Get 40% off with the Now or Never sale. Hurry! Ends soon!
Get 40% off with the Now or Never sale. Hurry! Ends soon! Blog
Learn Swedish with Free Daily
Audio and Video Lessons!
Start Your Free Trial 6 FREE Features

Archive for the 'Site Features' Category

Walpurgis in Sweden: Ready to Have a Witchin’ Time?

Witches, sorcerers, costumes, tricks, and superstition…no, it’s not Halloween! We’re talking about Valborgsmässoafton (Valborg or Walpurgis Night) in Sweden.

While you might not associate the beginning of spring with witchcraft and sorcery, this correlation has some interesting roots in numerous European countries. In this article, you’ll learn about the origins of this mystical holiday and how it’s celebrated today. 

Let’s go!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Swedish

1. What is Walpurgis Night in Sweden?

A Green Field with Springtime Flowers

In Sweden, Walpurgis and May Day take place each year on the night of April 30 and day of May 1 respectively. This festival is also common in a number of other European countries, including Germany, Finland, the Czech Republic, and Estonia. 

Walpurgis Night is named after an eighth-century abbess named Saint Walpurgis (also known as Saint Walpurga). She was known for her effectiveness in spreading Christianity, as well as her supposed abilities to deflect witchcraft and heal a variety of ailments. People would invoke her in their prayers in the hope that she would keep the witches at bay.

You see, it was believed that witches and sorcerers would hold a Witches’ Sabbath each year on the night of April 30. They were thought to engage in crazy dances and conspire with demons—or even Satan himself—to harm Christians and cause other sorts of trouble. 

In addition to invocations of Saint Walpurga, people would light bonfires on the hillsides and create as much noise as possible to scare away witches.

Over time, Walpurgis Day became less associated with actual witchcraft, and more and more people perceived this day as a time to reflect on the charms of such superstitions. Today, the holiday is mainly celebrated just for the fun of it, though the superstitions behind it are still strong in some places. 

2. Traditions and Celebrations for Walpurgis

A Walpurgis Bonfire

Walpurgis and May Day celebrations in Sweden vary from region to region, but there’s a large focus on enjoying the spring and the coming of summer. In the morning, some Swedes indulge in a delightful breakfast of champagne and strawberries. Later in the day, people often gather with friends, family, and loved ones in local parks and indulge in BBQ and alcoholic beverages.

Walpurgis Day in Sweden is particularly popular among university students, who engage in activities such as the donning of the student cap in Gothenburg and rafting on Fyris River. Uppsala University is particularly lively during Valborg. 

People of all ages enjoy participating in the bål (bonfire)! Due to the historical background of this holiday, lighting these large fires on which to brinna (burn) an effigy of a witch is a common activity. Some bonfire festivities will have various stalls set up that offer tasty foods and drinks. Music and dancing also play a large role in the holiday, especially around the bonfire. 

Finally, though this is less common nowadays, there are often left-wing demonstrations that take place following Walpurgis night in Sweden. 

3. Beltane

While the Valborg holiday likely originated from a pagan Norse holiday linked to the dead, there’s another holiday that seems to share roots with it: Beltane

This is a pagan holiday still celebrated today in Wiccan and Neopagan circles, and it shares many of the same tenets as Valborg. In times past, there were four important festivals celebrated throughout the year, Beltane one of them. It marked the end of the winter and the beginning of summer, and bonfires were popular on this day. 

The main purpose of Beltane was to protect cattle herds, crops, and dairy products from harm. This was done by appeasing the aos sí, a type of fairy or other supernatural race in Irish/Scottish mythology.

4. Vocabulary You Need to Know for Walpurgis in Sweden

A Match Burning against a Dark Background with Smoke Tendrils

Ready to impress your Swedish friends or hosts with some new vocabulary? Here are some of the words and phrases from this article, plus a few more! 

  • Vår / Spring
    • Noun, common
  • Eld / Fire
    • Noun, common
  • Valborgsmässoafton / Walpurgis Night
    • Phrase, common
  • Fyrverkeri / Firework
    • Noun, neutral
  • Fira / Celebrate
    • Verb 
  • Bål / Bonfire
    • Noun, neutral
  • Brinna / Burn
    • Verb 
  • Brasa / Campfire
    • Noun, common
  • Smällare / Firecracker
    • Noun, common
  • Ved / Firewood
    • Noun, common

To hear and practice the pronunciation of each word and phrase, be sure to head over to our Walpurgis Night vocabulary list

Final Thoughts

Valborg is a fascinating, whimsical holiday with some unclear origins, though its celebrations today are still popular in Sweden. 

How do you celebrate the arrival of warmer weather in your country? Is there a special holiday involved? We look forward to hearing from you! 

If you would like to continue learning about Swedish culture and the language, make sure you continue to explore SwedishPod101. Here are some fun pages to get you started: 

Happy learning! 

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Swedish

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!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Swedish

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 

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…) 😉

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Swedish

Premium PLUS: The Golden Ticket for Language-Learning


Do you remember the moment you fell in love with languages?

Do you desire to learn or advance in Swedish quickly and effectively?

Then you need a Swedish tutor.

A common question that first-time language-learners ask is “Where do I begin?” The answer? Guidance.

For native English-speakers who want to learn Asian languages, for example, timelines provided by the U.S. Foreign Service Institute can appear discouraging. However, defeating these odds is not unheard of. If you want to beat the odds yourself, one of the best learning options is a subscription to Premium PLUS from Innovative Language.

