By Madeleine Johnson
he past few years have brought a wave of Scandinavian television dramas to British and American television screens. Shows such as Denmark's "Borgen," "The Killing" and "Follow the Money" the Swedish "Wallander," the Swedish-Danish "The Bridge," and even the original-language films of Stieg Larsson's Lisbeth Salander trilogy have given viewers exotic characters as well as new cinematic settings and styles. Nordic content has also produced challenges and given interested viewers new skills.
Familiarity with subtitles and Scandinavian directors — think Ingmar Bergman — were once art house affectations (movies were "films" or "cinema.") But the spread of Scandinavian crime series has made subtitle reading a skil. Dedicated fans of "Nordic noir" and "Scandivision" learn to master the hushed nuances that pass for conversation in laconic northern realms. Some even pick up on tidbits of Swedish, Danish and Norwegian and pepper their conversation with the foreign words for coroner, judge or gang member.
Scandinavian directors and writers rely on some common themes to propel their shows and Google translate can help you identify them. Here's a short glossary:
Urban Pakistan can be overwhelming at times, but just as much a source of enthusiasm and joy.
Cultures see the logic of "home" in different terms, but kids are usually the glue.
Conversation is vital to social bonding, but it's not a statistical recipe for maturity.
Ever wonder how Dr. Seuss might have tackled the American university system?
Reminiscences of giving birth in a Milan public hospital are filled with joy, and teakettle-terrors.
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