Word of the day: tjomme

Word of the day: tjomme
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
If you’re living in Gothenburg, or planning to visit the west coast city at some point, it’s a good idea to learn some of the local dialect.

Gothenburg, known as Sweden’s second, arguably 'friendlier' port city (and often dubbed ‘Little London’) has a distinct dialect: göteborgska.

One word that you may find elsewhere in Sweden, but that has its roots in the west coast city, is the informal tjomme, which means ‘guy’ or ‘mate’. Synonyms in Swedish are karl, man, snubbe, kille, or kompis.

The word derived from the English ‘chummy’ (mate), which is student slang for ‘chamber-fellow’ or roommate.

In this clip you'll find more examples of göteborgska expressions. Here you can practice your pronunciation.

Noticeable, even for people who are fairly new to Sweden, are for example its rising, melodious intonation at the end of words and the long A-sound, comparable with the Swedish Å. 

Riktiga göteborgare, true Gothenburg people, don’t always pronounce the letter 'r', for example in words like ord (word) or barn (child). In other instances, often when words end with an 'r', the letter can be sharp and rolling.

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See also on The Local:

A poll of 1,000 Swedes conducted by the Swedish Institute for Opinion Surveys (Svenska Institutet för Opinionsundersökningar, SIFO) found that Swedes find the dialect spoken in Gothenburg to be the sexiest of all Swedish dialects. All the more reason to become acquainted with the regional tongue.


Alla undrar vad det är för en tjomme

Everybody wonders what kind of guy this is

Det stod en tjomme utanför lägenheten

A guy was standing outside the apartment


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