• Sweden edition
 
The Local List
Ten more Swedish words you won’t find in English

Ten more Swedish words you won’t find in English

Published: 15 Jan 2013 16:34 GMT+01:00
Updated: 15 Jan 2013 16:34 GMT+01:00

English may be the world’s richest language, but it’s far from perfect. In fact, it’s somewhat limited.

Why do we not have a word for "the day after tomorrow", for example? Swedish does.

Sure, English does have some unusual and fascinating words (the little plastic thing at the end of a shoelace is called an aglet, for example), but these words are impractical and seldom used.

I bet the only time you'll ever hear the word aglet again is in a word list or a pub quiz.

RELATED PHOTO GALLERY: Ten more Swedish words you won’t find in English

Too many times you'll see that the Italians have a word for the bit of milk that stays on your lip after you drink it, or that the Japanese have a word for a person who giggles too much on the subway. But these are words we don't have for a reason - we don't need them.

What's more interesting is when a word or concept is simply missing from English, even though it's something we regularly say.

A concept yet to be coined. A word yet to be whispered.

We've written about this before on The Local, but now it’s round two - here are ten more Swedish words that you just can’t find in English.

As always, the words fika (meaning coffee – “let’s grab a coffee sometime”) and lagom (the final bowl of porridge was lagom for Goldilocks) are NOT included in the list.

Oliver Gee

Follow Oliver on Twitter here

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

18:06 January 15, 2013 by skogsbo
Comedy value, a local contributor is telling people that to do the dishes is bad Engish, try reading just about any item, on any page written and edited by the Local and you'll see reams of bad English !

You do make a bed, a bed is made up for a guest. ie the sheets/duvet/ blanket/ perhaps some towels on top for them too? It is made, you don't lay a bed sheet, it is made up for the first sheet, to the stuff on the top.

träningsvärk, there are many similar Engish phrases, the only difference is that in Swedish when many words are used in conjuction together, the space between them is removed.

Hen, as you are referring to good English or language, won't it be 'they' or 'de' ? You don't need hen,hon or han, you can just used They or De. Beside, it's hardly a new use of the words, it's just become a fad amongst certain groups of people, who think they are cool, arty, super liberal to use it.

Coffeesugen, you mean kaffasugen? Or are you specialising in Swenglish? ;)

Either way, another desperate article designed to get you to click through ten pages of advert and keep their web count up!
20:04 January 15, 2013 by redfish
@skogsbo:

Depends on how "hen" is being used by the people who are using it.

"They" can't replace "hen" the way the author used it, its only used for indefinite cases, such as referring to a general person, group of individuals, or unknown person. So "whoever was here left their coat". But in referring to a specific individual, a known masked robber as the author alluded to, "they" would be awkward.

So, if you had, say, a hermaphrodite/intersex person, you couldn't refer to that person as "they" without it being cumbersome and awkward feeling. I don't know how "hen" is used and whether or not it deals with this case, from what I gather, it probably does.

I've not heard "de" used in English at all, I'm not sure what you're talking about here.

There have been attempts to coin a gender neutral pronoun in the English language since the 1850s though:

http://www.english.illinois.edu/-people-/faculty/debaron/essays/epicene.htm

http://illinois.edu/blog/view/25/31097
21:18 January 15, 2013 by Flutterbye
Think someone needs to get a life.
21:32 January 15, 2013 by jostein
"Hen" adds one thing to the swedish language and that is the ability to expose yourself as a political extremist and a bully, and an ignorant at that.

The alleged meaning that "hen" would cover is already covered by the word "den". As for example "Den som inte vet det..." or "Den som vill röka får göra det på balkongen".

Normal people will find the swedish division of nouns into Uturum (den) and Neutrum (det) stupid and a useless, unnecessary pain. And so it is. But it does have a historical explanation that also shows why "Hen"s only purpuse is to give withess to your own ignorance and vile nature.

In the beginning swedish had three genders, masculine, feminine, neutrum. One would literally say "Månen han", "Solen hon", "Människan hon" etcetera and use the personal pronomin to refer to the concept/object when apropriate.

But then (18th centuary?) these two merged into uturum, ie, "Solen den", "Månen den". All words with the article "Den" in swedish formerely had either masculine or feminine gender.

"Den" therefor is the perfect word for a genderneutral pronomen. And is also used as such in a host of expressions and figures of speech. It is its orignial purpuse. Unless your an ignorant, powerhungering cultural marxist. Then "Hen" is better. Needless to say i lost respect for the author of this list and stopped looking at it when i reached "hen".
21:46 January 15, 2013 by KingArthur
In Dutch :

Swe/Övermorgon

Dutch/Overmorgen

Swe/förrgår

Dutch/Eergisteren

So not only Swedish :)
06:49 January 16, 2013 by Freelife
However..

