Forum lesson: personal hygiene, sex, and pregnancy
Duolingo's courses are not very adult in nature, which is perfectly fine, but it also means we don't get to teach some words and phrases that might still be important to know.
One such example is the topic of personal health and sexuality, as anyone who has ever had to buy tampons in a foreign language can attest to.
I've put together a small list of four categories totalling twenty nouns that you may want to learn, with a few extra new words sprinkled on top of the examples. Pay attention to the examples - I've deliberately used some idiomatic differences between the languages. I hope this is of some use to you. :)
1. Mens, or menstruation for the longer term
en-word, def. mensen, pl. menser, def. pl. menserna
- Jag har mens = I'm on my period
- Mensen är sen = My period is late
- Jag hatar mens! = I hate periods!
en-word, def. menskoppen, pl. menskoppar, def. pl. menskopparna
English: "menstrual cup"
- Min menskopp är genomskinlig = My menstrual cup is transparent
- Vi säljer massor av menskoppar = We sell loads of menstrual cups
en-word, mostly uncountable, def. värken
English: "menstrual cramps", "menstrual pain"
- Hon har väldigt kraftig mensvärk = She has very bad period pains
Worth noting is that while värkar is a fully functioning plural form of the word for "pain", it mostly refers to contractional labour pain.
en-word, def. bindan, pl. bindor, def. pl. bindorna
English: "sanitary pad"
- Varför häller de blå vätska på bindan i reklamen? = Why are they pouring blue liquid on the pad in the ad?
- Bindor får inte läcka = Pads mustn't leak
en-word, def. tampongen, pl. tamponger, def. pl. tampongerna
- På vilken hylla finns tampongerna? = In what aisle are the tampons?
- En tampong är liten och ser ut som en vit kula = A tampon is small and looks like a white bullet
en-word, mostly uncountable, def. chokladen
- Choklad, vin och Netflix = Chocolate, wine, and Netflix
We actually do teach this word in the course, but my wife insisted that I add it. (Also, many thanks to her for helping to compile the list - especially given that she's a midwife.)
en-word, def. kondomen, pl. kondomer, def. pl. kondomerna
English: "condom", "rubber"
- Kondomen gick sönder = The condom broke
- En kondom är ett billigt skydd mot könssjukdomar = A condom is cheap protection against sexually transmittable diseases
- Kondomer finns i många olika färger = There are condoms in many different colours
ett-word, def. p-pillret, pl. p-piller, def. pl. p-pillren
English: "contraceptive pill", "birth control pill"
- Det är viktigt att ta sitt p-piller varje dag = It's important to take one's contraceptive pill every day
- P-pillret smakar socker = The contraceptive pill tastes like sugar
- P-piller innehåller olika sorters hormoner, som östrogen = Contraceptive pills contain various kinds of hormones, like estrogen
The initial p- prefix stands for preventiv-, which is essentially the same word as the English "prevent(ion/ive)". Other contraceptives frequently include it as well: p-stav ("birth contral implant", lit. "preventive staff"), p-ring ("vaginal ring"), p-plåster ("contraceptive patch"), and a few more.
In addition, the morning-after pill is called akut-p-piller ("emergency contraceptive pill"), and mini pills are called minipiller.
en-word, def. spiralen, pl. spiraler, def. pl. spiralerna
English: "coil", "IUD"
- Det ska inte göra ont att sätta in en spiral = Inserting a coil is not supposed to hurt
- I Sverige är kopparspiraler gratis = In Sweden, copper IUDs are free
ett-word, def. samlaget, pl. samlag, def. pl. samlagen
- Det genomsnittliga samlaget varar i drygt fem minuter = ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤ lasts slightly longer than five minutes on average
- Våra grannar har högljudda samlag = Our neighbors have noisy sex
Obviously, there are many words and colloquialisms for having ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤ in Swedish as well. Common synonyms include ligga med (lit. "lie with", better translated as "sleep with"), quite simply ha sex ("have sex"), and the very colloquial knulla ("f*ck").
