days off work for Thanksgiving. The big cities can be like ghost towns. This is because people travel out of town, filling up on turkey, sweet pies, and mashed potato with their relatives! It’s a time to not only celebrate family but also pay respect to the history of the country. If you get a chance, check out the Macy’s Day Parade in Manhattan. It’s a quintessential American tradition, and it’s a lot of fun!

After Thanksgiving, it’s Halloween, one of the most magical times in the USA. Make sure you dress up and attend some spooky events! Halloween is a nationwide deal in the USA, and there is a lot of excitement… and scary costumes on the streets!

Just remember that unfortunately, you’ll have to leave the trick or treating to the younger ones!

As far as holidays go, it doesn’t get more American than Independence Day, also known as the Fourth of July. Because it’s in the middle of summer, everyone celebrates the Declaration of Independence outside. You can watch the local fireworks, have a family BBQ, enjoy a block party, or catch a baseball game and parade. There’s going to be a lot of red, white, and blue, so make sure you dress up!

The USA is a large country with so much diversity. Every state offers different regional cuisine, stunning landscapes, and monuments.

One of my favorite US food traditions is definitely Southern comfort food. Buttermilk biscuits, sawmill gravy, and chicken and waffles. It doesn’t get better than that. I could talk about this food all day, but let’s move on to some sweet destinations!

Here are some of my favorite places that I’ve visited in the States.

I went on a road trip through South Dakota with a friend of mine who is a local from the area and it was incredible. We visited the Black Hills National Forest, Mount Rushmore, and the Badlands. We also saw a few fun local monuments like The Corn Palace, a grand multi-purpose center, completely built out of corn. South Dakota is the agricultural heart of the States, and it is filled with beautiful history and a lot of natural pride.

Speaking of which, the next city I visited was Philadelphia.

For all you movie fans out there, Philly was the city that Rocky was filmed in. It’s got a rich Italian-American and Irish-American heritage. If you pop by the Reading Terminal Markets, you can find Amish farmers selling their organic produce. Take a walk through the city streets that are just drenched in history, and don’t forget to pick up a cheesesteak sandwich! Geno’s was my personal favorite, but you should definitely try as many places as you can.

I lived in the USA for a couple of years, yet I barely scratched the surface of what this incredible country has to offer. Whether you want to chill on stunning beaches in Hawaii, or trek through the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, this country truly has something for everyone.

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This is the fifth and last episode of our podcast series Learn English. You can listen to the previous episodes here:

Episode 1: My recipe for happiness

Episode 2: Keeping the spark alive

Episode 3: The myths and taboos of motherhood

Episode 4: My favorite things about the States

This episode is all about things you can do to get more mental and physical energy for everyday life.

WordDive Learn English Podcast Energy - SoundCloud
(234 secs long, 667 plays)Play in SoundCloud

Remedies to get more energy

Hello, welcome to the show! Today we are going to look into different remedies to get more energy out of life!

Life can be pretty hectic, right? Well, there are a few things that you can do every day to harness your physical and mental energy.

First off, let’s take a look at your diet.

A healthy and balanced diet is one of the most important aspects of your everyday life, so you need to take care of it!

I was a vegetarian for 10 years until I got to the point that veggies alone were just not going to cut it anymore. I was tired, emotional, and needed to eat every couple of hours just to make it through the day. Obviously, this is not an ideal situation, so, I tried changing my diet. I made sure I got a rich, balanced and nutritious meal plan, embracing a more diverse variety of foods – from grass-fed meats, down to fruit, vegetables, grains, and dairy products. I started putting in more focus and effort into my diet and I’ve never felt healthier and more energized. I used to wake up in the morning feeling slow and sluggish, and now I wake up feeling well rested and ready for the day ahead.

This is not to talk down on vegetarian diets: they might work for some people, but they obviously didn’t work for me! It’s important to find what really works for you, and stick with it. A good diet is the foundation of a healthy life, so make sure that you start putting in an effort to get the nutrients and vitamins that you need! 

