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SWEDISH WORD OF THE DAY

Swedish word of the day: gött

Today's word is a sure way to spot someone from Gothenburg.

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

Gött is originally a word from Gothenburg, but which is currently spreading beyond the borders of the city many call the ‘front side of Sweden’ (Sveriges framsida). And in many ways gött captures the spirit of Gothenburg, as it figures in the popular mind.

Ha de gött! roughly means ‘Have a good one!’ but gött is not just a ‘good one’, it means to really enjoy yourself. Gött is real nice, the type of enjoyment you might feel when your team comes from being 2-1 under to equalizing and taking the lead – Gött e det! (then it means more like ‘That’s ****ing right, mate!’). 

Standard translations would give you ‘nice’ or ‘good’, but as you have seen gött can also a slight gloating to it. Though that is true, the heart of gött is an expression of Gothenburg joie de vivre. 

Gothenburg and its people are liked by most Swedes. People often make nice comments when they hear you are from Gothenburg. Gothenburgers are often described as jovial and welcoming people who do not take themselves too seriously. Describing a whole city’s population as having a certain quality is of course a bit frivolous, but remember, this is the city that was not satisfied with just gött but had to squeeze a bit more from it. 

That’s right, you and your friends can have it göttigt. What is that, you ask? Göttigt is when your life is just pure enjoyment. If you are talking about food, göttigt is the equivalent of ‘yummy’. And as a translation ‘yummy’ really does capture what this word is about. 

Gött is a way of life for the people of Gothenburg – not everything is about success and business, you also need to enjoy life – that is the joie de vivre of gött. You have it gött sitting having a beer with friends, enjoying some good food in a not too uptight environment. If it was a fancy restaurant it would not be gött, because you cannot really relax in a fancy restaurant, and gött does imply that you are really relaxed.

Gött is also one of the most used words of people from Gothenburg, because when you say goodbye like a real Gothenburger, you say Ha de gött! This by extension means that Gothenburgers are constantly wishing people ‘to have it gött’ or in other words to have a really nice and relaxed time. 

If you do not live in Gothenburg try putting the theory about everyone loving Gothenburg to the test, ask your Swedish friends what they think of people from Gothenburg, and if they like the dialect. My bet is nine times out of ten you will get a positive response. 

If you live in Gothenburg, you better practice this word, it will make a huge difference for you. 

To all of you, ha de gött!

Example sentences:

Fy fan va gött!

God damn that’s great!

Här sitter ni och har det gött…

Look at you guys enjoying yourselves…  

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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