Swedish Language Blog

Barbecues in Sweden Posted by on Jun 30, 2015 in Swedish Language, Vocabulary

Come summer, Swedes (in one of those stereotypes that paints with broad strokes) like to be outside. That means drinking at the outdoor bars even if it’s cold (don’t worry, the bars generally provide blankets and have plenty of heat lamps), trying to get out for a swim, a bike, a hike, something, and heading out for a picnic or a barbecue. Just like any good barbecue there tends to be a lot of eating, a lot of drinking, and maybe even some games. A good game is kubb, a throwing game involving wooden batons and a king in the middle of it all that is often said to be from the Viking Age. Maybe, but it really became popular in Sweden in the 1990s. I’ll leave you to decide the game’s provenance. No matter when it was invented or where it came from, it’s a great game for a barbecue and can even be found here in the US. There’s even a U.S. National Kubb Championship! Of course, you’re going to have to attend quite a few barbecues before your kubb playing skills are ready for the national championship. Luckily, it’s summer time and you’ve got plenty of reason to get outside and enjoy the weather.


With the Fourth of July just a few days away, there’s no better time to learn a host of Swedish vocabulary words for your Independence Day barbecue. While the Swedes don’t spend a whole lot of time celebrating American independence from British rule back in the 1700s, there are plenty of Americans living abroad who do. But whether you’re an American abroad looking to impress your Swedish friends or just learning Swedish somewhere else in the world, the words you need for a Fourth of July barbecue are the same words you need for a Midsummer barbecue. Or a Tuesday-in-July barbecue, for that matter.

So with that in mind, let’s take a look at twenty new words for your summer vocabulary:

Swedish English
att äta to eat
att dricka to drink
att grilla to grill
att prata to talk
att skratta to laugh
att spela (kubb) to play (kubb)
en engångsgrill a disposable grill
en filt a blanket
en grill a grill
en grillfest a barbecue
en hamburgare a hamburger
en ketchup a ketchup
en korv a hotdog
en läsk a pop/soda
en picknick a picnic
en potatissallad a potato salad
en senap a mustard
en solkräm a sunscreen
ett hamburgerbröd a hamburger bun
ett korvbröd a hotdog bun
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About the Author: Marcus Cederström

Marcus Cederström has been writing for the Transparent Swedish Blog since 2009. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Scandinavian Studies from the University of Oregon, a Master's Degree in Scandinavian Studies from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and a PhD in Scandinavian Studies and Folklore from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He has taught Swedish for several years and still spells things wrong. So, if you see something, say something.