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A Fairytale City Escape: Visit Stockholm’s Top Destinations

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Imagine a summer’s day spent strolling along waterfront promenades and harbors, surrounded by pencil-colored historical buildings and leafy parks… 

But wait, you don’t need to imagine it. Just visit Stockholm!

The capital of Sweden is made up of fourteen islands, through which the freshwater Lake Mälaren flows out into the Baltic Sea. Sounds like an idyllic place, doesn’t it? And that’s not all: Outside of the city, the Stockholm Archipelago continues with over 30,000 more islands.

The Swedish City of Stockholm

In this travel guide, you’ll discover Stockholm’s top eleven destinations as well as some extra tips and hints. 

As St. Augustine said, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” And I assure you, the pages of this wonderful and original city are definitely worth reading.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Swedish Table of Contents
  1. Before You Go
  2. Must-See Places for a 1-3 Day Trip
  3. Highly Recommended Places for a 4-7 Day Trip (or Longer)
  4. Swedish Survival Phrases for Travelers
  5. Conclusion

Before You Go

Have we given you enough reasons to visit Stockholm yet? Perfect. That means it’s time to organize your trip. Let us help you out with that! 

When to Visit Stockholm

You’ve probably heard that winters in Sweden are tough. Lots of snow, freezing temperatures, only a few hours of light a day… Not ideal conditions for discovering the city! 

Of course, tourists can be found all year round, but most people choose to visit Stockholm during the summer months of June through August. This is definitely the best time to visit Stockholm weather-wise, as you’ll be able to truly enjoy being outdoors (as do the Swedes) and take in all the city has to offer! 

Visa

If you’re from Europe or North America, you’ll not need a visa to enter Sweden as a tourist; you’ll be allowed to stay for up to three months without problems. If you’re from somewhere else, you’ll need to check the requirements for entering Sweden. 

Interesting Facts & Tips

  • Sweden rejected the euro and continues to use Swedish krona as the national currency. (1 USD will get you SEK9.00.)
  • Many places have a CARD ONLY policy, so be sure to have a working credit or debit card. 
  • Traveling by taxi can get quite expensive, so we recommend you make use of Sweden’s perfectly functioning public transportation system. Inside any metro station, you can buy daily and weekly passes as well as single tickets which include unlimited metro, tram, and bus journeys.

Must-See Places for a 1-3 Day Trip

Once you have all the basic info on how to be safe and organized on your trip, and have picked out your travel dates, you can start looking into the best places to see in Stockholm. 

If you’re visiting Stockholm for the first time, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed with all the options. To give you a hand, we’ve outlined five places you can’t miss! 

Gamla Stan 

First on our list is Gamla Stan, the Old Town where you can take in the tranquil atmosphere of Stockholm. 

This is one of the most well-preserved medieval city centers in Europe, and walking around it will feel like being in an open-air museum full of sights, attractions, restaurants, cafés, and shops. 

In this pedestrian-friendly area paved with cobblestones, you’ll find both the oldest street in Stockholm (Köpmangatan) and the narrowest (Mårten Trotzigs Gränd).

Stortorget

This is the main square in the Old Town. Once you arrive here and have a look around, you’ll easily understand why these colorful facades are the most photographed in Sweden. Here’s where it all started for Stockholm, back in the thirteenth century.

Stortorget Buildings in Stockholm

Every stone and every corner here is filled with history. Our advice is to just sit on one of the benches and soak it all in. 

If you visit around Christmastime, you’ll find a traditional market in the square. 

The Stockholm subway

After you’ve explored the beautiful city center, we recommend you head to your next destination via the Stockholm tunnelbana, the city’s subway. If you have the time, you might even want to spend a while exploring it…we bet you won’t even feel the need to leave! This metro system is truly one of a kind. 

The system comprises one hundred stations, each with unique art on its platform, walls, or waiting hall. The most beautiful ones include: 

  • T-Centralen
  • Stadion
  • Morby Centrum
  • Kungstradgarden
  • Solna Centrum 

Stadshuset

The City Hall, which features the golden Three Crowns on its spire, is one of the most well-known silhouettes in Stockholm. 

Made of eight million bricks and designed by architect Ragnar Östberg, this building houses offices and session halls for politicians and officials, as well as splendid rooms and unique works of art.

The great Nobel banquet is also held at City Hall, while Stockholm’s municipal council meets in Rådssalen, the Council Chamber.

Skinnarviksberget

If you want to step out of the bustle for an afternoon and enjoy wonderful views over the city and archipelago, head to the highest natural point in central Stockholm: Skinnarviksberget. The name literally means “the mountain bay of leather” because of its history of leather manufacturing and tanning.

Nowadays, of course, there’s no leather involved. Tourists and locals alike climb up here to enjoy a picnic with a view, or to marvel at the sunset over the city. 

Highly Recommended Places for a 4-7 Day Trip (or Longer)

If you still have some time to spend in the beautiful capital of Sweden, there are a few more gems to visit around Stockholm! 

Stockholm Archipelago 

Just twenty minutes from the city starts a whole new world made up of over 30,000 small islands. It’s the Stockholm skärgård, the second-largest archipelago in the Baltic Sea.

Stockholm Archipelago

The most popular way to see it is by ferry, with boats departing from central Stockholm multiple times a day. That said, you can also decide to boat, hike, sea kayak, bike, and swim in this wonderful setting! Whichever activity you pick, the experience of visiting the Stockholm archipelago will be unforgettable!

Skansen Museum

Skansen is an open-air museum that can be described as a “miniature Sweden.” Here, you’ll find farms and dwellings from all parts of the country that were disassembled and transported here. 

If you’re curious about other parts of Sweden, but don’t have the time to visit the whole country, this is the perfect place to visit! It’s also a great family outing and is wonderfully located on Royal Djurgården, which offers spectacular views over Stockholm. 

Fotografiska Museum

If you like photography at all, you can’t skip this. Fotografiska is one of the world’s largest collections of contemporary photography, and it periodically hosts four large exhibitions and up to twenty smaller ones. 

On the top floor, you’ll find a café with one of the best views over Stockholm. Oh, and the restaurant serves fresh, seasonal dishes and focuses on sustainable gastronomy. What’s not to like about that?

Parks

Autumn Leaves in Djurgården

If you spend a week or more in Stockholm, you’ll surely realize how green this city actually is.

You’ll find all kinds of parks, such as…

  • Millesgården, with sculptures created by artists Carl and Olga Milles.
  • Aspuddsparken, which offers entertainment for families and kids.
  • Kungsträdgården, the city’s oldest park featuring perfect lawns and tranquil cafés.

Djurgården is also a lovely park close to museums, galleries, and other attractions. 

I bet you could spend an entire week visiting Stockholm and still not see all of the parks, so go and find your favorite!

Vasa Museum

The Vasamuseet brings you the exciting history of the Vasa ship. This 69-meter-long warship sank on its maiden voyage in the middle of the Archipelago in 1628 and was salvaged in 1961—a whopping 333 years later.

The Vasa Museum in Stockholm

In the museum, you can see the only preserved seventeenth-century ship in the world (around 95% of which is original!). It’s been restored to its former glory and, through ten different exhibitions, you can get a glimpse of what life was like aboard the ship. 

Stadsbiblioteket

Stockholm’s stadsbibliotek is the public library of Stockholm, designed by celebrated Swedish architect Gunnar Asplund. It’s one of the city’s most notable icons. 

While you probably won’t stay long, it’s definitely worth visiting, even if only to take refuge on a windy morning. Step in and discover the real masterpiece—an incredible collection of books all around the cylindrical walls.

Swedish Survival Phrases for Travelers

Of course, most people in Sweden will understand and speak some English, but knowing some basic phrases in Swedish will be helpful (and it will certainly please the locals!). 

Here are the phrases you might need:

  • Hejsan. / Hello. 
  • Tack! / Thank you!
  • Hejdå. / Goodbye. 
  • Förlåt. / Sorry. 
  • Mycket bra. / Very good. 
  • Jag förstår inte. / I don’t understand. 
  • Var ligger…? / Where is…? 
  • Hur mycket kostar…? / How much is …? 
  • Skulle jag kunna få…? / My I please have…?
  • Hjälp! / Help!

Conclusion

So, have you decided to add some Swedish pages to your world travel book? If you’re planning to visit Stockholm and experience its fairytale atmosphere for yourself, take a look at SwedishPod101.com

Here, with the help of highly qualified teachers, audio podcasts, word lists, and more, you’ll be able to finally start adding another language to your repertoire! 

Start now, and you’ll realize that picking up a language is easier than you think. Not to mention it will make your experience in the country even more unforgettable! 

Before you go: Which of these Stockholm travel destinations do you want to visit most, and why? Let us know in the comments!

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English Words in Swedish: Do You Know Swenglish?

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It’s no secret that Swedes speak English well.

But if you dropped in unexpectedly on a Swedish company’s conference call, you might be a little surprised to hear everyone speaking in English despite the fact that everyone working there was born and raised in-country.

What gives?

Shouldn’t they be speaking…Swedish?

Well, because of many different factors, there are quite a few modern colloquial English words in Swedish. They call this phenomenon “Swenglish,” and here’s what it’s all about.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Swedish Table of Contents
  1. Putting Swenglish in Context
  2. Examples of Swenglish
  3. English Loanwords
  4. What a Swedish Accent Sounds Like in English
  5. English Words Originally From Swedish
  6. Conclusion

Putting Swenglish in Context

The Swedish City of Visby

First off, this name isn’t really fair. It’s taken from the German equivalent “Denglish,” which refers to German laced with far too many English loans. However, “Swenglish” is actually used to describe English with Swedish characteristics, which we’ll get to in a little bit.

But how did all this English get into the Swedish language in the first place?

Well, the Vikings invaded England in the early Middle Ages. But that’s not the whole story, as many of them stayed there and ended up influencing the English language instead.

You see, Swedish is a Northern Germanic language while English is a Western Germanic one. This means that many centuries ago, around the fifth century BC, there was one parent language that later split up due to migration patterns and natural language change.

That makes it easy to pull words from one language to the other, kind of like baking cookies from the same mold and putting them on different trays. 

In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, English started becoming more and more of a world language, and Swedes began facing greater pressure to learn it. By the twenty-first century, they had achieved that goal in spades. The vast majority of Swedish youth these days gain full mastery of English while still in high school.

Because English is of such great international importance and considered trendy to learn, it’s the perfect language to pull words from, even among Swedes speaking Swedish to each other. Plus, recent immigration and English-taught higher education efforts both point to a rising use of English in Sweden.

But some Swedes are pushing back, saying that it’s unnecessarily eroding a perfectly good language and culture. However, this kind of popularity-driven language transition is quite tough to ignore, and sooner or later English words will have entered Swedish for good.

Examples of Swenglish

A Man Bodybuilding

So what does this “Swenglish” or “Svengelska” look like in real life?

‘Swenglish’ refers to English words that mean something else in Swedish, having been adopted into the language and undergoing changes over time. After all, when non-native speakers start using a foreign word in their own language, it can easily take on a life of its own. To give you an idea of what we mean, let’s look at several Swenglish examples. 

We’ll start with the word “athlete.” In English, it refers to anyone who practices a sport and uses their body to enter competitions. In Swedish, though, it typically refers to “a bodybuilder,” or someone who sculpts their muscles for aesthetic reasons. The “pure” Swedish word for “athlete” would be friidrottare.

Another example is the word sejfa, which sounds an awful lot like the English word “safe.” This one actually means “to play it safe,” or in other words, to be careful when attempting something new.

If you’ve studied any German, you may be familiar with the false friend tränar, which is also used in Swedish. It’s not “to train” as you would train a dog or cat, but “to exercise.”

Have you ever done any winter sports in Sweden? Better try to avoid peaken: the “peak of the season,” distinct from a mountain peak, which would be topp or spets.

Some words seem like they should be English words from their look and sound, and many Swedes might even swear to you that they are—but you won’t find them in an English dictionary.

Such words include legitimation (otherwise known as an ID card) and hangarounds (supporters of a political movement). Finally, if you hear a Swede complimenting your backslick, your first instinct might be to turn around and see if something’s gotten spilled on your shirt. But in reality, it just means “slicked-back hair.”

English Loanwords

A Meeting at a Large Corporate Company

Now that we’ve seen some examples of words that are slowly becoming native Swedish, we should mention that there are also plenty of words that are clearly English (for the time being, at least). Many of these English words used in Swedish are ones you’d hear in science, technology, and business meetings. This is because they’ve simply become the preferred way for experts in these fields to communicate.

Words like midquarter report, pressrelease, call center, and all time high are extremely commonplace in big Swedish business firms—remember, the official language of many Swedish businesses is English to begin with!

Note that the spacing or hyphenation of the examples above might be a little different from what English-speaking countries mandate as the norm. This is intentional, as these words have been adopted into Swedish orthographic conventions instead of maintaining the English ones.

Although Swedish verbs don’t conjugate for person or number, you can still see the Swedish verb suffix on loanwords like chillar (“to chill out”) or mailar (“to send by email”).

This is where the Swedish linguistic purists start tearing their hair out, by the way. They feel that Swedish speakers should make an effort to come up with their own native-Swedish equivalents, much like the Mandarin and Icelandic languages do.

If that were the case, you’d see loans like design replaced by formgivning and food processor replaced by matberedare. Only a serious and widespread effort to get rid of English loans could stop the process at this point, and that’s not very likely to get underway.

By the way, here is a quick fun fact before we move on to the next section: the word präst (“priest”) is actually a loanword from English, not a common Germanic word that happened to stay roughly recognizable. Scholars believe it comes from the Middle Ages and/or Renaissance!

What a Swedish Accent Sounds Like in English

Two Women Chatting Over Coffee

Unfortunately, there’s one extremely famous rendition of a “Swedish accent” permanently entrenched in the minds of Americans—the character of the Swedish Chef from the children’s show Sesame Street.

While not really crossing any line into “offensive,” this has been the basis of quite a few good-natured jokes toward Swedes living abroad, to the extent that it should probably be laid to rest at this point.