As an active Premium PLUS member of and myself, I have an enjoyable experience learning at an accelerated pace with at least thirty minutes of study daily. The following Premium PLUS features contribute to my success:

  • Access to thousands of lessons
  • A voice recorder 
  • Spaced-repetition system (SRS) flashcards
  • Weekly homework assignments
  • A personal language instructor

As someone who decided to make Japanese her second language one year ago, I am extremely grateful for Premium PLUS.

Allow me to emphasize on how these Premium PLUS features strengthen my language studies.

Gain Unlimited Access to Audio and Video Lessons!

Woman learning a language with Premium PLUS on a tablet

As a Premium PLUS member, I have full access to the lesson library and other Premium features. Best of all, I’m not limited to one level; I can learn to my heart’s content with upper-level courses.

There are lessons on various topics that tackle crucial language-learning elements, such as:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Listening
  • Speaking
  • Conversation

Specifically, there are pathways. Pathways are collections of lessons that center on a specific topic. Some Innovative Language sites, like, even have pathways geared toward proficiency tests. For example, the JLPT N3 Master Course pathway.

Because of the abundance of lessons, I’ve found pathways in the lesson library to help me prepare for certain events. Thanks to the “Speaking Perfect Japanese at a Restaurant” pathway, I spoke fully in Japanese while dining in Japan. Additionally, I participated in conversations at language exchange meetups in South Korea after completing the “Top 25 Korean Questions You Need to Know” pathway.

Each lesson has lesson notes, which I read while simultaneously listening to the audio lesson. This strategy enables me to follow along on key points. Lesson notes generally contain the following:

  • Dialogue
  • Vocabulary
  • Grammar points
  • Cultural insights

As someone who’s constantly on-the-go, I heavily benefit from mobile access to lessons. Podcasts and lesson notes are available on the Innovative Language app and/or Podcasts app for iOS.

All lessons and their contents are downloadable. Prior to my flights to Japan and South Korea, I downloaded lessons on my iPhone. The apps make learning more convenient for me during my commutes.

Practice Speaking with the Voice Recording Tool!

a young man practicing his pronunciation with a microphone headset

Pronunciation is an essential ingredient in language-learning. Proper pronunciation prompts clear understanding during conversations with native speakers.

Prior to learning full Korean sentences, my online Korean language tutor assigned the “Hana Hana Hangul” pathway to me. It demonstrated the writing and pronunciation of Hangul, the Korean alphabet. Throughout this pathway, I submitted recordings of my Hangul character pronunciations to my language teacher for review.

I was given a similar task on with the “Ultimate Japanese Pronunciation Guide” pathway. My Japanese language teacher tested my pronunciation of the Japanese characters kana. My completion of the two pathways boosted my confidence in speaking.

Speaking is one of the more challenging components of learning a language. The voice recording tool in particular was a great way for me to improve my speaking skills. Further, because the lesson dialogues are spoken by native speakers, I’m able to practice speaking naturally.

This feature is also available for vocabulary words and sample sentences. Being able to hear these recordings improves my pronunciation skills for languages like Japanese, where intonation can change the meaning of a word entirely. The voice recorder examines my speed and tone. I also follow up by sending a recording to my online language tutor for feedback.

A great way to boost one’s speaking confidence is to shadow native speakers. During the vocabulary reviews, it’s helpful for me to hear the breakdown of each word; doing so makes a word that was originally difficult to even read a breeze to say!

Some lessons create opportunities to speak your own sentences. For example, the “Top 25 Korean Questions You Need to Know” pathway presents opportunities to answer questions personally. This helps you gain the ability to give answers as the unique individual you are.

Example Scenario:

The host asks the following question:

어디에 살고 있습니까?

eodieseo salgo isseumnikka

“Where do you live?”

If you live in Tokyo, you would readily say the following:

도쿄에 살고 있습니다.

Tokyo-e salgo isseumnida.

“I live in Tokyo.”

Increase Your Vocab with Spaced-Repetition Flashcards and More!

A child learning words with flashcards

Imagine having a conversation with a native speaker and hesitating because you lack a solid vocabulary base.

Premium PLUS offers various features to expand learners’ vocabulary, including Free Gifts of the Month. SwedishPod101’s free gifts for April 2020 included an e-book with “400 Everyday Phrases for Beginners,” and the content is updated every month. When I download free resources like this, I find opportunities to use them with co-teachers, friends, or my language tutors.

An effective way to learn vocabulary is with SRS flashcards. SRS is a system designed for learning a new word and reviewing it in varying time intervals.

You can create and study flashcard decks, whether it’s your Word Bank or a certain vocabulary list. For example, if you need to visit a post office, the “Post Office” vocabulary list for your target language would be beneficial to study prior to your visit.

In addition to the SRS flashcards, each lesson has a vocabulary slideshow and quiz to review the lesson’s vocabulary.

There’s also the 2000 Core Word List, which includes the most commonly used words in your target language. Starting from the 100 Core Word List, you’ll gradually build up your knowledge of useful vocabulary. These lists can be studied with SRS flashcards, too.

With the SRS flashcards, you can change the settings to your liking. The settings range from different card types to number of new cards per deck. Personally, I give myself vocabulary tests by changing the settings.

After studying a number of flashcards, I change the card types to listening comprehension and/or production. Then I test myself by writing the translation of the word or the spoken word or phrase.

The change in settings allow me to remember vocabulary and learn how to identify the words. This is especially helpful with Japanese kanji!

Complete Homework Assignments!

A woman studying at home

Homework assignments are advantageous to my language studies. There are homework assignments auto-generated weekly. They range from multiple-choice quizzes to writing assignments.

