Languages give us a sense of who we are, where we’re heading … the language shapes our future as a people or culture. A language unites, much in the same way as politics, race or religious beliefs.

The way languages develop, if a section of a nation or people divide from the larger majority, they will develop their own language, their own specialized words to offer a way to communicate within that group. It becomes a shorthand method of relating to each other or a way to avoid being understood by others.
For whichever reasons, whether through choice or circumstance, whether through subjugation – perceived or real – or marginalization there are certain areas where newcomers to Sweden group or are grouped together, not necessarily sharing a language to begin with and they will create their own language. Thus "Rinkebysvenskan," which by some linguists may be considered pidgin Swedish… creating new words, influenced by the languages represented in the areas, and often simplified. Popular culture, music (e.g., Latin Kings and several of the Swedish language rappers) books (e.g., "Snabba cash" by Jens Lapidus, or "Ett öga rött" by Jonas Hassen Khemiri, both now also movies) then becomes a bridge over to the majority of people—most often through the younger generation.
The Editor


Not long ago the Swedish word “tjej” (girl) was considered slang, but today it is an established word. “Every generation seems to have its favorite word for ‘flicka’ (girl),” says Ulla-Britt Kotsinas, a retired professor in Nordic languages. Today, the hip word for “flicka” is "guss," which is originally a Turkish word. Other words have not faired as well as “tjej”―“bautastor” (enormous) was popular in the 1980s but few use it today; the same goes for “sjukt” (extremely) as in “en klocka som var sjukt snygg” (a watch that was extremely nice).
Some words or expressions are given a completely new meaning. For instance, the expression “eller hur” (an expression that doesn’t quite have it’s equivalent in English, in German it would be “nicht wahr?” or simply “nich?” and in French, “n’est-ce-pas?”). “Eller hur” has lost the question mark it once had at the end, and today it is a slang expression used as a confirmation of something, replacing words like “precis” (precisely) and “just det” (that’s it). For exmple:
“Vi åker till Liseberg, det är så kul där.” (Let’s go to Liseberg, it’s so much fun there.)
“Eller hur.” (Right)
Another word that has changed meaning is “grym,” which originally meant “cruel” but which nowadays acts as a positive booster: “Det var grymt kul.” (It was a lot of fun).
“En grym väska” (A very nice bag). The same with “typ.” When Mormor was young, a “typ” was a shady character, but the word is used when you want to make an addendum to what you just said. “Han är journalist, typ. …” (He’s a journalist, sort of. …) An “överrock” (over coat) was something Morfar used to cover himself in winter―today “överrock” is an unwelcome guardian, or a person set out to keep an eye on you. “Chock” (shock) was in Swedish used only as a serious medical term, and today it is used as its English equivalent: “Se de chockerande bilderna!” (See the shocking pictures!)
When a language ceases to change it is considered a dead language. Like the rest of the world, Sweden has gone through many changes during the last 20 years, as has its language. Emigrants from all over the world are making Sweden their home, and the “typical” Swede with blond hair and blue eyes is a myth. Examining recent changes in Swedish, we notice that many of them are rooted in other languages. The changes are rapid, and if you don’t keep up, you won’t be able to understand what’s going on out there.
The following is a collection of new Swedish words, many of which are from the so-called Rinkebysvenska (Rinkeby Swedish, the term for varieties of Swedish spoken mainly in suburbs with a high proportion of immigrant descendents. Rinkeby is a Stockholm suburb, but the term may sometimes be used for similar other Swedish cities as well).
Abou: Wow! (Turkish)
Abri: Boy (Syrian)
Ahuno: Brother (Syrian)
Alfanummer: Telephone number in the form of a name or a word instead of numbers (Swedish)
Ayde: Come on! (Serbian)
Ayna: Police (Turkish)
Baxa/barra: To steal
Bazza: To kiss and/or to have sex (from the French “baiser”)
Belash: Free (Arabic)
Bilsurfa: To balance on top of a car in motion
Blatte: An often depreciatory expression for a foreigner with an ethnic background
Chefsnapping: To keep a boss locked up in order to prevent the closing of a workplace (after the English word “bossnapping” which is used in France)
Cok: Something very pretty (Turkish)
Dampa: To lose control, stems from DAMP (deficit in attention, motor control and perception)
Fett: Cool, nice (from the American phat)
Flos: Money (Arabic slang)
Fny/fanu: Cigarette
Fnya: To smoke
Frimester: Vacation when one is not hooked up to e-mail or mobile phone (Swedish)
Fröbomba: Planting seeds on public places where it is illegal to do so (Swedish)
Följare: Follower of a blogg or twitter (Swedish translation from English)
Gitta: Get going (Turkish)
Grindstad: Gated community (Swedish translation from English)
Guzz or guss: Girl (from Turkish)
Gågging: Power walk (Swedish)
Habib: Friend, darling (Arabic)
Haffla: Party/to party (Arabic)
Hassla: To hustle (English)
Hemester: Vacation spent at home or in Sweden (Swedish)
Jalla: Hurry up (Arabic)
Jao/yao: Yo! (American slang)
Keff: Bad (Arabic)
Khalas/challas: Enough, stop (Arabic)
Klippa: Several meanings: 1. To steal something 2. To hit somebody 3. To catch a person 4. To kill somebody
Kutta: Cut and/or leave
Kvittra: To twitter as in using the micro blog Twitter (English)
Len: Friend (Turkish)
Parra: Money (Turkish)
Pimpa: Make something more attractive, from the English word pimp
Sho: Greeting, can be used as “hello” (Arabic)
Shuno, shunne, shurda: Guy, dude
Sne: To be mad at someone (relatively old Stockholm slang)
Softa or Chilla: Take it easy (from English soft and chill)
Sporta: Wear or display (English)
Suger: Bad, sad (From the English "It sucks")
Svenne: Used (often as an insult) to describe a typical “medelsvensson," the stereotypical Swede who lives a boring and conventional life. It can also mean Swede in a negative way
Tagga: Get going (same as gitta)
Äger: Something good

New words compiled by Eva Stenskär

Our interview with Jonas Hassen Khemiri