The reason why that stereotype is so enduring, though, is because there really is a distinctive rhythm to Swedish speech. This is because the Swedish language, like Norwegian, Japanese, and a handful of other European and Asian languages, has a “pitch accent.”

You can find a few other good resources about Swedish pitch accent online, but the gist of it is that each word in Swedish has either a rising or falling pitch pattern. To native speakers, pronouncing a word with a different pattern sounds understandable but odd.

And turnabout is fair play: when Swedes speak English, they often subconsciously apply the pitch rules of their own language to English, leading to that musical rhythm.

Other than that, the long exposure many Swedes have to the English language means that they tend to pick up even subtleties of the pronunciation quite well. It helps that most of the sounds in English exist in Swedish, more so than for French or German speakers!

English Words Originally From Swedish

A Map, Compass, Passport, and Travel Notes

Since Swedish has never been that big of a language, its cultural reach has always been rather small. Still, when you look carefully at English vocabulary, you can find some rather common English words from Swedish or other Scandinavian languages. 

The hobby of “orienteering” comes from the Swedish orientering, explaining why this word doesn’t quite sound like an English word even though it’s spelled like one.

Fartleks, a type of exercise training for long-distance runners, comes from the Swedish words fart (“speed”) and lek (“play”).

The metal tungsten is a combination of the Swedish words meaning “heavy” and “stone.”

Finally, the ubiquitous European moped comes from a blend of words from 1950s Swedish: motor och pedaler (“motor and pedals”).

Apart from those, many words that English speakers take for granted when discussing history and literature actually come from Old Norse, and so are Swedish by proxy if you will. These include elf, troll, and saga.

Conclusion

Even if Swedes end up using Swenglish and English in equal measure in the future, it doesn’t mean that there’s no hope for the Swedish culture as a whole.

People were probably saying the same thing when Anglo-Saxon speakers started using Norse terms on the British Isles! All languages shift and change with time, and Swedish is no exception.

Fortunately, you don’t have to get hired at a Swedish company to start picking up how the language is really used today. SwedishPod101 has got you covered.

Once you attain a strong level in Swedish thanks to our audio podcasts, videos with transcripts, word lists, and other useful resources, it’ll be easy for you to pick up and maintain a healthy balance of languages in your personal and professional Swedish lives.

Try out SwedishPod101 today and enjoy adding another language to your repertoire!

How many of these words were you surprised to find on our list? Are there any we missed? Let us know in the comments!

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Swedish Waffle Day: A Sweet Start to Spring

What if I told you there was one day a year when you could eat all the waffles you could possibly want? Yes, I’m talking about Waffle Day (formerly known as Our Lady Day) in Sweden. 

If you have a mighty sweet tooth on you (or just love pastries a lot), it’s your lucky day! We’ll discuss the origins of this holiday, get your mouth watering with some info on Swedish waffles, and cover some key vocabulary. 

Let’s get started!

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1. What is Waffle Day?

a waffle with heart-shaped pieces

In Sweden, Våffeldagen (Waffle Day) is a springtime holiday during which the general population can indulge in a feast of waffles! But despite the holiday’s festive and indulgent nature, it was originally celebrated as a solemn feast called Vårfrudagen (Our Lady’s Day). A quick look at the two names is all you need to understand how a serious religious holiday came to be associated with this favorite Swedish pastry! 

Our Lady’s Day is a holiday observed in numerous majority-Christian countries. It’s considered one of the most important dates on the Christian calendar, because it marks the supposed date on which the Angel Gabriel visited the Jungfru Maria (Virgin Mary) and told her she would give birth to Jesus Christ. 

Nowadays, Swedish National Waffle Day is of a less religious nature and the focus is on making and consuming waffles! 

  • Even though this Swedish holiday has largely left its religious roots behind, you’ll still find it useful to learn some Religion vocabulary. 

2. When is Waffle Day in Sweden? 

Waffle Day takes place on March 25 every year, setting it apart from many other Catholic holidays, which are moveable. While this date is associated with Gabriel’s visit to Mary, its association with the springtime is also significant. 

In the past, food was scarce during the winter months and people would have very few perishable items (such as eggs or milk) on hand. The arrival of spring meant the beginning of soil preparation for farms, and people once again had access to two of the most important ingredients in waffles. It was indeed a time for celebration. 😉 

3. Swedish Waffles… <3

A Waffle with Cream and Jam on It

For most of the population, Waffle Day in Sweden means just one thing: plate after plate of waffles! Typically, Swedish waffles are eaten with grädde (cream), sylt (jam), and sometimes even fresh fruit or berries. For this annual waffle festival, some restaurants will have special deals and many Swedish households will be filled with the aroma of waffles on the iron. 

It’s interesting to note that waffles were not introduced to Sweden until the 1600s, and began as a savory dish rather than the sweet and decadent pastries we think of today. In the nineteenth century, Swedish waffles took on a distinctive shape and design with the introduction of the “Swedish waffle iron” which makes waffles with heart-shaped pieces. Prior to adopting this unique shape, they were square and cooked over a fire. 

4. Another Interesting Tradition… 

In times past, there was another interesting tradition associated with Waffle Day. As we mentioned, this holiday takes place near the beginning of spring, when farmers begin their new crop season. To help the crops grow better, children were encouraged to run barefoot around the house or through a manure pile. This act was also thought to prevent the children’s feet from cracking during the hot summer months! 

That doesn’t sound too pleasant, does it? I think I prefer the waffles… 

5. Essential Swedish Vocabulary for Waffle Day

A Waffle Iron

If learning about this holiday has made you drool, it’s a good sign that you should learn some waffle-related vocabulary! Let’s review some of the Swedish vocabulary words from this article, plus a few more.

  • Smör (Butter) – noun, neutral
  • Mjöl (Flour) – noun, neutral
  • Våffeldagen (Waffle Day) – proper noun
  • Jesus (Jesus) – proper noun
  • Grädde (Cream) – noun, common
  • Våffeljärn (Waffle iron) – noun, neutral
  • Våffla (Waffle) – noun, common
  • Jungfru Maria (Virgin Mary) – proper noun, common
  • Vårfrudagen (Our Lady’s Day) – proper noun
  • Sylt (Jam) – noun, common

Also make sure to check out our Waffle Day vocabulary list. Here, you can listen to the pronunciation of each word and practice along with the audio recording.

Final Thoughts

Who’s ready to bring out the waffle iron and get cooking? *raises hand* 

Seriously though, we hope you enjoyed our lesson on this March 25 holiday and that you’re even more curious about Swedish culture after reading! If you would like to expand your knowledge even further, you can visit the following pages on SwedishPod101.com: 

If you like what we have to offer, please consider creating your free lifetime account today. Doing so will give you access to even more Swedish-language content and lessons! 

Before you go: Do you prefer waffles or pancakes? (We won’t judge…) 😉

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20 Swedish Quotes To Brighten Your Day

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People are, it seems, primed to enjoy quoting others. In Western culture at least, quoting something well-known is a sign to others that you belong, that you’re part of the in-crowd that knows the book, movie, or TV show in question. 

For that reason, quotes have existed long before books, movies, and TV shows, and they’ll certainly persist into the distant future. 

In this list of Swedish quotes, you’ll find some old favorites that everyone in the world knows, as well as some classic Scandinavian sayings that you probably haven’t heard before. 

Ready to impress your friends with these Swedish quotes?

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Swedish Table of Contents
  1. Quotes About Success
  2. Quotes About Life
  3. Quotes About Time
  4. Quotes About Food
  5. Quotes About Love
  6. Quotes About Family
  7. Quotes About Friendship
  8. Quotes About Health
  9. Quotes About Language Learning
  10. Conclusion

1. Quotes About Success

These inspirational quotes in Swedish have English counterparts with nearly the same meaning. It’s interesting, though, to see how Swedes express the same concepts in different ways.

  • Bättre en fågel i handen än tio i skogen. / “Better a bird in the hand than ten in the forest.”

You’re probably familiar with the equivalent English expression that ends with “than two in the bush.” In Swedish, the “bush” is extended to a whole forest—which may be better for some learners who associate birds with forests rather than bushes.

  • Man ska inte köpa grisen i säcken. / “One shouldn’t buy a pig in a sack.”

Here you can see the “impersonal man” in Swedish. It means “one” or “people,” and that’s how it’s translated here. That said, you should know that in Swedish, it’s used in a common, conversational way. In English, we’d use “you” in the same informal context.

By the way, this quote advises you to take good care in examining your decisions from all angles before following through with them—you don’t want to make a big purchase blind!


2. Quotes About Life

An Unassuming Man with a Chalk Drawing of a Strong Man Behind Him

Are you feeling stuck or unsatisfied with your life? Maybe you just need these quotes about life in Swedish to get back on the right path. 

  • För att lyckas i livet behöver du två saker: okunnighet och självförtroende. / “To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence.”

The word självförtroende might look totally foreign to you at first, but let’s break it down. Själv means “self” and troende means “believing.” The för prefix is a common Germanic feature, linking the other two parts of the word and giving you “self-trust.”

  • Jag har misslyckats om och om igen i livet och det är därför jag lyckas. / “I’ve failed over and over and over again in life and that is why I have succeeded.”

Look carefully at the word lyckas (“success” / “to succeed”) in this example and in the previous one. Since this example begins with Jag har (“I have”), we know that we need to use the supine form lyckats in the root misslyckas (“to fail”). Confused by the word “supine”? Take a look at our Swedish Grammar page!

  • En arbetsam människa är bättre än en hop dagdrivare. / “A hard-working man is better than a crowd of loafers.”

In a sense, this quote is rather similar to “a bird in the hand…” Both compare the positive benefits of a small amount of completed action with a huge amount of unrealized action. As long as you’re doing something, you’re better off than those who are doing nothing. 

3. Quotes About Time

A Rainbow Over a Green Field

The following life quotes in Swedish touch on the topic of time and the influence it has on our lives.

  • Den som lever får se. / “He who lives shall see.”

Don’t worry, this is not a sentence you would hear before a duel breaks out! It means, “Only time will tell,” and in fact, it makes a bit more sense than the English equivalent. Time doesn’t reveal anything, but those who live through the experience will know how things work out.

  • Efter regn kommer solsken. / “After rain comes sunshine.”

This kind of sentiment exists in lots of different languages and cultures all over the world. Bad times always come to an end, and they’re always followed by good times. Also, note the word solsken (“sunshine”) in this phrase. This is a typical sound change present in Swedish, where the “sh” in English became sk in Swedish—but recall that sk has shifted its pronunciation and is now a breathy “sh” sound as well.

4. Quotes About Food

A Smorgasbord of Different Swedish Foods

Who doesn’t enjoy sitting down to a nice meal now and then? Food is a major aspect of any culture, so it should come as no surprise that they feature in several quotes and proverbs. Take the following quotes in Swedish for example.

  • Låt maten tysta mun. / “Let the food silence the mouth.”

Confused what this quote might mean? Well, if your mouth is silenced, it means you can’t talk with your mouth full! Despite the many tasty foods available in Swedish culture, it’s not polite to speak with your mouth full or to eat loudly. Remember that before you have to endure someone quoting this to you!

  • Ratar man agnarna, kan man lätt gå miste om kärnan. / “If we reject the chaff, we may easily lose the kernel.”

This quote is an agricultural equivalent of the English saying, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.” Don’t be so keen on discounting something because of its flaws that you ignore its benefits.

  • Bränn inte dina läppar på andras soppa. / “Don’t scald your lips on another’s soup.”

To get this quote locked in your memory, try and imagine a stern Swedish grandmother saying it at the dinner table. The meaning here is beautifully metaphorical: Don’t involve yourself too much in other people’s business, and you won’t become affected by their problems. 

5. Quotes About Love

A Couple Pressing Their Foreheads Together in Understanding

Are you madly in love with someone? Or maybe you’re a hopeless romantic? Either way, we think you’ll enjoy these love quotes in Swedish. 

  • Bättre älskat och förlorat än att aldrig ha älskat. / “Better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.”

Here we see the verb älskar (“to love”), which is an Old Norse word quite different from the noun form kärlek (“love”). You’re about to see an example of this noun form, too!

  • Gammal kärlek rostar aldrig. / “Old love never rusts.”

Out of these four words, three of them (all but rostar) are typical Scandinavian/Norse words with no clear equivalent in English. Kärlek (“love”) is actually a compound word made up of cognates, and would be something like “care-like” in English. But that’s so far removed from modern English that it doesn’t quite count as a transparent word.


6. Quotes About Family

A Little Girl Throwing Autumn Leaves

Family is a cornerstone of any society, and there are tons of quotes and proverbs regarding the topic. Here are a couple of quotes in Swedish about familial relationships and childhood. 

  • Sådan far, sådan son. / “Like father, like son.”

The word sådan actually has several possible translations. This version of the world-famous quote means that a son becomes very similar to his father in his manners and behavior. 

  • Barnaminnet är långt. / “Childhood memories last long.”

Here we have a typical example of Swedish compound noun formation. Barn means “child” (people in Scotland may recognize this term), and minnet means “memory.” The two words connect with an a and form barnaminnet (“children’s memories”).


7. Quotes About Friendship

Friends are one of life’s greatest joys and necessities. Here are a couple of friendship quotes in Swedish to warm your heart!

  • Vänner visar sin kärlek i svåra tider, inte i tider av lycka. / “Friends show their love in times of trouble, not in times of happiness.”

This quote translates almost word-for-word into English, so we’ll just focus on one point: In English, “times of trouble” is a set phrase, but in Swedish it’s actually “hard times.” 

  • Min bästa vän är den som tar fram det bästa i mig. / “My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me.”

Here we can see the Swedish verb tar (“to draw out”) combining with the adverb fram (“forward”) to form the verb phrase “to bring out.” Also note that we don’t say “the one who” in Swedish; we just say den som (“that which”). 


8. Quotes About Health

Lots of Healthy Foods

You should always prioritize your health, because good health is required to do more important things and achieve goals. Here are a couple of quotes in Swedish on the topic.

  • Det som inte dödar, härdar. / “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

This classic quote is even more concise in Swedish. Here, we don’t have an object for either verb, and härdar is the equivalent of “to harden.” So in translation, we get: “What does not kill, hardens.”

