Now that you know the sounds of Sweden and some Swedish words, expressions and phrases it is time to focus on Gothenburg and the Gothenburg dialect. But first, what is the city's real name?

Göteborg or Gothenburg?

Gothenburg is the only city in Sweden with an international name. Why? There are many explanations. Some claim that it is much harder to pronounce Göteborg (“Geu-te-borry”) than Stockholm, Malmö and all the "-köpings"... We don’t buy it! Others say that the two different versions come from the many ways to spell the same words and sounds before the Swedish language reforms and “Gothenburg” just stuck internationally. Another possible explanation is that the name stems from the city’s international trading relationships which dates way back.

Words in the Gothenburg dialect. 

The Gothenburg dialect is known, and at times made fun of, all over Sweden. But that is the way it should be with dialects! If you haven’t worked on your pronunciation of “Ä” and “Ö” yet, you should start now because they are common sounds in Gothenburg. Let’s look at some words that are more established in the area around Gothenburg than in the rest of the country.

Abrovinsch – when you do an “ab-roe-vin-sh” you make a temporary fix to something. The abrovinsch can be complicated, but it is a quick fix to a problem while waiting for a more permanent solution. 

Exter – Everybody has one or more ”ext-air”, it could be a ritual before going to sleep, biting your nails, or not being able to withstand candy that you’ve laid your eyes on. It is a word for habits or silly ideas of how something should be done.   

Feppla – “fe-pla” is when you fumble. You are simply not handling something with care, you “fepplar”. 

Fippla – this word has a similar meaning to “feppla”, but when you “fip-la” you are making something unnecessarily hard and complicated. 

“Fleu poh day!”

Flö – This short word means “Move out of my way...”. It is not the nicest word to use, so don’t say it to someone with the intention of being polite. You pronounce it “fleu”, but it is not as French as it looks. You can also say “Flö på dig!” ("Fleu poh day") which has the same meaning.

Knö – ”K-neu” means either to push or to jostle one another. For example, “Knö inte!” means “Stop pushing!” and “Knö in dig!” means that you squeeze yourself into a place which doesn’t really have room for you. However, if you say “Knö på dig!” you’re saying “Move!”.

Tetig – When you are “teh-tig” you are being difficult or weird. But it is not only people who can be “tetiga”, situations or things can be described in this way too. 


Tjottaheiti  – ”sho-ta-hey-ti” means “far away”. And we mean far, far, far away, like in the middle of nowhere. You could even say that “That is far away in tjottaheiti.” and everyone will know that the chances of finding that place are slim. 

Änna – “A-na” is a Gothenburg equivalent of “pretty” as in “that is pretty weird…” or “kind of” and “like”. It is used to put in kind of a reservation for when you’re pretty sure, but like not entirely. Yeah, it is a filler word.

Next lesson…

Now that you are ready to speak Swedish with the next Swede you run into, you might want to know some conversational conventions we have here in Sweden.

Note: these articles are supposed to be entertaining and give you a sense of the Swedish culture through our language. If you are serious about learning Swedish you should turn to educational institutions which provide classes in Swedish.