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SWEDISH WORD OF THE DAY

Swedish word of the day: joråsåatte

Joråsåatte is not a word you’ll find in the dictionary.

Swedish word of the day: joråsåatte
This Swedish word will help you get out of awkward conversations. Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

You may, however, hear it in conversation with Swedes, or to be more accurate, you may hear it when the conversation stalls.

It is made up of several words, so let’s break it down.

First: jodå, which is often pronounced jorå. Jodå (literally “yes then”) is a more emphatic version of jo, which like ja means “yes” but is often used as a more insistent yes or when answering negated questions in the affirmative. We’ve explained the word jo in this article.

means “so”.

And finally, att means “that”. The e at the end of joråsåatte is a result of dragging out the word because you don’t know what to say next, much like “er” or “um”. Because joråsåatte is primarily used in spoken Swedish, you may see several spelling variations in writing.

It’s usually used as a filler word, a nonsense word you say when you’ve run out of all other words, when the silence is too much to bear, even for a non-talkative Swede. A similar word in English might be “anyway” or “so yeah”.

It’s handy when you’re trying to get out of a conversation. Throw in a joråsåatte just before you make your excuse to leave. Don’t forget to shuffle your feet awkwardly and pretend to look at your watch or phone like you suddenly remembered an important appointment.

Another way to use it is at the end of a vaguely entertaining or shocking story, just after the punchline or in place of the punchline when you realise the story was far more entertaining and shocking in your head compared to how it came out. Kind of like making a drum roll sound.

Examples:

Joråsåatte… jag borde nog gå och hämta barnen på förskolan nu

Anyway… I should probably go and pick up the children from preschool

… sa flickan. Joråsåatte…

… that’s what she said. Er, anyway.

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 USAmazon UKBokus or Adlibris.

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SWEDISH WORD OF THE DAY

Swedish word of the day: förståsigpåare

Today’s word is like a know-it-all who actually knows something.

Swedish word of the day: förståsigpåare

According to svenska.se, a förståsigpåare is ‘a person who is well versed in something and likes to let others know this’ or ‘a person who knows something (whatever it is at the moment), connoisseur,; expert, professional, expert; also: person who imagines that this knowledge applies to understanding everything.’

Förståsigpåare has been traced back to 1798 in writing, but could be older. The word is actually three words turned into a noun. Normally turning a verb or an adjective into a noun is what is called a ‘nominalization’. In this case it is three words förstå (‘to understand’), sig (‘reflexive pronoun’), and (‘on’): a verb, a reflexive pronoun, and a preposition. 

The original phrase, still in use today, is att förstå sig på något. Just like Förståsigpåare, this is a common way of saying that someone knows how something works or to have knowledge of something. 

Förståsigpåare is often used ironically, in which case it applies to people who are know-it-alls, and in this sense, there’s also a noun for the phenomenon itself: förståsigpåeri. One can then deplore the widespread phenomenon of förståsigpåeri, where people pretend to know a whole lot about things of which they really do not know much at all. 

But the word is not always used ironically or in a derogatory sense, it can also simply mean a pundit, or an expert. So you can often see a förståsigpåare on television explaining a certain something, like the American electoral college or the delicacies of the Balkans, or just explaining the tactics of a football game. In other words anyone sharing knowledge of a particular something, or who can explain something, can be a förståsigpåare.

Example sentences:

Den där, han är en riktig förståsigpåare.

That one, he’s a real know-it-all.

För att förklara hur elektorskollegiet fungerar så har vi amerikanske förståsigpåaren Marcus Smith. 

To explain how the electoral college works we have the American pundit Marcus Smith. 

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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