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Useful Swedish words for your everyday life

Soon, all you newly accepted students will begin your journey to Stockholm and to KTH! But a new country also means a new language 😱 From my personal experience, I can say that I had no idea of any Swedish word when coming here. On the first evening, I didn’t had any food at home and went to a small bistro where it was perfectly fine to order the food in English, however, I realised that I was not even able to thank the person in their own language … so, that you don’t run into a similar situation, we’re gonna have a small language course today! 💬

Greeting & Saying goodbye

Greeting someone in Sweden is actually super simple, you just say “Hej!”. However, there’s more versions in greeting someone and I learned that you usually don’t repeat what the other person said. So for example, if someone says “Hej!”, you answer with “Hej hej!”, instead of repeating the “Hej!”. Among friends, you can also say “Tja!”.

Goodbye is also quite easy to remember, you simply say “Hejdå!” or you can also just say “Hej!” again.

Please & Thank you

To say please in Swedish works in two different directions. If you for example hand something over to a person, so e.g. say “Here you go!” then you can say “Varsågod!”. But if you order something in a store, you can also use “tack”.

This leads already into saying thank you in Swedish, which is “tack” as well. Or if you really want to thank someone you say “tack tack” or “tack så mycket!”.

Swedish flag

Useful words in everyday life

Tunnelbana: is the Swedish word for subway, you will also see big signs on the street with a “T” symbolising that there is a subway station.

Pendeltåg: is the commuter train that usually runs over longer distances. The sign for the pendeltåg is “J” from the word järnvägsstation (railway station).

utgång: is the exit. Especially useful when you’re commuting by train or plane or if you visit a store.

snabbköp: is the supermarket. However, I have never really heard this word in the daily life to be honest. It’s more likely to just use the name of the actual supermarket. The most common ones are Hemköp, Coop, ICA or Willys. And of course the German supermarket Lidl. So if you go to the supermarket you would say “I’m going to Hemköp”.

kassa: is the checkout in a store or the supermarket.

kontantfri: meas that you can only pay by card, so therefore cashless. This is quite important as there are several stores that only have card payments.

toalett (toa): is the bathroom. Especially important when you’re in a café or restaurant.

I hope these words can help you a bit when arriving in Sweden! Just remember that nearly everyone can also speak English here and is happy to help out! You just need to ask! 😊

Have a great week!
// Maria