Language tutors are readily available for homework help. Some writing assignments, for instance, require use of unfamiliar vocabulary. In such cases, my language teachers assist me by forwarding related lessons or vocabulary lists.

In addition to these auto-generated homework tasks, language tutors customize daily assignments. My daily homework assignments include submitting three written sentences that apply the target grammar point of that lesson, and then blindly audio-recording those sentences. My personal language tutor follows up with feedback and corrections, if needed.

Your language tutors also provide assignments upon requests. When I wanted to review grammar, my Korean teacher sent related quizzes and assignments. Thus, you are not only limited to the auto-generated assignments.

Every weekend, I review by re-reading those written sentences. It helps me remember sentence structures, grammar points, and vocabulary to apply in real-world contexts.

Furthermore, I can track my progress with language portfolios every trimester. It’s like a midterm exam that tests my listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills.

Get Your Own Personal Language Teacher!

A woman teaching pronunciation in a classroom

My language teachers cater to my goals with personalized and achievable learning programs. The tangible support of my online language teachers makes it evident that we share common goals.

Once I share a short-term or long-term goal with my teacher, we establish a plan or pathway that will ultimately result in success. I coordinate with my teachers regularly to ensure the personalized learning programs are prosperous. For example, during my JLPT studies, my Japanese language tutor assigned me practice tests.

Your language tutor is available for outside help as well. When I bought drama CDs in Japan, I had difficulty transliterating the dialogue. My Japanese teacher forwarded me the script to read along as I listened.

Additionally, I often practice Korean and Japanese with music. I memorize one line of the lyrics daily. Every time, I learn a new grammar point and new vocabulary. I add the vocabulary to my SRS flashcards, locate the grammar in the Grammar Bank, and study the associated lessons online.

I send my teachers the name of the songs, making them aware of my new goal. One time, my song for Korean was “If You Do” by GOT7. My Korean teacher revealed that she was a huge fan of GOT7 like me! For Japanese, it was “CHA-LA HEAD-CHA-LA,” also known as the Dragonball Z theme song. My Japanese teacher excitedly told me that she sang the song a lot as a kid!

A remarkable thing happened to me in South Korea. I was stressed about opening a bank account with limited Korean. I sought help from my Korean teacher. She forwarded me a script of a bank conversation.

After two days, I visited the local bank. It all started with my opening sentence:

은행 계좌를 만들고 싶어요

eunhaeng gyejwaleul mandeulgo sip-eoyo.

I want to open a bank account.

Everything went smoothly, and I exited the bank with a new account!

The MyTeacher Messenger allows me to share visuals with my teachers for regular interaction, including videos to critique my pronunciation mechanisms. I improve my listening and speaking skills by exchanging audio with my teachers. In addition to my written homework assignments, I exchange messages with my language teachers in my target language. This connection with my teachers enables me to experience the culture as well as the language.

Why You Should Subscribe to Premium PLUS

It’s impossible for me to imagine my continuous progress with Japanese and Korean without Premium PLUS. Everything—from the SRS flashcards to my language teachers—makes learning languages enjoyable and clear-cut.

You’re assured to undergo the same experience with Premium PLUS. You’ll gain access to the aforementioned features as well as all of the Premium features.

Complete lessons and assignments to advance in your target language. Increase your vocabulary with the “2000 Core Word List” for that language and SRS flashcards. Learn on-the-go with the Innovative Language app and/or Podcasts app for iOS users.

Learning a new language takes dedication and commitment. The Premium PLUS features make learning irresistibly exciting. You’ll look forward to learning daily with your language tutor.

As of right now, your challenge is to subscribe to Premium PLUS! Complete your assessment, and meet your new Swedish teacher.

Have fun learning your target language in the fastest and easiest way!

Subscribe to Posted by in Feature Spotlight, Learn Swedish, Site Features, Speak Swedish, Swedish Language, Swedish Online, Team SwedishPod101

Swedish Gestures and Body Language


Ever heard of the 7-38-55 rule?

Simply put, the seven percent refers to meaning communicated by spoken word, 38 through voice, and the rest (55 percent) is via body language.

In other words, body language is the number-one most influential element of communication.

It may be what stands between you and that next relationship, job, work contract, or even friendship.

Thing is, body language is not one-size-fits-all. 

It’s different from one country to another, and may take some time to learn and get used to. For this reason, learning Swedish gestures and how to use them can help you immensely as a learner of the language.

In fact, there are two approaches to this…

You either follow the old-school way of making mistakes and learning from them, or you use a resource like this blog post to learn all the important elements of Swedish body gestures.

We’ve done the work for you and broken down all the possible gestures you might need for different circumstances.

Without further ado, let us get right into it…

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Swedish Table of Contents
  1. Day-to-Day Interactions / Filler Gestures
  2. Dining Etiquette & Body Gestures
  3. Business Etiquette
  4. General Information About Swedish Body Language and Etiquette
  5. Conclusion

1. Day-to-Day Interactions / Filler Gestures

Some body gestures might feel very marginal. Imagine the eye-contact we make with the cashier or security guard of the supermarket, or even the way we greet the friends of our friends. 

We don’t normally attribute much importance to such gestures, but we might deliver the wrong impressions if we do them incorrectly (or skip them altogether). Here’s how to go about the most common Swedish greetings and gestures during your visit to the country: 

A- Handshakes

Businesswoman and Businessman Shaking Hands

Meeting a group of people in a business context? Shake hands with everyone present, even those you don’t personally know. 