  • Hårt bröd gör kinden röd. / “Hard bread makes the cheek red.”

When written with a space, hårt bröd simply means “hard bread.” This hard bread refers to the Swedish knäckebröd, a specific type of hard flatbread eaten in Scandinavia as a staple for centuries. This quote is similar to, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Even if apples or crispbread aren’t the most exciting foods, a steady and nourishing diet keeps you healthy. 

9. Quotes About Language Learning

Finally, let’s look at a couple of quotes about language learning. What better way to inspire you in your studies? 

  • Ett nytt språk är ett nytt liv. / “A new language is a new life.”

This one has a perfect one-to-one translation in English! This quote may resound particularly well with the many immigrants coming to Sweden to seek a better life—for them, learning Swedish well is an important step to take in their new lives in Sweden.

  • Gränserna för mitt språk är gränserna för min värld. / “The limits of my language are the limits of my world.”

Now that you’ve finished this list of Swedish quotes, do you feel your gränserna (“borders” / “limits”) expanding a bit?


10. Conclusion

As you can see, Swedish is such an accessible language for English speakers that you don’t even have to try that hard to see the links between the example sentences. 

The fact that learning these examples will make you sound like an educated, worldly person is just a bonus!

By the way, if you want to continue learning Swedish in a relaxed and easy way, sign up now for SwedishPod101! You’ll find tons of content in Swedish that will help you bridge the gap from total beginner to comfortable Swedish speaker. Enjoy our videos, podcasts, and articles just like this one, and start taking your Swedish to the next level today!

Before you go, let us know in the comments which of these Swedish quotes is your favorite, and why. We look forward to hearing from you!

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10 Common Questions in Swedish and How to Answer Them

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Many say that conversation is an art. And more than that, conversations are our primary way of getting to know other people. There are conversations for every situation, and a good one should address topics that are of interest to both people. 

The best way to start a conversation is by asking a question. But asking questions in a foreign language can feel intimidating, especially when you’re not sure what kinds of questions to ask in the first place.

Learning how to ask questions in Swedish is one of the first steps that students of the language must take, after basic greeting phrases. This is mainly because questions are such a good way to start a conversation, and the trick to learning any new language is to practice as much as possible. 

When you’re a beginner, it might feel a bit scary to start speaking. But remember that practice makes perfect, and that Swedes are kind and forgiving when it comes to language mistakes. The fact is, they’ll probably be impressed that you know any Swedish at all!

 
    → In this article, we’re going to focus mainly on common Swedish questions and answers. If you want more information on what an introductory conversation would look like, read our relevant article!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Swedish Table of Contents
  1. The Basics
  2. The Top Swedish Questions and Answers
  3. Ending the Conversation
  4. Conclusion

1. The Basics

Before we move on to our guide on the top Swedish questions for beginners, there are a few things you need to know. Namely, the Swedish question structure and question words. Let’s take a look.

Swedish Question Words

Common English Questions Words in Colorful Bubbles

A question in Swedish will usually start with a question word. Here’s a quick table for you: 

WhatVad
Which (singular)Vilken
WhereVar
WhenNär
WhoVem
WhoseVems
WhyVarför
Which (plural)Vilka
From whereVarifrån
HowHur

Swedish Question Word Order

Learning the Swedish question structure can be difficult for new learners, especially those who speak English as their first language. But there’s a simple pattern for you to memorize: 

Question Word + Verb + Subject

Here are some examples:

  • Where are you from?
Question WordVerbSubjectComplement
Varkommerduifrån?
Wherecomeyoufrom?
  • What is Lisa doing?
Question WordVerbSubject
VadgörLisa?
WhatdoingLisa?


2. The Top Swedish Questions and Answers

Without further ado, here are the basic Swedish questions every new Swedish learner should know, and how to answer them yourself! 

1 – What’s your name?

First Encounter

In Sweden, it’s important to introduce yourself properly before diving into the questions. Keep in mind that in Sweden, you don’t need to use titles such as “Mr.,” “Mrs.,” or “Dr.” when addressing someone. In addition, you needn’t worry about using a person’s last name either. You can and should use first names only, regardless of whether you’re speaking with a new friend, a manager, or a colleague.

Introducing yourself in Swedish is pretty straightforward. Here’s an example of how you can begin the conversation:

  • Hej jag heter ___. Vad heter du? 
    “Hello, my name is ___.” What is your name?”

The person you’re talking to will respond with:

  • Hej, jag heter ___, trevligt att träffas! 
    “Hello, my name is ___, nice to meet you!”

And you should respond:

  • Trevligt att träffa dig också! 
    “Nice to meet you too!”

 2 – How are you?

Two Women Having a Chat Over Coffee

In British and American culture, a “How are you?” can be thrown into a greeting with no expectation of an answer. But the importance of this question in Swedish can’t be overstated. 

When Swedes ask this, they really want to know. They’re not asking just to be polite! 

In Swedish culture, asking how someone is signifies that you care about that person, and it plays an important role in the conversation. Asking this question can establish the status of the day, and maybe even give you or your friend the opportunity to complain a little or talk about your fantastic day.

Here’s an example conversation:

A: Hur mår du? (“How are you?”)

B: Jag mår bra, tack! Hur mår du själv? (“I am well, thanks! How are you?”)

A: Inte så illa. (“Not too bad.”)

However, life’s not always so perfect. What if your friend says something like this?

  • Inte så bra. 
    “Not so good.”

Well, you can expect your friend to add an explanation to this answer. Here are examples:

  • Jag är trött. 
    “I am tired.”
  • Jag har haft mycket att göra idag. 
    “I had a lot to do today.”
  • Jag hade en stressig morgon. 
    “I had a stressful morning.”

You should then reply with something empathetic, such as:

  • Vad tråkigt att höra. 
    “I am sorry to hear that.”

Other ways of responding to the question Hur mår du? (“How are you?”) are:

Mycket bra, tack! 
“Very well, thank you!”

Helt okej! 
“It’s okay!”

Det är bra! 
“All good!”

Regardless of the answer, it’s very important to listen and show empathy and interest when replying. Otherwise, the Swede you’re talking with might think you’re rude.



3 – Where are you from?

Flags of Many Different Countries

A good way to continue a conversation is by telling your interlocutor where you’re from:

  • Jag är från England, var kommer du ifrån? 
    “I am from England, where are you from?”

Of course, you can replace “England” with any other country. Just remember to look up what your country is called in Swedish!

If you’re quite sure that the person you’re talking to is from Sweden, you can say:

  • Jag är från England, är du från Sverige? 
    “I am from England, are you from Sweden?”

The response to this question could be either a ja (“yes”) or a nej (“no”). If it’s the latter, you can always add:

  • Var kommer du ifrån? 
    “Where are you from?”

Find your home country in our Nationalities vocabulary list

4 – Where do you live?

In Sweden, finding out where someone lives is also a way to get clued in on that person’s social status. Sweden has no official class system, but unofficially, people will classify you and themselves according to where you live. What street do you live on? Do you live in a house, a building with flats? Which floor? 

All of these things have meaning, which is why it’s so important for Swedes to ask this question:

  • Var bor du?
    “Where do you live?”

If you live in a city, such as Stockholm, always add the name of the street that you live on as well:

  • Jag bor i Stockholm på Hornsgatan. 
    “I live in Stockholm on Hornsgatan.”

If you live in a smaller town or village, it’s enough to say:

  • Jag bor i ___. 
    “I live in ___.”

5 – Which languages do you speak?

Introducing Yourself

Many Swedes speak at least two languages. The most common are Swedish and English, but many Swedes also speak French, Spanish, or German since it’s mandatory for students to add a language for most high school and college level courses. Another reason for this is that Sweden is a relatively small country and Swedes don’t expect people from other countries to know their language. 

Here’s a dialogue that uses a relevant question and answer in Swedish.

A: Vilka språk talar du? (“Which languages do you speak?”)

B: Jag talar svenska, engelska och franska. Vilka språk talar du? (“I speak Swedish, English, and French. Which languages do you speak?”

A: Jag talar engelska och lär mig svenska. (“I speak English and am learning Swedish.”)

6 – Where did you study Swedish?

Swedes are almost always surprised when they find out that a foreigner is learning their language. It’s a small country, and as mentioned, most people speak at least one language in addition to Swedish, usually English. They’ll be curious and ask you where you learned Swedish:

  • Var lärde du dig svenska? 
    “Where did you learn Swedish?”

Here are two possible ways you can answer:

  • I språkskolan ___. 
    “In the language school ___.”
  • På onlinekursen ___
    “In the online course ___.”

7 – Why did you study Swedish?

You’re very likely to receive this follow-up question:

  • Varför ville du lära dig svenska? 
    “Why did you want to learn Swedish?”

Of course, your answer will vary depending on your personal reasons for wanting to learn. But if you don’t have a particular reason, you can always reply with:

  • Jag är intresserad av Sverige och svensk kultur
    “I am interested in Sweden and Swedish culture.”


8 – Have you been to Sweden?

Swedish City of Lund

If you meet a Swede outside of Sweden, they might want to know if you’ve ever been to their home country. They may ask:

  • Har du varit i Sverige? 
    “Have you been to Sweden?”

To this, you can reply with a ja (“yes”) or nej (“no”). 

9 – Where in Sweden have you been to?

If you reply with a ja (“yes”), they might want to know where in Sweden you’ve been.

  • Var i Sverige har du varit? 
    “Where in Sweden have you been to?”

You can then reply:

  • Jag har varit i ___. 
    “I have been to ___.”

Simply fill in the blank with the place you’ve been to. 



10 – Which other countries have you traveled to?

If your interlocutor happens to be a huge travel buff, they may also want to know where else you’ve been.

  • Vilka andra länder har du rest till? 
    “Which other countries have you traveled to?”

You can then reply:

  • Jag har varit i ___ och ___. 
    “I have been to ___ and ___.”

3. Ending the Conversation

Woman Waving Goodbye to Friends on Campus

In Swedish, there’s mainly one way to say goodbye: Hej då. However, Swedes will often add to this when ending a conversation.

  • Hej då! Vi ses! (“Bye! See you!”)
  • Hej då! Vi hörs! (“Bye! Keep in touch!”)

To reply, you can simply say:

  • Vi ses! (“See you!”)
  • Vi hörs! (“Keep in touch!”)

When a Swede says to “keep in touch,” this should not be taken as a promise or indication that the person wants to actually keep in touch—but they might want to! Depending on the tone, you can determine if they really want to see you again or keep in touch.

If you’re not sure what they mean and you liked the person, don’t be afraid to reach out and invite him/her for a Swedish Fika. This simply means having a cup of coffee, something sweet, and another conversation.

4. Conclusion

By now, you should have a better understanding of what kinds of questions you should expect to hear when visiting Sweden (and how to answer them). Are there any question patterns we didn’t cover in this article that you want to know? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll do our best to help you out! 

Learning questions in Swedish is a major step forward in your language-learning journey, but there’s still so much more. SwedishPod101.com has tons of lessons for beginners, intermediate learners, and more advanced students—this means that there really is something for everyone! 

For more information on the Swedish language, check out the following pages:

Until next time, happy Swedish learning!

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Telling Time in Swedish – Everything You Need to Know

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What’s your relationship with the clock like? Does it run your day from a morning alarm to a cut-off chime for bed, or are you more of a go-with-the-flow type, letting your mood and emotions decide how much you fall in line with time?

Understanding time in Swedish is an important part of your studies. As humans, our lives are filled with habits and schedules. From waking up and going to work or gym, to missing rush hour traffic on our way home, we’re always aware of time. We have routines around coffee breaks, meetings, soccer games and vacations. In fact, time can seem rather capricious – going slowly, going fast, sometimes against us, other times on our side – like a force that has a life of its own.

In science, time is often referred to as a fourth dimension and many physicists and philosophers think that if we understood the physics of the universe, we would see that time is an illusion. We sense an ‘arrow’ or direction of time because we have memories, but really time is just a construct that humans have created to help make sense of the world. 

On the other hand, poets through the ages have written impassioned thoughts about time, depicting it as both a relentless thief and an immensely precious resource, not to be wasted at any cost.

Well, poets and scientists may have their views, but in our everyday lives there’s the question of practicality, isn’t there? I mean, if you have plans and want things to happen your way, there’s a certain amount of conforming to the human rules of time that you can’t avoid. 

In ‘The Little Prince’ by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the prince has a rose that he falls in love with, and he tenderly protects it with a windscreen and places it under a glass dome on his tiny planet.  I love this quote from the book:  “It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”  If we truly love something, we spend time with it and not a second of that time could ever be seen as wasted. I feel that way about horses, my children, travel and learning languages

With that in mind, I’d like to take you on a journey into ‘time’ from a Swedish perspective. It’s fun, it’s informative and it’s a basic necessity if you’re learning the language – especially if you plan to travel. SwedishPod101 has all the vocab you need to fall in love with telling time in Swedish, and not a minute will be wasted.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Time Phrases in Swedish Table of Contents
  1. Talking about Time in Swedish
  2. How to Tell the Time in Swedish
  3. Conclusion

1. Talking about Time in Swedish

As a traveler, your primary need for knowing how to read the hour in Swedish will be for transportation schedules: the bus, train, airplane, ferry, taxi… whatever you plan to use to get from A to B, it won’t wait for you! Fortunately, it’s really not complicated. You already have a firm grasp of time in English and you know you’ll need to reset your watch and phone to the local time. Great – that means you’ll have the correct time on your person. 

We’re so used to just looking at our phones for the time, that it’s easy to take this convenience for granted and forget some travel basics: in a foreign country, times won’t always be written digitally. If you see the time written in words, it’ll be the same challenge to you as hearing it spoken: you’ll need to be familiar with the language. 

You may be surprised at how often ‘time’ comes into conversation. Learning the Swedish terms for time will help you when you have to call a taxi, ask about opening and closing times of events and tourist attractions, restaurants and bars and even late-night food cafes.