The next step is exercise. Studies have proven that there is a link to cardiovascular exercise and a decrease in anxiety, depression, and stress. These are all mental states that can severely deplete your energy resources.

If you don’t have time to hit the gym every day, make time for some other exercise. I had a pretty busy schedule and really couldn’t commit to any exercise program. However, I wanted to make a positive difference in my life. So I started following YouTube exercise videos. I did 30 minutes of yoga every single day, just on a mat in my living room. If I didn’t have time to do 30 minutes, I would cut the time in half. Everyone has 15 minutes to spare!

Get up that little bit earlier, or do it just before bed. Whatever it is, you need to do some kind of exercise every day. You will not only feel stronger in your body but you will start feeling like you have more energy. Sticking to a schedule and doing something small for yourself every day is the best way to tap into your energy reserves.

The link between the body and the mind is powerful, so one of the best ways to get more energy is simply to take some time off.

Relax, sit back, read a book, catch up on your favorite TV show… whatever you like to do as a way to unwind!

You can also try some meditation techniques, or just go for a stroll around the block every afternoon, as simple as that!

It might sound like a big deal, but if you make a special effort to look after yourself, you’ll be thankful you tried!

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This is the third episode of our podcast series Learn English. You can listen to the previous episodes here:

Episode 1: My recipe for happiness

Episode 2: Keeping the spark alive

This episode lays out the facts about life with a baby or a toddler and how it’s not always as sweet as you might have imagined.

WordDive Learn English Podcast Motherhood - SoundCloud
(229 secs long, 226 plays)Play in SoundCloud

The myths and taboos of motherhood

Hi! Thanks for joining me on today’s podcast, where we explore the myths and taboos of motherhood!

Being a mom is a beautiful journey, with many twists and turns, not to mention unexpected and surprising moments!

The truth is, nothing could truly prepare you for the life-changing experience of raising a child. Are you feeling nervous? Don’t worry. There are so many popular myths and taboos surrounding motherhood, and it’s finally time to bust them!

The first thing that we need to get straight is that being a mom is hard. It can be one of the most difficult things that a woman goes through in her life. Yet, it can also be the most rewarding, and the most natural feeling. Some parents experience a unique connection and glowing satisfaction when they have children. This is definitely a big part of it, but it’s not all about positive emotions. There could be some anxiety, stress, sleep deprivation, guilt, and depression. If you are worried because you are feeling like that, it’s important to know that it’s perfectly common and that you are not the only one! The reason why this might seem like such an unusual thing is that most parents seldom want to talk about their anxieties.

Mothers are afraid of being judged or misunderstood if they openly discuss the negative sides of parenting. This is why it’s important to connect with others who may be sharing your experience. It’s always healthy to talk to like-minded parents, and it will make you feel less alone.

Another damaging myth is about the bond between mother and child. In Hollywood, the mother feels an undying connection with her child, the moment a baby is born. The way that motherhood is depicted in films can give people false expectations.

This is especially true when mothers may not feel that immediate connection. Life isn’t a movie. Sometimes, love and connection can grow slowly. Think of it as a gradual development, rather than a lightning bolt.

If you think that you’re struggling emotionally, talk to your doctor and discuss therapy options. Sometimes talking to someone can be very helpful.

As your baby gets older, things can get more complicated, especially when you need to lay the foundations for discipline.

Children are smart and can quickly learn how to push your buttons to get what they want!

Screen time is a major issue, as technology can be addictive and become a bargaining chip. Here’s the most important thing to remember…It’s ok to be flexible!

Discipline and guidance are important. However, you should also learn how to be flexible, because things might vary, depending on the situation.

Motherhood is a learning curve. You’re allowed to have doubts, negative emotions, moments where you let things slide. Just remember to be easy on yourself, you’re doing a great job. Even just the fact that you are listening to a podcast like this one means that you care a lot!

Get advice when you can, but ultimately, trust your own instincts. Your ancestors have been raising children for a long time, so you can do it as well!

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This is the second episode of our new podcast series Learn English. You can listen to the first episode “My recipe for happiness” here.

