Community Talks! Vol. 1, ep. 30.
Note: As always - Do not take this article to seriously!
A few months back I wrote an article explaining what it was like to be Icelandic and the prejudices that follow you because of that. I believe I also explained that I am not only Icelandic but very much a Swede. The dual citizenship has allowed me to distance myself from the different nationalities conveniently. Like the prejudices of both don’t really apply to me because I can pick and choose what nationality I identify with (comes in very handy I must say). I know and all other Swedes know we are not always the easiest people to understand, and the unspoken rules of Swedes can be hard to navigate. Therefore, I now present to you a quick guide on how to be Swedish:
Fika is a way of life
Fika—us Swedes pride ourselves on having a word that can’t really be translated into another language. But in simple terms Fika represents the act of having a coffee and a pastry. So, if you want to be more Swedish, embrace this custom and make sure to do it at a bakery that has “fri påtår” (free refill).
Be great, act lagom!
In Sweden there is one law that is above all others: JANTELAGEN. If you’ve ever wondered why Swedes are the way there are, this law pretty much sums it up. The meaning of Jantelagen is quite simple; you are not better than anyone else! This law is why Swedes are bad at receiving compliments, downplay their achievements and why talking about money is a big no-no.
Avoid your neighbors
I know we all seem nice and polite but that does not mean we like to small talk. Therefore, we wait inside our apartments until the coast is clear. God forbid we run into a neighbor. If we do need to interact, just say a quick “hej, hej” without making eye contact and walk past quickly.
Learn how to sing “Helan går”
Us swedes love our holidays, and it is usually celebrated with a snaps and a song (read many). So, if you would like to feel apart of the gang. Go on the internet and google “helan går” and learn the lyrics. That way you’ll be an instant hit!
Learn the nuances of the word NO
Swedes have different ways of using the word no (nej or nä). Sometimes a no is a yes and sometimes it means something completely different. It depends on the tone of voice, the number of times you use it. Please refer to the table below for a guide:
Have a great weekend!
Hilarious :D I would just love an audio-guide to all those "no"- s. Although I speak Swedish, I think I am maybe using only about 6 ways of those no-s, but well that is lagom, so maybe I am all set :D #lagomisbest3
I laughed a lot with this post! Thanks Ragnhild Jonasdottir!
Like Krisztina Kursinszki mentioned I will also love to listen to an audio guide to understand the different "no"- s better. I also think that sometimes I get confused with the "mmm" sounds, as I never get if it's an affirmation or negation or if you are just listening.1
Well Mariana Cañavera H. it can be all of those at once haha just kidding :D But yeah, not easy with that either. My family in Hungary thinks it is a little annoying how much I "mmm" while they are talking and I am just listening :D I always thought that it is very interesting how we communicate in different languages, there can be such interesting similarities and differences. :)1
...and then you have "njae", which is a mix between "Ja" and "Nej"... means "maybe", "perhaps", "depends" or "I don't know"...1
Please sign in to leave a comment.