My biggest annoyance when traveling is not being able to get coffee and amazingly, even at nice hotels this has happened more times than I care to think about. I’ll be up late planning something, writing my blog or chatting and when I go looking for coffee downstairs, I’m told the kitchen is closed or the ‘coffee lady’ has gone to sleep. Frustrating!

If you’re doing a homestay or at a youth hostel or backpackers, there will probably also be a limited timeframe for when you can grab dinner. Do you know how to ask when it’s time to eat in Swedish? I’ve learned that it’s vital to know how to make my queries clearly understood to accommodation staff and for me to clearly understand their answers. Perfect your ‘time in Swedish’ translations early on – you’ll thank me. 

At SwedishPod101, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of Swedish time words and phrases to get you going. 

Pedestrians in a city

1- Morning – morgon

Morning is the time when we wake up from our dreamworld, hopefully fully rested and restored; we brew the first delicious cup of coffee for the day and watch the sunrise as we prepare for another glorious twelve hours of life. No matter what happened the day before, a new morning is a chance to make everything right. 

I like these quiet hours for language practice, as my mind is clear and receptive to learning new things. I start by writing the Swedish time, date and word of the day on my whiteboard, then get back under the covers for an engrossing lesson.

Time in the morning is written as AM or A.M., which stands for ante meridiem – meaning ‘before midday’ in Latin.

Person typing with coffee next to them

2- Evening – kväll

Evening is the part of night when we’re still awake and doing things, winding down from the day. Whether you enjoy a tasty international dinner with friends, go out to see a show, or curl up on the couch with a Swedish snack and your favorite TV series, evening is a good time to forget your worries and do something that relaxes you. If you’re checking in with your Facebook friends, say hi to us, too!  

Evening is also an ideal time to catch up on your Swedish studies. The neighbourhood outside is likely to be quieter and time is yours, so grab a glass of wine or a delicious local tea, and see what’s new on your Mac App or Kindle

3- Daytime – dagtid

Daytime is defined as the period from early morning to early evening when the sun is visible outside. In other words: from sunrise to sunset.  Where you are in the world, as well as the season, will determine how many daylight hours you get. 

Interestingly, in locations north of the Arctic Circle and south of the Antarctic Circle, in summertime the sun does not sink below the horizon within a 24-hour period, bringing the natural phenomenon of the midnight sun.  You could only experience this in the north, though, because there aren’t any permanent human settlements south of the Antarctic Circle.

4- Nighttime – nattetid

Nighttime is all the hours from sunset to sunrise and depending on where in the country you are, people may be partying all night, or asleep from full-dark. 

In the same northernmost and southernmost regions where you can experience a midnight sun, winter brings the opposite phenomenon: the polar night. Can you imagine a night that lasts for more than 24 hours? 

Girl sleeping; moon and starry sky

5- Hour – timme

An hour is a unit of time made up of 60 minutes and is a variable measure of one-24th of a day – also defined by geeks as 3 600 atomic seconds. Of all the ‘time’ words we use on a daily basis, the hour is the most important, as time of day is typically expressed in terms of hours. 

One of the interesting methods of keeping time that people have come up with is the hourglass. Although the origins are unclear, there’s evidence pointing to the hourglass being invented around 1000 – 1100 AD and one of the ways we know this, is from hourglasses being depicted in very old murals. These days, with clocks and watches in every direction we look, they’re really only used symbolically to represent the passage of time. Still – a powerful reminder of our mortality and to seize the day. In his private journal, the Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius, wrote: “You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think.”

An hourglass with falling sand

6- Minute – minut

Use this word when you want to say a more precise time and express minutes in Swedish. A minute is a unit of time equal to one sixtieth of an hour, or 60 seconds. A lot can happen in the next 60 seconds. For example, your blood will circulate three times through your entire vascular system and your heart will pump about 2.273 litres of blood. 

7- O’clock – klockan

We use “o’clock” when there are no minutes and we’re saying the exact hour, as in “It’s two o’clock.”

The term “o’clock” is a contraction of the term “of the clock”. It comes from 15th-century references to medieval mechanical clocks. At the time, sundials were also common timekeepers. Therefore, to make clear one was referencing a clock’s time, they would say something like, “It is six of the clock” – now shortened to “six o’clock”.

We only use this term when talking about the 12 hour clock, though, not the 24 hour clock (more on that later!) The 12-hour clock can be traced back as far as Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt. Both an Egyptian sundial for daytime use and an Egyptian water clock for nighttime use were found in the tomb of Pharaoh Amenhotep I. Dating to c.1500 BC, these clocks divided their respective times of use into 12 hours each. The Romans also used a 12-hour clock. Daylight was divided into 12 equal hours and the night was divided into four watches. 

These days, the internet has made it very easy to know what the time is in any part of the world.  Speaking of which, why not add the Swedish time zone clock to your laptop?

Many different clocks

8- Half past – halv

When the time is thirty minutes past the hour, in English we say “half past”. Just like the hour, the half-hour is universally used as an orientation point; some languages speak of 30 minutes before the hour (subtraction), whereas others speak of 30 minutes after the hour (addition). 

9- AM – förmiddag

As mentioned earlier, AM is the abbreviation of the Latin ante meridiem and means before midday. Using ‘AM’ as a tag on your time simply tells people you’re speaking about a time in the morning. In some countries, morning is abbreviated to “AM” and you’ll see this on shop signs everywhere, announcing the opening hour. A typical shop sign might read something like this:

“Business hours are from 7AM to 6PM.” 

Woman in a shop, adjusting the shop sign

10- PM – eftermiddag

PM is the abbreviation of the Latin post meridiem and means after midday. Along with ‘AM’, you’ll usually find ‘PM’ on store signs and businesses, indicating the closing hours. It’s advisable to learn the difference between the two, since some establishments might only have one or the other on the sign. For example, a night club sign might say: 

“Open from 10 PM until late.” 

11- What time is it now? – Vad är klockan nu?

Here’s a very handy question you should memorize, as you can use it in any situation where you don’t have your watch or phone on you. This could be on the beach, in a club, or if you’re stuck anywhere with a flat phone battery. It happens at home, so it can happen when you’re traveling! 

Woman on the phone, looking at her watch

12- One o’clock – klockan ett

One o’clock, or 1 PM, is the average lunch time for many people around the world – at least, we try to get a meal in at some point between midday and 2 PM.  In terms of duration, the nations vary: Brazililans reportedly take the longest lunch breaks, averaging 48 minutes, whereas Greece reports an average break of only 19 minutes. Historically, Greeks were known for their very leisurely lunch breaks, so it just goes to show how fast the world is changing. If you’re curious about what to expect in Sweden, try asking our online community about lunch time in Swedish.

13- Two o’clock – klockan två

In his last days, Napoleon Bonaparte famously spoke of “Two o’clock in the morning courage” – meaning unprepared, spontaneous  courage. He was talking about soldiers who are brave enough to tumble out of bed in an instant, straight into action, without time to think or strategize. Do you think you have what it takes? I’m pretty sure all mothers know this feeling!

14- Three o’clock – klockan tre

3 AM can be perceived as the coldest time of day and is not an hour we want to wake up, but meteorologists will tell you that the coldest time is actually half an hour after sunrise. Even though the sun is peeking over the horizon, the solar radiation is still weaker than the earth’s infrared cooling to space.

Clock pointing to 3 o'clock

15- Four o’clock – klockan fyra

Do you know anyone who purposely gets up at 4 o’clock in the morning? As crazy as it sounds, there is something to be said for rising at 4 AM while the rest of the world sleeps. If you live on a farm, it might even be normal for you. I know that whenever I’m staying in the countryside, rising early is a lot easier, because there’s a satisfying reason to do so: watching a sunrise from a rooftop, with uninterrupted views, can’t be beat! It’s also likely that you’ll be woken by a cock crowing, or other animals waking to graze in the fresh pre-dawn air. 

In the world of business, you’ll find a small group of ambitious individuals – many entrepreneurs – who swear by the 4 o’clock in the morning rise. I’m not sure I like that idea, but I’d wake up at 4 AM if it was summer and I had my car packed for a vacation!

16- Five o’clock – klockan fem

What better way to signal the transition between work and play than the clock hands striking 5 o’clock? It’s the hour most working people look forward to each day – at least, those who get to stop working at 5 PM.  Meanwhile, millions of retired folks are taking out the wine glasses, as 5 PM is widely accepted as an appropriate time to pour the first glass. I don’t know how traditional your families are, but for as long as I’ve been alive, my grandparents have counted down the milliseconds to five o’clock, and the hour is announced with glee.

A sunset

17- Six o’clock – klockan sex

This is the time many working people and school kids wake up in the morning. In many parts of the world, 6 o’clock is also a good time to watch the sunrise, go for a run or hit the hiking trails. 

18- Seven o’clock – klockan sju

Health gurus will tell you that 7 o’clock in the morning is the best time to eat your first meal of the day, and 7 o’clock in the evening is the time you should eat your last meal. I’ve tried that and I agree, but it’s not always easy!

19- Eight o’clock – klockan åtta

8 o’clock in the morning is the time that most businesses open around the world, and the time most kids are in their first lesson at school – still full of energy and willing to participate. Interestingly, it’s also the time most babies are born in the world!  In the evening, 8 o’clock is many young children’s bedtime and the time for parents to watch the evening news. 

Smiling boy in school with his hand up

20- Nine o’clock – klockan nio

It’s good to occasionally sleep late on a weekend and for me, this means waking up at 9 AM. If you’re traveling in Sweden and staying at a hotel, planning to sleep late means politely requesting to not be woken up by room service.

21- Ten o’clock – klockan tio

10 o’clock in the morning is a popular time to conduct business meetings, and for first break time at schools. We’re usually wide awake and well into our day by then.  But what about the same hour at night? Modern people are often still awake and watching TV at 10 PM, but this isn’t exactly good for us. Experts say that the deepest and most regenerative sleep occurs between 10 PM and 2 AM, so we should already be sound asleep by ten o’clock. 

In advertising, have you ever noticed that the hands of the clock usually point to 10:10? Have a look next time you see a watch on a billboard or magazine. The reason? Aesthetics. Somehow, the human brain finds the symmetry pleasing. When the clock hands are at ten and two, they create a ‘smiley’ face and don’t cover any key details, like a logo, on the clock face. 

22- Eleven o’clock – klockan elva

When I see this time written in words, it makes me think of the hilarious Academy Award-winning very short film, “The Eleven O’Clock”, in which the delusional patient of a psychiatrist believes that he is actually the doctor. 

Then there’s the tradition of ‘elevenses’ – tea time at eleven o’clock in the morning. Strongly ingrained in British culture, elevenses is typically a serving of hot tea or coffee with scones or pastries on the side. It’s a great way to stave off hunger pangs before lunch time arrives. In fact, if you were a hobbit, ‘Elevenses’ would be your third meal of the day!

23- Twelve o’clock – klockan tolv

Twelve o’clock in the daytime is considered midday, when the sun is at its zenith and the temperature reaches its highest for that day; it’s written as 12 noon or 12 PM. In most parts of the world, though, this doesn’t happen at precisely 12 PM. ‘Solar noon’ is the time when the sun is actually at its highest point in the sky. The local or clock time of solar noon depends on the longitude and date. If it’s summertime, it’s advisable to stay in the shade during this hour – or at least wear good quality sunblock.

Midnight is the other ‘twelve o’clock’, of course. Midnight is written as 12 AM and is technically the first minute of the morning. On the 24-hour clock, midnight is written as 00:00. 

Sun at noon in a blue cloudy sky

2. How to Tell the Time in Swedish

Telling the time

Using a clock to read the time in Sweden is going to be the same as in your own country, since you’re dealing with numbers and not words. You’ll know the time in your head and be able to say it in English, but will you be able to say it out loud in Swedish? 

The first step to saying the time in Swedish is knowing your numbers. How are you doing with that? If you can count to twelve in Swedish, you’re halfway there! We’ve already covered the phrases you’ll need to say the exact hour, as in “five o’clock”, as well as how to say “half past”. What remains is the more specific phrases to describe what the minute hand is doing.

In everyday speech, it’s common to say the minutes past or before the hour. Often we round the minutes off to the nearest five. 

Then, there’s the 24-hour clock. Also known as ‘military time’, the 24-hour clock is used in most countries and, as such, is useful to understand. You’ll find that even in places where the 12-hour clock is standard, certain people will speak in military time or use a combination of the two.  No doubt you’ve also noticed that in written time, the 24-hour clock is commonly used.  One of the most prominent places you’ll have seen this is on airport flight schedules.

Airport flight schedule

Knowing how to tell military time in Swedish is really not complicated if you know your numbers up to twenty-four. One advantage of using the 24-hour clock in Swedish, is there’s no chance of confusing AM and PM.

Once you know how to say the time, it will be pretty easy to also write the time in Swedish. You’re already learning what the different hours and minutes look and sound like, so give yourself some writing practice of the same. 

3. Conclusion

Now that you understand the vocabulary for telling time in Swedish, the best thing you can do to really lock it down is to just practice saying Swedish time daily. Start by replacing English with Swedish whenever you need to say the time; in fact, do this whenever you look at your watch. Say the time to yourself in Swedish and it will become a habit. When learning a new language, the phrases you use habitually are the ones your brain will acquire. It feels amazing when that turning point comes!

To help yourself gain confidence, why don’t you make use of our various apps, downloadable for iPhone and iPad, as well as Android? Choose what works best for you. In addition, we have so many free resources available to supplement your learning, that you simply can’t go wrong. Some of these are:

If you prefer watching your lessons on video, check out our YouTube channel – there are hundreds of videos to browse. For those of you with Roku, we also have a TV channel you can watch.

Well, it’s time for me to say goodbye and for you to practice saying the time in Swedish. Look at the nearest clock and try to say the exact time, down to the seconds. See you again soon at SwedishPod101!

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Essential Vocabulary for Directions in Swedish

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Do you know your left from your right in Swedish? Asking for directions can mean the difference between a heavenly day on the beach and a horrible day on your feet, hot and bothered and wondering how to even get back to the hotel. Believe me – I know! On my earlier travels, I didn’t even know simple terms like ‘go straight ahead’ or ‘go west,’ and I was always too shy to ask locals for directions. It wasn’t my ego, but rather the language barrier that held me back. I’ve ended up in some pretty dodgy situations for my lack of directional word skills.