The name of this episode is “Keeping the spark alive” and it’s about love – in English, of course. Click play, enjoy and learn!

WordDive Learn English Podcast Spark - SoundCloud
(215 secs long, 98 plays)Play in SoundCloud

Hey there, thanks for tuning in!

Being in love is awesome, but it isn’t always smooth sailing. Today, we are taking a deeper dive into the murky waters of relationships.

Can long-term relationships still be fresh and exciting? Is it possible to keep the spark alive, after many years with the same person?

Let’s explore some great ways to spice up your love life.

Even if you’re not in a long-term relationship, this episode can be very helpful. Relationships take a lot of work. It’s great to know what to expect before you commit.

If you think your relationship is becoming mundane or boring, take a good look around. Is there’s anything deeper at play?
Maybe the problem is that you got caught in the same routine. Perhaps, you and your partner aren’t making an effort to bring back that fire! Have a talk about what you both want from your relationship. This could be a good way to find a fix, and explore solutions!

Next up is romance. When is the last time you’ve gone out on a date with your partner?
If you’re still trying to remember, it’s been way too long!
In a relationship, it’s very important to hang out. If you don’t have the time…then make time!
Catch a movie, grab a bite to eat, or book a romantic weekend away.
Whatever it is, just do something fun to relax and refresh your relationship. Trust me, you’ll quickly realize the spark was always there; it just had to be rekindled.

Most relationships are stuck in a rut because there is a lack of spontaneity. If you want to make sure your relationship stays exciting, you need to be more spontaneous!
Don’t wait for holidays and birthdays to do something special. Send your partner some flowers, write a love letter, or treat them to a nice breakfast in bed.
Romance is all about showing your partner how much you care. Always let them know: no matter how long you’ve been together they are still the center of your world.

If you’re on a budget, don’t worry. You can spice up your relationship without spending a dime. Make them a nice playlist with their favourite tunes, write them a poem…the possibilities are endless. Your partner will be blown away by your thoughtfulness, and who knows…it might be time to give Netflix a break for the night while the romance heats up!

A relationship is a two-way street. If you’re showering your significant other with attention, but you’re feeling underappreciated, tell them.
Communication is the key to a healthy, and happy relationship.
The way we express love can change from person to person, so you might find out that your partner hasn’t even realized you’re feeling overlooked!

I hope you’ve enjoyed our romance special. Just remember: actions speak louder than words. If you believe in your relationship and you’re both willing to work for it, it will bloom and flourish forever!

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Welcome to the first episode of our new podcast series “Learn English”!

In this series, we will handle universal topics such as happiness, travel and relationships from different angles. The series is suitable for basic and intermediate level English learners. While you listen, you can follow the script of the podcast under the audio track.

The topic of the first episode is “My recipe for happiness”. Click the play button and improve your listening comprehension skills!

WordDive Learn English Podcast Happiness - SoundCloud
(248 secs long, 25 plays)Play in SoundCloud

My recipe for happiness

Before we start talking about happiness, we need to take a look at what exactly happiness is.

Everyone has a different definition and personal experience of it. For some, happiness is time with family. For others, it might be a new pair of sneakers, a good book, or a cup of tea on a rainy day. Your mileage may vary!

The experience of happiness is usually temporary and caused by an external event. Blue skies can make you happy. The kindness of a stranger can make you happy. A perfectly brewed cup of coffee can make you happy.

At this point, you’re probably thinking…What do I know about happiness? Why is my recipe for happiness important, or useful? Well, I know as much about it as you do. However, I believe that by sharing our thoughts, tips, and experiences, we can help each other slow down and soak in the good vibes. Without further ado, let’s dig in.

At times, I feel an immense amount of pressure to be happy and positive. I’m encouraged to look on the bright side of life or to find the silver lining in every situation. One of the most important ways to be happy is to first accept your unhappiness. If you’re feeling blue or down in the dumps, that’s ok. Try to accept these feelings and talk about them with close family or friends. To allow yourself to be happy you need to embrace all the other feelings as well.

