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Ten unique words you need to date in Sweden

Maddy Savage · 9 Feb 2016, 11:27

Published: 18 Aug 2015 14:56 GMT+02:00
Updated: 09 Feb 2016 11:27 GMT+01:00

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1. Fika
'Fika' is a Swedish word for a coffee and cake break. You can have a fika with a friend, a relative or a colleague. You can also get asked to go for a fika by someone who fancies you, or someone you've already slept with (but perhaps barely spoken to). If the whole thing sounds confusing - it is. But whether you're officially on a date or not, Swedes are obsessed with coffee, so at least start off on the right foot by ordering a latte rather than a lemonade. If you're confident you are being hit on, the word for this is 'ragga'.

'Fika' is a coffee and cake break. Photo: Susanne Walstöm/Image Bank Sweden
2. Mambo 
Once you're pretty sure the person you're drinking coffee and/or sleeping with fancies you, it might be time to check out their living situation. As well as finding out whether or not they're married ('gift'), consider also investigating if they are a 'mambo' - the word for someone who lives at home with their mother. It rhymes with 'sambo', the word for a live-in boyfriend or girlfriend. That's probably a no-no as well, but we'll let you be the judge. Given the difficulties of finding an apartment in Sweden's major cities, you should be aware of broken-up sambos who are temporarily still flat-sharing.

What a Swedish party might look like if your date lives with his parents. Photo: Carolina Romar/Image Bank Sweden
3. Bonusbarn
If your new partner isn't married, cheating or still stuck in their parents' nest, if they're over 30, there's a good chance they might be divorced (frånskild). More than 50 percent of marriages fail in Sweden. Thanks to Swedish gender equality, any children involved usually spend alternate weeks with each parent, which means you could quickly end up spending a lot of time with them too. The word for children in Swedish is 'barn' and the word for stepchildren is one of The Local's favourites in the Swedish language 'bonusbarn', putting a delightfully positive spin on preparing to spend Valentine's Day with little Jonas or Jessica alongside your new lover.

What a Swedish party might look like if your new partner has kids. Photo: Johan Willner/Image Bank Sweden
4. Nota
This is the word for a receipt or bill in Sweden. Worth learning as you will almost always be expected to pay your share of any dinner, drink or fika date.

Even a 50 kronor ($6) waffle bill is likely to be split in Sweden. Photo: Ulf Lundin/Image Bank Sweden
5. Kyss
It's good to be aware of the difference between 'kyss' and 'puss' in Swedish. The former is more passionate and is pronounced 'shiss'; the latter is more of a peck. 'Puss' is often put on the end of text messages sent between (usually female) friends. So you needn't worry that your colleague is either trying to get intimate with you or commenting on that spot on your chin. By the way 'kiss' is the Swedish word for wee, so be careful how you use that one too.

Is this couple about to 'kyss' or 'puss'?. Photo: Shutterstock 
6. Mysa
A bit like the English word 'snuggle', you'll hopefully be doing plenty of this with your new squeeze if you've managed to navigate your way through all the fikas and the bonusbarn. But don't jump to conclusions if your partner mentions 'mysa' when talking about how they spent their afternoon while you were at the supermarket. You can 'mysa' on your own at home by the fire or in a warm pub. It's a bit like the Danish word 'hygge', a concept for 'cozy time'.

Fancy a cozy break by the fire? That's 'mysa' time in Swedish. Photo: Fredrik Broman/Image Bank Sweden
7. Kondom
Not the most difficult word to translate from English, but worth a mention as Sweden was recently dubbed the STI capital of Europe. It's difficult to imagine organized Swedes running out of condoms, especially as unlike in North America or other parts of Europe, they more frequently come in packs of 30 rather than 12 (or three in the UK). Sexually-active Swedes are more likely than other Europeans to seek treatment for diseases such as chlamydia and gonorrhea.

Safe sex is wise wherever you are in the world. Photo: BikeRiderLondon
8. Systembolaget
Story continues below…
The name for Sweden's state-run alcohol store empire. It shuts at 7pm on weekdays in big cities and at 3pm on Saturdays. It is not open on Sundays. Swedes can be shy and socially awkward, so if you're staying in rather than going out with your new lover, you might also want to stock up on some wine ahead of the weekend.

Many Swedes buy wine in bulk. Photo: Image Bank Sweden
9. Knullrufs
Well done, your relationship is blooming and you're having a great time in the bedroom. 'Knullrufs' is a unique Swedish word for messy 'bed hair' after a roll in the hay.

Both men and women can get 'knullrufs'. Photo: Shutterstock
10. Orka
This is a very common verb in Swedish meaning 'to have the energy'. So when your partner says 'jag orkar inte' in the bedroom, it means they'd rather catch up on sleep. If this starts happening regularly, it could mean you're on the road to splitting up ('separera') or 'frånskild' (that divorce we mentioned earlier) and having to start all over again with that first awkward fika.

If your partner has no energy, at least your sheets won't get too creased. Photo: Image Bank Sweden

For more news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Maddy Savage (maddy.savage@thelocal.com)

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