This never needs to happen! When traveling in Sweden, you should step out in confidence, ready to work your Swedish magic and have a full day of exploring. It’s about knowing a few basic phrases and then tailoring them with the right directional words for each situation. Do you need to be pointed south in Swedish? Just ask! Believe me, people are more willing to help than you might think. It’s when you ask in English that locals might feel too uncertain to answer you. After all, they don’t want to get you lost. For this reason, it also makes sense that you learn how to understand people’s responses. 

Asking directions in Sweden is inevitable. So, learn to love it! Our job here at SwedishPod101 is to give you the confidence you need to fully immerse and be the intrepid adventurer you are.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Around Town in Swedish Table of Contents
  1. Talking about position and direction in Swedish
  2. Getting directions in Swedish
  3. Conclusion

1. Talking about position and direction in Swedish

Have you ever tried saying the compass directions of north, south, east and west in Swedish? These words are good to know, being the most natural and ancient method of finding direction. In the days before GPS – before the invention of the compass, even – knowing the cardinal directions was critical to finding the way. Certainly, if you were lost somewhere in the mountain regions now and using a map to navigate, you’d find them useful. Even more so if you and a Swedish friend were adrift at sea, following the stars!

In most situations, though, we rely on body relative directions – your basic up, down, left and right, forward and backwards. Most cultures use relative directions for reference and Swedish is no exception. Interestingly, in a few old languages there are no words for left and right and people still rely on cardinal directions every day. Can you imagine having such a compass brain?

A black compass on a colored map

Well, scientists say that all mammals have an innate sense of direction, so getting good at finding your way is just a matter of practice. It’s pretty cool to think that we were born already pre-wired to grasp directions; the descriptive words we invented are mere labels to communicate these directions to others! Thus, the need to learn some Swedish positional vocabulary. So, without further ado… let’s dive in.

1- Top – topp

If planting a flag at the top of the highest mountain in Sweden is a goal you’d rather leave for  adrenaline junkies, how about making it to the top of the highest building? Your view of the city will be one you’ll never forget, and you can take a selfie  for Twitter with your head in the clouds. 

man on the top rung of a ladder in the sky, about to topple off

2- Bottom – nedersta

The ‘bottom’ can refer to the lower end of a road, the foot of a mountain, or the ground floor of a building. It’s the place you head for after you’ve been to the top!

What are your favorite ‘bottoms’? I love the first rung of a ladder, the base of a huge tree or the bottom of a jungle-covered hill. What can I say? I’m a climber. Divers like the bottom of the ocean and foxes like the bottom of a hole. Since you’re learning Swedish, hopefully you’ll travel from the top to the bottom of Sweden.

3- Up – upp

This is a very common and useful word to know when seeking directions. You can go up the street, up an elevator, up a cableway, up a mountain… even up into the sky in a hot air balloon. It all depends on how far up you like to be!

Hot air balloons in a blue cloudy sky

4- Down – ner

What goes up, must surely come down. This is true of airplanes, flaming arrows and grasshoppers – either aeronautics or gravity will take care of that. In the case of traveling humans who don’t wish to go down at terminal velocity, it’s useful to know phrases such as, “Excuse me, where is the path leading back down this mountain?”

5- Middle – mitt

In Lord of the Rings, Tolkien’s characters live in Middle-earth, which is just an ancient word for the inhabited world of men; it referred to the physical world, as opposed to the unseen worlds above and below it. The ancients also thought of the human world as vaguely in the middle of the encircling seas.

When we talk about the ‘middle’, we’re referring to a point that’s roughly between two horizontal lines – like the middle of the road or the middle of a river. While you’re unlikely to ask for directions to the ‘middle’ of anything, you might hear it as a response. For example, “You’re looking for the castle ruins? But they’re in the middle of the forest!”

Castle ruins in a forest

6- Center – mitt

In Swedish, “middle” and “center” use the same word. Technically, “center” means the exact central point of a circular area, equally distant from every point on the circumference. When asking for directions to the center of town, though, we don’t mean to find a mathematically-accurate pinpoint!

Bull’s eye on a dartboard

7- Front – framsida

The front is the place or position that is seen first; it’s the most forward part of something.  In the case of a hotel, the front is going to be easy to recognize, so if you call a taxi and are told to wait “in front of the hotel”, you won’t have a problem. It’s pretty cool how just knowing the main Swedish directional words can help you locate something if there’s a good landmark nearby.

8- Back – baksida

I once rented a house in a charming little street that was tucked away at the back of a popular mall. It was so easy to find, but my boss took three hours to locate it from 300 meters away. Why? Well, because she spoke no English and I had no clue what the word for ‘back’ was. All she heard, no matter which way I said it, was “mall, mall, mall”.  As a result, she hunted in front of and next to the mall until she was frazzled. 

Knowing how to describe the location of your own residence is probably the first Swedish ‘directions’ you should practice. This skill will certainly come in handy if you’re lost and looking for your way home. 

9- Side – sida

If the place you’re looking for is at the ‘side’ of something, it will be located to the left or the right of that landmark. That could mean you’re looking for an alleyway beside a building, or a second entrance (as opposed to the main entrance). 

As an example, you might be told that your tour bus will be waiting at the right side of the building, not in front. Of course, then you’ll also need to understand “It’s on the right” in Swedish.

Jeepney taxi parked at the side of a building

10- East – öst

If you’re facing north, then east is the direction of your right hand. It’s the direction toward which the Earth rotates about its axis, and therefore the general direction from which the sun appears to rise. If you want to go east using a compass for navigation, you should set a bearing of 90°. 

We think of Asia as the ‘East’. Geographically, this part of the world lies in the eastern hemisphere, but there’s so much more that we’ve come to associate with this word. The East signifies ancient knowledge and is symbolic of enlightenment in many cultures.

Monks reading on a boulder in front of a Buddha statue

11- West – väst

West is the opposite to east and it’s the direction in which the sun sets. To go west using a compass, you’ll set a bearing of 270 degrees. 

If you were on the planet Venus, which rotates in the opposite direction from the Earth (retrograde rotation), the Sun would rise in the west and set in the east… not that you’d be able to see the sun through Venus’s opaque clouds. 

Culturally, the West refers mainly to the Americas and Europe, but also to Australia and New Zealand, which are geographically in the East. The Western way of thinking is very different to that of the East. One of the most striking differences is individualism versus collectivism. In the West, we grew up with philosophies of freedom and independence, whereas in the East concepts of unity are more important. 

Food for thought: as a traveler who’s invested in learning the languages and cultures of places you visit, you have an opportunity to become a wonderfully balanced thinker – something the world needs more of.

12- North – norr

North is the top point of a map and when navigating, you’d set a compass bearing of 360 degrees if you want to go that way. Globes of the earth have the north pole at the top, and we use north as the direction by which we define all other directions.

If you look into the night sky, the North Star (Polaris) marks the way due north. It’s an amazing star, in that it holds nearly still in our sky while the entire northern sky moves around it. That’s because it’s located nearly at the north celestial pole – the point around which the entire northern sky turns. Definitely a boon for lost travelers!

The North Star with the Big Dipper in a night sky

13- South – söder

South is the opposite of north, and it’s perpendicular to the east and west. You can find it with a compass if you set your bearings to 180 degrees. 

The south celestial pole is the point around which the entire southern sky appears to turn. In the night sky of the southern hemisphere, the Southern Cross is a very easy to find constellation with four points in the shape of a diamond. If you come from the southern hemisphere, chances are your dad or mum pointed it out to you when you were a kid. You can use the Southern Cross to find south if traveling by night, so it’s well worth figuring it out!

14- Outside – utanför

This word refers to any place that is not under a roof. Perhaps you’ve heard talk about some amazing local bands that will be playing in a nearby town on the weekend. If it’s all happening outside, you’ll be looking for a venue in a park, a stadium or some other big open space. Come rain or shine, outside definitely works for me!

A young woman on someone’s shoulders at an outdoor concert

15- Inside – inne

I can tolerate being inside if all the windows are open, or if I’m watching the latest Homeland episode. How about you? I suppose going shopping for Swedish-style accessories would be pretty fun, too, and that will (mostly) be an inside affair. 

16- Opposite – motsatt

This is a great word to use as a reference point for locating a place. It’s right opposite that other place! In other words, if you stand with your back to the given landmark, your destination will be right in front of you. 

17- Adjacent – närliggande

So, the adorable old man from next door, who looks about ninety-nine, explains in Swedish that the food market where he works is adjacent to the community hall on the main road. ‘Adjacent’ just means next to or adjoining something else, so… head for the hall! 

While you’re marveling at the wondrous and colorful displays of Swedish food, think about how all of these delicious stalls lie adjacent to one another. Having a happy visual association with a new word is a proven way to remember it!

Outdoor food market fruit display

18- Toward – mot

To go toward something is to go in its direction and get closer to it. This word can often appear in a sentence with ‘straight ahead’, as in:

“Go straight ahead, toward the park.”

If you’ve come to Sweden to teach English, you might have to ask someone how to find your new school. Depending on what town you’re in, you could simply head toward the residential area at lunch time. You’ll see (and probably hear) the primary school soon enough – it will be the big fenced building with all the kids running around the yard!

19- Facing – vänd mot

If you look at yourself in a mirror, you’ll be facing your reflection. In other words: you and your reflection look directly at each other.  Many plush hotels are ocean-facing or river-facing, meaning the main entrance is pointed directly at the water, and the beach out front faces the hotel. 

20- Beside – brevid

I know of a special little place where there’s a gym right beside a river. You can watch the sun go down over the water while working out – it’s amazing. What’s more, you can park your scooter beside the building and it will still be there when you come out.

21- Corner – hörn

I love a corner when it comes to directions. A street corner is where two roads meet at an angle – often 90 degrees – making it easier to find than a location on a straight plane. 

“Which building is the piano teacher in, sir?”

“Oh, that’s easy – it’s the one on the corner.”

The key to a corner is that it leads in two directions. It could form a crossroads, a huge intersection, or it could be the start of a tiny one-way cobblestone street with hidden treasures waiting in the shadow of the buildings.

A white and yellow building on the corner of two streets

22- Distant – avlägsen

When a location is distant, it’s in an outlying area. This Swedish word refers to the remoteness of the site, not to how long it takes to get there. For that reason, it’s a very good idea to write the directions down, rather than try to memorize them in Swedish. Even better, get a Swedish person to write them down for you. This may seem obvious, but always include the location of your starting point! Any directions you’re given will be relative to the exact place you’re starting from.

Man lost on a dusty road, looking at a road map and scratching his head

23- Far – långt

This word has a similar meaning to the previous one, but it speaks more about the fact that it will take some time to get there. If you’re told that your destination is “far”,  you’ll no doubt want to go by public transport if you don’t have your own vehicle. Get your hands on a road map and have the directions explained to you using this map. Don’t hesitate to bring out the highlighters. 

24- Close – nära

This word is always a good one to hear when you have your heart set on a very relaxing day in the sun. It means there’s only a short distance to travel, so you can get there in a heartbeat and let the tanning commence. Remember to grab your Nook Book – learning is enhanced when you’re feeling happy and unencumbered. Being close to ‘home’ also means you can safely steal maximum lazy hours and leave the short return trip for sunset! 

A smiling woman lying in a hammock on the beach

25- By – vid

This word identifies the position of a physical object beside another object or a place. A Bed and Breakfast can be ‘by the sea’ if it’s in close proximity to the sea. 

‘By’ can also be used to describe the best mode of transport for your route, as in:

“You can get there by bus.”

26- Surrounding – kringliggande

If something is surrounding you, it is on every side and you are enclosed by it – kind of like being in a boat. Of course, we’re not talking about deep water here, unless you’re planning on going fishing. Directions that include this word are more likely to refer to the surrounding countryside, or any other features that are all around the place you’re looking for.

A polar bear stuck on a block of ice, completely surrounded by water.

27- All sides – alla sidor

Another useful descriptive Swedish term to know is ‘all sides’. It simply means that from a particular point, you will be able to see the same features to the front, back and sides of you. It doesn’t necessarily imply you’ll be completely surrounded, just more-or-less so. Say, for example, you’re visiting the winelands for the day. When you get there, you’ll see vineyards on all sides of you. How stunning! Don’t neglect to sample the local wines – obviously. 

28- Next to – bredvid

The person giving you directions is probably standing next to you. The place being described as ‘next to’ something is in a position immediately to one side of it. It could refer to adjoining buildings, neighbouring stores, or the one-legged beggar who sits next to the beautiful flower vendor on weekdays. ‘Next to’ is a great positional term, as everything is next to something! 

“Excuse me, Ma’am.  Where is the train station?”

“It’s that way – next to the tourist market.”

29- Above – ovanför

This is the direction you’ll be looking at if you turn your head upwards. Relative to where your body is, it’s a point higher than your head. If you’re looking for the location of a place that’s ‘above’ something, it’s likely to be on at least the first floor of a building; in other words, above another floor.

‘Above’ could also refer to something that will be visible overhead when you get to the right place. For example, the road you’re looking for might have holiday decorations strung up from pole to pole above it. In the cities, this is very likely if there’s any kind of festival going on.

View from below of a carnival swing, with riders directly above the viewer

30- Under – under

Under is the opposite of above, and refers to a place that lies beneath something else. In the case of directions in Swedish, it could refer to going under a bridge – always a great landmark – or perhaps through a subway. In some parts of the world, you can even travel through a tunnel that’s under the sea!

Of course, you might just be missing your home brew and looking for an awesome coffee shop that happens to be under the very cool local gym you were also looking for. Nice find!

2. Getting directions in Swedish

The quickest and easiest way to find out how to get where you’re going is simply to ask someone. Most people on the streets of Sweden won’t mind being asked at all and will actually appreciate your attempt to ask directions in Swedish. After all, most tourists are more inclined to ask in their own language and hope for the best. How pedestrian is that, though?

