The biggest insult a Swede can hurl at you is “tidsoptimist” (time-optimist). And if Sweden had a love language, it’d be time. So in this article, we’re going to learn vital Swedish time-related vocabulary. Everything from months, seasons and days in Swedish to other odd things you should be aware of.
For instance, you’ll also find out why Swedes refer to numerical weeks, why half-seven actually means half-six, and much more. You’ll never be left in the dark again! (Figuratively speaking, of course. It’s dark a lot in Sweden. We’ll cover the best time to visit Sweden too.)
Let’s get into it!
Swedish months of the year
First, the Swedish word for month is “månad” (morn-add) and the plural is “månader” (morn-add-air). After that, English speakers can breathe a sigh of relief. Swedish names for months don’t stray much from English. Pronunciation is also pretty much the same, although there are a few irregularities. Here they are in order:
Januari – (yan-you-are-ee) – January
Februari – (feb-roo-are-ee) – February
Mars – (mash) – March
April – (ah-prill) – April
Maj – (my) – May
Juni – (you-nee) – June
Juli (you-lee) – July
Augusti – (ow-guhst-ee) – August
September (sep-tem-behr) – September
Oktober (ock-too-behr) – October
November (n-of-em-behr) – November
December (dec-em-behr) – December
Lastly on the subject of months, if you want to tell someone that something is happening in a particular month, you can do it two ways. First, you can say “i januari” (in January, “ee yan-you-are-ee“).
Secondly, you could use the week number. The first week of January is known as “vecka ett” (week one, “veck-ah ett”). All subsequent weeks take the corresponding number: vecka två, vecka tre, vecka fyra and so forth. This is especially relevant for businesses, schools, public holidays, etc.
Swedish days of the week
It might surprise some readers that a few of the days of the week in English took their names from Vikings! Thursday, for instance, is Thor’s Day. Names for days of the week in Swedish are pretty much as similar in English as months are. Some might trip you up, though, so read carefully!
Måndag – (mon-dah) – Monday
Tisdag – (tees-dah) – Tuesday
Onsdag – (oons-dah) – Wednesday
Torsdag – (tour-sh-dah) – Thursday
Fredag – (freer-dah) – Friday
Lördag – (lerr-dah) – Saturday
Söndag – (sir-n-dah) – Sunday
Other vocabulary for days in Swedish
Next, some other words or phrases related to days in Swedish. Always useful to know, because Swedes will expect you to be on top of what date it is!
Vecka – (veck-ah) – Week
Helgen – (hell-yen) – The weekend
Imorgon – (ee-morr-on) – Tomorrow
I övermorgon (ee er-verr-morr-on) – The day after tomorrow
Igår – (ee-gore) – Yesterday
I förrgår – (ee fur-gore) – The day before yesterday
Seasons in Swedish
Swedes live and die by the seasons, quite literally. The more precious something is, the more we value it. That is certainly true of daylight. Daylight savings is observed in Sweden, and every minute of sunlight counts during the fall and winter months (September through February).
Weather in Sweden
Seasons are, of course, guided by weather. The official seasons in Sweden follow the same pattern as the rest of the northern hemisphere, but expect delays and a prolonged feeling of colder months.
You might be asking yourself why you have to wear two sweaters to celebrate midsummer, and the answer is: weather. Our favorite topic.
Here are some words that exemplify how Swedes are governed by the skies:
Sweden in winter vocabulary
Oväder – (oo-vair-derr) – Un-weather: Basically, anything from a huge shower of rain to a sudden blizzard. Oväder indicates that bad weather is happening.
Snöblask – (snerr-blassk) – Watery snow: Snow that melts as soon as it touches the ground and gets you drenched. Avoid going outside at all costs.
Blötsnö – (blert-snerr) – Wet snow: Snow that will settle on roofs and trees, but isn’t enough to make snowmen. Boo.
Kramsnö – (krahm-snerr) – Literally translated to “hug snow”: Snow that is perfect for making snowballs or snowmen. The best kind. That’s why it’s called hug snow.
Sweden in summer vocabulary
Solglimtar – (sool-glim-tar) – Sun glimpses: Time to celebrate! The sun will appear for short stretches of time. Music to a Swede’s ears.
Högsommar – (her-g-somm-arr) – High summer: A day where the temperature’s maximum is 25° Celsius (77°F!) The best you can expect. In other words, barbecue time.
Nederbörd – (near-derr-bird) – Precipitation: Pronouncing this word will make you sound like the Swedish chef. Try it.
Quick Swedish seasonal facts:
- The hottest months in Sweden are usually from June to mid-August.
- The coldest months in Sweden are usually from November to February.
- The best months to experience the Northern Lights in Sweden are October to December.
Writing the date in Swedish
This is a little complicated, so pay attention. The official way of writing the date in Sweden is from large to small: year, month, date. This is mostly observed for the personnummer (person number) system. If you’re planning on becoming a permanent resident in Sweden, my best advice would be to check up on this before moving! You can read all about it in English at skatteverket.se.
However, the most common way to write the date in Sweden is from smallest to largest: date, month, year. Always use four digits to write the year, to avoid transnational confusion. Use-by dates and bills etc. will be written in this format, so it’s important to know this!
Time-related words in Swedish
Swedes get down to details regarding time. Here are some important words related to time to avoid confusion:
Halv (ett, två, tre, etc) – (hall-v) – half to: Instead of saying half past, Swedes say half to. So half-past six in English would be halv sju in Swedish; half to seven. Remember, Swedes use the 24 hour clock, so if written down, the time would be 18:30 (half-past six, halv sju).
That’s all from us this time. We hope you enjoyed learning about time in Swedish with us. Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below!
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