Swedish Language Blog

(Sommarsverige har semesterstängt) Summer Sweden is closed during vacation Posted by on Jul 27, 2016 in Grammar

Oh so you haven’t yet fixed your new id-card or maybe your EU-health insurance card before leaving for your summer vacation? You might end up having some problems that you haven’t really accounted for, like opening hours, delays, (sommarvikarier) summer substitute staff that work slower and less efficiently. July and August are the most popular vacation (semester) months in Sweden. If you take your vacation in August you call it (sen semseter) in one word which means late vacation. July is usually the most popular month to choose because of the number of sunny hours and the heath. When it is the warmest you can talk about (högsommarvärme) i.e. heath during the midst of the summer.

There is a huge amount of compound words in the Swedish language as you have probably already noticed. The main reason why Swedish write these nouns together is that nouns shall stand with either with an article or without, for example: Have a nice vacation! (Ha en trevlig semester!) or It was fun on the vacation. (Det var skoj på semestern). But also because the compound nouns can be of at least two elements a pre-element and a last-element, where the later decides the article of the new compound word as in kyl (en kyl) + skåp (ett skåp)= ett kylskåp or hus (ett hus) + arrest (en arrest) en husarrest. Note that compound words can be made with adjective + noun, adverb + noun etc.

There are of course some general cases when you don’t have to use articles at all for instance after numerals: I have bought two cars. Jag har köpt två bilar. It’s nice with some chocolate – Det är gott med choklad.

In English you talk about a summer vacation or a cash register but in Swedish you have to write en sommarsemester or en kassaapparat, because it wouldn’t make any sense with en sommar semester since the second noun would stand without an article. Even the meaning would be different for example in plural: kassa apparater means worthless devices (note that the first element of the compound word is an adjective) or en brandbil which means fire truck but brand bil separately fire car/truck doesn’t make any sense in Swedish. A situation where you could have nouns separately from each other is when you use enumeration: brand, bil, hus, väg etc. Enumeration is used for example when you write your shopping list, then you use commas between the nouns.

some other useful words for the summer:

ett myggbett – mosquito bite

en sommarplåga – a song often released during spring and played all summer so it gets on your nerves.

en ryssvärme – the heat wave coming from the direction of Russia during the summer time.

en bonnabränna – your first tan lines (not a proper sun tan)

en vattenpistol – water gun

en sommarstuga – summer cottage

en badstrand – beach/lido

en uteservering- opean-air café

en sommarflört – summer flirt

en strandraggare – beach bum

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  1. Rita Harris:

    I find these articles very helpful. I am always finding interesting lessons, I will never be fluent in Swedish, but it still makes me want to learn.

  2. Sarah:

    Do you mean summer heat when you say summer heath?