Asking directions

I know, I know – you normally prefer to find your own way without asking. Well, think of it like this: you obviously need to practice asking questions in Swedish as much as you need to practice small talk, counting, or ordering a beer. Since you can’t very well ask a complete stranger if they would please help you count to five hundred, you’ll have to stick with asking directions!

We spoke earlier about body relative directions and these tend to be the ones we use most. For example:

“Turn left.”

“Go straight.”

“Turn right.” 

Remember, too, that your approach is important. Many people are wary of strangers and you don’t want to scare them off. It’s best to be friendly, direct and get to the point quickly.  A simple ‘Hi, can you help me?” or “Excuse me, I’m a bit lost,” will suffice. If you have a map in your hand, even better, as your intentions will be clear. 

The bottom line is that if you want to find your way around Sweden with ease, it’s a good idea to master these basic phrases. With a little practice, you can also learn how to say directions in Swedish. Before you know it, you’ll be the one explaining the way!

3. Conclusion

Now that you have over thirty new directional phrases you can learn in Swedish, there’s no need to fear losing your way when you hit the streets of Sweden. All you need is a polite approach and your own amazing smile, and the locals will be excited to help you. It’s a chance for them to get better at explaining things to a foreigner, too. Most will enjoy that!

I advise keeping a few things handy in your day pack: a street map, a highlighter, a small notebook and pen, and your Swedish phrasebook. It would be useful to also have the Swedish WordPower app installed on your phone – available for both iPhone and Android

Here’s a quick challenge to get you using the new terms right away. Can you translate these directions into Swedish?

“It’s close. Go straight ahead to the top of the hill and turn left at the corner. The building is on the right, opposite a small bus stop.”

You’re doing amazingly well to have come this far! Well done on tackling the essential topic of ‘directions’ – it’s a brave challenge that will be immensely rewarding. Trust me, when you’re standing at a beautiful location that you found just by knowing what to ask in Swedish, you’re going to feel pretty darn good.

If you’re as excited as I am about taking Swedish to an even deeper level, we have so much more to offer you. Did you know that we’ve already had over 1 billion lesson downloads? I know – we’re blown away by that, too. It’s amazing to be bringing the world’s languages to people who are so hungry for learning. Let me share some of our best options for you:

  • If you haven’t done so already, grab your free lifetime account as a start. You’ll get audio and video lessons, plus vocabulary building tools. 
  • My favorite freebie is the word of the day, which will arrive in your inbox every morning. Those are the words I remember best!
  • Start listening to Swedish music. I’m serious – it really works to make the resistant parts of the brain relax and accept the new language. Read about it here for some tips.
  • If you enjoy reading, we have some great iBooks for your daily commute.
  • If you have a Kindle and prefer to do your reading on a picnic blanket,  there are over 6 hours of unique lessons in Swedish for you right there.

That’s it for today! Join SwedishPod101 to discover many more ways that we can offer you a truly fun and enriching language learning experience. Happy travels!

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Learn the Best Compliments in Swedish for Any Occasion

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What would you say to lift the spirits of a special person you know? No doubt, you have dozens of kind words that come to mind in English, but do you know many compliments in Swedish?

A compliment can be described as a polite expression of praise, admiration, encouragement or congratulations. It’s sometimes used in absolute sincerity and sometimes to flatter, but either way, human beings love to receive compliments!

Table of Contents

  1. The Importance of Compliments
  2. Compliments you always want to hear
  3. Conclusion

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1. The Importance of Compliments

Giving and receiving compliments is so important in society, that you can be considered rude if you’re a person who never acknowledges anyone. We all need to hear words of affirmation to feel good about ourselves or our achievements, whether big or small. Life is full of daily challenges that can feel overwhelming sometimes – both in terms of the things we have to accomplish and the way we look at the world.

Call it vanity, but it’s a basic human need to hear kindness and appreciation from other people. In the same way, we need to be giving out some of that kindness and helping others to feel good about themselves. Remember the saying “It’s better to give than to receive”? Well, that applies to compliments in a big way. The cool thing is that when you’re generous with your words, you more than likely will invite the same back from people.

So, where did this wonderful idea originate? The word ‘compliment’ has its origins in the mid-17th century; back then it meant ‘fulfilment of the requirements of courtesy’. There was a time when it was normal to compliment others upon meeting for the first time. In some cultures, that’s still the norm. If only we could have more of that today!

If you think about how much it means to receive a genuine compliment from someone whose opinion matters to you, it’s easy to reverse that and realize they probably feel the same way. There is no way around this: it’s vital to pay compliments to each and every person who is a part of your life, and to do so regularly and with sincerity.

2. Compliments you always want to hear

Smiling cat toys

The nuances in the type of personal compliments you’ve been hearing all your life are so deeply present with you by now, that you have a very specific emotional response to each of them. It will be a little different for each of us, since we’ve had different input from the people around us since childhood – especially from family and close friends – but we’re individually used to certain words and as a result, we can detect when they’re spoken with sincerity. How we perceive and receive compliments from specific people has a lot to do with how much we value them, too.

Put yourself in a foreign country and suddenly you’re having to think about the words you’re hearing, doing mental and emotional arithmetic to determine the speaker’s intent. It’s tricky business! When you’ve only been learning Swedish for a little while, you’ll get the gist, but some of the speaker’s truth might be lost on you.

Can you see where I’m going with this? When it comes to compliments in Swedish, do yourself a great favor and use them often. Learn the real meaning and impact of what you’re saying, and you’ll be able to start feeling those squishy emotional responses in no time. You’ll also be able to pay genuine compliments in Swedish that will win people over and earn you a valued place in their hearts.

A compliment in Swedish culture is as important as one in any other culture – perhaps even more so. Part of fitting into your new community means having a likeable and approachable nature, so bring on the compliments and start winning people over!

SwedishPod101 has fifteen great compliments to teach you for various situations. Enjoy!

Five hands giving a thumbs up against a cloudy blue sky

1- You’re handsome. – Du är snygg.

Do you know how to compliment a guy in Swedish? This is one of the best Swedish compliments you can pay a man if you want to make him feel attractive. What man doesn’t like to hear that he’s handsome? The younger generation may see it as quite an old-fashioned word, yet men of all ages respond well to “You’re handsome”.

There are many other ways to tell a guy that he’s good-looking, of course, but these particular words carry a timelessness that is only ever good. It doesn’t have any subtle meanings or flirtatious implications, so it’s pretty safe to say to a man who you have no romantic intentions with. Of course, it certainly can also be said romantically! As with most things, it’s all in the way you do it.

Girl kissing her laughing beau on the cheek

2- Great job! – Bra jobbat!

When you’ve worked really hard at something, you want your efforts to be appreciated. There isn’t one of us who doesn’t feel that way. You might know you’ve done a great job, but you need to know that other people have noticed and are appreciative of your effort. Otherwise, why bother giving it your all? Part of our basic makeup as humans is the need to be pleasing to others.

How much more so in a work environment, where your performance could determine the trajectory of your career? We seek validation from our bosses mainly because this is vital information that tells us whether we’re heading for success or failure.

Smiling woman giving a thumbs-up

3- Your resume is impressive. – Ditt CV är imponerande.

It’s pretty much a given that attending a job interview is going to be nerve-wracking and the first thing you want to be sure of is that your resume looks good to the interviewer. Hearing the above words will give you hope and help you to relax before the questions start. In other words, these are important Swedish praise words to know if you’re job-hunting. Next time you’re being interviewed by a Swedish boss, listen for these words, as they’re a positive sign.

In my experience working abroad, I found that the most important requirement interviewers had was just that they like me. By the time you get to the interview, you’ve already been screened, so what’s next in the deciding factor? It’s simple: chemistry. The energy between two people is a huge factor in how well you’ll work together, and that magic happens in the first ten minutes. First impressions go a long way!

Man and woman in an interview

4- Your inside is even more beautiful than your outside. – Din insida är ännu vackrare än din utsida.

Isn’t this just a wonderful compliment to hear? It sure is, and that makes it equally wonderful to give. If you meet someone who has a heart of gold, use these words!

Most women love to be complimented on their external beauty, but being seen as attractive can feel like a burden if it’s the only thing people notice. When paying compliments in Swedish to a woman, try to think of her personality and what her perception of your words will be. Women want different things from different people, and someone who cares about you will care a lot about how you see her on the inside. Looks are fleeting; the people we trust to stick around forever are those who’ve seen beneath the surface and still want in.

It seems to be true that the more self-aware and ‘conscious’ a person is, the more they’re going to appreciate being valued for their place and importance in this world, above their looks. Men or women – we’re the same in this way. It doesn’t mean you should stop telling people that they’re physically beautiful, just that you should balance it with thoughtful observations about the person’s character. Psychologically, we crave this balance and without it, insecurity gets a foot in the door.

Men are no different. Compliments directed to a man’s inner core are highly prized by guys. For his self-esteem, he needs to know he is valued for who he is deep down.

Pair of people enjoying themselves at a party

5- You make me want to be a better person. – Du får mig att vilja bli en bättre människa.

Do you know someone who inspires you so much, that their mere existence makes you want to move those metaphorical mountains and become the absolute best version of yourself?

This phrase is a lovely thing to say to someone who you care about on a personal level. It’s the kind of compliment reserved for the few special individuals who mean so much to us, that our greatest desire is to have them see us ‘becoming’ – not for anyone’s profit, but just for the sake of love and personal growth.

You might feel this way about a romantic partner, a very close friend or a family member. If you feel this way, don’t hold it in! That person needs to hear it. You will make them feel good and help them to know that the love they put into nurturing your heart is noticed. Chances are, they feel the same way about you.

When you look for the good in others, you start to see the good in yourself. It takes a bit of thought to come up with a string of kind words that convey maximum positive truth about the other person; in those moments, you’re being unselfish and considering their needs before your own. I genuinely believe that paying someone a heartfelt compliment is an act of self-love. After all, giving is more important than receiving. When you give out compliments that are true, you do the world a service and create beauty in your circle. What’s more, you invite reciprocated words of affirmation – whether from the same person, or someone else. When you give, it will inevitably come back to you.

Pair of women hugging and laughing

6- That jacket looks nice on you. – Den jackan ser bra ut på dig.

Men secretly love to be complimented on their clothes. Yup – it makes a man feel good to hear these words, especially since a favorite jacket is something he’ll wear often in cooler weather or to work. If the fabric brings out his eyes, tell him!

Learning some practical and more specific Swedish compliments like this one is a great idea, because it shows that you’ve actually thought about what you’re saying. Noticing details about a person’s outfit and commenting on them comes across well to the hearer and sounds more sincere than “You look good.” Think about the last time someone noticed your outfit, and you’ll know just what I mean. It makes you feel more confident as you go about your day.

Man showing off a jacket in front of a camera

7- I know that it was a tough project, but your performance exceeded my expectations. – Jag vet att det var ett tufft projekt, men din prestation överträffade mina förväntningar.

In the work environment, it’s vital to know some Swedish praise words that encourage, uplift and express real appreciation. In this sense, compliments can be a form of leadership; a good leader helps his or her team to grow by building them up and pushing them on.

If you hear these Swedish words, you can rest assured that your boss is very pleased with your work. If you’re a teacher at a Swedish high school, this is also a great phrase to encourage learners with when they’ve worked hard on a project.

8- You’re smart! – Du är smart!

Smart, clever, brainy – these are all synonyms for intelligence and one of the best compliments you can give. Everybody likes being thought of as smart, so here’s a compliment that can be used in both casual and formal settings. We say this to boost the self-esteem of kids, to praise our friends when they have good ideas and to express awe of a colleague in the workplace.

Being ‘smart’ can mean you make good choices in general, that you have a particular area you excel in, or even that you have an above-average IQ.

Everybody likes the idea of having a high IQ, but it’s not as simple to determine what that even means as we once thought. When I was studying to work in Asia, there was a lot of buzz about Multiple Intelligences Theory as a more accurate determination of intelligence than traditional IQ testing. The theory was developed by Doctor Howard Gardner and the critical reception was complex, to say the least.

Gardner argues that there is a wide range of cognitive abilities, but that there are only very weak correlations among them. For example, a child who learns to multiply easily is not necessarily more intelligent than a child who has difficulty with this task; the child who seems better at art might actually understand multiplication at a fundamentally deeper level. Humans have different learning styles; if one appears to have difficulty grasping a certain concept, the first step is to change the teaching approach.

We’re all smart in our own way, so remind your reflection of that each morning!

Young man holding a solved rubik's cube

9- You are an awesome friend. – Du är en fantastisk vän.

On a more personal note – how good does it make you feel to hear that your friend appreciates you? I’d say it’s right up there with the best kinds of ‘thank you’. Knowing this, it makes sense to learn this phrase in Swedish and use it next time your Swedish friend has done something selfless and amazing for you. Let them know with this compliment in Swedish and make their day.

The lovely thing about using these words is that they encourage even more acts of kindness and support from friends. When you put effort and energy into a friendship and aren’t afraid to share sentiments of love, such as this phrase, chances are the friendship will go the distance. If your sojourn in Sweden is more than a few weeks, you’re going to need a good friend or two, so hold on to this friendly phrase!

Two dogs running together, holding one stick

10- You have a great sense of humor. – Du har ett gott sinne för humor.

Did you know that chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos, and orangutans engage in social laughter? It’s true! Laughter is an important form of social play that connects us and helps to relieve tension. It’s nice being around someone who makes us laugh or who finds us amusing.

I have a weird sense of humor that many people don’t get, but those who do seem to end up cry-laughing a lot in my presence and somehow that makes them my favorite humans. I’ve learned who I can and can’t be funny with. Have you had a similar experience?

Being able to tell someone that you like their sense of humor is important in your social circle. In fact, take these words along with you on a date. If he or she cracks you up, they will definitely appreciate hearing you say so in Swedish.

11- Your smile is beautiful. – Ditt leende är vackert.

When paying aesthetic compliments in Swedish, especially to a woman you don’t know very well, try to avoid talking about her body and say something like “Your smile is beautiful”, instead. It’s a guaranteed winner! It can be tricky complimenting women in this modern world, where ladies don’t always feel safe, but that’s no reason to stop expressing admiration altogether. Choose your words wisely and you’ll be well on your way to making their day!

