17 December 2004

Swedish word of the day: förklara

Today's word is förklara, which means to explain or to declare. This is the infinitive form, and since it is a regular -a verb, the present tense is förklarar and the past tense is förklarade.

Here's a brief introduction to Swedish pronunciation. The letter ö is pronounced like "er", å like "aw", and ä like "air" (all without a final consonant sound if you're not Australian). Unlike English, you pronounce all the vowels, so förklarade sounds like "fur-klah-rah-deh".

Here as with the last word, the final part of the compound (klara) means clear. För- is a prefix which means lots of different things depending on its context. In this word, I think of it as meaning "make". In place of "explain" or "declare" you could say "make clear".

The word "declare" is a strange English compound. "De-" is typically a Latin prefix, yet the root "-clare" obviously comes from the same Germanic origin as the Swedish klara.

In a sentence, you might say "jag ska förklara allting senare", meaning "I'll explain everything later".