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Lesson Transcript


Alisha: What is Swedish slang like?
Jesper: And is it commonly used?
Alisha: At SwedishPod101.com, we hear these questions often. Imagine the following situation: Sandra Strom uses a slang expression Ben Lee has never heard before. She says,
"He has a sweet tooth."
Sandra Ström: Han är en sockergris.
Sandra Ström: Han är en sockergris.
Ben Lee: Vad betyder det?
Sandra Ström: Det betyder "en person som tycker om godis."
Alisha: Once more with the English translation.
Sandra Ström: Han är en sockergris.
Alisha: "He has a sweet tooth."
Ben Lee: Vad betyder det?
Alisha: "What does that mean?"
Sandra Ström: Det betyder "en person som tycker om godis."
Alisha: "It means a person who likes sweets."

Lesson focus

Alisha: In this lesson, we will be learning about "Swedish slang," or
Jesper: svensk slang
Michael: and how commonly it is used. Slang is an informal and colloquial way of speaking. It isn't taught in schools or language classes and yet, if you want to be able to speak fluently and like a local, in Sweden, you will need to know Swedish slang.
Let's dive into some slang "greetings," or
Jesper: hälsningar
Alisha: Then, you will be able to greet people when you see them and fit right in. You could say, "Hi"
Jesper: Hej
Alisha: or you could say,
Jesper: Hur är läget?
Alisha: which means "How's it going?" and literally translates to "How does it lie?"
If that feels like a mouthful, you could just say
Jesper: Läget?
Alisha: which means, "What's up?" This is used by many age groups when greeting friends, young and old. Its literal meaning is "position" or "place."
A common slang term for a male friend is "brother"
Jesper: broshan
Alisha: One might see a male friend and say,
Jesper: Hej broshan! Läget?
Alisha: "Hi, brother! What's up?" And he might reply with
Jesper: Hej på dig!
Alisha: meaning, "How ya doin'?" which is another slang greeting. The literal translation of this is "Hello on you!"
If, for instance, you meet someone you don't know that well, and you want to make small talk, you could talk about the weather.
Jesper: Fint väder vi har,
Alisha: which in English is "Nice weather we have." This is a universal conversation starter! At the end of your conversation or at the end of an event or outing, there are several different ways to excuse yourself. Perhaps it's been a long evening and you are ready to get home and into bed. You could then say,
Jesper: Det är en dag imorgon också
Alisha: which means "We'd better get going," and the literal translation is "There is a day tomorrow as well." This phrase is perfect for letting people know that you will be leaving soon, and is often said playfully as it is quite the cliché in Sweden.
And when you leave, you will "take off," which is a slang expression that literally translates to "to tag."
Jesper: att tagga
Alisha: If you want to avoid the cliché or slang, you could use this line instead:
Jesper: Jag är trött, jag taggar hem.
Alisha: It means, "I'm tired, I'm going home."
Now that we have gotten the greetings out of the way, let's look at some of the commonly-used slang expressions that you might need to understand in Sweden. The first is
Jesper: Smakar det så kostar det
Alisha: meaning, "You pay for quality," with the literal translation being, "if it tastes it costs." This expression is used when you spend more than you should on an item, but the item is deemed worth it—or, when something is expensive and not worth it, the expression is used sarcastically.
There is also a slang word for when you crave that sweet treat. Or really when you crave anything. Aside from that sweet treat, it could be a craving for a place, a feeling, or an activity. The word is
Jesper: sugen
Alisha: and its literal meaning is "to be sucked." One could say,
Jesper: Jag är sugen på glass
Alisha: "I feel like ice cream."
When you decide to satisfy your craving for ice cream and you tell a friend you are going to get it, they might say
Jesper: soft
Alisha: Yes, the English word. But, when it is said in Sweden, it is a general word associated with a feeling of satisfaction and happiness. It roughly means "cool," which also happens to be an English word that Swedes use. They also like to use "nice." These share the same meaning as in English, but, in Sweden, the two words are considered slang.
A similarly positive word that belongs in the same bracket is
Jesper: fett
Alisha: which literally translates to "fat," and is interchangeable with "awesome." It is used if anything is particularly great. You can use it if someone gives you wonderful or exciting news.
If you hear a sad story or bad news, then you can reply with
Jesper: keff
Alisha: which can mean "messed up," "bad," "weird," or "wrong." This is an example of how slang words can have varying meanings.
Speaking of wrong—have you ever watched a television series with a buddy or a family member, but then they watch episodes without you? In Sweden, they actually have a word for this behavior. It's called
Jesper: serieotrogen
Alisha: and it translates to "series unfaithful." Expressive, isn't it?!
When something unpleasant happens, one often exclaims or even swears. I am sure you've heard the exclamation "fiddlesticks" before, perhaps even jokingly. Well, in Sweden, they say
Jesper: Järnspikar!
Alisha: which has the same meaning and purpose as "fiddlesticks," but directly translates to "iron nails."
Practice Section
Alisha: Let's review what we have heard in this lesson. I will say the target sentence in English, then you should respond by saying the sentence out loud in Swedish. Jesper will then model the correct answer. Listen to him carefully, with the focus on pronunciation, and then repeat.
The first sentence is "He has a sweet tooth."
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Jesper: Han är en sockergris.
Alisha: Did you get it right? Listen to Jesper again, and repeat.
Jesper: Han är en sockergris.
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Jesper: Han är en sockergris.
Alisha: The second sentence is "What does that mean?"
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Jesper: Vad betyder det?
Alisha: How did you do this time? Again, listen to Jesper and repeat.
Jesper: Vad betyder det?
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Jesper: Vad betyder det?
Cultural Insight
Alisha: You might hear "don't worry" if you do not have cash on a night out. In Sweden, there is an app called Swish for transferring money, so if you forgot money at home, you should be fine. Swish is very popularly used and there is a slang expression for the action of using it which is "to Swish"
Jesper: att swisha
Alisha: And our last slang expression is
Jesper: att lägga benen på ryggen
Alisha: which literally translates to "to put your legs on your back." When used as slang, it means "to make a run for it," and it is applicable when someone is running away from something as if their life depends on it.
Let's hear it in an example sentence:
Jesper: Jag blev så rädd att jag lade benen på ryggen och flydde.
Alisha: in English, that is, "I got so scared that I made a run for it and escaped."


Alisha: Do you have any more questions? We're here to answer them!
Jesper: Vi ses!
Alisha: See you soon!

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