It’s important to keep an open mind. Here are some simple and easy tips to expand your brain! First, try to travel as much as possible. Meet new people, experience different cultures and get out of your daily routine. If you have the chance to do that, you will gain a broader perspective on life. Next, read as much as possible. Read anything from classic literature and paperback thrillers to comic books. Use your imagination and delve into someone else’s point of view. You will develop more empathy and appreciation for the people around you.

You can also practice the art of listening on a daily basis. Do you ever find yourself in a conversation where you always think of what to say when the other person is talking? Let go of this habit and truly start listening. Suppress the need to always talk at the next brief silence. You will learn so much through listening and get so much more out of your day-to-day relationships.

This is all great stuff, but don’t forget one of the key elements to happiness: balance. Whenever I am feeling low, I take a good look at my schedule and ask myself these questions. How much am I working? Do I enjoy what I do? What hobbies am I keeping up with? How often do I see my friends? When is the last time I have hung out with my family? Am I exercising regularly?

It all comes down to developing a healthy balance, opening your mind, and embracing your darker side. Let us know what your top tips are for making a potent recipe for happiness!

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There’s no better way to spend time with friends than throwing a Spanish-themed tapas party!

The recipe for a perfect evening is simple: loved ones gathered around the table, a tasty tapas meal, pitchers of refreshing tinto de verano and an atmospheric playlist of Spanish favourites.

Today’s blog post is a collection of six easy tapas recipes you can make with ingredients found at your nearest supermarket. Of course, the post wouldn’t be complete without tips for what to include on your playlist!

”¡Que lo paséis bien!”

Tortilla española
Spanish omelette

6 eggs
4-5 potatoes
1 onion
salt
1 dl olive oil

Chop the onion. Cut the potatoes into small, thin pieces. Add the potatoes and the onion on the frying pan with a sprinkling of salt. Fry in olive oil until the potatoes are done. Break the eggs into a large bowl and whisk them. Don’t pour the eggs on top of the potatoes, but instead lift the potatoes and onion from the pan into the bowl (taking care to leave the extra oil in the pan) and mix. Then pour the mixture on the pan and fry on medium heat until the omelette is almost solid. Turn it around carefully and fry until both sides are golden brown.

Patatas bravas con aioli
Spanish potato cubes with garlic mayo

1 kg potatoes
salt
paprika
olive oil
garlic mayo (aioli)

Boil the potatoes for approximately 10 minutes and cut into snack-size cubes. Fry the potato cubes in olive oil on a pan until done. Add paprika and salt according to taste. Serve with garlic mayo.

Albondigas en salsa de tomate
Spanish meatballs in tomato sauce

Meatballs

400 gr minced meat
½ dl breadcrumbs or panko
1 dl sour cream or water
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
1 egg
salt
black pepper
paprika

Soak the breadcrumbs in sour cream or water. Chop and sauté the garlic and the onion. Mix all ingredients into an even paste and roll into small balls. Fry the meatballs on the pan.

Tomato sauce

1 can of finely chopped tomatoes
(1 dl white wine)
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
1 bell pepper
olive oil
salt
black pepper
paprika

Spanish meatballs are served in garlic-flavoured tomato sauce. Chop and sauté the onions, the garlic and the bell pepper. Add seasonings, chopped tomatoes and wine if desired. Let the sauce simmer for 15 minutes. Add the meatballs and serve with baguette.

Gambas al ajillo (Gambas Pil-Pil)
Garlic prawns

400 gr large prawns
3 garlic cloves
1 small chili pepper
1 lemon (for the juice)
olive oil
parsley (for decoration)

Chop the chili pepper and the garlic. Fry them in olive oil until golden brown. Add the prawns and fry for a few more minutes. Add the juice of the lemon and sprinkle parsley on top. Serve hot with baguette.

Berenjena frita con miel
Fried aubergine with honey

1 aubergine
salt
olive oil
wheat flour
honey

Cut the aubergine into thin slices. Sprinkle salt on the slices and let them sweat. Turn around, sprinkle salt on the other sides and let them sweat again. Wipe the surfaces of the slices with kitchen roll. Roll the slices in flour, shake off loose flour and fry in hot oil. Soak the extra oil into kitchen roll. Serve immediately with honey.

