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Swedish word of the day: måndag

Emma Löfgren
Emma Löfgren - [email protected]
Swedish word of the day: måndag
It's just another manic måndag. Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

It's the start of a new week, so here's a timely Swedish word of the day.

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Måndag is the Swedish word for Monday.

It means “the day of the moon”, a day which in turn is named after Måne, the god of the moon in Norse mythology. In Norse mythology, Måne (whose name is also the Swedish word for “moon”) is the brother of Sol (“sun”), and they’re chased across the sky by two wolves.

In Old Norse the word is manadagher. Note that the days of the week are not capitalised in Swedish.

Monday is related to the moon in many languages, even ones with generally different roots. For example, lundi in French and lunedì in Italian both also mean “the day of the moon”, and can be traced back to diēs Lūnae or ἡμέρᾱ Σελήνης in Latin and Greek.

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This is probably how the word came to the Nordics, which simply replaced it with its own deity.

To give you an idea of how international it is: the word Monday in many Asian languages is related to Soma, the Hindu god of the moon, and many Celtic languages use a version of the Latin word (Diluain in Scottish Gaelic and dydd Llun in Welsh – do you spot the similarities?).

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In the Greco-Roman tradition, Sunday (“day of the sun”) was the first day of the week and Monday the second, but since 1972 it’s officially the first day of the Swedish week. You may be interested to learn a bonus compound noun: måndagsexemplar, which refers to a faulty product (because the person who made it was presumably tired at the start of the week, and not fully recovered from the weekend).

Måndagsbarn is a song by Swedish artist Veronica Maggio, and the Swedish translation of Bill Murray’s 1993 movie Groundhog Day is Måndag hela veckan (“Monday all week”).

Examples:

Är det verkligen måndag igen?

Is it really Monday again?

Jag lämnade in min uppsats i måndags

I submitted my essay last Monday

Villa, Volvo, Vovve: The Local’s Word Guide to Swedish Life, written by The Local’s journalists, is 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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