"What a tasty fika!"

Translation:Vilket gott fika!

November 18, 2014

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Interesting, I would say fikan not fikat. (32000 results på fikat 8000 på fikan, guess I'm a minority!)


I think many of the results you got on fikat were probably of the Vi har fikat i dag kind.


Standard text selection in Korp gives 12 548 hits for en fika vs 35 for ett fika (I just did the simple search though so this doesn't include cases with a few words in between).


I had a discussion with my linguistics teacher about the gender and plural of fika the other day. Ett fika or en fika? Flera fika? fikor? fikan? I don't know when you would have to use it in plural though


I'm a native Swede and personally, ett fika sounds weird to me.

A fika-place, on the other hand, is always ett fik. :D


Yeah, it's a bit tricky as there doesn't seem to be one correct answer. Regarding what to use in plural- I've had my fair share of fika (fikor?) and I'm fairly sure that it's a word mostly used in singular. Unless you're a mästarfikare...!

I'll stick to my 'en fika' :-)

Considering that, I think these should be allowed too: Vilken god fika, vilken smaklig fika, vilket smakligt fika


the reason for this variety is that it is a quite recent loanword (though it is considered as typical swedish). It is from Romani and is just a turn of the word ka-fi (coffee)


It's not from Romani, but from some kind of slang that, as you say, changes the order of syllables. It's not clear whether it's Stockholm slang, knoparmoj (chimney sweeper's slang) or some other slang, like fikonspråket, but it's not Romani. (see e.g. http://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fika)


ok, I got this from my linguistics teacher who investigates Scandoromani. Dunno who wrote the wiki-page.


Well, backslang is what most sources say.


I could possibly use ett fika in the sense fikabröd, the thing you eat when you fikar.


Me too I am a native Swede, 'en fika' is coffee for me, maybe with a cookie or bread, the whole package. - My question is - Why does the English sentence contain the word 'fika' ???


It's the kind of typical Swedish word that English native speakers who live here tend to pick up and incorporate into their speech, since there's really no exact English counterpart (and the word also seems to have some special connotations).


Now that I actually live in Sweden I can confirm that as someone learning Swedish it remains entirely appropriate to leave fika as fika in the preferred sentence rather than attempting to provide a convoluted translation to English.


While I do think that "fika" is a common practice amongst English speakers, (at least as far as I can tell from reading a number of different accounts of what it entails) I will agree that we don't seem to have a specific or consistent word for the phenomenon. I therefore find it completely appropriate to learn the word as it is, rather than inserting a slightly awkward sounding equivalent phrase in English. It is really helpful to have stuff like this in the course - I am sure I will have reason to use this word when I move to Sweden later this year.


To me it is also "en fika" (as in "Ska vi ta en fika?").

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I would also say "Ska vi ta en fika", but I would definitely not say "Vilken god fika!", then I'd prefer "Vilket gott fika". So I guess the gender changes to me.


I am, too, but I hear both.


Can you really use 'fika' as a word in English?


Fika has no English counterpart, therefore fika can be used in an English sentence. Fika, as I understand it, is not simply 'having a coffee', it's more like an event. Someone correct me if I'm wrong


I agree, it's something of a social institution, though it can of course be done in many different ways. If we just have a cup of coffee, we can say things like ta en kaffe or ta en kopp kaffe instead.


It's just a snack, that is not a meal. You drink and eat a cookie, a sandwich if you are hungry, a cake if it is somebody's birthday. How can that be so culturally 'Swedish' that it cannot be translated?


So how would you like to translate it? I think that afternoon tea is misleading since to most people "fika" means coffee and since it does not even have to be in the afternoon.

I agree with you that "fika" should not be used in the translation of a Swedish novel, but this is a language course and I think it's different.


I know it is difficult, I was just so intrigued by the fact that it was used here, that I wanted to know if it really is used outside Sweden, as a new loanword. On the other hand, I don't really believe in creating a 'myth' about 'fika' as so very special for Swedes. - but of course it is hard to translate, since we have to know the context, often it is 'just a coffee'. other times not.


True. If someone moves to Sweden just because of the "fika" they are bound to be disappointed :).


I guess we're just honoring the tradition they write about here: http://www.thelocal.se/20120320/39784


Lol, I love this. Thanks.


Not an event, more lika 'afternoon tea' - but based on coffee. And of course, all of us who do not drink coffe, have tea. --- It's just a break, with a snack and something to drink. So, why would you say 'fika' in English? If we are to translate a Swedish text into English, would an English reader understand it? Or do they need to learn Swedish first? If they do, I think it is a poor translation.


I disagree. Some traditions don't have translations. For example 'morris dancing' doesn't have a swedish translation. Some things have no equivalent


It absolutely does have an English equivalent, although it varies depending where you are. In my part of the US, people frequently suggest "having a coffee" together, actually it does not matter whether you drink coffee, or anything at all. "coffee" is used as a generic placeholder for the shared activity. The purpose is to meet face to face and socialize over something less formal than a meal, which sounds like the dictionary definition of "fika". What gives it a distinctly Swedish meaning?

surströmming is something with no English equivalent, but fika seems like a standard part of many cultures.