Dag = day

Midday = Dinner :)

I morgon = tomorrow

God morgon = Good morning :D

What is the word for 'please'?
07:52 January 16, 2013 by philster61
Two words I hope never become part of the English language... Lagom and jante lagen....
11:36 January 16, 2013 by Scepticion
KingArthur,

quite right, most of these words are not specific to Sweden at all. German has them as well. Vorgestern, übermorgen, betten, etc. I think only 2 on the list are typical Swedish.
12:05 January 16, 2013 by cogito
philister61 (3/)

I'll drink to that.
18:45 January 16, 2013 by redfish
@Septicion,

Some people over time have tried to introduce 'aftermorrow' into the English language, its never been successful.
22:29 January 18, 2013 by calebian22
philister61,

I'll drink twice to that.
10:30 January 19, 2013 by Järven
I think that the surest mark of a word being "untranslatable" is its adoption in original form by another language. On that basis only "ombudsman" and "smorgasbord" qualify in English, and they don't even get a mention here!
Today's headlines
National
King Carl XVI Gustaf opens parliament
King Carl XVI Gustaf arriving on Tuesday afternoon. Photo: TT

King Carl XVI Gustaf opens parliament

BREAKING: Sweden's post-election parliament is meeting for the first time following a fanfare opening from King Carl XVI Gustaf. READ  

Opinion
Should Sweden's school age be raised?
A high school in Stockholm. Photo: TT

Should Sweden's school age be raised?

After the new coalition announced plans to extend Sweden's compulsory schooling until the age of 18, The Local asked two Swedes at high school if they agreed with the idea. READ  

International
Sweden slammed for ecological footprint
Sweden should increase its renewable energy according to WWF. Photo:TT

Sweden slammed for ecological footprint

Sweden is among the world's top ten polluters according to one of the largest scientific studies looking at the impact of humans on earth, produced by the WWF. READ  

Society
Swede's necklace found after 52 years in lake
Ing-Marie Olofsson whose necklace was found. Photo: Private

Swede's necklace found after 52 years in lake

A 66-year-old Swedish woman got the surprise of her life when a fisherman returned the necklace she dropped in a lake at the age of 14. READ  

International
Apology for Swedish model's stolen photos
Malin Sahlén during a Top Model shoot. Photo: TV3/Nina Holma

Apology for Swedish model's stolen photos

A British newspaper has apologised after a freelance journalist stole a Sweden's Next Top Model contestant's photo and created a fake Twitter account used to trick a UK minister. READ  

Brand stories
Johanna N: beautiful jewellery with a story

Johanna N: beautiful jewellery with a story

Aged just 27 and already living off of her own designs, some may consider Johanna Nilsson lucky. But she doesn't believe in luck. She's the founder of a jewellery line blending sustainability, subtle style, and Scandinavian simplicity - and it's taking the world by storm. READ  

Sport
Heel injury sidelines Zlatan in Barcelona clash
Photo: AP

Heel injury sidelines Zlatan in Barcelona clash

Paris Saint-Germain star Zlatan Ibrahimovic will miss Tuesday's Champions League clash with Barcelona at the Parc des Princes due to a nagging heel problem, the French club have confirmed. READ  

National
Stockholm patient tests negative after Ebola fears
The Infection Clinic at the Karolinska University Hospital in Huddinge. Photo: TT

Stockholm patient tests negative after Ebola fears

A patient in a Stockholm hospital who was suspected of having contracted the Ebola virus was given the all clear on Tuesday morning. READ  

Elections 2014
New coalition agrees on defence and migration
A Jas Gripen. Photo: TT

New coalition agrees on defence and migration

UPDATED: The Green Party has committed itself to expanding Sweden's defence force, while the Social Democrats have compromised on work permits for migrants. READ  

National
Fresh Ebola case investigated in Sweden
The patient is being treated at the Karolinska University Hospital. Photo: TT

Fresh Ebola case investigated in Sweden

Doctors in Stockholm are checking a patient suspected of having contracted the Ebola virus. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Fastighetsbyrån
Gallery
Property of the week: Botkyrka
Education
New government to make school compulsory to 18
Politics
Sweden Democrat wins Deputy Speaker spot
National
Swedish scientists sneak Bob Dylan lyrics into articles
Lifestyle
The five best Swedish songs of the month
Blog updates

28 September

Spoiled Doyle (Blogweiser) »

"What you gotta watch out for in Sweden is the good stuff. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Re_EzUe6xpI In Sweden, it’s the good things you have to watch out for. Video on @TheLocalSweden http://t.co/rAb8eGFdTD pic.twitter.com/w37YYwMXy1 — Joel Sherwood (@joeldsherwood) September 29, 2014 " READ »

 

26 September

 (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Autumn swept into Sweden at the start of this week with snow in the north of the country and flooding in the south. As well as a change in the weather, Sweden’s change in political direction became clearer, with Social Democrat leader Stefan Lofven formally announcing his party would work with the Greens as..." READ »

 
 
 
Gallery
People-watching: September 28th
National
When Italian style meets Swedish simplicity
Lifestyle
Review: Sweden's first alcohol-free nightclub
Gallery
In Pictures: The MS Estonia disaster
Lifestyle
Ten things expat women notice in Sweden
Politics
What's next on Sweden's political stage?
Gallery
Sweden's 2014 election: Most memorable moments
Society
What's on in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 24th
Seaman Oliver Gee with his first lobster
Lifestyle
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Gallery
In Pictures: Fredrik Reinfeldt through the years.
Society
Plucked out of Canada for love and guitars
Politics
How Sweden Democrats went mainstream
Politics
Scandinavia and Scotland: closer links?
Sponsored Article
How to start a business in Stockholm
Society
Why is Stockholm's Södermalm so cool?
Politics
Sweden elections: Who's who?
Sponsored Article
Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm
Gallery
Princess Estelle through the years
Business & Money
Five golden rules for the Swedish job hunt
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

877
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN