• Sweden's news in English

Masturbation verb tops 2015 Swedish word list

The Local · 28 Dec 2015, 23:54

Published: 28 Dec 2015 10:59 GMT+01:00
Updated: 28 Dec 2015 23:54 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit
The much anticipated official annual list by the Swedish Language Council depicts a country obsessed with news, the internet and the changing media landscape, wrestling with sexual and racial norms, and quick to absorb trends (and vocabulary) from the English-speaking world. 
“They are telling us something about not only Sweden but about the world, I think,” says Lena Lind Palicki, from the Swedish Language Council's New Words Group. 
“We have words about war and terror and things that happened in  2015, but we also have a lot of words about the internet and other kinds of new phenomena.” 
She argued that tumultuous world events of 2015, such as the onward march of ISIS in Syria and Iraq, the EU refugee crisis, and the global deal stuck in Paris on the environment meant news vocabulary was unusually dominant in the annual list. 
Such words include 'terror-resan', describing the journeys of second-generation immigrants to join ISIS on Syria,  'sjalvradikalisering', describing those drawn to radical ideologies without face-to-face contact with other extremists, and 'transitflykting', describing refugees entering a country aiming to pass through unregistered. 
But she also pointed to new words like 'svajpa' (to swipe, usually between pages on a mobile device), 'nyhetsundvikare' (news avoider), 'klickokrati', a world in which politicians and the media respond slavishly to what internet users click on, and 'faktaresistens' (doggedly sticking to a belief, despite powerful evidence to the contrary) as signs of how the internet was changing the media. 
“It’s about news and how the media works today — words like ‘nyhetsundvikare’, and ‘faktaresistens’: you don’t get the news, or you don’t believe in the news, or you don’t believe in facts.” 
She said that 'klittra', a new word for female masturbation which won a competition held by the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education (RFSU), followed a recent Swedish trend of developing new words for political effect. 
“The idea is that you need new words for a new society, and these kinds of norm-critical words are very popular,” she said. “It started with 'hen' in 2012.” 
Klittra won the RFSU competition because “it highlights the importance of the clitoris for pleasure”, in a way 'onanera', the original male-centric word for masturbation failed to do. 
Another new word in the same category was 'värdgraviditet', roughly ‘care pregnancy’, which is intended to put a more positive spin on surrogate motherhood, or ‘surrogatmödraskap’. 
Then there are words which indicate how the internet is changing Swedish society, such as 'rattsurfa', which describes how drivers crawl along slowly in traffic as they simultaneously surf the net, 'ögonkramp', the eye pain experienced by those who spend too long staring at a screen, and 'svischa', to transfer money to a friend or shop using the Swedish phone payment system Swish. 
Finally, there are words drawn directly from English, such as 'vejpa', to 'vape' or smoke an e-cigarette, 'douche', meaning a loser, 'groupie', a group photo taken on a mobile phone, and 'cosplay', describing physical roleplay games where participants put enormous effort into their appearance. 
Here are the top 20 new words from the Swedish language council’s 2015 list.
Norm-critical words 
To masturbate if you are a woman 
The assumption that the ideas white people have for what is normal are shared by people of other ethnicities
A prefix describing anything purtaining to those with developmental disorders
The condescending way men talk down to women, explaining basic facts
From the news
To disinvest, normally by selling shares in companies involved in industries viewed as unsustainable or unethical  
A migrant from another EU country. 
The dogged insistence some people have in sticking to their belief in the face of hard facts indicating the contrary 
Self-radicalisation. The phenomenon through which some people are drawn into extremist ideologies without face-to-face contact with others. 
A journey to another country to join a terrorist organisation. Used in 2015 to describe those travelling to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS. 
A refugee crossing a country with the aim of getting to another country where they aim to register as an asylum seeker. 
The sharing economy. Used to describe internet and mobile apps like Airbnb, where people rent out their houses, or cars to others. 
To transfer money to a friend or shop using the Swedish phone payment system Swish
The eye pain experienced by those who spend too long staring at a screen
Story continues below…
Someone for whom creating and uploading videos to YouTube has become their main occupation or job 
Physical roleplay games where participants put enormous effort into their appearance
A loser 
To dumpster dive, or retrieve useable food and other objects from what others throw away 
A group photo taken on a mobile phone 
The phenomenon in which men over-explain basic things to women in a condescending way 
to 'vape' or smoke an e-cigarette 

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

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Swedish PM visits Iraq for talks on Isis
Stefan Löfven (left) and Haider al-Abadi (right). Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Stefan Löfven will discuss the offensive on Mosul with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

Illicit abattoir kept more than 100 bulls' penises
A couple of young bulls not related to the story. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

Dried cattle genitalia, goats' heads and hundreds of litres of lard were just a few of the many strange finds discovered when police raided a property in Sweden.

This is officially Sweden's most beautiful beard
The most beautiful beard in Sweden. Photo: Memo Göcek

According to a jury of barbers and 'well known bearded profiles', that is.

Presented by Invest Stockholm
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm

You might think it’s hard to make friends in a new city. But if at first you don’t succeed – try something else!

Injured Swedish photographer protected by 'guardian angel'
Swedish photographer Paul Hansen on another occasion. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Photographer Paul Hansen thanked his lucky stars for surviving sniper fire while covering the battle for the Isis-held city of Mosul in Iraq.

How Sweden is trying to smooth relations with Saudis
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven meeting Saudi Arabia's Trade Minister Majid bin Abdullah Al Qasabi. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has visited Saudi Arabia a year and a half after relations turned frosty in a major diplomatic row.

My Swedish Career
'Swedish people love it, but they find it quite odd'
Scottish entrepreneur William Macdonald. Photo: Michael Campanella

Meet the web developer and entrepreneur using traditional Scottish ceilidh dancing to break the ice with Swedes.

Swedish photographer shot near Mosul
Hansen was being operated on in the Iraqi city of Erbil on Sunday. Photo: Nora Lorek/ TT

Paul Hansen, a photographer working for Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter, has sustained light injuries after being hit by what appears to be a sniper while covering the battle for the Isis-held city of Mosul in Iraq.

Trollhättan remembers school attack victims
'It was an attack on all of Sweden,' Education Minister Gustav Fridolin said. Photo: Thomas Johansson/ TT

Hundreds of people on Saturday turned out for a torchlight procession in the small town of Trollhättan in southwestern Sweden to honour the victims of last year’s deadly school attack there.

Sweden wants emission- free cars in EU by 2030
Photo: Jessica Gow/ TT

Sweden's environment minister on Saturday urged the European Union to ban petrol and diesel-powered vehicles from 2030.

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
Nobel Prize 2016: Chemistry
jobs available