Around older people, the traditional handshake when greeting and leaving is expected. On the other hand, if you’re meeting with younger people, chances are you won’t need to make any physical contact, not even a handshake. 

In a business meeting or similar context, if there’s no other person around to introduce you, take initiative and shake hands as you introduce yourself.

B- Eye Contact

A Woman’s Cheeks and Eyes

Eye contact is crucial during communication in Sweden. You’ll want to make as much eye contact as necessary during your conversations with others. Making little or no eye contact could give off the perception that you’re careless or negligent.

For example, if you’re in a meeting discussing a contract or project over dinner, you’ll want to make sure you’re giving your partner as much eye contact as you give your food, or even more. You don’t want them to leave with a bad impression that may cost you a business deal or work relationship.

2. Dining Etiquette & Body Gestures

Smiling Chef

Whether you’re out for dinner to a restaurant or are invited by a Swede, respecting dinner etiquette is a must. 

First, if you happen to be a smoker, never light up a cigarette without permission. You’ll want to make sure you are in the right place for smoking, and that those around you wouldn’t have an issue with that. Non-smokers may not be comfortable inhaling smoke.

When it comes to actual dining, you’ll be expected to respect several norms and gestures. 

For males, remove your hat indoors. And when ending a meal, it’s customary for the male guest of honor to tap their glass with a piece of cutlery and to thank the hostess on behalf of everyone present at the dinner. If the host is a male, the female guest of honor would be expected to thank the host on behalf of everyone.

Let’s talk toasting. When toasting, make eye contact with the other guests. After toasting, men should put their glasses down only after the women do. It may be a bit of a hassle to wait for women to do so, but it’s usually a pretty easy process. While looking at others’ eyes and toasting, say Skål.

When around seniors, always allow them to toast first to show respect.

When it comes to the bill, businesswomen pay the check at a restaurant with no embarrassment whatsoever. Gender equality is big in Sweden, so there’s less pressure and fewer expectations from men, and women are more independent.

During the act of eating, a few norms should be respected. Do not use a dinner knife for butter; there will usually be a butter knife provided to do just that. Also, put your hands on the table while leaving your elbows out. 

If you need to beckon to a waiter or host, wave one hand and make eye contact with them.

Post-meal, place your knife and fork side by side on your own plate at a 5:25 position. It’s best to finish what’s on your plate so as to show satisfaction with the host’s dinner, and to try a little bit of everything served.

The day after the dinner, it’s worth dropping your host a message or making a quick call to thank them for the invitation. And even better, make sure to invite them back for dinner in the future.

3. Business Etiquette

Businessman Shaking Hands with a Woman in an Orange Shirt

When doing business, you want to make sure you perfect your etiquette and do just as well as a Swedish businessman would do. 

Clothing-wise, Swedes are very well-dressed even in casual situations. Appropriate business clothing for men would be a dark-colored suit and a tie, and for women, it would be a skirt and blouse or a business suit.

Use appropriate titles—Herr. (Mr.) and Fru. (Mrs.)—plus last names when talking to others, until you’re invited to use first names instead. In business settings, English words are very commonly used in conjunction with Swedish. Knowing Swedish helps, but English can still take you a long way in the country of Sweden.

It’s also worth noting that Swedes take time and punctuality very seriously. You don’t want to miss a meeting or come late; that might cost you trust and maybe your whole work relationship. 

When things don’t go as anticipated, call as soon as possible and reschedule. Calls are expected to be done through business numbers only. Do not call home numbers unless it’s a matter of urgency or you have a well-established relationship with the person you’re calling.

4. General Information About Swedish Body Language and Etiquette

Two People Communicating with Hand Gestures

There are quite a few things that are worth knowing about Swedish body language and etiquette.

Generally speaking, you’ll want to be pretty careful when it comes to body language in Sweden. You’ll mostly want to be attentive and somewhat reactive to what others do rather than take initiative yourself. Swedes are pretty reserved when it comes to body language, and they avoid touching or embracing frequently around other people, including friends.

On a different note, it’s worth educating yourself about Sweden in general. Holding conversations about country-specific topics can get you the attention you may want from Swedes.

You can do this through observing your surroundings in day-to-day life, or by using resources like the internet to learn more about Sweden. The country’s economy, high standard of living, architecture, history, sports, music scene, and politics are all great examples of topics you may want to do research about. 

That said, when around Swedes, be careful not to bring up any sensitive or irritating topics. 

For example, Swedes hold a lot of pride for their own cities or regions, and therefore expect you not to praise other cities or areas of Sweden (let alone other Scandinavian countries). 

Of course, this depends on the person you’re talking to, but it’s a good rule of thumb to keep in mind. The same goes for criticizing Swedes’ negative habits related to lifestyle, sex, suicide rates, marriage, prices, etc. Keep it positive.

Plus, be careful with compliments. You don’t want to sound insincere, so only compliment when you actually mean it; otherwise, you might be perceived as rude.

5. Conclusion

Congratulations for getting this far. You’re now able to fully engage with Swedes without worrying about the tricky nuts and bolts of Swedish body gestures.

Even better, you can start learning some Swedish to spice up your interactions. Remember the 7-38-55 rule we talked about in the introduction? The 55 percent goes to body language, the 38 percent is for voice, and the remaining seven percent is for spoken word. 

Therefore, spoken language makes up about 45 percent (38+7) of your communication. Wonder what the best way to learn in the least amount of time is?


SwedishPod101 gives you full access to a range of digital courses in different formats (video, audio, and text), all integrated in an effective learning system to guarantee the fastest and best results for you.

