Sunday, 1 January 2012

Swedish words of the year

Why Swedish? Well, why not. They're so much better than our boring old candidates for this honour, anyway. 

One I like is åsiktstaliban. It means 'opinion taliban'. Perhaps related is attitydinkontinens, which if you read it carefully says 'attitude incontinence', or an inability to keep your opinions to yourself. 

As proof (if we needed it) that knowing the etymology doesn't affect your use of a word, they have juholtare, which describes 'a situation when someone says something hastily and then has to take it back', and terja, which is to manipulate a photograph. Both handy words, and both come from the names of people you've probably never heard of if you're not Swedish. Håkan Juholt is the leader of the Social Democratic party and apparently keeps making rash and incorrect statements. Terje Hellesø is a nature photographer who confessed to having messed about with his photos (which won an award). This also makes him unusual in having a word based on his first name rather than his surname. 

appa, which means to solve a problem by using an app, is another good word which we simply don't have in English and I think might be usefully borrowed. We could just use app as a verb, as in:
What's the weather going to be like tomorrow? Hold on, I'll just app it.  
Some of the words are frankly bizarre. Take Säpojogg ('Säpo jog'), 
a term describing a run or race emulating how security service agents jogged in suits and ties behind a vehicle, such as at Crown Princess Victoria's wedding.
Why would you need such a word? Why would there be a race like that? 

And what about mobildagis ('mobile phone daycare')? It means  
a place for the collective storage of multiple mobile phones
What? What is such a place? Like the place in the house where everyone's phone lives? These crazy Swedes. 

1 comment:

  1. Over Christmas my mother asked what the letters APP stood for. It took me a while to realise she mean 'app'. Now at least she knows what one is. Sort of.

    As for a mobile phone day care centre, I think that's a great idea. I presume it's to force people to have civilized conversations and not keep breaking off to check their texts, FB etc every thirty seconds. Sensible Swedes.