• 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
Pupils find killer's rifle in Swedish sports lesson
The location of the hidden weapon. Photo: Polisen

Pupils find killer's rifle in Swedish sports lesson

Three teenage schoolgirls from southern Sweden were left gobsmacked after finding an AK-47 Kalashnikov that belonged to a convicted murderer, during a physical education class. READ  

International
'Non-existent' EU cooperation on refugees
Refugees in Lampedusa, Italy in 2013. Photo: TT

'Non-existent' EU cooperation on refugees

Sweden's EU commissioner Cecilia Malmström has criticized European Union countries for a lack of solidarity when it comes to taking in refugees. READ  

Politics
Stefan Löfven voted in as new Prime Minister
Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven. Photo: TT

Stefan Löfven voted in as new Prime Minister

Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven has been voted in as the new Prime Minister of Sweden. READ  

Politics
Reinfeldt's top team hold last meeting
Fredrik Reinfeldt is exiting Sweden's political stage. Photo: TT

Reinfeldt's top team hold last meeting

Sweden's outgoing centre-right cabinet have gathered for their last meeting, as Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven prepares to take over as Prime Minister. READ  

Interview
Geena Davis: 'I want to be in a Swedish movie'
Geena Davis. Photo: AP

Geena Davis: 'I want to be in a Swedish movie'

Oscar-winning Hollywood actress Geena Davis was an exchange student in Sweden in the seventies and was once engaged to a Swede. She chatted to the The Local's Natalia Brzezinski about how she'd love to star in a Swedish movie. READ  

Politics
Löfven in U-turn over restaurant sales tax hike
Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven. Photo: TT

Löfven in U-turn over restaurant sales tax hike

Incoming Prime Minister Stefan Löfven won't be increasing taxes in restaurants as promised, despite his strong criticism of the former government's tax cuts in 2012. READ  

Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: October 2nd - 9th
The Weeping is one of the works on sale this weekend. Photo: Stockholm's Affordable Art Fair

What's On in Sweden: October 2nd - 9th

Stockholm's Affordable Art Fair returns, British rocker Midge Ure is in Malmö and one of Gothenburg's most creative spaces is hosting a ten year anniversary party. READ  

Sport
Malmö beat Olympiacos in Champions clash
Rosenberg celebrates his second goal. Photo: TT

Malmö beat Olympiacos in Champions clash

Malmö became the first Swedish side to win a Champions League match in 14 years after beating Olympiacos 2-0 on Wednesday night. READ  

Education
Three Swedish unis in world's top 100
One of the buildings at the Karolinska Institute. Photo: TT

Three Swedish unis in world's top 100

Three Swedish universities were ranked among the top 100 in the world in the new Times Higher Education ranking, with another two featured in the top 200. READ  

What's next on Sweden's political stage?
Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven. Photo: TT

What's next on Sweden's political stage?

Upcoming Prime Minister Stefan Löfven announced his new Red-Green coalition government on Friday, but what happens next? Here are all the important dates you need to know. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Sponsored Article
Try out your very own office in Stockholm - for free
Gallery
Stefan Löfven through the years
Gallery
People-watching: October 1st
Analysis
Should Sweden's school age be raised?
National
Top Swedish skier killed in Chile avalanche
Blog updates

01 October

Academy-Award Winning Actor Geena Davis on Changing the Way We View Women in Media (Stockholm in my American Heart) »

"There are two moments in Geena Davis’s life that molded her into the powerful women’s advocate and founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media she is today: living in Sweden and starring in Thelma & Louise. The first part of her personal journey took flight in Sandviken, a small rocky town north of..." READ »

 

01 October

Future tense – ska or kommer att? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej igen! Karen had a question the following question on that about future tense: Explain when you use “komma att ” and “ska”. I’m running along forever here using “ska” and realize suddenly everyone uses “komma att” this and that all the time! In Swedish there are three different ways to express future tense and they are not..." READ »

 
 
 
National
JohannaN: Jewellery inspired by northern Sweden
National
Apology for Swedish model's stolen photos
Politics
New coalition agrees on defence and migration
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
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.
Sponsored Article
How to start a business in Stockholm
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

865
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