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The Swedish formal “you” – does it exist? Posted by on May 21, 2018

French has “vous”, German has “Sie”, and Spanish has “Usted”. Does Swedish have a formal “you”? Many Western foreigners in Sweden will tell you that for them, the Swedish language seems rather blunt. Unlike their Western European counterparts, Swedes today, for the most part, don’t use any formal word for “you”. Whereas the Germans have…

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How to express “unless” in Swedish Posted by on Apr 18, 2018

There is an infinite number of grammatical concepts in any language. Swedish is no exception. Although Swedish, in general, has a relatively simple grammatical structure compared to many other European languages (sorry English readers – it’s the truth!), there are still grammatical concepts that are relatively complicated – or so simple that they seem complicated…

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Polar bears on the streets – a Swedish stereotype Posted by on Feb 28, 2018

There are many things that people believe to be true about Sweden. Some are pretty close to the general truth, others are way off. What about there being polar bears on the streets of Sweden? An interesting stereotype (en stereotyp) about life in Sweden is that occasionally, a pedestrian (en fotgängare), driver (en bilförare) or cyclist…

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Just enough Swedish fika – the Swedish word lagom Posted by on Feb 20, 2018

The Swedish fika is a well-known phenomenon among Sweden-enthusiasts. Just as important is the word lagom. How are these severely Swedish concepts related? By this point, the art of the Swedish coffee break has reached far beyond the vast stretches of the oblong Scandinavian paradise that is Sweden. Its concept serves as a symbol for…

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The five senses in Swedish Posted by on Jan 15, 2018

Sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. What are they in Swedish? The sight of Gamla Stan (the Old Town) in Stockholm on a Spring day. The sound of waves against rock in the Swedish archipelago. The scent of trees in the forests of Norrland. The taste of a delicious fish dinner on the squares of…

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The “mellandagsrea” – end-of-year shopping in Sweden Posted by on Dec 29, 2017

‘Tis the season to be jolly, or ’twas – the Christmas season has now passed. Christmas in Sweden is full of calm – from the First of Advent to the celebration of Saint Lucia on the 13th of December, and on to the Christmas holiday itself. All in the peaceful darkness of the high latitudes…

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Swedish Power Verbs: att vilja Posted by on Nov 30, 2017

Some verbs are just more useful than others. Att vilja, Swedish for “to want (to)”, is no exception! Att vilja is the full infinitive form – in other words, it includes the basic infinitive form vilja, “want (to do something)”, and att, “to” as used before a verb. (More on this in a later post.) The verb is…

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