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Learn vital phrases for the Swedish workplace
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Learn vital phrases for the Swedish workplace

The Swedish workplace can be a minefield if you're still learning the language. But never fear, we've collected tonnes of useful (and some rather outlandish) phrases to get you from the coffee machine to the afterwork drinks... and everywhere in between.

Published: 10 Feb 2014 09:45 CET

Welcome to the ultimate guide to navigating a Swedish office using Swedish. We start off easy with the greetings, gain momentum with topics like tech speak and team building, and then finish off with tips to dealing with your boss and handing in your resignation. Lycka till! (Good luck!).

Greetings

"Hej! Jag är ny här. Har du jobbat här länge?" ("Hi, I’m new. Have you worked here for long?") 

It’s your first day so start with this easy greeting. 

"Vad händer?" ("What's up?") or the more casual "Läget?" (How goes?" but literally "The situation?")

When it's your turn to respond, stick to a hearty "Bra" (good) or even a "Bra bra" (good good), even if you've just had an epic fight with your mother-in-law about cleaning products or you lost a few million at the gambling tables over the weekend. 

If you want to be mysterious, however, go for "Jorå... det är väl bra", which loosely translated means "Well yeah... I suppose I'm fine".

Bump into that cute guy again at the photocopier?

"Hej igen" ("Hello again") 

You may not want to engage in retro slang if you still have a thick accent, but Swedes say hi in a variety of ways, including:

Tja!  Tjena!  Tjenare!  Hallå där!  Hej hej!  Tjabba! 

The Swedish website Slangopedia.se is a lovely place to get into slang, but as it rarely has referenced to eras and places of use, check with a native so you don't sound like a 70s throwback by mistake.

If your boss is overly friendly, thinks he's cool, and was born a while ago, he might even say goodbye with the retro:

"Tjenixen!" (Kinda like saying "Toodles", if toodles was acceptable for men).

 

1) VITAL PHRASES - PART ONE: Greetings

2) VITAL PHRASES - PART TWO: Afterwork and teambuilding

3) VITAL PHRASES - PART THREE: Tech speak in the Swedish work place

4) VITAL PHRASES - PART FOUR: Dealing with your Swedish boss

5) VITAL PHRASES - PART FIVE: How to quit your Swedish job

 

Ann Törnkvist (ann.tornkvist@thelocal.com)


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