I know it's been well explained already, but I would like to confirm that knowing your pines from your spruces is no joke in Sweden. I got called out on it pretty quickly. :)
Here's an [English language] way to remember, based on how many needles grow from each 'needle-bud':
Spruces have Single needles
Pines have Pairs of needles
Larches have Lots of needles
Hint: It alliterates!
Unfortunately I have no idea about firs and other conifers...
This reminds me of this sentence I learned whilst in Stockholm 'Dra dit pepparn växer'. It means 'Go where the pepper grows', right?
Well, if it's a Christmas tree we call it julgran (Christmas spruce) and most spruces will grow much higher to become timber I suppose :).
I wrote "the norway spruce grows in the valley" after having googled "granen". Could you add this?
OK, why not – it is indeed a more exact name for the one we're thinking of, Picea abies.
I put vale and was corrected to dale (the only error in the sentence). The default answer seems to be valley. Is there a reason vale isn't accepted ? Are there words in Swedish that correspond more directly to vale and valley and dalen should really just be translated as dale ?
No, "vale" is technically correct, but... it's a little too 19th-century-poetry, don't you think? :)
No, not at all! I use vale quite a bit... where I grew up is full of hills and vales. I guess cos I've always used vales for the landscape where I grew up, I tend to think of vales as less steep/deep than valleys and use valleys more for other places where the landscape has big deep valleys :) But I wouldn't be surprised if the distinction is perculiar to me. Though everyone says the vales rather than valleys or dales round where I grew up.
That's interesting. :) I'll leave it out of the accepted list for now, but that's duly noted, and if enough natives agree then I'll go back and add it later.
Some English place names use vale, for example the Vale of Eden in Northwest England.
In England the word is dale. We have an area called the dales. It is where the poet Wordsworth lived. I would imagine that the word originated from the Viking's word dalen
They're actually both from the same Proto-Germanic, then PIE source, so not from the Vikings - though given that so many of the dales are located in or around Yorkshire/the Danelaw, I would suspect that there was Norse influence in naming them.
I would use vale on occasion though I agree that it is fairly poetic/old fashioned and is probably fairly regional as well. I suspect very few Americans would use it for example. I think I probably use it cos I am a bit odd and read a lot of Shakespeare and fantasy fiction when I was younger!!!
English. A sort of poetic word meaning valley. It holds a more picturesque feel than a simple valley though...
I would agree with the distinction you make between vale and valley. For me a vale is a much broader valley, though it might still have steep sides but not necessarily. It's more that it has breadth and could easily have more than just one river/stream that is shaping it.