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Maybe you want to work on your pronunciation. Perhaps you are interested in writing and want assignments or prompts followed by feedback? Or perhaps you are looking for suitcase Swedish for an upcoming trip to Sweden. Maybe you are new to Swedish.
Say the word Fredagsmys and every Swede knows what you are talking about. An easy Friday evening get-together, to mark the end of the work/school week and the beginning of the weekend. Family or friends, easy cooking, snack and a TV-screen are ususally involved. It could also include a board game. Tacos is a classic, as well as chips/crisps and dip; at least that´s what the commercials want us to believe. Veggies and fruit works too. Fredagsmys is part of our modern culture, probably substituting the Sunday dinner family gathering. The location and activity does not have to follow the description above; the importance of the matter is that it includes “mys”.
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.
Outside of Sweden the word “lagom” seems to be trending this year. It takes over the Danish “hygge” and I expect to see books to be written on the subject. Or, wait; could really that much be squeezed out of the word lagom? To fill an entire book? Well, if hygge could …
Lagom is not trending in Sweden. It’s always around, always with us.
The urban legend has it that lagom derives from the Vikings; sharing the meal and the mead between themselves, using the same bowl. The words supposed to have been spoken were to not eat or drink more than that it would last “laget om” – the team around. Laget om then became lagom. Alas lagom means ”just the right amount, not too little not too much”. Lagom is a balance of things. Wether used for water temperature, amount of miles travelled during holiday, how much pick-and-mix candy the kids are allowed or how many guests are to be invited lagom is the answer.
A few examples in English and in Swedish:
Is it time to leave? Yes, it’s probably (the right) time. // Är det dags att gå? Ja, det är nog lagom.
Isn’t it too cold to swim? No, it’s just about right/perfect.// Är det inte för kallt för att bada? Nej, det är lagom varmt.
Does the blouse fit you (refering to size) Yes, it’s good! // Passar blusen? Ja, den är lagom!
Is it lots to do at work at the moment? No, it’s pretty ok/the right amount of work. // Är det mycket att göra på jobbet just nu? Nej, det är ganska lagom.
The literal translation of resfeber is travel fever. No; it’s not something you catch from bacteria or a virus when traveling. On the contrary it’s a bug that hits you already while still at home, shortly before leaving. Resfeber is best described as the anticipation and anxiety you feel as you are about to enter your journey.
During summer the word “smultronställe” keeps popping up in Sweden; in conversations but especially in magazines. There are few interviews or portraits that leave out the question “where is your smultronställe?” You also find headlines and articles on the subject “top 25 smultronställen in …”
Ett smultronställe is a noun meaning that special place treasured or yet to be discovered. It could be an idyllic opening in the forest, a quiet beach, a small village, your childhood summer farm, a charming café or just about anyplace that is special to you, that you cherish and that has a special place in your heart.
“Smultron” is the sweetest of berries and translates to wild strawberry in English.
“Ställe” means place in Swedish.
ett smultron, två smultron
ett ställe, två ställen
ett smultronställe, två smultronställen
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