Each and every language has certain words that are said often, but you would never know about them unless you spent time around native speakers. Swedish is no exception. From the moment I arrived in Sweden to study abroad I picked up on a few key phrases only Swedes use.
The first expression I discovered was, “Jaha!” (pronounced yaw-ha) Every Swede uses this phrase at least 100 times a day and they don’t even realize it. If I were to translate this word to English, I would say they probably use it the same way we use okay. Not the type of okay that describes how you feel though. For instance, if I were to say “My friend and I are going to a movie at 7.” my host mom would reply, “Jaha.” Or, if we are all finished with a meal and ready to leave, someone may say, “Jaha?” Also, it can have a different meaning depending on the vocal tone it is said in. Sometimes when my host family says it a lot in one conversation, I will repeat it after someone and they will all laugh because they know they use it so much.
Another word I couldn’t help but notice is “Så.” (pronounced so-ah) Many times this word is used when you are finished with something. If my host mom is finished making a pie and puts it in the ven, when she closes the oven door she would say, “Så.” Or, if one of my friends finishes a hard physics problem, they may say, “Så.” It kind of just rolls off the tongue and I have even managed to use it a few times. It’s just an easy way to say, “What’s next?”
The last phrase that is way overused he in Sweden is, “Ja, precis.” Translated it means “Yes, exactly,” but it is said waaay more than we say exactly. If my teacher is explaining something to someone in the class, they would say “Ja, precis.” instead “Okay.” or “Yeah.” to show they understand. It could also be used if I were to say, “Class starts at 10:30, right?” someone may answer with “Ja, precis.” It can be used in a multitude of ways but these are just a few examples.
I find all of these phrases very unique to Swedish and fun to hear. I’m sure there are some others I have yet to discover but these are some of the funnier and more profound Swedish sayings!
P.S. On my walk to school I was able to see my breath and some frost on the grass. This is both exciting and scary to a Floridian. Isn’t frost only for January?? I took a picture of the frost with the sun shining on it so hopefully you can see it in the grass a little farther away. Also, this weekend I am off to Amsterdam for an organization meeting for all the exchange students in Scandinavian countries. I will be sure to take lots of pictures!!!