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'Terror trips', 'vaping' and 'douche' Sweden's latest words

Published måndag 28 december 2015 kl 10.41
"We need to invent new words all the time"
(2:22 min)
A snapshot of one of the new words, 'rattsurfa' or surfing the web with a smartphone while driving. Photo: Annika Selin / Swedish Radio.
A snapshot of one of the new words, 'rattsurfa' or surfing the web with a smartphone while driving. Photo: Annika Selin / Swedish Radio.

As the year draws to a close, the Swedish Language Council unveiled its annual list of new words that have found their way into the Swedish language during the past 12 months.

The latest 37 words registered by the council include "terror trip", "klittra" a word for female masturbation and "Youtuber", someone who posts videos to the online site. 

Many of the updates have come from other languages, mainly English, but also from current events or new technological developments, says Ola Karlsson, a language adviser at the Language Council.

Karlsson also explained that all the words on the list are not exactly new. For example, the word "transit refugees", a refugee who is passing through a country to a place where they intend to stay, has been used since the 1990's.

"They could just merely come more frequent in use, like the example for some of the words related to war and terror," Karlsson says. "They are not new but they become very much more frequent."

Other additions are the verbs "vejpa", to vape, meaning smoking the vapour produced by an electronic cigarette; "svajpa", to swipe, meaning to moving a finger across a touchscreen; or "rattsurfa", meaning to use a smartphone or another similar device while driving.

Karlsson adds that the council gathers and publishes the new words because they often says something about Swedish society and linguistic trends.

"People discuss not only the words in themselves but the phenomenon behind them," he says. "We need to invent new words all the time so that we have expressions for the things we want to speak about."

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