You can access all of this and more once you sign up for your free lifetime account with

Ha så trevligt!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Swedish

10 Jaw-Dropping Untranslatable Swedish Words


When learning a new language, you’re going to come across some surprises. 

Ever heard of false friends?

It’s a linguistic concept that describes similar-sounding or similar-looking words in different languages that do not have the same meaning.

It’s most common among languages that belong to the same linguistic group, such as between North Germanic languages (Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic, and Faroese) and West Germanic languages (English, German, and Dutch).

For example, eventuellt in Swedish does not mean “eventually” as you may suppose. It actually translates to “possibly” or “potentially” in English. 

And then there are untranslatable Swedish words. These are words that are used in one language (Swedish) but cannot be translated to another.

This is usually the case with words that are attributed to cultural, geographical, and historic particularities of a certain language or country.

One of the famous traditions unique to Sweden is eating fermented herring, and Swedes had no choice but to create some untranslatable vocabulary unique to this tradition, which takes us to the first item on our list of unique words in Swedish…

Start with a bonus, and download the Must-Know Beginner Vocabulary PDF for FREE! (Logged-In Member Only)

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Swedish Table of Contents
  1. Surströmmingspremiär
  2. Badkruka
  3. Dygn
  4. Harkla
  5. Hoppilandkalle
  6. Blåsväder
  7. Panta
  8. Festsnusa
  9. Vaska
  10. Planka
  11. Conclusion

1. Surströmmingspremiär

Two Herrings

Literal Translation:

Sour Herring Premiere


This unique Swedish word refers to the first day of the year when you can eat fermented herring (surströmming).

Example Situation:

It refers to the Swedish tradition of eating fermented Baltic Sea herring on the first day when that year’s cans are presented on stores’ shelves. The premiere falls on the third Thursday in August every year.  It’s given such significance due to the extravagant smelliness of this delicacy.

Here’s an example sentence for you: 

I morgon är det surströmmingspremiär, är du redo?
Tomorrow is surströmmingspremiär, are you ready?

Additional Notes:

Traditionally, because the herring is way too smelly to be eaten separately, Swedes like to put it in a sandwich with other ingredients. The sour herring during the surströmmingspremiär is often folded in a thin flatbread sandwich after buttering the bread; chopped onions and mandelpotatis (almond potatoes) are usually folded inside as well. Hint: This is not a universally enjoyed experience.

2. Badkruka

Woman in Freezing Cold Weather with Gloves On

Literal Translation:

Bathing pot


This is a term used to refer to someone who refuses to swim (in other words, a scaredy-cat).

Example Situation:

Someone may call you this if you refuse to swim with friends at a lake because the water feels cold:

Det är dags för dig att simma, badkruka.
It’s time for you to swim, badkruka.

Additional Notes:

This expression is considered more friendly than rude, so don’t be offended if someone happens to use it. You can also feel free to use it around your friends when you spot a badkruka!

3. Dygn

Literal Translation:

Day and night


Dygn refers to a full 24-hour day.

Example Situation:

You could use this phrase to explain a situation where you had to quarantine at home for 14 dygn due to a virus infection:

Jag satt fast hemma i 14 dygn.
I was stuck at home for 14 dygn.

Additional Notes:

If you ever want to tell a story that involves several days (and nights), use dygn to sound more like a native and impress your Swedish buddies.

4. Harkla

A Lady Giving a Speech


Throat-clearing sound

Example Situation:

You could use this phrase after hearing someone clear their throat while giving a speech. For example:

Hans harklande är irriterande.
His harklande is annoying.

Additional Notes:

It happens to the best of us: that brief coughing sound we make to clear our throat while speaking to others (and maybe while we think of what to say next). Swedes have gone the distance and invented a separate word to describe that little instance.

5. Hoppilandkalle

Naval Sailor at Work

Literal Translation:



This word refers to the person (usually a sailor) who jumps ashore to moor a boat.

Example Situation:

Imagine that a sailor jumped out of a ship and broke his legs. You might say: 

Hoppilandkalle bröt båda benen.
Jump-ashore-kalle broke both legs.

Additional Notes:

Kalle in Hoppilandkalle is the equivalent of Jack in “jack-of-all-trades.” Interestingly, there’s even a news story with the word hoppilandkalle mentioned in the title (“Hoppilandkalle bröt båda benen“). The story describes how a sailor broke both legs landing on a pier that was 2.5 meters down while trying to dock a cargo ship.

6. Blåsväder

Stormy Weather Home

Literal Translation:

Stormy weather



Example Situation:

You could use this phrase if you have an exam coming up that you haven’t prepared for, or if your company is having a crisis: 

Vårt företag är i blåsväder på grund av finanskrisen.
Our company is in blåsväder due to the financial crisis.

Additional Notes:

Although this expression may sound like something that would only be used colloquially, you can actually find it in news articles or hear it on TV, so feel free to use it whenever you see fit.

7. Panta

Literal Translation:

To “pant”


To recycle plastic bottles with the word “pant” written on them

Example Situation:

This word would probably come up if you were collecting bottles from friends to return to the recycling machine at the supermarket in exchange for a few small coins:

Han vill ta mina tomma flaskor och panta dem.
He wants to take my empty bottles and “panta” them.

Additional Notes:

If you look up the word “pant” in dictionaries, you’ll find out that it also means “to lend,” which is the more translatable meaning of the word. So this word is really only partially untranslatable.

8. Festsnusa

Literal Translation:

Party dip


This word refers to moist dip users at parties.

