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Sportlov Season Is Upon Us Posted by on Feb 21, 2009 in Vocabulary

And that’s “lov,” NOT “love,” not to be confused, and the meaning is totally different as well.
Sportlov, aka vinterlov, or skidlov is simply Swedish for “winter school break.”

But lov is a tricky word – it has several meanings, and depending on the meaning, it can be either an “ett” or “en” word, or exist without any other form.

So, let’s take a closer look at this mysterious “lov,” shall we?

  • 1. lov (def. lovet, indef.pl: lov, def.pl: loven) – tid då man har ledigt från skolan – sommarlov eller vinterlov – time off from school – summer break or winter break. School holidays, in other words.
  • 2. lov (def. loven, indef.pl: lovar, def.pl: lovarna) – vändning, sväng – a turn (of a boat) – it’s a sailing term
  • 3. lov (without any other forms – such a weird noun in Swedish is called “oböjligt substantiv”) – svar eller förklaring som säger att man får göra något, tillåtelse – permission to do something.
  • 4. lov (def. lovet, no plural forms) – beröm – praise (used as a noun).

So, there’s plenty of reasons to be careful with this noun. It also pops up in many expressions and compound words. Of course “sportlov” is one of such compounds.

Why is a winter school break called literally “a sports holiday” that I don’t know. I’m a very non-sporty person. But I’m sure it has something to do with going outside and playing in the snow. One of the synonyms for “sportlov” is simply “skidlov” – skiing holiday.

And sure it is. Last night I was at Cityterminalen in Stockholm waiting for my bus, and while I sat there doing nothing I watched groups upon groups of school age kids with all sorts of skis and snowboards piling into buses to such exciting destinations as Hemavan and Åre (popular skiing areas).

Kids in Stockholm get their sporlov during week 9. In fact, the whole sportlov schedule is staggered, so the break comes at different weeks in different regions of the country. Below is the usual outline.

Följande delar av Sverige har sportlov följande veckor:

* Vecka 7: Göteborg, Kungsbacka, Jönköpings län, Ydre
* Vecka 8: Uppsala län, Skåne län, Södermanlands län (utom Gnesta), Östergötlands län (utom Ydre), Örebro län, Hallands län, Blekinge län, Kalmar län, Kronobergs län
* Vecka 9: Stockholms län, Dalarnas län, Gästrikland, södra Hälsingland, Västmanlands län, Värmlands län, Gnesta, Älvkarleby, Gotland
* Vecka 10: Västerbotten, Norrbotten, norra Hälsingland, Västernorrlands län, Jämtlands län, Idre
* Vecka 11: Jokkmokk

So, what will your kids do during sportlov?

PS. Back in the olden days sportlov was called kokslov and it was a school break designed to reduce school heating costs during cold winter months.

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