Sort of... I think I would say a fish if it were actually still a living animal, but it sounds better to just say fish when referring to food.
Why is this in the 'Food' section? ;) Also, shouldn't "rotten herring" be accepted?
yes, there is a difference between fermented and rotten/rotted. Something is rotten or 'has rotted' when mold or bacteria has made it poisonous. Suströmming is not rotten, but rather pickled or fermented (like sauerkraut, real cucumber pickles, etc...).
Well, the distinction isn't clear-cut but generally foodstuffs are fermented, but inedible things are just rotten.
I gave "Fermented herring are fish" and I can see how this would be wrong as it implies that there are several (which is my usual experience of these fish). But if you're talking about one fish then shouldn't there be an "en" or and "a" to denote this?
Both fish and fisk often act as a mass noun, which behaves as singular, and so does surströmming.
surströmming is normally a mass noun in Swedish, but it can also be used as countable, so I'd translate fermented herring are as surströmmingar är. ('fermented herring is' is the most frequent way of saying it in English too).
I added Surströmming is fish as an accepted answer, I think it's ok for people to call this Swedish specialty surströmming in English too.
in the uk (at least) we just say surstromming (no dots) when talking about it.
Is Surströmming the Swedish version of lutefisk? I've had lutefisk before and it was rather bland, jelly like, etc... but not particularly offensive. By the way, I suspect there are superior and inferior versions of suströmming, or ways of preparing it. What kinds of Surströmming do Swedes find good or "truly Swedish?"
No, lutefisk (no) or lutfisk (sv) is preserved by being pickled in lye, whereas surströmming is preserved by fermentation. As for the versions of surströmming, I'm afraid we'll have to ask someone else than me. I've never had it. :p
And the difference is about as large as between kebab and broccoli... :p
On a more palatable track (my neck is bulging here), what do the Swedes call kippered herring? The peppered kippers are quite tasty (do NOT eat around cats). Just curious.
Great question. I don't think we have a word for kippers, nor for kippering. If anything, I'd call them kippers as a direct loan in Swedish.
Is fermented herring different from pickled herring? The first sounds nasty, but I LOVE the latter.
Oh my yes they are! I watched the video of American's trying it after I wrote the above question. Most couldn't get past the smell to taste it. There is no accounting for taste, even 'in your mouth' taste. ;->
Herring in English can be both singular and plural therefore this could be either is fish or are fish
Right, but only the "is" version is a translation of the Swedish sentence.
Surely to use the singular is and be correct english one would have to say "the surströmming is a fish" or perhaps "surströmming is a fish". If you substitute the english translation of "fermented herring" the same is true.
It's fish in the mass noun sense here, much like e.g. "goat milk is milk" functions grammatically even though "goat milk is a milk" doesn't. Whether it's the most idiomatic option is another issue, though - but "surströmming is a fish" would be surströmming är en fisk in Swedish, and it would mean a fish species.
My wife and her entire family (all native swedes) refer to it as sour herring.
It's not uncommon for Swedes to translate it into English that way, because they think of sur and assume "sour" is the correct translation. But it's not - it's a literal translation, but the incorrect English term.