Example Situation:

Imagine you’re using moist dip at a party and are about to run out:

Jag har slut på snus. Kan någon av er festsnusare ge mig lite av ert?
I’m running out of dip. Can any of you festsnusare give me some of yours?

Additional Notes:

Fest is the Swedish word for “party.” Dip is a tobacco product that’s uniquely popular in Sweden, and to a lesser extent in the other Nordic countries. Put them together and turn it into an adjective, and you have a “party dipper” (festsnusare). 

The tobacco product does exist in some areas where Swedish immigrants went in the nineteenth century, and it’s from there we get the American English term dip. As people try to cut down on all tobacco products, there are now plenty of people who only use snus (dip) during parties where clean living is not always the first priority.

9. Vaska

Literal Translation:

To sink


To order two bottles of champagne and empty one down the sink

Example Situation:

Imagine you’re at a club where you want to impress other people. You might say: 

Ska vi vaska idag eller inte?
Are we going to sink today or not?

Additional Notes:

The fun part about this untranslatable Swedish word is the story behind it. Popular bars in Swedish cities Visby and Båstad stopped allowing customers to spray champagne in 2007 and 2010. As a reaction to that, people started to Vaska the champagne instead of spraying it.

10. Planka

Literal Translation:

To plank


To sneak through the metro turnstiles behind someone else (like a plank of wood)

Example Situation:

Imagine you have to sneak through the turnstiles to hop on the next train because you’ve forgotten your wallet at home. You might tell your friend: 

Jag har ingen biljett. Jag tror att jag måste planka.
I do not have a ticket. I think I’ll need to plank.

Additional Notes:

With the rising access to public transportation all around Sweden, there are some problems building up. One of the more recently prominent ones is “planking.” It’s popular among those who want to avoid paying for tickets, or those who just don’t have time to get one and need to catch that incoming train fast. It’s also more generally used to describe sneaking inside anywhere without a ticket.

11. Conclusion

And there you have it! You now know the most fun untranslatable Swedish words as well as many little cultural and social traits/traditions prominent in Sweden. Which of these words was your favorite, and why?

While it’s fun to learn these cool Swedish words and their meanings, formulating the correct sentences to use them correctly could be challenging for many learners.

Want to take that step further and learn how to use more untranslatable words (and more)?

Enter SwedishPod101.

SwedishPod101 is the go-to online learning program for learners looking for an efficient tool that helps them retain the most vocabulary and information in the least amount of time.

The diversity of our content (audio, video, and text) makes it possible for you to take in new information in different circumstances. Whether you’re commuting to work, sitting on your couch after school, or anything in between, you can have access to tools and lessons that will help you expand your Swedish-language knowledge. 

In fact, you can even request your own personalized program based on your needs and time obligations. The platform is accessible via your desktop or the mobile app on iPhone, Android, or Amazon Fire.

All of this and more comes with a free sign-up. It’s a fast process and no credit card is required to join.

Sign up now and experience it all for yourself.

Start with a bonus, and download the Must-Know Beginner Vocabulary PDF for FREE! (Logged-In Member Only)

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Swedish

Your Learning, Streamlined – The New Lesson Interface

Click Here to Get Your All Access Pass at SwedishPod101

Your Learning, Streamlined – The New Lesson Interface

Your learning is about to get a whole lot easier.

More than ever, learners are choosing mobile as the platform to study Swedish. Mobile has always been a part of our DNA. We began our life on your iPod, and have remained by your side ever since.

In our 11th year, we’re returning to our roots as a way to learn Swedish on-the-go. How? With a brand-new lesson interface just for you.

Hint: It will launch in beta later this month!

If you want to secure access to this brand new upgrade, take advantage of the upcoming All Access Pass Sale! Click Here to Get 25% OFF All SwedishPod101 Subscriptions!

(example taken from

It’s built from the ground-up to be a great experience on your phone, tablet, and computer.

You don’t have to compromise anymore.

Take the whole lesson experience with you wherever you go.

Our lessons are the heart of our learning system and now they’re the heart of the interface as well. Just tap the big play button to start learning right away.

(example taken from

As you scroll through the lesson contents, the player sticks with you at the bottom of your screen.

Pause, rewind or adjust your speed and volume without losing your place.

(example taken from

Navigation is also just a tap away.

Quickly jump to the dialogue, vocabulary, or lesson notes with our new lesson navigation bar. Available at the top of your screen wherever you are.

(example taken from

And for the first time ever, you don’t need to download a PDF or jump between tabs to read the lesson notes and transcript. Read it all on your mobile browser as you listen.

(example taken from

There are many more small improvements but the end result is this: a drastically improved lesson experience on mobile and desktop.

Spend less time squinting at your screen and more time reaching your Swedish goals.

The new lesson interface will launch in beta this month.

We can’t wait to hear what you think. Keep on studying!

Sneak peek! And if you take advantage of our upcoming 25% OFF All Access Pass Sale, you secure full access to this new update! You unlock our complete Swedish learning program – ALL Audio/Video Courses from Beginner to Advanced, Premium Study Tools, Bonus Apps and much more!

Click Here to Get 25% OFF All Plans until March 31st, 2017.

To your fluency,

Team SwedishPod101

P.S. Get 25% OFF ANY Plan! Master Swedish with YOUR All-Access Pass!

Want to learn Swedish fast with an ALL-ACCESS PASS to our entire learning system? Get 25% OFF Basic, Premium and Premium PLUS and unlock ALL audio/video lessons, study tools and exclusive apps that you’ll ever need. And with Premium PLUS, you get your own teacher! Just $3 a month & up to $137 in savings. Ends March 31st, 2017.

