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SWEDISH WORD OF THE DAY

Swedish word of the day: rappakalja

Today’s Swedish word is originally a Finnish word for a beverage, and it’s a game.

Swedish word of the day: rappakalja

According to Svenska Akademiens ordlista, the ‘wordlist’ of the Swedish academy, Rappakalja means ‘confused talk, drivel, gibberish’. 

Originally the word is derived from the Finnish rapakalja which, if the Academy is to be believed, was either an unfiltered beer of dubious quality, or a kind of dish made from sour milk mixed with rye flour and hard bread crumbs, possibly both.

Today the word is the Swedish name for the popular Canadian bluff game Balderdash, which is itself based on an earlier game, Fictionary. 

In the game Rappakalja, you get points for coming up with credible explanations for difficult words that most people do not know. Although you do get points for knowing the meaning of the word, the real point is to trick the opponents into thinking that your explanation is the true definition of the word. So in a sense, the game rewards being a good bullshitter. 

The game thus mirrors the modern meaning of the word, and although the word is not really used by younger people today, every Swede knows what it means.

They might not know, however, that it comes from a Finnish word, (even though that is easy to see once you are told). And most will have no idea that the original meanings refer to a dish and to unfiltered beer – so that gives you an opportunity to score some Swedish trivia points with your Swedish friends. 

Why not try your hands at the game when having those friends over for drinks, or if you are over at a Swedish friend’s place, see if they have a copy of the game?

You might also try using the word when you feel like someone is talking a whole lot of nonsense. It is not really an offensive word. And do try to make sure you are not talking too much rappakalja.

Example sentences:

Nä men sluta nu, det där är ren rappakalja.

Oh come one, give it a rest, that is absolute gibberish. 

Vad ska vi göra? Jag vet, kan vi inte spela Rappakalja?

What should we do? I know, can we play Rappakalja?

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: soppatorsk

In Sweden, if you run out of petrol on the road you have 'soup-cod'.

Swedish word of the day: soppatorsk

Soppatorsk is a slang word which literally means soup-cod, soppa is ‘soup’, and torsk is ‘cod’, but is not to be understood as ‘cod soup’, that would be torsksoppa. Instead the two words that make up soppatorsk have additional meanings in slang. One of the additional meanings of torsk is ‘failure’, which is the intended meaning here. The verb att torska, ‘to cod’, is to fail, or to lose, to get caught. The meaning of the noun torsk here is ‘failure’. And soppa is simply a slang term for ‘petrol’. 

The proper term for what soppatorsk means is bensinstopp, which means ‘engine failure due to running out of petrol’. It is used in the exact same way.

An additional meaning of torsk that you should be mindful of is ‘a john’, as in someone who frequents prostitutes. So you cannot call someone ‘a failure’ by calling them a torsk, that would mean calling them a sex-buyer.  

Soppatorsk is quite common in use and has been around since about 1987. The use of its two parts is also quite common. And torska, as in ‘getting caught’ or ‘losing’ is even a bit older, dating back to at least 1954. We haven’t been able to find out how long soppa has been used to mean ‘petrol’.

A few examples of the use of soppa and torska in the senses that they carry in soppatorsk are : ‘Vi har ingen soppa i tanken,’ means ‘We have no petrol in the tank’. ‘Vi torskade is a common way of saying ‘We lost’. 

Practice makes perfect, so try to use the word of the day, here are a few example sentences. 

Example sentences:

Nä, det är inte sant, soppatorsk.

No, I can’t believe it, we’re out of petrol.

Full tank tack, man vill ju inte få soppatorsk ute i vildmarken.

Fill her up please, don’t wanna run out of petrol out in the wilderness.

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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