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SWEDISH WORD OF THE DAY

Swedish word of the day: precis

Precis translates as "precisely", but it is used much more often and more flexibly than the English equivalent.

Swedish word of the day: precis
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

It’s one of those words that will help you sound more Swedish in an instant.

Hear how it’s pronounced below, and start using it as much as possible to pass for a native:

You can use precis on its own to say “yes, exactly/that’s right”. You can also say ja precis (yes, exactly) or nej precis when responding to a negated statement:

Det är en fin dag! Ja, precis (It’s a lovely day! – Yes, it is) but Vi vill inte vara för sena – Nej, precis (We don’t want to be too late – No [we don’t], exactly).

Want to make it more emphatic? Say just precis to really stress the confirmation.

Precis can also be used in most of the same ways as English “exactly”.

For example, du låter precis som min pappa (you sound exactly like my dad), det var precis vad jag sa (that’s exactly what I said), or nej, det är precis tvärtom (no, it’s exactly the opposite).

You can also use it to mean “just” in the sense of “just now/very recently” for example jag hade precis kommit hem när han ringde (I had just got home when he rang), han ringde precis (he just rang) or jag har precis flyttat hit (I’ve just moved here), as well as in the sense of “with a slim margin”, for example: precis i tid (just in time), hon hann precis med sista tåget (she just made the last train). 

Examples

Har du flyttat till Skåne? Precis

Have you moved to Skåne? Yes, that’s right

En stor kopp kaffe är precis vad jag behöver

A large cup of coffee is exactly what I need

Villa, Volvo, Vovve: The Local’s Word Guide to Swedish Life, written by The Local’s journalists, is now available to pre-order. Head to lysforlag.com/vvv to read more about it, and use the discount code VOVVELOVE (valid until October 27th) to get a 10% discount on all pre-orders.

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SWEDISH WORD OF THE DAY

​​Swedish word of the day: möte

The word of the day is perhaps Sweden’s second favourite pastime, after 'fika', and they often go hand in hand.

​​Swedish word of the day: möte

In 2017 Swedish television published an article with the headline, Möteskulturen frodas i Sverige, “The Meeting Culture is Thriving in Sweden”. For a non-Swede that might seem like an interesting and perhaps bizarre headline, but to the initiated it is all too familiar. 

A möte is simply a meeting, but for Swedes möten are something you do at every opportunity. Need to decide anything at all? Let’s have a möte. This can seem like an awful waste of time to a non-Swede, but Swedes are all about consensus. The idea is that after you have consensus you can move forward more efficiently. And Swedish society seems to do that really well. And it does not hurt that a möte is the perfect time for fika, or more precisely mötesfika.

As a bit of history, the English ‘meeting’ and Swedish möte are related, and they are also related to ‘moot’ as in ‘moot court’ or a ‘moot point’, “an issue that is subject to, or open for discussion or debate; originally, one to be definitively determined by an assembly of the people.” That assembly of people was originally an old Germanic type of town hall, a ting, where people met to discuss communal matters and settle disputes.

Today we can find the word ting in the names of the Icelandic parliament, the Althing, the Danish parliament, the Folketing, and the Norwegian parliament, the Storting. In Sweden you still find it in the name of the lower courts, Tingsrätten

The point is, there is a very old tradition of möten in Scandinavian culture. The Icelandic parliament, for instance, claims to be the oldest in the world. Whether the Icelanders can beat the Swedes at the time spent in möten at work is unsure, no statistics seem to be readily available for a comparison. 

Malin Åkerström, the researcher who was interviewed in the piece by Swedish television, claims that the public sector are the primary champions of möten, but it is also very common in the private sector. And möten are on the rise in many workplaces. 

Here it might help to know that in Sweden a möte can also be between you and just one other co-worker to discuss almost anything, so the term is quite broad. Then there are so called arbetsplatsträffar, more commonly referred to as APT, a type of longer, more serious möte that many workplaces hold regularly (there you can almost always count on fika). 

As you can see, Swedes love their möten – so why not find an excuse to stämma tid för ett möte with one of your Swedish friends or maybe a coworker? You might just make their day.

Example sentences:

Bettan, kan vi stämma tid för ett möte?

Bettan, can we decide on a time for a meeting?

Jag blir galen med alla dessa konstanta möten, va fan är det för fel på svenskar?

I’m going insane with all these constant meetings, what the hell is wrong with these Swedes?

Villa, Volvo, Vovve: The Local’s Word Guide to Swedish Life, written by The Local’s journalists, is now available to order. Head to lysforlag.com/vvv to read more about it. It is also possible to buy your copy from Amazon US, Amazon UK, Bokus or Adlibris.

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