There is one thing that unites us all. We all die. That said, there are many ways in which we can shuffle off this mortal coil. Just like our lives are unique, so probably are our deaths.
Living in Sweden, I am often struck by the many ways one can die. Perhaps not specific to this country, but at least very cultural.
Here’s the first way: ‘the careless accident in the lift’ – a tragic way to pop your clogs.
Many Swedish lifts don’t have inner doors. As the lift descends, the floors slide by visibly. If you have a large article with you, for example, a wheely bin, it can fasten on the edge of the lift. The bin gets stuck, the lift keeps descending and voila, you are crushed to death or decapitated. A very Swedish way to die.
Below, you see a sign on the door to the lift in my apartment building. It says ‘warning – risk of crushing. It is dangerous to transport goods in lifts without inner doors or gates.’
After my last blog about Swedish geography, somebody commented that it is hysterical that there is a place in Sweden called Norrbotten.
This got me thinking.
When first moving to Sweden and learning the language, I saw all sorts of funny words which made me giggle. Now, some two decades later, I don’t even see those funny words any more – I have been Swedified.
- ‘Plopp’ to me is a chocolate bar, and nothing else
- ‘Puss’ is a kiss and not a little kitty or a body part
- ‘Kiss’ isn’t a romantic exchange between consenting people. Kiss is urine
- ‘Slut’ is simply the end of something
- ‘Avfart’ on a motorway is just the exit
- ‘Rea’ is a sale and not an old British singer
- ‘Kök’ and ‘kock’ are the kitchen and the chef, not a body part
- I don’t even see the squidginess of the ‘slutspurt’ any more. All I see is that it’s the end of the sale.
- I don’t titter any more when someone says ‘shit’ to describe the putty around the window or the number six is the same as ‘sex’.
- ‘Prick’ is a dot and not an insult
It is with a smidgen of regret that I guess I have been integrated – at least linguistically!
I’ve spent over 20 years struggling with the Swedish language. Grammar is always a challenge for me – but it is pronunciation that still continues to drag me down.
That said, there are a few Swedish words that I just love to say. They have to be the most fun words in the Swedish language. Here, in no particular order, are my top 10.
- Mumsfilibaba – a hysterically satisfying way to say that something is really delicious
- Sjuksköterska – the Swedish word for nurse – try saying it after a couple of beers – it’s really fun
- Kackerlacka – the Swedish word for cockroach is somewhat onomatopoeic – the perfect way to describe these disgusting little bugs
- Sura uppstötningar – horrible to experience acid reflux but really fun to say the word
- Smidig – a useful word that’s fun to say and that means everything from easy and adaptable to flexible and pliable and even loose-limbed.
- Yxskaft – the handle of an axe – ok not a word that you say very often, but enromously satisfying when you get the chance
- Grönsaksbuljongtärning – a long word for a vegetable stock cube. Sometimes I go inte a supermarket and ask a shop assistant where to find them just so I get a chance to say it.
- Toppen – an uplifting way to say that all is good
- Hjärnsläpp – the Swedish word for drawing a blank. But it doesn’t matter if you can’t remember what you were going to say – because then you get to say ‘hjärnsläpp’ instead.
- Bajskorv – childish I know, but the Swedish word for ‘poo sausage’ is just hysterical.
Other Swedish words I love are ‘ångestframkallande‘, ‘slickepott’, ‘snöslask’, ‘oroväckande‘, ‘knäckebröd‘, ‘mångata’ and ‘underrättelsetjänsten‘.
What are some of your most satisfying Swedish Words to pronounce?
Let me know in the comments below….
In Britain, and Sweden, there are many places with funny or rude names.
What’s in a name? Does the name of a place say anything about its residents? For example, are the people of Uppsala upwardly mobile people? Or are the people of Sundsvall very sound in their values and morals? Maybe. If the name of place represents the type of people who live there, what does it say about the residents of these top 5 rude place names in Sweden?
5) In the town of Mora there is a place called Rövhålet, which translates as ‘butt hole’.
4) Bögs gård, north of Stockholm, literally means ‘Gay’s farm’
3) Kattsjärten in the county of Värmland is the evocative ‘cat’s arse’ in English
2) Way up in the north of Sweden, you will find Sexträsk, which is the exotic place of ‘sex swamp’
1) But the most embarrassing must be the place called Djupröven, which is just outside of Uppsala. It means ‘Deep Ass’ in English. Says it all.
There’s also a suburb of Stockholm which I’m always embarrassed to say. The suburb of Fittja sounds very much like the offensive word for female genitalia. Best to avoid saying it if you’re a foreign speaker of Swedish.
What other funny or rude place names in Sweden do you know?
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