Actually, it can mean two different things:
2. thin, weak
By the way, we also talk about "spädgris" (or griskulting) for baby pig :).
I wondered if späd had any English relations since it sounds so unfamiliar - very distantly related to spade as far as I can make out from the literature - in the sense of long, thin, stretched out (originally of wood?)
Well, there's "spud" which is related - not directly to späd, but they're from the same root.
Wow! You are so knowledgeable! Strange twists and turns language evolution can take. I was sort of thinking of babies as like little potato spuds, now an extra aid to memory thankyou!
Is it just me or is there an extra "i" sound before "gråter" in the audio?
I can hear what you mean but I think it’s an illusion, it’s just the inflection plus low audio quality.
I can understand that the Swedish team wants to teach the "correct word" for baby. However, "spädbarn" sounds rather formal and "bebis" is more common, at least in spoken language. For example, I have never heard anybody say "Åh, vilket gulligt spädbarn!".
But "bebis" is an odd word, just like "kex" and "keps":
en bebis (from plural babies)
ett kex (from plural cakes)
en keps (from plural caps)
I know many people who use that word. I thought it was a Stockholm thing, but then I heard it from someone from Skåne. – Btw one problem with bebis is that nobody can agree on how to spell it. DN writes this about why they prefer bebis over bäbis, but actually they're not quite right: SAOL claims baby is the best word.
Yeah, we’re not from Stockholm so that might be why I’ve never heard it before.
I don’t see why SAOL prefers baby, bebis or bäbis are completely normal words and are declined much easier than baby. No one would say babyer. :)
They even recommend to use bebisar for plural. Oh and they give an alternative spelling too: bebi, which means there are 4 spellings of this word in SAOB.
I agree with you, baby is a hopeless word in Swedish, hard to decline and makes you wonder how it should be pronounced.
Sounds like it's more comparable to the word "infant" in English. Technically correct, but not typical in common speech and mostly used in medical/legal language. Correct?
Couldn't it be possible that "ett kex" is related to "ein Keks" (a cookie) in German? The pronunciation is similar and I honestly assumed they would mean the same? Did I detect a false friend here?
kex is a loan word from English cakes, but they didn't realize they used a plural form. The same happened with keps which is borrowed from English caps – en keps is a cap as in a baseball cap. So this has happened at least twice.
There's a big controversy about how to say kex in Swedish, in Stockholm it's said with a hard k sound (which follows the original pronunciation) and in Gothenburg it's said with the soft ɕ sound (this follows the rule for how k is pronounced before vowels). Immature people from both places regularly have big fights over this but both are really absolutely fine.
The pronunciation of "kex" and "Keks" isn't really the same. I'm not good at describing something like that, but "kex" has a softer "ending sound" and depending on were you live the beginning is more like a "sh" sound than a k, whereas "Keks" always starts with a hard k. Compare it on Forvo to hear the difference: http://de.forvo.com/word/kex/#sv and http://forvo.com/word/keks/#de (I can only recommend the first one, the second one is quite strange - I'm a German native).
But you're right with the meaning - what we Germans call "Keks" is usually called "kex" in Swedish by Swedes, in my experience. I personaly would translate "kex" as "cookie" because of that, but somehow this doesn't seem to be the right word. I have heard some Swedes call cookies "cakes" when they speak English (without noticing their mistake), but I don't know why that happens.
First of all, I'm a native German too :) I see what you mean when you're talking about the "sh" sound in "kex" or the different ending, thank you! I will change my comment to "similar" then, instead of "the same".
Also it's good to know that I was at least right with the meaning (which was actually the main point of my question).
All good :)
I always thought the same, by the way. I have no idea if "kex" really comes from "Keks", but I'd wager that they at least share the same origin.
It's obviously borrowed - but whether from English, French, or German, who knows. I'd bet kex and keps are also borrowed words. Fun to see what languages do when they borrow.
The only difference is the origin of the word. Bebis originates from the English plural form babies, but is singular in Swedish (plural is bebisar) and was introduced in Swedish in the early 20th century. Spädbarn is much older and constructed from the words späd (early in development (or frail)) and barn (child).
What does gråter mean here exactly? Crying as in screaming or crying as in tears etc? Or does it actually mean both? Up till now I thought it meant tears, but this sentence kinda made me realize that it could be both.
It means crying as in tears. Crying as in screaming is "skriker". But since babies often cry loudly, it can be "skriker" when it "gråter" :). You can use "storgråta" for crying a lot and "gråta högljutt" for crying loudly (hög = high, ljud = sound).
I'm wondering why "The newborn cries." is not an acceptable translation? It seems like spädbarn means newborn (as well as baby?) or did I misunderstand?
There are actually only two words in Swedish, since Swedish definites are suffixes. It's because these are two different languages, and you can't EVER, with any two language pairs, count on always translating word for word. Even between languages as close as Portuguese and Spanish, and sometimes between dialects in the same language.
I say "scone" to rhyme with "gone", but it's a regional thing. My grandparents were all Australian but one was born in Plymouth, England, to a father born in Oxford. https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/apr/23/how-do-you-pronounce-scone-answer-says-a-lot-english-language-day-shakespeare-birthday
The whole conversation about pronunciations reminds me the word 'scone' in english, many pronounce it how its spelt (like me) and others pronounce it as if they're ignoring the 'e' at the end, like 'skon'. Which in my personal opinion is wrong ;)