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LANGUAGE AND CULTURE

Swedish word of the day: dopp

We're looking at words with a summery theme this month, and this one is essential to know on warm days.

Swedish word of the day: dopp
Image: nito103/Depositphotos

Dopp is similar to the English word 'dip', in the sense of taking a quick swim. For example: ska vi ta ett dopp? (shall we go for a dip?). 

The image of 'dipping' oneself in the water suggests more of a spontaneous or brief swim compared to using the verb bada or simma. Simma is usually reserved for talking about swimming with a purpose, for example if you're going from a shoreline to an island or doing laps in a pool, while bada refers to swimming for leisure.

Bada also implies spending a longer time in the water, while ett dopp can be used even if you literally just jump in and get straight back out. So in some places, the water might not be warm enough to bada, but it's perfect if you just want to ta ett dopp.

MORE SWEDISH SUMMER WORDS:

Going for a dip in your nearest lake or sea is a Swedish summer tradition, so a common question you can use in small talk over summer is 'Har du tagit årets första dopp än?' (Have you been for your first dip of the year yet?).

You can also pop it into a compound word such as morgondopp (a morning dip/quick swim), kvällsdopp (evening dip) semesterdopp (holiday dip), and so on. 

As in English, you can also use the word doppa (to dip) to talk about submerging something in liquid temporarily. So you'll see the word dopp used to talk about two foodstuffs in particular, although both are fairly old-fashioned terms nowadays.

Kaffe med dopp (literally 'coffee with dip') is quite an outdated way of referring to a typical fika: coffee with a small biscuit which you could dip in your drink; the semla bun is an example. Dunking a biscuit or pastry in your drink isn't that common in Sweden, but the phrase kaffe med dopp can be used even if you don't plan to actually dunk your snack. And dopp i grytan (literally 'dip in the stew') refers to bread dipped in pork broth, a traditional component of the Swedish julbord.

Examples

Jag kanske tar ett dopp idag

I might take a dip today

Jag var i vattnet men försökte inte doppa håret

I was in the water but tried not to get my hair wet/dip my hair in

Do you have a favourite Swedish word you would like to nominate for our word of the day series? Get in touch by email or if you are a Member of The Local, log in to comment below.

 

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SWEDISH WORD OF THE DAY

​​Swedish word of the day: möte

The word of the day is perhaps Sweden’s second favourite pastime, after 'fika', and they often go hand in hand.

​​Swedish word of the day: möte

In 2017 Swedish television published an article with the headline, Möteskulturen frodas i Sverige, “The Meeting Culture is Thriving in Sweden”. For a non-Swede that might seem like an interesting and perhaps bizarre headline, but to the initiated it is all too familiar. 

A möte is simply a meeting, but for Swedes möten are something you do at every opportunity. Need to decide anything at all? Let’s have a möte. This can seem like an awful waste of time to a non-Swede, but Swedes are all about consensus. The idea is that after you have consensus you can move forward more efficiently. And Swedish society seems to do that really well. And it does not hurt that a möte is the perfect time for fika, or more precisely mötesfika.

As a bit of history, the English ‘meeting’ and Swedish möte are related, and they are also related to ‘moot’ as in ‘moot court’ or a ‘moot point’, “an issue that is subject to, or open for discussion or debate; originally, one to be definitively determined by an assembly of the people.” That assembly of people was originally an old Germanic type of town hall, a ting, where people met to discuss communal matters and settle disputes.

Today we can find the word ting in the names of the Icelandic parliament, the Althing, the Danish parliament, the Folketing, and the Norwegian parliament, the Storting. In Sweden you still find it in the name of the lower courts, Tingsrätten

The point is, there is a very old tradition of möten in Scandinavian culture. The Icelandic parliament, for instance, claims to be the oldest in the world. Whether the Icelanders can beat the Swedes at the time spent in möten at work is unsure, no statistics seem to be readily available for a comparison. 

Malin Åkerström, the researcher who was interviewed in the piece by Swedish television, claims that the public sector are the primary champions of möten, but it is also very common in the private sector. And möten are on the rise in many workplaces. 

Here it might help to know that in Sweden a möte can also be between you and just one other co-worker to discuss almost anything, so the term is quite broad. Then there are so called arbetsplatsträffar, more commonly referred to as APT, a type of longer, more serious möte that many workplaces hold regularly (there you can almost always count on fika). 

As you can see, Swedes love their möten – so why not find an excuse to stämma tid för ett möte with one of your Swedish friends or maybe a coworker? You might just make their day.

Example sentences:

Bettan, kan vi stämma tid för ett möte?

Bettan, can we decide on a time for a meeting?

Jag blir galen med alla dessa konstanta möten, va fan är det för fel på svenskar?

I’m going insane with all these constant meetings, what the hell is wrong with these Swedes?

Villa, Volvo, Vovve: The Local’s Word Guide to Swedish Life, written by The Local’s journalists, is now available to order. Head to lysforlag.com/vvv to read more about it. It is also possible to buy your copy from Amazon US, Amazon UK, Bokus or Adlibris.

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