Tag Archives: Swedish language training


Välkommen februari; but please stay away vabruari

February in Sweden is a month of both pleasure and pain – pleasure as in winter break (Sportlov) with possible skiing, and pain as in the month when kids apparently get sick the most – it is the peak month of parents staying at home from work to care for sick children.

The winter break is known as Sportlov, and occurs from week 7 to week 12 depending on where in Sweden you live. If the Sportlov is in February we also call it Februarilov. Week numbers? What?

Ok; back to the topic of February. Recall the sick children?

When parents take leave of absence from work to care for a sick child it is called

“Vård av sjukt barn.” = care of sick child in Swedish.

An abbreviation hereof is VAB (Vård Av sjukt Barn)

In everyday Swedish language these words have become a verb; “att vabba” = to “vabba”

“Jag måste vabba idag” means that I have to take leave of absence to care for my sick kid; well, you get the picture; we need a shorter way of saying it since a sick child leaves little room for long talks.

Remember the word februari (=the month of February) from the text above? Put together what you have learnt from the info above and you will understand why we sometimes jokingly refer to it as “vabruari”. Even if it is no joke.

And yes, I posted a photo of my tulips instead of a sick child.

False friends

I wish you’d never suffer from false friends. Now, I can’t help you with all of the varieties, but here is an explanation of the linguistic ones.

I am fascinated by words, especially the written word, and languages. The more languages I learn the easier it gets. It’s captivating to recognize similarities between languages, and to explore possible roots in common. Could it be a cognate or a false friend? Now if that doesn’t sound intriguing … 😉

I´ll explain it to you.

Cognates are words in different languages that have a common linguistic heritage. Examples are night natt nuit notte Nacht. Loanwords does not count.

Cognates within a language are known as doublets. Doublets are words that look similar, existing within the same language. Meaning of the words is irrelevant – they don´t have to mean the same thing, but could of course. An example is shirt and skirt in English.

False cognates are words that to the eye and ear appear to have the same origin but don´t. The meaning of the words is irrelevant here – it doesn’t matter if they are false friends or have the same meaning. An example hereof; mamma and pappa in Swedish – not related to similar words in other languages, merely stemming from baby language! (Svensk etymologisk ordbok – the Swedish etymological thesaurus, digitalized at http://runeberg.org/svetym/)

False friends are words in different languages that appear to have the same meaning but don´t.


actual (Eng. real, authentic ) meaning “faktisk” in Swedish

aktuell (Swedish) meaning present, current

You can find a list containing Swedish and English false friends here.

Primary sources



My brain. 🙂

Want to know more on Swedish language training with me? Head over here!

Benefits of learning via Skype

Benefits of learning via Skype

Are you looking for Swedish language training in Gothenburg or Stockholm? Have you considered 1-on-1 private lessons over Skype?

Having lessons via Skype means you save time on not commuting to class. You can pick but also vary your location. I have had students doing their lessons from home, from work, from school or university, from hotels, from the tram and bus, and while taking a walk. Needless to say; from all over the world.

Another benefit is the factor of comfort. Many of my students engage with me initially because they want to become more comfortable speaking Swedish. Especially to children and teenagers I find that a known, home environment is highly positive when taking the first steps to building a relationship with a new language as well as starting with a new teacher.

Working with Skype provides means of communication not only orally but also written, and by sharing documents and links. I give my students instant written feedback (spelling, example sentences, new vocabulary) during the whole session. It’s easy to share notes, links, documents and resources, and to go back afterwards and revise.

I might just go ahead and say it. Lessons via Skype are intense. No distractions, full focus on listening and looking at the teacher and the chat log on the screen . Sometimes we shut the camera off to further practice listening comprehension.

Contact charlotta@globatris.se for inquiries

Read more on Skype lessons with Globatris here.