During your first week in Sweden, your new coworkers will take you to lunch. They will want to show you a lovely hidden gem of a restaurant in Östermalm just off Sveavägen, and you will want to impress them with your newly rehearsed (and completely self-taught) pronunciation skills. Don’t do this. Resist the urge to say anything at all Swedish — particularly words including å, ä or ö. And really, really fight the temptation to pronounce — even delicately, even carefully — the restaurant’s name. Not when the restaurant’s name is Rolf’s Kök. You will think “ah, I am newly rehearsed and self-taught in the complexities of Swedish vowels, and I know better than to say that word as ‘cock’…so instead I will say it more like ‘coke,’ and they will all say ‘wow, how perfectly you just pronounced that complex word!” And you will be wrong. Because then your new Swedish coworkers will reveal to you that “coke” actually means cock, and you just announced it to the whole bistro.

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