Let’s face it: not a lot of people are really enthusiastic about the idea of learning Swedish. Personally, I could argue during hours why you should learn Swedish (coming in the next blog post!), but one thing is that it is a truly beautiful language. However, if you’re not a big fan of long vowels (Preciiiiis!, Absoluuuut!), there are some words that you will learn just due to the fact of living in Sweden.
So to make it quick, here are the 10 most important Swedish words:
Even if the first association with “hej” that comes to my mind is something like the American “Hey, dude!”, this is how Swedes greet each other, children and grown-ups. You get used to say it when you enter a shop, when you order in a restaurant, when you see your friends. For me it became a habit at the point that when I was visiting a friend in Berlin, I was hej-ing everyone, a thing that could be seen somehow rude in an English-speaking country. Conclusion: to use with moderation.
2) Hej då!
So yes, you pronounce “hej” twice more frequently because it’s a part of the “good-bye” word.
Tick tack… boom!
A short word that means “please” and “thank you” at the same time. Other variants: “tack tack“, “tack så mycket“, “tusen tack“. Swedes are known to be extremely polite and to use this word abundantly. So a conversation in a café can sound like this:
- En kopp kaffe, tack.
- Var så god!
- Tack så mycket!
- Tack, tack!
- Tack för senast!
This Swedish word is for the subway. When in France, Russia or Spain, the metro is indicated by a “M”, in Stockholm look for a “T”!
I already wrote about my absolutely favorite Swedish tradition of coffee break – fika. You will hear this word even more often during winter time (don’t confuse it with “ficka“, which means “pocket”).
One of the best and the most common Swedish pastry. Nothing can be better than a warm cinnamon roll after a long walk on a cold day.
One of the weirdest thing I have discovered about Stockholm is the hot-dog stands that you can find everywhere. I was seriously annoyed by the fact that Swedes call it “the french hot-dog”, which is actually very far form the sophisticated French cuisine. Anyhow, I can’t deny that it’s pretty nice to have a korv on the way back home after a night club.
8 ) Ursäkta
Stands for the English “sorry”. As one of my friends said, this is THE word to use when you’re running in the metro to catch your train.
9) Systembolaget (Systemet)
The green signboards with the yellow letters of “Systembolaget“, the alcohol stores, are known to every student. Learn the opening hours by heart, if not, you’re screwed for the week-end.
The Swedish “Cheers!” to roar when you toast with a glass of beer (/wine/cider/whatever you drink).