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SWEDISH WORD OF THE DAY

​​Swedish word of the day: sommarpratare

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

​​Swedish word of the day: sommarpratare
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

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 shows, 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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For members

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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