Plato de jamón y queso
Ham and cheese platter

Cut manchego cheese into slices. Set the cheese slices and air-dried ham (jamón serrano) beautifully on a large platter. Sprinkle olive oil on top. Serve with breadsticks or baguette.

Refreshing tinto de verano is the perfect drink to accompany tapas. Make tinto de verano by mixing a bottle of red wine and a bottle of lemon soda. Add ice cubes and decorate with lemon slices.

For a perfect finishing touch, play some Spanish music. Here are some ideas for your playlist:

Latin pop

Enrique Iglesias: El Perdón, Bailando, Súbeme La Radio, Duele El Corazón
Piso 21: Me Llamas, Besándote, Déjala, Que Vuelva
Ricky Martin: Livin’ La Vida Loca, Vente Pa’ Ca, La Mordidita

Reggaeton

J Balvin: Mi Gente, Ay Vamos, Safari
Karol G: Secreto, Casi Nada, Culpables
Maluma: Felices los 4, El Perdedor, Mi Mala

Pop / Rock

Juanes: Tengo La Camisa Negra, Besos En Guerra, Es Por Ti
Maná: Oye Mi Amor, En El Muelle De San Blas, Clavado En Un Bar

Salsa

Celia Cruz: La Vida Es Un Carnaval, Guantanamera, La Negra Tiene Tumbao

Merengue

Elvis Crespo: Suavemente, Azukita, Tu Sonrisa

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We have released a big update to the Comprehensive Finnish course package to make learning even more motivating for you. The new package includes three basic level goals, three intermediate level goals and two advanced goals:

BASIC FINNISH 1

Take-off
Good Morning!
Making Friends
I’m Hungry
Next Stop

INTERMEDIATE FINNISH 1

Let’s Talk About Feelings
One Big Family
You Look Lovely Tonight
Job Hunting
Have You Heard the News?

BASIC FINNISH 2

Dinnertime
Money, Money, Money
Welcome Home
First Day at School
What Do You Do for a Living?

INTERMEDIATE FINNISH 2

Jobs and Workplaces
No Pain No Gain​
Basic Business​
Arts and Crafts​
Into the Wild​

BASIC FINNISH 3

Feeling Sick
Out and About
Entertainment
How Do I Look?
Speak Finnish (the much-requested spoken Finnish course!)

INTERMEDIATE FINNISH 3

Money Matters
It’s Time for a Meeting
What Traditions Do You Have?
Music on My Mind
Compliments and Complaints

ADVANCED FINNISH 1

Save the Planet!
Stand Up for Your Values
Media Literate Minds
Laws and Outlaws
Embrace the Differences

ADVANCED FINNISH 2

Delicious Delights
Coaching from the Couch
Where Are You From?
Exploring the Past
A Penny for Your Thoughts

A great selection of courses, isn’t it? In addition, the comprehensive package includes a separate goal for grammar courses.

With this update, the old Learn Finnish and Finnish for Travel packages and the YKI test prep course will no longer be sold. If you already own one of those course packages, you can continue using it normally until the end of your purchased learning period.

If you’re already using the Comprehensive Finnish course package, you can request a change to the new package by contacting us. Please note! After the change, you can’t use the old courses any more and might lose some of your progress. The change is final and can’t be reversed.

Welcome to learn more about Finnish life, culture and society. Choose your goal and start learning right now!

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Every language has a bunch of words that are more or less untranslatable in English or other languages. In today’s blog post, we have a collection of twenty-five brilliant Spanish, German, Swedish and Finnish words that can not be translated into English.

Often, words and expressions that are untranslatable describe features of local culture, climate or typical national characteristics that might not even exist in other countries. Enjoy!

Untranslatable German words

Wanderlust

= A strong desire to travel and see the world.

Example: Ich habe Wanderlust und möchte schnell irgendwohin reisen!

