9 February, 2017

Learn 5 basic Swedish words

If you are a total beginner to the Swedish language, learning some keywords can help you in daily situations – even if you don’t interact much with Swedes.

1. Hej and hej då

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The sound is similar to the English “Hey, dude!”, but rather than a slang, “hej” means simply “hi”. And don’t be surprised if you hear it doubled. “Hej, hej!” is the usual greeting around here. As you might imagine, “hej då” means “good bye”.

2. Ursäkta

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When you are in a hurry, it is always helpful to have this one in mind. “Ursäkta” means “excuse me”. It can also be used for situations when you want to call attention politely, like: “Ursäkta, var är toaletten?” (Excuse me, where is the restroom?)

3. Förlåt

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Sometimes accidents like bumping into someone can happen, right?! In such cases, if you don’t know how to say “I am sorry” people might think that you are rude when in fact you just don’t know the words. So, remember, the Swedish word for apologizing is “förlåt”.

4. Tack/Snälla

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“Tack” is the Swedish word for both “thank you” and “please”, while “snälla” stands for “please or kind”. But when used together, like in “Tack, snälla!” they mean “thank you very much or thank you kindly”, which can also be expressed as “Tack så mycket”. Confusing, right? But easier than winning an Oscar 🙂

5. Varsågod

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This one is less complicated. If someone thanks you for something, you can simply say “varsågod”, which means “you are welcome”. (I didn’t want to mention it, but there is a tricky part: “var så god” is also used for “tack”).

Congratulations! Now you are ready to go to the next level. By the way, our blogger Lydia shared awesome tips on how she learned Swedish in one year. Check it out!

The Newbie Team
The Newbie Team posts news, tips and general goodness that can be useful for all Newbies. We always try to find Newbie related information that will help all Newbies on their new life in Sweden.
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2 Comments on “Learn 5 basic Swedish words

22 February, 2017 at 12:29

Ursäkta can also be used as I’m sorry I didn’t hear what you said.

10 March, 2017 at 08:45

But don’t say ursäkta when bumping into somebody, it may sound as ‘well, excuse me.. but you are standing in my way’. Happened to me and the person was a) staring at me thinking I’m rude b) started apologising
People think that Swedish is not so formal, but there are certain expressions for different occasions and it may sound weird when not used properly.


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