Har den äran!

From Graham:

Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the signs?  Well in most cases, “No, I can’t read the sign”.  And there are signs everywhere here and while some have pictures that you can decipher there are plenty that I just guess or normally ignore and hope not to have to use the “ignorant foreigner” excuse later.  Here are some good “sign” words that we do know:

fart = speed

farthinder = speed bump

ing̴ng/infart Рentrance

utgång/utfart = exit

förbjuden = forbidden; a good word to know in the local language when travelling

tillåten = permitted/allowed

vänster = left

höger = right

framåt = ahead

bakom = behind

We’ve spend a decent amount of time food shopping so the food vocabulary is getting better.  Here are some food words:

bullar = buns, so we can have kanelbullar (cinnamon buns) or köttbullar (meat balls); balls, buns what’s the difference?  well in English…

kött = meat and nötkött is beef … so is or isn’t beef a meat…

fullkorn = whole wheat; kind of makes sense

s̴s Рsauce; they compound-word this one a lot to make all sorts of sauces like chilis̴s, pastas̴s, tomats̴s, osts̴s (cheese sauce), etc.

knäckbröd – crispy bread that they have fifty brands of here as a delivery device for matjessill (pickled herring) and other delicacies.  Bröd by itself is regular bread

poäng – you thought you knew this one – those ugly IKEA chairs.  No it means “points” – not sure how the chair got its name.

jämförpris – the per unit measure price used for comparing prices of different sized items.  By law most things you see in stores have this price along with the item price.

Nytt lägre pris – the ever popular “new lower price” unless of course you bought the item at the “gammal högre pris” last week.

From Catherine:

I have a few more favorite words

Häsla hem means “greetings/regards to those at your home”.  Swedes express this sentiment enough that it made sense to have a brief greeting than “tell your mom and dad and sisters I said hi and wish them well”.

Grattis is an all-purpose festive greeting, congratulations and happy and merry all rolled into one.  You can use this at almost any occasion: births, engagements, graduation, anniversary, mother’s day, and birthdays.   If you want to get fancy, for birthdays you could also say Har den äran.

So… Grattis och har den äran, sister Bridget. I know you like words so I hope you have enjoyed these posts, just for you!   🙂


  1. Awwww… thank you. (Next please, the words for please and thank you. ;-))

    I really do love words. And i love discovering how other languages/people use them to describe things and tell stories.

    utfart hee hee utfart you would want that to be the exit, wouldn’t you?

    Thank you again. Häsla hem.

  2. Please is snälla (sneh-la) but I haven’t heard that used. Generally when you are asking for something you just say thank you in the request. So to politely ask for two apples you would say:

    Två äpplen, tack.

    So tack is thank you and you hear tack used very frequently.

    To say “you’re welcome” the guide book lists: För all del (furr ahl deel) but I don’t think that gets used very often. I’ve only heard varsÃ¥god (vahr-soa-goad) which has a number of meanings including you’re welcome, and please as in “please help yourself”.

    Bonus words:
    Hello is Hej (hay) but generally you get a friendly Hej hej!
    Goodbye is Hej då (hay-doa)
    Yes is Ja (yah)
    No is Nej (nay)
    And my (unfortunately) most commonly used phrase: “Jag talar inte svenska” which you can probably figure out the meaning.

  3. Thanks for the quick Swedish lesson! I have to say that I when I read the Swedish words for speed and exit I burst out laughing. I’m probably the most immature 30 something ever but I’m not ashamed to admit it :p!!!

    🙂 Andrea

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