Let’s not exclude men from this compliment, though – it’s an excellent choice for a guy you like and feel safe with. In fact, the beauty of this compliment is that you can say it to pretty much anyone, of any age, and it will likely be well-received. Next time you want to make a homeless person smile – this is the better word choice!

Compliments

12- I love your cooking. – Jag älskar din matlagning.

If there’s one form of praise we can’t leave out, it’s how to give kudos for someone’s culinary skills. Swedish compliments for food are a must if you want to be invited back for another home-cooked dinner at the home of the local masterchef. As much as the street food is to die for, nothing beats the experience of an authentic home-cooked meal in Sweden. Be sure to read up on basic dining etiquette before you go, and don’t forget to download the Swedish WordPower app to your phone so you can confidently ask the cook for tips.

Man in a kitchen, tossing food in a wok

13. You have good taste. – Du har god smak.

My sister is one of those people who’d rather be complimented on her taste than on her personality, brains or looks. Do you know someone like that? It’s usually the girl or guy in your group who’s always well-dressed and probably has a full-on feng shui vibe in their home. If you meet someone in Sweden who loves their labels, only wears real leather and whose hair is always on-fleek, here’s a compliment they will appreciate.

To have good taste means knowing what is excellent and of good quality, with an eye for detecting subtle differences that make something genuine or not. People with good taste can discern what others find appealing, and tend to impress with their aesthetic choices. This friend will be the one you’ll go to when you aren’t sure what jacket to buy for your interview, or what gift to choose for your hosts.

So, is good taste about social conventions, or the genuine value of an item? Well, since it can refer to taste in music, art, design and fine wines as well as style choices, I think it’s an interesting combination of both. What do you think?

Well-dressed woman drinking red wine in a restaurant

14- You look gorgeous. – Du ser fantastisk ut.

“Gorgeous” makes me think of powder blue lakes, newborn babies, wild horses and Terrence Hill in the 80’s. Synonymous with ‘stunning’, it’s a word that means something beyond beautiful and as such, it’s one of the ultimate words of admiration. The vocabulary.com dictionary suggests reserving this word for the kind of looks that take your breath away; in other words, save it for someone special – like a date you adore and definitely want to see again.

Does that mean you can only tell a captivating date that they look gorgeous? Of course not. You can say “You look gorgeous” to a friend dressed up to meet their beau, a child tolerating a bunny suit for the school play, or to anyone special who needs a confidence boost. As long as you’re being sincere, this is a wonderful phrase to express admiration.

Woman in a billowing red dress

15- You have a way with words. – Du har ett sätt med ord.

There’s always that one person in the group who’s great at articulating deep thoughts, writing intriguing social media posts or comforting others when they’re feeling low. Your companion with this skill is likely very empathetic and although the words seem to come easy for them, they might find it difficult to be vulnerable.

When your friend or lover has let their guard down and shown you that soft place, don’t be afraid to tell them that it’s good, because they need to hear it. “You have a way with words” is a meaningful phrase that lets them know they’ve made a positive impact and their words are wanted. Your kind compliment will ensure that their eloquent words keep coming.

Positive feelings

3. Conclusion

Next time you’re traveling or working in Sweden, keep an ear open for the compliments you’ve learned, as they might be aimed at you! If you’re taking time to listen to native speakers on our YouTube channels or with Audio Books, it will also help a lot with the accent. Familiarizing yourself with the sound of compliments in the Swedish culture is important for your journey and will make your overall experience more meaningful.

Being acknowledged by others helps us to feel accepted and secure, and these are two things we all want to feel when venturing into unfamiliar territory. Remember that although compliments have more impact in your own language, it’s only because you’ve spent a lifetime hearing them and have become accustomed to the fullness of their meaning. You can get there with Swedish, too – it just takes a little time.

Don’t forget the golden rule: give more than you receive! Paying compliments to the people you meet will not only give you excellent language practice, but the reward will be new friendships and positive vibes.

Here are a few more ways you can practice daily:

  • Chat online with the guys and gals in our learning community. Nothing beats real-time information on how people are currently speaking. It’s a good way to hear some Swedish colloquialisms.
  • Take time out to read. Reading is an excellent way to develop photographic memory of how the phrases look in Swedish. We have both iBooks and Kindle books to choose from.
  • There are also some fantastic free podcasts you can listen to on iTunes. They promise to get you speaking after the very first lesson.

One last thought I want to leave you with: don’t forget to receive a compliment with grace. You deserve to hear good words, so get used to smiling and just feeling the kindness with gratitude.

Well, time for me to go! I hope you’ve enjoyed learning these useful compliments with us at SwedishPod101 today. Now, go out and find some cool people who need to hear them!

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Get Angry in Swedish with Phrases for Any Situation!

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Anger is a natural response to pain of some sort; when you’re angry, you’re angry with a cause and want someone to pay! It’s so much harder when you’re traveling, because your routines are off-kilter, there’s culture shock to deal with and the smallest problems can seem overwhelming. How do you handle someone who’s just pushed your last button?

At home, we often have a go-to person who is good at calming us down, but emotions are tricky to deal with in a foreign country. Sometimes people may treat you unfairly, but you’re completely baffled as to why. You have to remember that people in Sweden think differently to how you do and it’s not impossible to inadvertently cause offense. Don’t stress about it too much, because you’ll adapt! Once you feel at home in Sweden and people get to know you, it will be easy to flow with the local rhythm and handle tensions well.

This brings us to two obvious reasons why you should learn some angry phrases in Swedish: first, so you can understand when you’ve upset a Swedish person, and second, to have the vocabulary to tell a person off when they absolutely have it coming. Not only will you be far more likely to solve the problem if you know some appropriate angry Swedish phrases, but you’ll probably earn some respect, too! At SwedishPod101 we’re ready to help you articulate those feelings.

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Table of Contents

  1. Swedish phrases to use when you’re angry
  2. Feeling negative in Swedish
  3. Conclusion

1. Swedish phrases to use when you’re angry

Complaints

Okay, so you’ve had a very frustrating day at your new teaching job in Sweden and all you want to do is chill on your bed with ice-cream and a Nook Book, but you come home to find your landlord in your apartment, apparently doing an inspection of your personal possessions. How do you handle it? Do you have an angry Swedish translation for “What the heck are you doing?”

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about confronting someone in their own country, it’s to press the pause button on my reactions and think first! Is my first thought worth expressing? Sometimes, you need to think like a chess player: if I make this move, what will happen next?

It’s always better to think ‘win-win’ in Sweden. A good tactic is to keep a mental note of your personal speed limit before engaging. After all, you want a positive outcome!

So, do you know how to say “I am angry” in Swedish? You will – SwedishPod101 is about to teach you how to get mad! Here are fifteen great angry phrases in Swedish.

1- It’s none of your business. – Det har du inte med att göra.

As a foreigner in Sweden, you’ll be a topic of interest. While most folks understand boundaries, there’s always that one individual who doesn’t!

Sometimes you feel that a person is getting way too involved in your affairs, and this expression is a commonly-used one for letting them know that. If said calmly and firmly, while looking them in the eye, it should do the trick and even earn you some respect.

Angry Blonde Girl Holding Up Her Hands to Warn Someone Away

2- I’m upset. – Jag är upprörd.

I find this phrase useful for times when I need to express annoyance to someone I can’t afford to lose my temper with. A boss, for instance. As long as you say it without yelling, this can be a polite way of letting someone know that you are feeling bad and that you want those feelings validated. No matter what has happened, the result is that you are troubled and need some time to get over it. Depending on how you say it, “I’m upset” can also be a subtle invitation for the other party to address the problem.

3- You’re not listening to me. – Du lyssnar inte på mig.

Isn’t this the most frustrating thing? You’re in a situation where you’re telling someone why you’re mad at them, but they just won’t look at the story from your point of view. Rather than resort to bad language, try to convince them to take a breather and hear you out. This expression is a great way to ask someone to stop talking and to listen to you properly.

Asian Couple Fighting Head-to-Head, Woman Blocking Her Ears

4- Watch your mouth. – Akta vad du säger.

Where have you heard this before? Let your mind go back to all the times you were cheeky and disrespectful in your youth… that’s right – it was your parents! If you’re on the receiving end, this angry phrase means that you said something you shouldn’t have. It has an authoritative, challenging tone and it implies that there could be consequences if you don’t stop.

So, when can you use it? Well, be careful with this one; it may very well get you in trouble if not used with caution. It can also be seen as very rude if used on anyone you don’t actually have authority over!

5- That’s enough. – Det räcker.

Depending on your tone of voice when you say this, you could be calmly telling someone to stop doing what they’re doing, or you could be sternly ordering them to stop. In Swedish, as in English, tone is key when it comes to making yourself understood. Just don’t be saying this to anyone, as it carries an authoritative tone and would be seen as rude if said to an older person.

Angry School Mistress Shaking a Ruler As If Reprimanding

6- Stop it. – Sluta.

One of the more common imperatives in any language, this is a basic way to warn somebody that you don’t like what they’re doing and want them to stop. You can use it in most situations where a person is getting under your skin. Often, “Stop it” precedes some of the weightier phrases one resorts to if the offender doesn’t stop and anger escalates. For this reason, I always add a “Please” and hope for the best!

7- Cut it out. – Lägg av.

I think parents and teachers everywhere, throughout time, have heard variations of this expression of annoyance for as long as we’ve had tweens and teens on Earth! It’s a go-to command, thrown about frequently between siblings and peers, to stop being irritating. You’d generally use this on people you consider your relative equals – even though in the moment, you probably consider them low enough to stomp on!

8- What the heck are you doing? – Vad sjutton håller du på med?

Here’s an interjection for those instances when you can scarcely believe what you’re seeing. It denotes incredulity ranging from mild disbelief to total disgust or dismay. You would typically use this when you want an action to stop immediately, because it’s wrong – at least, in your perception of things.

It may be worth remembering that the English word “heck” doesn’t have a direct translation in Swedish – or in other languages, for that matter; most translations are more accurately saying “What the hell.” We say “heck” in English as a euphemism, but that word is thought to come from “hex” – an ancient word for “spell” – so I don’t know which is better!

9- Who do you think you are? – Vem tror du att du är?

I avoid this expression as it makes me nervous! It’s quite confrontational. I’m reminded of the time a clerk in a busy cellular network service store was being rude to me and a rich-looking man came to my rescue, aiming this phrase at the clerk loudly and repeatedly. At first, I was relieved to have someone on my side, but I quickly grew embarrassed at the scene he was causing.

Using this phrase has a tendency to make you sound like you feel superior, so take it easy. The irony, of course, is that someone who provokes this response is taking a position of authority or privilege that they aren’t entitled to! Now you look like two bears having a stand-off.

They call this an ‘ad hominem’ argument, meaning the focus has shifted from attacking the problem, to attacking the person. So, is it a good phrase to use? That’s up to you. If you’re in the moment and someone’s attitude needs adjusting – go for it!

Man and Woman Arguing, with White Alphabet Letters Coming from the Man’s Mouth and White Question Marks Above the Woman

10- What?! – Vad?!

An expression of disbelief, this is frequently said mid-argument, in a heated tone, and it means you cannot believe what you’re hearing. In other words, it conveys the message that the other person is talking nonsense or lying.

11- I don’t want to talk to you. – Jag vill inte prata med dig.

This is a great bit of vocab for a traveler – especially for a woman traveling solo. Whether you’re being harassed while trying to read your Kindle on the train, or hit on by a drunk man in a bar, chances are that sooner or later, you will encounter a character you don’t wish to speak to.

The most straightforward way to make the message clear is to simply tell them, “I don’t want to talk to you”. If you feel threatened, be calm and use your body language: stand straight, look them in the eye and say the words firmly. Then move away deliberately. Hopefully, they will leave you alone. I’d go so far as to say learn this phrase off-by-heart and practice your pronunciation until you can say it like a strong modern Swedish woman!

Highly Annoyed Redhead Girl Holding Up Her Hands As If to Say “Stop!”

12- Are you kidding me? – Skämtar du med mig?

To be ‘kidding’ means to joke with someone in a childlike way and it’s used both in fun and in anger. Like some other expressions, it needs context for the mood to be clear, but it pretty much conveys annoyed disbelief. You can use it when a person says or does something unpleasantly surprising, or that seems unlikely to be serious or true. It’s a rhetorical question, of course; try to familiarize yourself with how it sounds in Swedish, so next time it’s aimed at you, you don’t hunt your inner Swedish lexicon for an answer!

Dark-haired Girl Giving a Very Dirty Look, with One Hand on Her Hip and Holding a Gift Box with Apparent Disgust

13- This is so frustrating. – Det här är så frustrerande.

Another way of showing someone you have an intense battle going on inside, is to just tell them you’re terribly frustrated and feeling desperate to find a solution. Use this expression! It can be a useful tool to bring the other person into your headspace and maybe even evoke some degree of empathy from them. More polite than many others, it’s a sentence that seems to say, “I beg you to work with me so we can resolve this!”

Asian Man Yelling, Bent Forward, with His Hands Held Up Next to His Head

14- Shut up. – Håll tyst.

The use of the phrase “shut up” to signify “hold one’s tongue” dates back to the sixteenth century and was even used by Shakespeare as an insult – with various creative twists! It’s been evolving ever since and there are variations in just about every language – proving that no matter where you come from, angry emotions are universal!

One example of old usage is a poem Rudyard Kipling wrote in 1892, where a seasoned military veteran says to the troops: “Now all you recruities what’s drafted to-day, You shut up your rag-box an’ ‘ark to my lay.”

Well, when I was twelve and full of spirit, I was taught that nice girls don’t say this. “Shut up” is an imperative that’s considered impolite; it’s one of those expressions people resort to when they either can’t think of better words to use, or simply can’t bear to listen to any more nonsense. Either way, it’s at the lower end of the smart argument scale. Like all angry phrases, though, it does have its uses!

15- So what? – Och?

When you don’t believe the other person’s defense argument legitimizes or justifies their actions, you might say these words. Basically, you’re telling them they need to come up with better logic!