Fernweh

= Some languages have a word for this feeling, but English does not. Fernweh is longing for some place far away, either a specific location or simply the experience of being away from home.

Example: Immer wenn ich zu Hause bin, habe ich Fernweh.

Weltschmerz

= English speakers might well feel this, but they still haven’t come up with a good translation for it. Weltschmerz is literally ”world pain”: feeling down because of all the things that are wrong in the world and one’s limited capacity to do something about it.

Example: Wenn ich keinen Kummer im eigenen Leben habe, kommt der Weltschmerz.

der innere Schweinehund

= An inner voice tempting you to be passive and lazy. It says the weather is a bit bad, so it’s fine to cancel that plan to go running, isn’t it? And sure there are just two flights of stairs, but why walk when there’s a lift? Conquering your lazy inner voice makes you feel good and accomplished.

Example: Um dein Ziel zu erreichen, musst du deinen inneren Schweinehund überwinden!

der Kummerspeck

= Extra weight gained because of eating to get over a broken heart.

Example: Nach der Trennung hat sie eine Menge Kummerspeck angesetzt.

die Schnapsidee

= A really terrible idea. Ideas like this are usually born as a result of a few schnapps and possibly a bit of additional alcohol, but you can also have a Schnapsidee while perfectly sober. It’s just that these ideas are so bad, you’d think they were thought up by a drunk person.

Example: Das ist ja eine Schnapsidee!

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Untranslatable Spanish words

Sobremesa

= The relaxed sitting around the table, digesting and chatting that takes place after a meal in Spanish culture. Sobremesa is the reason why Spanish waiters often won’t bring the bill before it has been specifically requested.

Example: Estuvimos de sobremesa hasta las seis.

Botellón

= Getting the party started outdoors (because alcohol is cheaper in the store than the bar), generally done by young people. If possble, a botellón takes place at the beach or in ”campo” or the countryside. In big cities, people gather in parks and on the streets.

Example: ¿Te apetece hacer botellón esta noche?

Tener ganas de

= Feel like, want to. The negative version ”no tengo ganas de” can also mean ”I don’t have the energy”. The expression ”tengo ganas de ti” can also be used to mean ”I want you” in the romantic or sexual sense.

Example: Tengo muchas ganas de ver esa película.

Merendar

= Eat a bite of something, grab a snack. Note that the Spanish noun ”merienda” means a snack or a light meal. Merienda is usually had between lunch and dinner.

Example: Todavía no tengo hambre porque acabo de merendar.

Friolero/friolera

= Person who feels the cold easily.

Example: Si eres muy friolero, mejor no mudarte a Finlandia.

Consuegros

= The parents-in-law of your married son or daughter.

Example: Mis consuegros son majísimos, al igual que mi nuera.

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Untranslatable Swedish words

Fika

= Have coffee, take a coffee break. For Swedes, ”fika” means more than drinking some coffee. It’s a social occasion by definition, so technically you can’t ”fika” alone. Besides coffee, you’re also expected to have a cinnamon roll, a sandwich or a piece of cake.

Example: När ska vi fika?

Lagom

= Sweden’s answer to hygge. Freely translated, ”lagom” means moderation and having enough – not too much and not too little.

Example: Vädret är lagom varmt.

Lördagsgodis

= Saturday sweets. Some parents allow their children sweets only once per week, and traditionally this day is Saturday.

Example: Det är lördag idag. Ska vi köpa lite lördagsgodis?

Orka

= This verb is very common in Swedish but doesn’t have an English equivalent. It means roughly ”to have the energy to do something”. Often seen in the negative, ”I don’t have the energy”.

Example: Jag är så trött! Jag orkar inte göra någonting.

Hinna

= Another very common Swedish verb without a good English translation: ”to be there in time (and not be late)”.

Example: Vi har fem minuter på oss. Jag tror inte att vi hinner!

Mysa

= Comfortable lounging around, relaxing. Usually done at home, but it’s not unknown to do this in a café. Fredagsmys is a common Swedish way of spending a Friday evening. This means staying at home and cuddling on the sofa, eating a bit of something good and watching TV. Mysbyxor are comfortable trousers that you change into immediately when you come home from work.