Get Your Swedish All-Access Pass! Click here to get 25% OFF ALL Plans!

SwedishPod101 Free Lifetime Account: Is it really free?

You want to learn Swedish but you don’t want to spend a cent. You don’t want to lose time creating an account if they ask you for your credit card just after. For you Swedish learner, we tell you how you will access great resources for free for life and without card or having to pay. This is your unique path to fluency for free.

free lifetime account swedishpod101 benefit

SwedishPod101 is not really free, is it?
Although there are paid plans, yes, it is FREE. Every single lesson that we have ever created has been free for a certain period of time. And every new audio and video lesson (we publish 3-5 lessons a week) is completely free to access for 3 weeks before going into our lesson library.

What’s a Free Lifetime Account?
A Free Lifetime Account is – simply put – a free membership at SwedishPod101.

What do I get with this Free Account? How can I learn for free for life?
Here’s how you learn every day without paying a cent at SwedishPod101. You have access to all of these features for life:

  • New audio and video lessons every week – 3-5 new, free lessons a week
  • The first 3 lessons of every single series – 100+ lessons in total
  • New Daily Dose of Swedish lessons – a new free lesson every day
  • Swedish Word of the Day lessons – a new free lesson every day
  • Throwback Thursday lessons – a free random lesson every Thursday
  • The Innovative Language 101 App for the Android, iPhone and iPad
  • The 100 Most Common Words List to get a head-start on learning vocabulary
  • Vocabulary and phrase lists for topics, themes and holidays
  • Bonus resources and mobile apps in the Swedish resources section

    Start speaking Swedish now!

    Do I need a credit card to sign up?
    No. All you need is a valid email address to join. The only times you’d require a credit card (or another payment method such as PayPal) is if you want to upgrade to a Basic, Premium or Premium PLUS subscription.

    To sum-up, you create a free account only with your email address, you’ll get a 7-day trial to experience Premium access to SwedishPod101, and after this period you will stay on as a “Free” member accessing all our tool and resources mentioned before. So what are you waiting for?

    It will take you only 30 seconds and a valid email, no credit card, no money asked, to create your free lifetime account and get on the way to reach Swedish fluency!

  • Introducing Our Brand New Dashboard!

    Hey Listeners!

    Guess what? Your language learning goals just got a little easier!

    As you’ve probably realized by now, there have been some major improvements made to your dashboard! These updates have been designed to improve your overall experience with the website and help keep you organized and on-track! Here are a few of the changes:

    • Your progress is now tracked right, smack in the middle of the page to keep you motivated and organized.
    • A new, sleek and easy to navigate design allows you to worry less about where to click and more on learning Swedish!
    • An enlarged profile picture that gives your dashboard a unique and more personal feel.
    • A new layout for the “Latest News” feed to keep you informed on all of the most recent updates.
    • Bigger buttons to make it easier on the eyes. Locate your all of your lessons and materials faster than ever.

    Stay tuned, as more updates are being rolled out later in the month!

    Enjoy your new dashboard,

    Team SwedishPod101

    P.S. Get Access To Our My Teacher Tool For Extra Help!
    As you may have noticed, on the left side of your dashboard is our My Teacher feature. This tool allows you to have 1-on-1 interaction with your very own personal teacher! This is only available to our Premium Plus subscribers, so be sure to upgrade if you want to take your studies to the next level!

    Click Here To Sign Up For Premium Plus Now!

    The Top 5 Reasons To Learn A New Language… NOW!

    Click Here To Learn Swedish NOW!

    Are you currently debating whether or not to learn Swedish?

    You aren’t alone. Learning a new language requires a huge investment of time, and often money as well. That’s why so many people are hesitant to spend the amount of effort required to become fluent in another language. However, learning a new language can be one of the most rewarding experiences in life and there are a number of reasons why you should start studying one… and start studying now!

    Click Here And Start Learning Swedish With A FREE Account!

    Start Studying Swedish Now!

    More Opportunities
    That’s right. It’s not rocket science. A new language can open up many new doors. You’re able to work in countries other than your own, leading to a world of new opportunities. It can also qualify you for many new jobs in your home country as well! There are tons of employers who look to hire multilingual professionals every year!

    Meeting New People
    This may be one of the most rewarding parts of learning a new language. You’ll be able to get to know speakers of other languages on a more personal level. Meeting people from around the world is one of the main reasons people begin to study a language, so don’t ever feel like making new friends isn’t a good enough reason to start studying!

    Exploring A Different Culture
    Whether you decide to live abroad, or you’re just taking a vacation, knowing the local language will give you the ability to better understand the people and culture of a different country. This can open your eyes to not only their country, but your country as well! You can understand how people see your home from their perspective.

    Stop Procrastinating And Start Learning! Sign Up For FREE Here!

    Start Studying Swedish Now!

    Health Benefits
    Good news! Studying a new language actually comes with health benefits! Studying a new language helps keep your brain sharp! By studying every day, you’re helping your mind fight off the old age and stay fresh!

    Because It’s Fun
    When it comes down to it, learning a new language is just plain fun! There’s always something new to learn and the rewards are endless! Whether your goal is to meet new people or to get a job in a new country, language learning is something that is actually enjoyable!

    Start Learning Swedish For Free By Clicking Here!

    There are millions of reasons to learn a new language, so what are you waiting for? Dive in head first and start studying with us! You can sign up for a FREE lifetime account and start achieving your Swedish language goals today!

