• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Ten more Swedish words you won’t find in English

The Local · 15 Jan 2013, 16:34

Published: 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.

Story continues below…

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

Related links:

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
Where to see the Northern Lights in Sweden
The Northern Lights pictured in Sweden on Wednesday night. Photo: Norrsken Sverige

An unusually high level of solar activity means the spectacle could be visible from rare spots in the country.

Swedish police 'in crisis' says union head
A file photo of Swedish police officers. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

The creation of a new merged national police authority in Sweden has not gone well, according to the Swedish Police Union.

Nobel Prizes 2016
Nobel Literature Prize announcement delayed
Haruki Murakami (pictured) is one of the bookmakers' favourites. Photo: Bernat Armangue/AP/TT

The delay is due to 'arithmetic', an academician said.

Horny elk hold up Swedish hunt
One of the randy animals in question. Photo: Mikael Fritzon/TT

The giant things just can't contain themselves.

Sweden to ban masks but not burqas at football matches
A masked supporter at a Stockholm derby football match last year. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

The ban is designed to curb violence at sporting events in Sweden, but it must also follow conventions on religious freedom.

Video
Heckler humbles Swedish golf champion with perfect putt
Henrik Stenson met his match in the final practice for the Ryder Cup. Photo: Charlie Riedel/AP/TT

Well that wasn't supposed to happen...

Presented by Invest Stockholm
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges

It’s no secret that Stockholm is serious about sustainability. We took a look at how the city's emerging startups are tackling global challenges, making the world a better place.

Warm weather melts H&M profits
An H&M store in central Stockholm. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

A warm autumn may be good news for Swedes, but it was bad news for Sweden's biggest clothing brand.

Rail delays after heavy winds batter Sweden
The weather is expected to clear up. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Commuters were advised to take it easy in traffic on Friday, after harsh winds toppled trees across roads and railways across Sweden.

Homes
In pictures: Eight traditional Swedish tiled stoves
A tiled stove. Photo: Wrede Fastighetsmäkleri

The traditional Swedish masonry stove (kakelugn) is still a popular feature in many homes today. Houzz.se's Amanda Strömberg has found out more.

Sponsored Article
‘I view the world in a different way now’
National
OPINION: Sweden bad, Norway good, Trump better? I'm confused
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
National
Here's how much Sweden's highest-earning authors make
National
Where to see the Northern Lights in Sweden
Blog updates

27 September

Cutting your nose …. (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Last week, Jeremy Browne, the Special Representative for the City of London, visited Sweden. Jeremy was…" READ »

 

7 September

Svensk or svenska? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hejsan! My inbox is full of questions :-). Here’s one about when to use “svensk” and…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
Expat finances in Sweden: the Common Reporting Standard
Gallery
People-watching: September 28th
Sponsored Article
Let's Talk: a personal Swedish language tutor in your pocket
National
Aliens' sex lives? Why Swedes want Nasa to send a condom into space
Analysis & Opinion
'If Sweden really wants startups, drop the red tape on migration'
Gallery
Property of the week: Gotland
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
National
Trump an 'embarrassment' Springsteen tells Sweden
Sponsored Article
'Creating a sense of home': Collective living in Stockholm
Gallery
People-watching: September 23rd-25th
Politics
Russian Sweden Democrat aide resigns over suspect deal
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
National
Muslim teacher leaves job after not shaking male colleague's hand
Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: 'So much more than beaches'
Travel
Why we adore autumn in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 21st
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
Stockholmers hunt killer badger after attack on neighbourhood hipster cat
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
The Local Voices
Why this Russian developer is committed to helping refugees - with tech
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
Six key points in Sweden's budget plan
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
The Local Voices
How a Swedish name finally made recruiters notice this Iranian's CV
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Gallery
Property of the week: Luleå
Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden’s ’a-kassa’
Gallery
People-watching: September 16th-18th
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Culture
Why Swedish TV has given these kids' trucks a sex swap
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
National
TIMELINE: Everything you need to know about the Julian Assange case
Gallery
People-watching: September 14th
Politics
Why Sweden is putting troops on holiday dream island Gotland
The Local Voices
'What I mean when I say: I came here to blow myself up'
Society
VIDEO: Are Swedes that unfriendly?
The Local Voices
'Whenever I apply for jobs I’m treated like an unwanted stranger'
2,997
jobs available