ett-word, mostly uncountable, def. samtycket English: "consent"
- Jag lär mina barn om samtycke och om att säga och respektera ett "nej" = I teach my children about consent, and about saying and respecting the word "no"
- Domstolen ifrågasatte det påstådda samtycket = The court questioned the alleged consent
ett-word, mostly uncountable, def. glidmedlet
English: "lubricant", "lube"
- Glidmedel används av gynekologer = Lubrication is used by gynecologists
- Det här glidmedlet luktar hallon = This lube smells like raspberries
ett-word, def. könet, pl. kön, def. pl. könen
English: "sex", "gender"
- Fostrets kön spelar ingen roll alls = The baby's sex/gender doesn't matter at all
- Numera kan båda könen jobba som läkare = Both sexes/genders can work as doctors nowadays
- Konstiga utslag på könet måste kollas upp omedelbart = Weird rashes on one's sex must be checked immediately
This requires some additional explanation. In English, strictly speaking, "sex" refers to physical body parts, whereas "gender" refers to social constructs and individually perceived identity. (I know this is clearly not always how the words are used, but please assume it is for the sake of the explanation.)
In Swedish, we use kön for both of these. This can obviously be quite confusing if you're talking about transsexuality or taking a course in psychology. It's also a source of headache in e.g. medical journal systems - for instance, I know there have been a few cases where trans men have completed the legal FTM hurdles and kept their reproductive systems in order to have children, only to subsequently find out that they could not be registered as pregnant in the system because they now had male social security numbers which were rejected by the computers.
en-word, uncountable; verb form onanera
I won't provide examples since I think this is already just borderline acceptable on Duolingo. Use your imagination.
(We already teach graviditet, the word for pregnancy, and gravid ("pregnant") - both of which are ultimately derived from the Latin word for heavy.)
en-word, def. förlossningen, pl. förlossningar, def. pl. förlossningarna
- Hennes andra förlossning tog bara tre timmar = Her second delivery only took three hours
- Förlossningar blir roligare med lustgas = Deliveries are more fun if you use laughing gas
Also, "to deliver" is att förlösa, and we use förlossningen for "the delivery ward". The word for "give birth" is föda.
ett-word, def. kejsarsnittet, pl. kejsarsnitt, def. pl. kejsarsnitten
English: "caesarian section", "c-section"
- Kejsarsnitt kan vara planerade eller oplanerade = Caesareans can be planned or unplanned
- Ett kejsarsnitt är ett operativt ingrepp = A c-section is a surgical procedure
As in English, the word stems from kejsare ("emperor" - Caesar) + snitt ("cut", "incision").
en-word, def. barnmorskan, pl. barnmorskor, def. pl. barnmorskorna
- Svenska förlossningar sköts av barnmorskor = Swedish deliveries are handled by midviwes
- Det tar minst fem år att bli barnmorska = It takes at least five years to become a midwife
"Midwife" is a protected title in Sweden. You need to first become a registered nurse, then get a master's degree in midwifery, and finally deliver at least fifty babies yourself before you can apply to get a license. The lowest possible amount of time this will take is four and a half years, but you typically need at least a few years work experience as an RN before you can get into the midwife programme.
Just like Norwegians and Danes, we can also use jordemoder, but it's mostly archaic in Swedish and used for stylistic purposes.
ett-word, def. missfallet, pl. missfall, def. pl. missfallen
- Ett missfall är en fruktansvärd upplevelse = A miscarriage is a horrible experience
en-word, def. provrörsbefruktningen, pl. provrörsbefruktningar, def. pl. provrörsbefruktningarna
English: "in vitro fertilisation"
- En provrörsbefruktning kan vara en välsignelse = An IVF can be a blessing
- Provrörsbefruktningar utförs av obstretiker = IVFs are carried out by obstreticians
Yikes, what a long word. Let's break it down:
- prova = try
- rör = tube or pipe
- be- = prefix historically denoting causality
- frukt = fruit
- -ning = suffix to create a noun
From these, we get provrör = test tube, and befrukta = fertilise or impregnate.
en-word, def. aborten, pl. aborter, def. pl. aborterna
- Kvinnans rätt till abort är en debatterad fråga = Women's right to abortion is a debated question
- Aborter är olagliga i en del länder = Abortions are illegal in some countries
That's all! I'm considering writing more lessons on things that won't make it into the course (not just adult stuff), so if you have any feedback, I would really appreciate it. :)
A couple of notes from another native speaker:
"kula" can be a somewhat confusing word as is described here. It translates to both "bullet" (in this case, a cylindrical thing) and "marble" (a sphere).