Example: Nu får vi mysa resten av kvällen.

Jobbig

= A very common and useful word that can be used whenever something is a bit annoying, troublesome, difficult, complicated or generally frustrating.

Example: Jag hade en riktigt jobbig dag idag.

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Untranslatable Finnish words

Löyly

= Heat and steam rising from the sauna stove when you throw water on it. When the atmosphere in the sauna is especially pleasant and the temperature and moisture are just right for you, ”hyvät löylyt” is the best kind of praise.

Example: Heitä lisää löylyä!

Sisu

= A combination of stamina, grit, and sometimes sheer stubbornness, this is the famous quality that keeps Finns going after everyone else has given up.

Example: Sisu vie vaikka läpi harmaan kiven.

Kaamos

= Polar night, the time of the year when the sun does not rise at all north of the Arctic Circle. There is a specific term, kaamosmasennus, for depression caused by kaamos.

Example: En kestä tätä kaamosta, haluan matkustaa etelään.

Talkoot

= Finland’s version of barn raising, where the community gets together to get some task done for the common good. Participation is usually voluntary, and compensation consists of something to eat and drink and a feeling of accomplishment.

Example: Tuletko pihatalkoisiin?

Kyykkyviini

= Literally ”squatting wine”, meaning wine that is a bit cheaper than average. You don’t have to squat while drinking it, only while buying it  ̶  the term comes from the habit Finnish liquor stores have of putting cheaper wines on the bottom shelf.

Example: Join opiskeluaikana vähän liikaa kyykkyviinejä.

Tosikko

= Person without a sense of humour. Someone who is a tosikko isn’t necessarily annoyed or offended by jokes and pranks, he simply doesn’t find them funny. At all. Of course, a tosikko won’t identify as one  ̶  in her view, she is normal and everyone else is laughing for no reason.

Example: Et sinä kuitenkaan naura tälle, koska olet tuollainen tosikko.

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Valentine’s Day is approaching, and you might be planning to do something special together with your spouse. Or maybe you’re single but planning to ask a certain interesting person out?

In either case, this year you could try something different from the traditional “dinner and movie” date.

In this blog post, we’ve collected a few different date ideas from Sweden, Germany, Spain and England. Feel free to try these at home! Not romantically involved at the moment or have nobody you’d like to ask out? No worries, most of these ideas are also great for a group of friends.

In Sweden, either of you can make the first move

Sweden is a land of equality, so it’s completely okay for a woman to make the first move. However, the meeting might not be formally labeled a date. In Sweden (and also in Finland), the usual custom is to ask casually if the other person would like to go out for a coffee.

A café is a nice and safe place for a date, but if you would prefer your date to involve something more active, try bowling or minigolf. Apart from playing games, Swedes like dates where you cook together. This is an idea you can use at home right away! Plan the menu for the evening, go grocery shopping and open a bottle of good wine while you cook. Cooking is a good ice breaker and conversation starter, and by the time you get to the eating part, you’ll already feel relaxed.

fika = to go out for coffee
bowla = to go bowling
spela minigolf = to play minigolf
laga mat = to cook

Germans get active together

Like in Sweden, in Germany going out with someone is not necessarily called dating. Instead, it’s common to say you’re spending time together. Whatever the term, the point is that you get to know the other person better when you’re involved in some fun activity.

You don’t need to wait for the evening: Germans think it’s fine to go out on a date during the day. Cycling, skiing and indoor climbing are some examples of nice activities, but you can also visit an outdoor market or go see a local band. In Germany (like many other countries), you can find markets selling handicrafts and food in city centres at almost any time of the year.

ein Ausflug mit dem Rad = cycling trip
Ski laufen = to ski
klettern = to climb
der Markt = market
Konzert besuchen = to go to a concert

Spain: picnics, ferias and outings

In Spain, having a picnic at the beach or in the park is a popular thing to do on a date. Food will always taste better when eaten outdoors! A picnic also puts you in a mood that is romantic but also relaxed at the same time. Invest in a nice blanket, good wine and tasty food. If it’s winter and cold where you are, the same thing can be done around a campfire.

