"Snakker" in Swedish

Hej allihopa, I watched a Swedish video recently on Youtube and the subtitles had the word "snakker" (not sure about the spelling). I had never heard the word so I looked it up and was told it meant talking.

Then, today I was trying out the Norwegian language and to my amazement there was the word snakker, in "jeg snakker engelsk" (I speak English). It was surprising, as it seems a Swedish slang word was borrowed from Norwegian. Is this true? Did the word come from Norwegian, or do perhaps the two words just share the same root?

December 30, 2015


In Swedish, it's spelled "Snackar".

I don't think the verb came from Norwegian. I think it's been there since before there was even a Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish.

After all, all three of them used to be one language called Old Norse.

Edit: Yeah according to this: it's been there even before Old Norse.

December 30, 2015

Wiktionary says snacka/snakka come from Low German snacken, whereas tala is from Old Norse tala. Considering the proximity of Denmark to the Low Countires, it might be that Danish adopted the word first (passing it, through conquest, to Norwegian), whilst the Norse tala remained in Swedish with its comparatively lesser exposure to Danish. (This is wholly speculation; I can't find anything definitive about it.)

December 30, 2015

SAOB says the same, that it comes from Middle Low German schnacken. As trivia, while Swedish snacka is somewhat colloquial, in Low German snacken is actually the preferred verb for speaking.

December 31, 2015

Ya, "schnacken" I know of. In my passive wordlist.

January 3, 2016

It also said it came from fornsvenska (fsv) snakka.

July 4, 2018

You're right - I don't quite recall because my comment is over two years old, but I must have read clumsily. The entry says that it's from Old Swedish snakka, and to compare with (amongst others) German schnacken, which is derived from Middle Low German snacken.

Thanks for the correction! :)

July 4, 2018

No problem they were in the same time span and were probably developed in parallell.

July 4, 2018

Normally we use the word "prata".

January 1, 2016

Haha, in North-Germany and parts of Saxony, we use "schnacken" for talking with your friends about senseless or unworthy things or something else.. -> and this "something else" is the nature of this vocab :) the following could be a dialogue in Saxony (with dialect! :D): "-Moin! Wie gehtsn so? -Nu, ganz gudd. Willste bissl schnackn? -Jo, warum ni?" ..and then the unworthy things follow...

January 12, 2016

Moin! Just out of curiousity, where do you live? My grandmother uses snacken for "speaking" in general, she's from an area just east of Kiel, but I know those things can differ just a few kilometers away. :) She'd say Willst een lütt snacken.

January 13, 2016

Ah okay, I live in Dresden, Saxony. The dialects in Germany are very different from each other; in terms of grammar, spelling and vocabulary! It's crazy because even in Saxony we have at least more than 5 dialects which were completely different languages in the middle-ages. And so it is in Schleswig-Holstein (and Kiel is the capitol of it). The northern dialects are quite similar to the dutch, therefore some northern dialects are called "Plattdütsch" (the correct translation is "Low German"). So, I don't know, what "lütt" means but snacken or schnacken we are using in Saxony, too :)

January 13, 2016

Hehe, maybe I gave you the wrong impression, but I'm well aware of how different German dialects are. :) I love browsing Wikipedia and switching through language versions, to see how they change geographically. But still, many thanks for the informative reply! It's always interesting to compare with what I know (high and low German in this case).

een lütt means "a little", it's also a cognate with Swedish lite. Some western Platt dialects also use beetje, like Dutch beetje or high German bisschen.

January 13, 2016

Okay, probably it was more informative for me, so thanks to you! :D

January 14, 2016
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