    Starts Now! Save Up to 45% with the 12-Month SwedishPod101 Challenge

    Starts Now! Save Up to 45% with the 12-Month SwedishPod101 Challenge

    Welcome to 2016, listener!

    Making New Year’s resolutions is easy. Keeping them? Well, that’s usually a lot harder, but if your resolution was to learn Swedish in the next year – then we’re about to make your resolution a LOT easier and more affordable thanks to:

    The 12-Month SwedishPod101 Challenge!

    The “Challenge” is quite simple: Learn AND master Swedish in the next 12 months.

    How is this possible?

    Because we’re providing FULL ACCESS to our Premium or Premium PLUS plans at up to 45% OFF, so your dream of learning Swedish has never been more affordable

    But wait – we’re not done!

    To ensure you stay motivated and have the support you need to keep to your New Year’s Resolution and learn Swedish this year: We’re throwing in a BONUS for all Premium and Premium PLUS members who sign up for the Challenge by January 15th, 2015:

    12 Months of Free Access to Our Exclusive Inner Circle!

    Click here to get up to 45% OFF & Inner Circle access!

    Click Here to Buy & Save!

    This special bonus includes: Monthly audio lessons with tips, tricks and tools to help you get motivated, stay on track and improve your Swedish all the way to December 2016. For Challenge subscribers only!

    This special bonus is in addition to the 100+ hours of high-resolution audio and video lessons by real teachers, learning tools and special resources available to both Premium AND Premium Plus members!

    Click Here Save Up to 45% or More Than $100 & Take the Challenge Now!

    Ready to transform your resolution into reality and open up a new world of opportunities by learning Swedish in the next year? Then sign up now for Premium and gain 12 months of unlimited access to these tools and resources for less than $2.00 a week:

    Your Premium Plan Includes:

    • Exclusive! 12 Months of Free Access to the Inner Circle
    • Exclusive! App for the iPhone, iPad or Android
    • Full Lesson Library Access: 560+ Audio & Video Lessons
    • PDF Lesson Notes for Each Lesson to Read Along With
    • Instructor Feedback & Comments on Each Lesson
    • Progress Tracking: See Your Swedish Progress GROW
    • Learning Guidance: We Guide You Through the Lessons
    • Swedish ONLY Tracks & Line by Line Dialog Breakdown
    • Full Lesson Transcripts, Translations & Review Tracks
    • Lesson Review Quizzes for Extra Practice
    • Smart Flashcards To Master All The Swedish Words You Need
    • 2,000 Top Swedish Words List (enough for conversational fluency)
    • Word Bank to Store Your Key Vocab & Review
    • Voice Recording Tools to Perfect your Pronunciation
    • 24/7 Access via Any Media Device with Internet Access
    • Season Vocabulary Lists To Review All Vocab From Lessons
    • For Members! New Audio & Video Lessons EVERY WEEK!
    • Exclusive! Custom Lists App to Create Your Own Word Lists

    Click Here to Get 12 Months of Premium at a BIG 45% OFF!

    As great as our Premium plan is, however, nothing helps you learn and master Swedish faster than our uber-exclusive PLUS Plan.

    New! 1-on-1 Interaction with Your Own Swedish Teacher

    What’s so special about our Premium PLUS plan?
    Well, you know all the lessons, tools and resources in the Premium plan? You get those plus a few secret weapons to help you learn and master Swedish even faster, including:

    • 1-on-1 Interaction with Your Swedish Teacher: Learn directly with your teacher via Premium PLUS My Teacher. Get help with all your questions and problems.
    • Ongoing Professional Assessment: Get an assessment of your Swedish. Understand your strengths and weaknesses so you know what to study next.
    • Your Own Personalized Learning Program: Your teacher will create a study plan based on your needs. If speaking is your weak point, your teacher will work with you to get you speaking like a native speaker.
    • Voice Analysis to Perfect Your Speaking: Learn to speak like a native speaker with the help of a real native speaker! Record yourself with Premium PLUS My Teacher and your teacher will give you crucial feedback on what to improve and how.
    • Weekly Assignments & Achievement Badges: You get assignments every week from your teacher. With every completed task, you unlock badges to mark your Swedish improvement and accomplishments.

    Plus, and exclusively for Premium PLUS members who sign up for the 12-Month Challenge:

    New! 1-on-1 Learning App: Take Premium PLUS with You Everywhere!

    For the first time ever, members of our Premium PLUS plan can access every tool, resource, AND 1-on-1 instruction with our new Innovative Language 101 App! This means you can learn with your very own teacher, anywhere, anytime!

    Click here to get 12 months of Premium PLUS for just $199.

    But hurry: We have VERY LIMITED slots available for Premium PLUS due to a limited number of available Swedish teachers.
    And you don’t risk a cent regardless of which plan you choose because joining is risk-free. Every purchase is backed by a 60-day money-back guarantee. If you’re not speaking Swedish as fast as you’d like, contact us for a full refund.

    No questions asked.

    With more than 500 million lesson downloads, 10,000s of success stories and the world’s most advanced language learning system, SwedishPod101 can and WILL transform your new year’s resolution into reality and having you speaking Swedish from the very first lesson!

    Click Here to Join the Challenge Today & Save On Premium or Premium PLUS Now!

    To Mastering Swedish,
    Team SwedishPod101

    P.S. Remember, anyone who joins the 12-Month Challenge will also receive 12 months of free access to our exclusive Inner Circle. But hurry: Our 12-Month Challenge ends on January 15th, 2016 so ACT NOW!

    What are you waiting for? Click here to get UNLIMITED Swedish lessons and be part of the exclusive Inner Circle!