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SWEDISH WORD OF THE DAY

Swedish word of the day: på G

This word literally translates to "on G", but is actually an acronym with a number of different meanings. Here's an explanation.

Swedish word of the day: på G
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

På G is an acronym for the Swedish phrase på gång, which can be used in a few different ways. The phrase is informal, most commonly used in speech between friends.

Firstly, på G can be used in the sense of something happening, such as in the English phrase “what’s up?”. For example, you could say vad är på G här? (“What’s happening here?”) or vad har ni på G? (“What are you guys up to?”)

If someone is described as being på G, it usually means they are awake and lively. A football team could be described as being på G igen (“back on their feet again”, or “back to their usual selves”) if they improve after a series of bad matches.

Similarly, if you are feeling inte alls på G – not at all på G – then that means you feel tired, run-down, or not your usual self.

The most literal use of the phrase is used when something or someone is on their way, such as in response to the question kommer du snart? (“Are you going to be here soon?”) to which you would reply jag är på G! if you were on your way. In a similar vein, food can also be på G if it will be ready soon.

Finally, you might hear teenagers describing themselves as being på G with someone – this is the stage between casual dating and going out, where a relationship isn’t official yet, but probably will be soon. A good English translation would probably be “seeing each other”.

Example sentences:

“Är ni tillsammans?” “Nej, vi är bara på G!”

“Are you guys together?” “No, we’re just seeing each other!”

“Är maten klar? Jag är jättehungrig!” “Den är på G!”

“Is the food ready? I’m starving!” “It’s on it’s way!”

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 USAmazon UKBokus or Adlibris.

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SWEDISH WORD OF THE DAY

​​Swedish word of the day: sommarpratare

Todays' word is from one of Sweden's most popular radio shows. 

​​Swedish word of the day: sommarpratare

Sommarpratare literally means ‘summer talker’, and the word comes from Sommar, a 90-minute show on Swedish radio channel P1, which is part of the public broadcaster Sveriges Radio. 

Sommar i P1 is one of the most popular shows in the country, and sommarpratare, that is the person that gets to host the show, are noteworthy Swedes, often people from culture, sports, or business. 

The idea of the format is such that the host tells their story, or a story of their choice, and then they choose some songs to go with it. Over the years this very free format has led to some really memorable shows, and to more than one scandal. 

When cancer-stricken musician and writer Kristian Gidlund went on 30 June 2013 he knew he would soon die, and that his sommarprat would be his last public appearance. The result was a deeply moving reflection on death. Three months later Gidlund passed away just a few days shy of his 30th birthday. 

Arguably one of the most controversial show, with a record 70-plus reports to the Swedish Press and Broadcasting Authority, was by poet Athena Farrokhzad which aired on 21 July 2014. The show dealt with racism, class issues and political violence from what many commentators described as an extreme leftist perspective. One moderate member of the Riksdag, Gunnar Axén, was so upset that he supposedly threw out his television to no longer have to pay the public service fee, a fee which at the time was how public service was financed – today the financing is done with a tax. 

Some other noteworthy scandals include Army of Lovers singer Alexander Bard promoting the use of the drug ecstasy, ending with the quote, “The chemical brotherhood will take over in the future”, author Lena Andersson calling Jesus an authoritarian, and even author and journalist Jan Guillou accusing the long dead former Prime Minister Per Albin Hansson of having taken bribes. 

On a more positive note was the unexpected hit of chief physician Anders Hansen’s 2019 sommarprat about the brain, which had 2 million digital streams. Hansen broke with format by not telling a personal story but instead sharing his knowledge from the field of psychiatry, talking about the importance of exercising, socialising, putting away your mobile phone, and making sure to sleep well for mental well being.

To be a sommarpratare is considered a great honour in Sweden. Most Swedes are very familiar with the show, and they often have favourite shows that they would love to tell you about. So it is a great topic for conversation.

Summer is nearly over, the last episode airs the day after tomorrow, but the episodes are still available online. Here is a link to this year’s list of sommarpratare

Example sentences:

Lyssnade du på sommarpratet igår?

Did you listen to the summer talk yesterday?

Har du sett listan på årets sommarpratare?

Have you seen the list of this year’s summer talkers? 

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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