Friday, 26 October 2012

Week24: Subtle Differences - Size Matters?

So what have you found? What are the differences between England and Sweden? People keep asking me, but the further I get into my Swenglish project the harder it gets to answer the question.

Apart from the obvious differences like the climate (it snowed last night in Stockholm!) there are the more subtle differences that I find interesting. They can be hard to discover, but last night I found out that size matters - or not.

I was at a film/poetry/music event with my host and I was going to order wine at the bar. ’Would you like a small or large glass?’ I asked. My host looked at me, not quite understanding. In Sweden there’s only one size when you order wine, generally large. Whereas in England you have a choice between 125/175ml or 250ml in most places.

It’s the same with beer. I was out in a bar when I stayed in Malmö and my host asked if I wanted another beer. ’I don’t know,’ I said. ’Perhaps a half.’ My host looked confused. In Sweden there’s only one size: ”en stor stark” which means ”a big strong one”. (Although in some places, like British or Irish themed pubs you can get different measurements.)

So what does this say about the cultures then? That the English are more nuanced with their difference sizes? And that Swedes just want to get more drunk? Or perhaps the English are just more fuzzy, bothering about size? Personally, I miss being able to order a small glass of wine or half a pint, because sometimes a big glass or a pint is too much, especially at the end of the night.

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