Swedish is quite a difficult language to learn, especially the pronunciation. However, there are moments when the Swedish language is ridiculously literal. And it is so literal that it is hilarious. Here are the top 15. Feel free to add any others that you can think of in the comments field.
- Sugrör – the Swedish word for straw – literally translates as ‘suck pipe’
- Grönsak – vegetable in Swedish is literally ‘green thing’
- Tunnelbana – the Swedish metro is literally ‘tunnel lane’
- Tvättbjörn – the Swedish word for raccoon translates at ‘wash bear’ (as it tends to wash its prey before eating it)
- Tidskrift – newspaper, literally ‘time writing’
- Sköldpadda – the Swedish word for tortoise is literally ‘shield frog’
- Studsmatta – Swedish word for trampoline is literally ‘bounce carpet’
- Flygplats – Swedish airport translates literally as ‘flight place’
- Vattenkokare – the Swedish word for kettle. Translated literally, it is ‘water boiler’
- Glasögon – the Swedish word for spectacles is ‘glass eyes’
- Rotsak- the Swedish word for root vegetable, translates as ‘root thing’
- Flodhäst – the Swedish word for hippopotamus, literally translates as ‘river horse’
- Järnväg – the Swedish word for railway translates as ‘iron road’
- Kylskåp – the Swedish word for fridge, translates as ‘chill cupboard’
- Finally, my favourite. The Swedish word for vacuum cleaner is dammsugare. Literally – ‘dust sucker’
6 thoughts on “The Top 15 literal Swedish words”
Lastbil – truck – “cargo car”
Klubba – lollipop – “club”
That’s why I don’t understand people who haven’t learnt Swedish and think it’s difficult. It’s so clear and literal and straightforward that it’s almost ridiculous, I feel tempted to say that it even lacks creativity a bit but there is creativity in other things in Swedish language. It’s funny, but I think it makes Swedish a really learner-friendly language.
Sjukhus (hospital) that translates as sick house.
An old favourite: Pannspad – Egg-lifter, literally translates as *frying pan spade*.
Another funny one is the old fashioned word for lollipop: slickepinne. Literally “lick stick”.
Motorväg (Highway) translates to engine-road should be on you list and also Sötsak (candy) that translates to sweet-thing 🙂