Another nice place for a date in Spain is a feria, a kind of temporary theme park. You could go on a few rides together or play games and enjoy the atmosphere.

If you have the whole day for your date, you can also drive or take a bus to a nearby nature destination or some beautiful little village. It’s easy to have a chat while walking outdoors, but it’s just as easy to be quiet for a while without feeling self-conscious about it.

picnic en la playa = picnic at the beach
la feria = theme park/festival
una excursión = trip

Go to a pub or an outdoor cinema in England

Meanwhile in England, daytime dates are not very common. Instead, the custom is to go out on a date in the evening. The place is often a nice local pub, where both of you can enjoy a beer and conversation.

In England, like many other European countries, outdoor cinema is a great date activity. It’s not as dark as an indoors cinema, and it’s also okay to talk quietly during the film. Bringing your own food is generally allowed, and you could even bring your own bubbly drink.

If your partner is interested in sports, you could do a very British thing and get tickets to see a football match (even better if it’s to support the local team). If you’re both more into culture, you could go to an interesting exhibition or visit a botanical garden. Both give you plenty of topics to talk about, which also allows you to get to know each other better.

go out for a drink
an outdoor cinema
a football match
an exhibition
a botanical garden

The whole WordDive team wishes you a happy Valentine’s Day!

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Imagine you’re having a conversation in a foreign language and simply can’t understand what somebody just said to you. What do you do then? At least I often find myself blurting out something slightly rude like “What?” or “Huh?” instead of a nicer, more sensible reaction.

In very informal speech, such as with close friends, it may be alright to use expressions like “Huh?” or “What?” in English, German or Spanish when you couldn’t hear or understand somebody, but in most cases you should communicate in a bit more polite way.

Below you’ll find a few examples of English, German and Spanish expressions that you can use when you don’t understand or couldn’t hear something.

I recommend visualising yourself in these situations and saying these phrases out loud often, so they will come to you automatically when the phone reception is bad or you miss a question in a lively conversation.

ENGLISH EXPRESSIONS

With these phrases, you can simply ask that the other person repeats what they said:
Sorry, I didn’t understand. Could you say that again, please?
Sorry, I didn’t catch that. Could you repeat a little louder, please?

If the sound on the phone is unclear or the person you’re talking to is speaking too quietly, you can say:
I can’t hear you very well. Could you speak up, please?

If you don’t understand a certain word, you can ask the other person to explain:
I don’t know that word, could you please tell me what it means?

If you have already asked them to repeat once, but still can’t understand, you can say you’re sorry in the following ways:
Sorry, English is not my first language. Would you mind repeating that once more?
Sorry, my English is not that great. Would you mind speaking more slowly?

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GERMAN EXPRESSIONS

Wie bitte?
I beg your pardon

Entschuldigen Sie, ich habe es nicht verstanden. Könnten Sie es bitte noch mal sagen?
Excuse me, I didn’t understand. Could you please say it again?

Ich kann Sie nicht so gut hören. Könnten Sie bitte etwas lauter sprechen?
I can’t hear you very well. Could you please speak  a bit louder?

Ich kenne das Wort leider nicht. Könnten Sie mir sagen, was es bedeutet?
Unfortunately I don’t know that word. Could you tell me what it means?

Entschuldigen Sie, ich spreche nicht so gut Deutsch. Könnten Sie etwas langsamer sprechen?
I’m sorry, my German is not very good. Could you please speak slower?

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SPANISH EXPRESSIONS

¿Cómo?
I beg your pardon

Lo siento, no entiendo. ¿Puede repetir?
Sorry, I don’t understand. Could you please repeat?

No le oigo bien. ¿Puede hablar más alto?
I can’t hear very well. Could you please speak louder?

¿Qué significa esa palabra?
What does that word mean?

Solo hablo un poco de español. ¿Puede hablar más despacio?
I speak only a little Spanish. Could you please speak slower?

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