Swedish Language Blog

English Words in Swedish Posted by on Jul 31, 2014 in Swedish Language, Vocabulary

Languages change. There’s phonetic change and morphological change and lexical change. Sometimes they’re obvious and other times maybe a bit less so. But, for the most part, these changes do not mean that the language is dying or disappearing. You hear that a lot when people start wondering about the number of foreign words making their way into a language. Like English words in Swedish, for example.

There are a whole host of English loanwords that appear in Swedish. And that’s ok. Especially because the vast majority of people in Sweden are still speaking Swedish. Surprising, I know. Språkrådet, the organization that kind of watches over the Swedish language, even came out and reminded everyone that it’s ok to use some English words in Swedish and that it is not the downfall of Swedish. Loanwords come from all kinds of language. Swedish has loanwords from English, German, French, Spanish, Arabic, and the list goes on.

Plus, from a language-learning standpoint, loanwords can be very helpful. They can often act as cognates, those helpful words that have a similar etymology and make them easy to recognize. Because I speak English, I’ve put together a short list of words that have been borrowed into Swedish. They appear somewhat regularly and can be very useful in everyday speech. While it may seem silly to put together a list of cognates, it can be helpful in adding them in to your working vocabulary.

I’ve included 20 verbs below and you’ll notice many of them are related to technology. Some of them are more common in the speech of younger Swedes, others you’ll hear from Swedes of all ages. Hopefully, they’re all helpful.

Svenska English
googla to google
blogga to blog
klicka to click
skanna to scan
twittra to tweet on Twitter
skypa to skype
printa ut to print out something
uppdatera to update
kontakta to contact
facebooka to use Facebook
attacha to attach
logga in/ut to log in/out
starta to start
dejta to date
flirta to flirt
dumpa to dump someone
stressa to stress
chilla to chill out
studera to study
parkera to park

In the comments below, please add some more of the loan words and cognates you’ve come across.

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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.


  1. Philip:

    dissa – to disrespect
    dampa – to run amok
    pimpa – to tart up something, like a car

  2. Charles Fudgemuffin:

    When you’re starting to learn Swedish it’s encouraging to read posts like this which highlight that many modern Swedish words are very similar to the English equivalents. One of the first loanwords I discovered was ‘profil’ (profile) which I discovered through reading my Swedish friends’ facebook statuses.

  3. Marcus Cederström:

    Switching your Facebook language to Swedish is a fun way to practice your Swedish also!

  4. Natalya:

    Att mejla

  5. Marcus Cederström:

    Great example!

  6. Fatima Bergström:

    Yola – verb – when using YOLO in as a verb when doing something just because “you only live once” (YOLO)
    Yolar – when you are doing the actual YOLO-activity
    Using it in a sentens would look like this:
    “Kom igen, vi yolar från balkongen och ner i poolen!” = “Come on, let’s YOLO (jump) off the balcony into the pool!”

  7. Marcus Cederström:

    Yes! Another wonderful example.