Having lived on three different continents — Africa, North America, and now Europe — for extended periods of time, Lola (Akinmade) Åkerström is drawn to the complexities and nuances of culture and how they manifest themselves within relationships.
She holds a master’s degree in Information Systems from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Lola worked as a consultant and programmer for over a decade before following her dreams of becoming a travel writer and photographer, exploring various cultures through food, tradition, and lifestyle.
Today, she’s an award-winning writer, speaker, and photographer represented by National Geographic Creative. She regularly contributes to high profile publications such as AFAR, the BBC, The Guardian, Lonely Planet, Travel + Leisure and National Geographic Traveller, to name a few – https://www.akinmade.com
She has received photography and writing awards, including recognition from the Society of American Travel Writers and North American Travel Journalists Association. In addition, Lola is the editor of Slow Travel Stockholm, an online magazine dedicated to exploring Sweden’s capital city in depth (https://www.slowtravelstockholm.com).
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Last week, we learned several different ways to say thank you in the creatively titled post, Saying Thank You in Swedish. When you’re learning a new language, all of those polite words can really come in handy. So let’s take a look at how to say please in Swedish.
I’m kidding. Kind of. Of course you say please in Swedish. But this is one of those words that new Swedish learners really struggle with sometimes. That’s because a lot of the times, you use the word tack. Thank you. For example, if your friend asks you if you want more ice cream (and of course you do) then you might respond “yes, please.” Let’s take a look at that in Swedish:
–Vill du ha mer glass? –Ja, tack!
Notice how we use tack there? It’s almost as if, in Swedish, you’re thanking the person in advance. What if you’re a little eager for that ice cream? You might ask your friend for more ice cream before they even get a chance to ask you.
–Kan jag få mer glass, tack?
There it is again: “can I have some more ice cream, please?” We’re using tack!
Maybe you’re overwhelmed by the amount of thanking going on in Swedish. There are a few other ways of saying please without using tack.
Sometime you’ll hear the word snällaas please. Snäll means nice or kind. So you’re essentially appealing to a person’s kindness. It’s also usually used by children. So instead of a friend, let’s look at a child who wants a little more ice cream from their father.
–Snälla pappa, kan jag få mer glass?
So here we have an English sentence similar to: “can I please have some more ice cream, dad?” The child is appealing directly to the kindness of their father.
Similarly, you can use snäll or vänlig to appeal to a person’s kindness as a form of please:
–Vill du vara snäll och ge mig mer glass? –Vill du vara vänlig och ge mig mer glass?
Literally, you’re asking someone if they can be nice and give you some more ice cream. This is a perfectly acceptable way to say please, although it can sometimes sound a bit formal, so be aware of that.
Editor’s note: I can’t say please in Swedish without thinking of this song:
Hen is a new pronoun in Swedish. It is a gender neutral pronoun that many people mean was needed very much to fill a hole in the Swedish language. The purpose of the pronoun isn’t to gender-neutralize a person but more like not revealing gender in cases when you don’t want to, or not important. However, it is also used as a collective pronoun instead or writing “he/or she can decide if…” we can simply write “hen can decide if…”. So I personally really feel that this is one of the most useful area in the language. The Swedish newspaper called “hen” as the you Swedish export product, hoping that it will be used in other countries too. Germanic languages would needed.
On the other hand there are other Finno-Ugric and Turkish-speaking nations who use gender-neutral pronoun. Finnish: Hän, Hungarian: Ö etc.
The Swedish Daily Newspaper thinks it is Sweden’t biggest export product. In Norwegian they started to use hen, in Danish høn and in Icelandic hán as well. English has been a little more conservative when it comes to hen. English had tried a few alternative variations: ce, ze xo but without any results. källa: Dagens Nyheter
The Swedish language has already a gender neutral way to talk about things in general man but recently it has also been exchanged by hen in many cases. Many people find this revolutionary and historic from a language point of view because we have been witnessing such a major change in the Swedish language in our lifetime.