God fortsättning på det nya året!

This is a phrase that Swedes greet each other with after a new year has begun, first time they see each other after the holidays.

Åker = Go, Går = Go

Learning a new language always makes you face different challenges depending on what language you already know and what language you want to learn. One of the challenges for English speaking people, like many of you Swedish Press readers, who want to learn Swedish, is to understand the difference between the two Swedish verbs “åka” and “gå”. Not only once have I heard an immigrant in Sweden say something like: “Jag gick till Italien förra veckan.” This is not likely true and of course a Swede would understand the language mistake and know that this person would not have walked to Italy, but went to Italy by some kind of transportation. The mistake this person has made is therefore not a huge deal, but can perhaps cause some giggles. If you want to understand the difference between “gå” and “åka” then keep reading.

One rule is that when we use the verb “gå”, we ususally mean that we use our legs, so it could be translated to “walk” instead of “go”. That is easy. The problem is that we do have situations when we need to use the verb “go” and translate it to “gå”, like here: “Ska vi gå på restaurang?” This does not refer to the way we get to the restaurant, but simply “Shall we go to a restaurant?” Now you probably start to realize that there is more than one way to use the verb “gå”.

Two main rules for the verb “gå”:

·         We use it to describe that we are walking, and not using any kind of transportation.

·         We use it in general, when we don’t talk about the way of transportation at all, like “gå på bio”, “gå på fotbollsmatch”, “gå på teater”, “gå på restaurang”, “gå i skolan”.  We would also use the verb “gå” when talking about departure: “bussen går klockan 10.00”, “båten går om en halvtimma”.

What about “åka”?

Well, that is easier. Simply learn that when we are going somewhere, on any kind of transportation (even skis, and sleds), we use “åka”.

Here are two sentences that show these differences quite clear :

·         Jag går på semester vecka 29.

·         Jag åker på semester vecka 29.

These two sentences don’t mean the same to a Swede. The first sentence is informing us that the person begins his/her vacation time, on week 29 (Swedes love to talk in week numbers). This has only to do with the fact that the person is not working from week 29 (and likely 4 – 5 weeks thereafter). The second sentence is on the other hand informing us that the person is going away on holidays, travelling somewhere, from week 29. 

-          Fattar du? (= Got it!)

-          Klart som korvspad! (= Clear as broth of sausage! = as plain as a pikestaff )

Test your “åker” and “går” skills in the little quiz!

Åker eller går? - Test

(åka, åker, åkte, åkt) (gå, går, gick, gått)

-          Ska vi _______ på hockey?

-          Ja, men vi ______________ väl inte bil. Det är bättre att ________________ buss till arenan.

 

-          Familjen Olsson har _____________ till fjällen på semester och kommer tillbaka i mitten av mars. De ______________ mycket slalom och längd.

-          Åh vad härligt! Jag ____________ inte på semester förrän i sommar.

 

-          Det är inte så vanligt att ______________ på restaurang i Sverige. Det är för dyrt.

-          Vad tråkigt! Det är trevligt att ___________ ut och äta.

 

-          Hur kommer du till skolan? ___________ du eller ____________ du buss?

-          Jag ________________ bil. Men på sommaren cyklar jag.

 

-          Kom så går vi ut i snön och __________________ pulka!

 Ord som passar i svensk vinter (Words suitable for Swedish winter)

Snö / Det snöar.                                                                                                                = Snow / It is snowing

Regn / Det regnar                                                                                                             = Rain / It is raining

Snöblandat regn / Det är snöblandat regn.  = Freezing rain / It is freezing rain

Tö / Det är töväder.                                                                                                         = Thaw / It is snowmelt period                         

Slask / Det är slask                                                                                                            = Slush / It is slushy weather

Åka pulka                                                                                                                             = Go sledding

Åka skidor                                                                                                                            = Go skiing

Åka längdskidor                                                                                                                                              = Go cross country skiing

Åka slalom                                                                                                                           = Go downhill skiing

Åka till fjällen                                                                                                                      = Go to the Scandinavian mountains

See the Swedish2go winter video on the Swedish2go blog on Swedish Press website! That’s is also where you find correct answers to your “åka” and “gå” quiz, unless you want to wait till next Swedish Press.