You know the feeling. Just when you think you've mastered Swedish, you run into someone from the south and all your language skills go out the window. The Local Sweden's editor, who grew up in Skåne, lists 17 dialect words to at least help you fake being a local. When it comes to diphthongs, you're on your own.
In Swedish: Pojke
In English: Boy
In Swedish: Flicka
In English: Girl
In Swedish: Skottkärra
In English: Wheelbarrow
In Swedish: Kvarn, usually väderkvarn
In English: Mill, usually windmill
Mölla, or vindmölla, is also used to describe a modern electricity-generating wind turbine ('vindkraftverk' in Swedish).
A photo from Simrishamn in southern Sweden. Photo: Conny Fridh/imagebank.sweden.se
In Swedish: Födelsedagsbarn
In English: Birthday boy/girl
The literal meaning of födelsedagsgris is 'birthday pig'.
In Swedish: Cola (i.e. Coca-Cola)
In English: Coke
Most Swedes will ask for a 'cola' when they want a glass of the fizzy beverage. To southerners it is known as a 'coca', which as you probably guessed the average Swede associates more with cocaine.
Malmö is the biggest city in Skåne. Photo: Aline Lessner/imagebank.sweden.se
In Swedish: No real equivalent. What southerners call everything north of Helsingborg.
In English: Up north, literally up in the country.
In Swedish: Smuts/skit
In English: Dirt/shit
In Swedish: Släpa
In English: Drag
In Swedish: Balle (but not really, see explanation below)
In English: Buttock/Penis
The tricky thing about this one is that in most of Sweden 'balle' refers to a man's genitals, whereas in southern Sweden it is fairly child-friendly slang for buttock. Sometimes this gets very awkward.
Skåne even has its own flag. Photo: Håkan Dahlström/Flickr
In Swedish: Grina (but again, not really, see explanation below)
In English: Laugh/Cry
Here's another confusing one. In standard Swedish “jag grinade på min farmors begravning” means “I cried at my grandmother's funeral”. In southern Sweden it means “I laughed”. So be careful there.
In Swedish: Otålig
In English: Impatient
In Swedish: Äcklig
In English: Disgusting
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Think Scanian is too easy? Take the Öresund Bridge to Denmark. Photo: Silvia Man/imagebank.sweden.se
In Swedish: Idiot
In English: Idiot
In Swedish: Idiot
In English: Idiot (literally: eel head)
In Swedish: Krånglig
In English: Awkward, Difficult
Long explanation: Literally, this means that someone's got a “pointy mouth”. Southerners tend to speak quite far back in the mouth, while those speaking standard Swedish keep their tongue closer to the lips. So someone who is 'spissflabbad' is someone southerners feel speaks in a posh and slightly affected way.
Short explanation: Stockholmer
What's your favourite Swedish word? E-mail [email protected]!