Another time you could use this one, is when you simply don’t care for someone’s criticism of you. Perhaps you don’t agree with them, or they’re being unfair and you need to defend your position. “So what?” tells them you feel somewhat indignant and don’t believe you’re in the wrong.

2. Feeling negative in Swedish

Negative Feelings

What was the most recent negative emotion you felt? Were you nervous about an exam? Exhausted and homesick from lack of sleep? Maybe you felt frightened and confused about the impact COVID-19 would have on your travel plans. If you’re human, you have days when you just want the whole world to leave you alone – and that’s okay!

When you’re feeling blue, there’s only so much body language can do. Rather than keeping people guessing why you’re in a bad mood, just tell them! Your Swedish friends and colleagues will be much more likely to give you your space (or a hug) if they know what’s wrong. Not only that, but it’s nice to give new friends the opportunity to be supportive. Bring on the bonding!

The fastest way to learn to describe negative feelings in Sweden, is to get into the habit of identifying your own mood daily in Swedish. Here’s an easy way: in your travel journal, simply write down the Swedish word for how you feel each morning. You can get all the words directly from us at SwedishPod101. Remember, also, that we have a huge online community if you need a friend to talk to. We’ve got you!

3. Conclusion

Now that you know how to express your bad feelings in Swedish, why not check out some other cool things on our site? You can sign up for the amazing free lifetime account – it’s a great place to start learning!

And really – make the most of your alone time. After all, it’s been proven that learning a new language not only benefits cognitive abilities like intelligence and memory, but it also slows down the brain’s aging. So, on those days when you just need to be away from people, we have some brain-boosting suggestions that will lift your spirits:

  • Have you heard of Roku? A Roku player is a device that lets you easily enjoy streaming, which means accessing entertainment via the internet on your TV. We have over 30 languages you can learn with Innovative Language TV. Lie back and enjoy!
  • If you like your Apple devices, we have over 690 iPhone and iPad apps in over 40 languages – did you know that? The Visual Dictionary Pro, for example, is super fun and makes learning vocab easy. For Android lovers, we have over 100 apps on the Android market, too.
  • You can also just kick back on the couch and close your eyes, letting your headphones do the work with our audiobooks – great for learning the culture while you master the language. Similarly, if you’re more of a reader, we have some fantastic iBooks that are super interesting and fun for practicing your daily conversation skills.

Whatever your learning style (or your mood), you’ll find something that appeals to you at SwedishPod101. Come join us!

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Essential Vocabulary for Life Events in Swedish

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What is the most defining moment you will face this year? From memories that you immortalize in a million photographs, to days you never wish to remember, one thing’s for certain: big life events change you. The great poet, Bukowski, said, “We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well, that death will tremble to take us.” The older I get, the more I agree with him!

Talking about significant events in our lives is part of every person’s journey, regardless of creed or culture. If you’re planning to stay in Sweden for more than a quick visit, you’re sure to need at least a few ‘life events’ phrases that you can use. After all, many of these are shared experiences, and it’s generally expected that we will show up with good manners and warm wishes.

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Table of Contents

  1. Life Events
  2. Marriage Proposal Lines
  3. Talking About Age
  4. Conclusion

1. Life Events

Do you know how to say “Happy New Year” in Swedish? Well, the New Year is a pretty big deal that the whole world is in on! We celebrate until midnight, make mindful resolutions, and fill the night sky with the same happy words in hundreds of languages. No doubt, then, that you’ll want to know how to say it like a local!

Big life events are not all about fun times, though. Real life happens even when you’re traveling, and certain terminology will be very helpful to know. From talking about your new job to wishing your neighbors “Merry Christmas” in Swedish, here at SwedishPod101, we’ve put together just the right vocabulary and phrases for you.

1- Birthday – födelsedag

If you’re like me, any excuse to bring out a pen and scribble a note is a good one. When there’s a birthday, even better: hello, handwriting!

Your Swedish friend will love hearing you wish them a “Happy birthday” in Swedish, but how much more will they appreciate a thoughtful written message? Whether you write it on their Facebook wall or buy a cute card, your effort in Swedish is sure to get them smiling! Write it like this:

Grattis på födelsedagen

Older Woman Blowing Out Candles on a Birthday Cake Surrounded by Friends.

Now that you know the words, I challenge you to put them to music and sing your own “Happy birthday” song in Swedish! It’s not impossible to figure out even more lyrics, once you start discovering the language from scratch.

2- Buy – köpa

If there’s a special occasion, you might want to buy somebody a gift. As long as you’ve checked out Swedish etiquette on gift-giving (do a Google search for this!), it will be a lovely gesture. If you’re not sure what to buy, how about the awesome and universally-appealing gift of language? That’s a gift that won’t stop giving!

Two Women at a Counter in a Bookstore, One Buying a Book

3- Retire – gå i pension

If you’re planning to expand your mind and retire in Sweden, you can use this word to tell people why you seem to be on a perpetual vacation!

Retirement is also a great time to learn a new language, don’t you think? And you don’t have to do it alone! These days it’s possible to connect to a vibrant learning community at the click of a button. The added benefit of a Daily Dose of Language is that it keeps your brain cells alive and curious about the world. After all, it’s never too late to realize those long-ignored dreams of traveling the globe…

4- Graduation – examen

When attending a graduation ceremony in Sweden, be prepared for a lot of formal language! It will be a great opportunity to listen carefully and see if you can pick up differences from the everyday Swedish you hear.

Lecturer or University Dean Congratulating and Handing Over Graduation Certificate to a Young Man on Graduation Day.

5- Promotion – befordran

Next to vacation time, receiving a promotion is the one career highlight almost everyone looks forward to. And why wouldn’t you? Sure, it means more responsibility, but it also means more money and benefits and – the part I love most – a change of scenery! Even something as simple as looking out a new office window would boost my mood.

6- Anniversary – årsdag

Some anniversaries we anticipate with excitement, others with apprehension. They are days marking significant events in our lives that can be shared with just one person, or with a whole nation. Whether it’s a special day for you and a loved one, or for someone else you know, this word is crucial to know if you want to wish them a happy anniversary in Swedish.

7- Funeral – begravning

We tend to be uncomfortable talking about funerals in the west, but it’s an important conversation for families to have. Around the world, there are many different customs and rituals for saying goodbye to deceased loved ones – some vastly different to our own. When traveling in Sweden, if you happen to find yourself the unwitting observer of a funeral, take a quiet moment to appreciate the cultural ethos; even this can be an enriching experience for you.

8- Travel – resa

Travel – my favorite thing to do! Everything about the experience is thrilling and the best cure for boredom, depression, and uncertainty about your future. You will surely be forever changed, fellow traveler! But you already know this, don’t you? Well, now that you’re on the road to total Swedish immersion, I hope you’ve downloaded our IOS apps and have your Nook Book handy to keep yourself entertained on those long bus rides.

Young Female Tourist with a Backpack Taking a Photo of the Arc de Triomphe

9- Graduate – ta examen

If you have yet to graduate from university, will you be job-hunting in Sweden afterward? Forward-looking companies sometimes recruit talented students who are still in their final year. Of course, you could also do your final year abroad as an international student – an amazing experience if you’d love to be intellectually challenged and make a rainbow of foreign friends!

10- Wedding – bröllop

One of the most-loved traditions that humans have thought up, which you’ll encounter anywhere in the world, is a wedding. With all that romance in the air and months spent on preparations, a wedding is typically a feel-good affair. Two people pledge their eternal love to each other, ladies cry, single men look around for potential partners, and everybody has a happy day of merrymaking.

Ah, but how diverse we are in our expression of love! You will find more wedding traditions around the world than you can possibly imagine. From reciting love quotes to marrying a tree, the options leave no excuse to be boring!

Married Couple During Reception, Sitting at Their Table While a Young Man Gives a Wedding Speech

11- Move – flytta

I love Sweden, but I’m a nomad and tend to move around a lot, even within one country. What are the biggest emotions you typically feel when moving house? The experts say moving is a highly stressful event, but I think that depends on the circumstances. Transitional periods in our lives are physically and mentally demanding, but changing your environment is also an exciting adventure that promises new tomorrows!

12- Be born – född

I was not born in 1993, nor was I born in Asia. I was born in the same year as Aishwarya Rai, Akon, and Monica Lewinsky, and on the same continent as Freddy Mercury. When and where were you born? More importantly – can you say it in Swedish?

13- Get a job – få ett jobb

The thought of looking for a job in a new country can be daunting, but English speakers are in great demand in Sweden – you just have to do some research, make a few friends and get out there! Also, arming yourself with a few Swedish introductions that you can both say and write will give you a confidence boost. For example, can you write your name in Swedish?

Group of People in Gear that Represent a Number of Occupations.

14- Die – dö

Death is a universal experience and the final curtain on all other life events. How important is it, then, to fully live before we die? If all you have is a passport, a bucket list, and a willingness to learn some lingo, you can manifest those dreams!

15- Home – hem

If home is where the heart is, then my home is on a jungle island completely surrounded by the turquoise ocean. Right now, though, home is an isolation room with a view of half a dry palm tree and a tangle of telephone wires.

If you’re traveling to Sweden for an extended stay, you’ll soon be moving into a new home quite unlike anything you’ve experienced before!

Large, Double-Story House with Lit Windows.

16- Job – jobb

What job do you do? Does it allow you much time for travel, or for working on this fascinating language that has (so rightfully) grabbed your attention? Whatever your job, you are no doubt contributing to society in a unique way. If you’re doing what you love, you’re already on the road to your dream. If not, just remember that every single task is one more skill to add to your arsenal. With that attitude, your dream job is coming!

17- Birth – födelse

Random question: do you know the birth rate of Sweden?

If you’re lucky enough to be invited to see a friend’s baby just after they are born, you’ll have all my respect and all my envy. There is nothing cuter! Depending on which part of the country you’re in, you may find yourself bearing witness to some pretty unexpected birth customs. Enjoy this privilege!

Crying Newborn Baby Held By a Doctor or Nurse in a Hospital Theatre

18- Engaged – förlova

EE Cummings said, “Lovers alone wear sunlight,” and I think that’s most true at the moment she says “yes.” Getting engaged is something young girls dream of with stars in their eyes, and it truly is a magical experience – from the proposal, to wearing an engagement ring, to the big reveal!

In the world of Instagram, there’s no end to the antics as imaginative couples try more and more outrageous ways to share their engagement with the world. I love an airport flashmob, myself, but I’d rather be proposed to on a secluded beach – salt, sand, and all!

Engagement customs around the world vary greatly, and Sweden is no exception when it comes to interesting traditions. Learning their unique romantic ways will inspire you for when your turn comes.

Speaking of romance, do you know how to say “Happy Valentine’s Day” in Swedish?

19- Marry – gifta

The one you marry will be the gem on a shore full of pebbles. They will be the one who truly mirrors your affection, shares your visions for the future, and wants all of you – the good, the bad and the inexplicable.

From thinking up a one-of-a-kind wedding, to having children, to growing old together, finding a twin flame to share life with is quite an accomplishment! Speaking of which…

2. Marriage Proposal Lines

Marriage Proposal Lines

Ah, that heart-stopping moment when your true love gets down on one knee to ask for your hand in marriage, breathlessly hoping that you’ll say “Yes!” If you haven’t experienced that – well, it feels pretty darn good, is all I can say! If you’re the one doing the asking, though, you’ve probably had weeks of insomnia agonizing over the perfect time, location and words to use.

Man on His Knee Proposing to a Woman on a Bridge.

How much more care should be taken if your love is from a different culture to yours? Well, by now you know her so well, that most of it should be easy to figure out. As long as you’ve considered her personal commitment to tradition, all you really need is a few words from the heart. Are you brave enough to say them in Swedish?

3. Talking About Age

Talking about Age

Part of the wonder of learning a new language is having the ability to strike up simple conversations with strangers. Asking about age in this context feels natural, as your intention is to practice friendly phrases – just be mindful of their point of view!

When I was 22, I loved being asked my age. Nowadays, if someone asks, I say, “Well, I’ve just started my fifth cat life.” Let them ponder that for a while.

In Sweden, it’s generally not desirable to ask an older woman her age for no good reason, but chatting about age with your peers is perfectly normal. Besides, you have to mention your birthday if you want to be thrown a birthday party!

4. Conclusion

Well, there you have it! With so many great new Swedish phrases to wish people with, can you think of someone who has a big event coming up? If you want to get even more creative, SwedishPod101 has much to inspire you with – come and check it out! Here’s just some of what we have on offer at SwedishPod101:

  • Free Resources: Sharing is caring, and for this reason, we share many free resources with our students. For instance, start learning Swedish with our basic online course by creating a lifetime account – for free! Also get free daily and iTunes lessons, free eBooks, free mobile apps, and free access to our blog and online community. Or how about free Vocabulary Lists? The Swedish dictionary is for exclusive use by our students, also for free. There’s so much to love about SwedishPod101…!
  • Innovative Learning Tools and Apps: We make it our priority to offer you the best learning tools! These include apps for iPhone, iPad, Android and Mac OSX; eBooks for Kindle, Nook, and iPad; audiobooks; Roku TV and so many more. This means that we took diverse lifestyles into account when we developed our courses, so you can learn anywhere, anytime on a device of your choice. How innovative!
  • Live Hosts and One-on-One Learning: Knowledgeable, energetic hosts present recorded video lessons, and are available for live teaching experiences if you upgrade. This means that in the videos, you get to watch them pronounce those tongue-twisters, as if you’re learning live! Add octane to your learning by upgrading to Premium Plus, and learn two times faster. You can have your very own Swedish teacher always with you, ensuring that you learn what you need, when you need to – what a wonderful opportunity to master a new language in record time!
  • Start Where You Are: You don’t know a single Swedish word? Not to worry, we’ve absolutely got this. Simply enroll in our Absolute Beginner Pathway and start speaking from Lesson 1! As your learning progresses, you can enroll in other pathways to match your Swedish level, at your own pace, in your own time, in your own place!

Learning a new language can only enrich your life, and could even open doors towards great opportunities! So don’t wonder if you’ll regret enrolling in SwedishPod101. It’s the most fun, easy way to learn Swedish.

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