"onani" an ett-word? Really? I can't think up an example where en/ett would apply to begin with, but the definite form would be "onanin".
"förlossning": apparently deliveries are quicker in English: "Hennes andra förlossning tog bara tre timmar = Her second delivery only took two hours" ;)
Yes, why have a child in Sweden when it's faster in English indeed. :p Also changed the gender of onani, you're obviously right - I must have made a copy-paste error. Thanks!
Fantastisk sammanställning! Jättebra! Jag har bara två invändningar eller funderingar:
1) Skulle det möjligen vara bättre att använda 'genitals' i.st.f. 'sex' i betydelsen 'kön(sorgan)'? 2) Hela resonemanget med könsbytesproceduren känns lite för omfattande. Jag vet inte om det egentligen klargör så mycket. Personligen skulle jag nog stryka det.
Tack för feedbacken! Replying in English because I always do. :)
- I considered teaching that as an additional sense well. Not really sure which way is better but it could absolutely be argued either way.
- You're probably right. I mostly included it because I know some people who'd be interested in reading that, so I'll keep it, but in general I agree it's a little superfluous. :)
Why wouldn't this be allowed in the course? I mean I get why swearing isn't allowed but this is real life stuff that people deal with every day! At any rate, thanks for the list!
This is great and all (and thank you for your time and effort) but...
That's all! I'm considering writing more lessons on things that won't make it into the course (not just adult stuff)
If it's not adult stuff then... why won't it make it into the course?
Well, for instance, I've twice seen requests for onomatopoeia in Swedish, and others have requested lessons on folklore with accompanying explanations. Both of these - and others - are very interesting topics, but completely out of the scope of the course. Other subjects may contain more expert terminology (for instance, somebody asked about computer programming) which would also be fun but not suitable for the course.
It's a shame that Duolingo is so focused on beginners. Surely there could be some capability to have intermediate/advanced sections of the tree that get unlocked once you've completed the basic tree. :(
That would have been lovely, or just optional content. It's been well over two years since bonus lessons were prepared, and those are still not launchable.
I would very much like to see large amounts of bonus lessons being available to buy with lingots (which are basically useless today) and also require your entire tree (or at least large portions of it) to be unlocked. Basically, I'd like more vocabulary to be available for those who want it.
What is the reason for the bonus lessons being launchable?
I would, too!
We only know that there are technical difficulties preventing courses that don't have them from getting them. That's everything I know. :(
Blah. Technical difficulties. For two years. That an engineering team consisting of more than 50% of their employees are still unable to fix.
I would love to see what goes on behind the scenes at Duolingo. I'm sure it's... interesting, to say the least.
Look at what Discord does with less employees (20, I believe)...
As a developer myself, I'm willing to cut them some slack. I doubt it's the decision of the developers, and I presume there's a good reason for letting other things take priority. Still, yeah - it's very annoying.
Yeah, I'm not blaming the developers exactly. I have a lot of development experience myself.
I reckon there is a massive mismanagement problem there, to be honest and the developers don't really get to do anything they want (or perhaps even need) to without massive amounts of A/B testing (sigh); QA; research; blah blah blah.
I believe that it's likely that they have taken the non-engineering aspects of running a company way, way too far and as a result the platform hasn't REALLY changed at all, not significantly anyway, since the beginning.
There's also a massive communication problem with the community, from the looks of things - not even with the course contributors themselves.
I'm guessing that the last time you heard anything about said bonus skills was circa two years ago.