Just because it doesn't have word in English doesn't make it unexplainable in it. It should as such be given something other than 'fika' as its English explanation.


Hej! Native UK English speaker here putting in her 'two pennies worth' on 'The Fika Debate'.......I'm thinkng that in general nowadays just suggested to "Go for a coffee" could without doubt include some finger food....a piece of cake, a muffin, a sarnie (sandwich) ......but if it's before lunch you could call 'it' 'Elevenses' ......which could get confusing with it's similarity to the word for 'pupil' in Swedish ! ; o) .....and if it's in the afternoon 'it' could be called 'Afternoon Tea' (which would imply a beverage..usually tea or coffee and a snack).... But as I said earlier 'Let's all meet for a coffee' would defo suggest some nibbles....savory or sweet! I'm hungry now....Vi ses ; o)


NZ native English speaker with very British (and influential) grandparents here. I agree that it sounds much like "morning/afternoon tea" or "tea/coffee break" or "go for a coffee". The latter certainly does not typically mean just coffee or even coffee at all! It would also sometimes be called "smoko" - though this usage is generally more commonly amongst trademen etc. (Obviously smoko does not need to include cigarettes and these days usually does not - it is more used for organised breaks in your shift where you have a drink/snack and socialise.) Regardless, this does not seem to be a concept that is unique to Sweden at all even if English does not have a specific uniform word for it.


I thought the Elevenses were something made up for the Hobbits :O


Haha, no it's a very British thing. :D


I believe (native English speaker who lived and worked in Sweden for a couple of years at one point) that the best English translation of fika is coffee break. It has the same sort of properties: you're not necessarily having coffee but taking a break and probably having something to eat and/or drink. What it doesn't capture is the sense of social occasion that comes with fika - it's more social and a bit more of an event (even though it might happen twice a day!)


In Australia we call those kind of breaks "smoko(s)"


I will second smoko on this one. Would be commonly used among blue collar workers and some professionals too.


No one, absolutely no one would ever say "Nu ska jag ta mig ett fika" (now I will get me a coffee). It is clearly the N-gender for fika in this context. However, fika is used in other contexts too, like "Har du något fika?", T-gender, (do you have any fika?). Then it's more like, coffee and something else (a cake a sandwich, whatever).

It was great fun to give this a thought! :)


even with all this commentary I do not know what a "Fika" is. I gather it has something to do with coffee and something to do with having coffee with others. Is it an event? a gathering? a place to get coffee? a tradition? Please explain!

I have found this word confounding in duolingo because it is not explained, whether it is proper to use it in English or not. The dictionary just says "coffee" so I have no idea why you can't just say Kaffe


Fika is not an event, since it is mostly an everyday snack. Not everyone drink coffee, children drink juice, others drink tea, and it also includes buns, cockies, cake, sandwiches. Since fika ends in -a it can be used as a verb (to have coffee; jag fikar, vi fikar), as well as it is a noun for a coffee-break/snack. I would not use it in English; but it seems that English speaking people in Sweden use it. Which is not so strange ...


As others have said, I think the best translation for fika as a noun might be "tea", in the sense of the light meal that happens in the afternoon in England. However, coffee is more popular in Sweden, so that is the norm, although tea is also common. A snack is also typical, although by no means universal. Additionally, fika often happens twice a day, once mid-morning and once mid-afternoon.

The difference between fika and "coffee break" is that fika has a status more like a (somewhat optional) meal. For instance, one can say, "Anders brought fika today", in the same way one might say "Anders brought lunch today." At my workplace, that wouldn't mean Anders brought coffee or tea, because we already have those things in the break room. It would mean he brought some danish or cake or something like that, to share with everyone else at fika time.

The other day we also had a "departmental fika". How would you translate that to English, for normal English speakers who don't know what fika is? A "departmental coffee break" sounds distinctly odd. I would probably say, "a departmental tea", because I've had those in America and I think the meaning would be more or less clear.


Well, there used to be an institutionalized coffee-break, mid-morning and mid-afternoon. But with the modern world moving faster and faster, it seems coffee machines becomes more and more common, people take their coffee at their work-desk. Of course at occasions like birthdays etc, someone will bring a cake or buns, having some kind of avdelnings-fika, where people working in the same department come together.


Apparently "Vilken god fika" is also a correct solution. Why is that?


fika is one of the few words in Swedish that can take either gender.


Why is vad wrong for what


Swedish doesn't have the "what a" construction.


I used to co-host a Swedish language exchange group in Manchester, UK. Infact, i think its still going. I digress. Fika was the one word that the Swedes used to get, quite frankly, botderline hysterical over. One girl especially. "There is NO direct translation of that word!". I was like "Ok, but it just means to meet and have coffee and a cake / bun, right? We (as brits) do that sometimes". She literally started to go red-faced... "No EVERYONE has a fika in Sweden, you CANNOT directly translate it!". At which point i gave up. Take a chill pill.


Hähä, fika means snot in Hungarian.


Now I'm interested to know which other languages have or have not a word for fika. In finnish it's called 'kahvittelu'.


Hej, I come from Minnesota, a state with a large Scandinavian population. Growing up we had something called a coffee break, which often includes a piece of coffee cake--a carry-over from the old country!


Yes! Minnesotan, also. On the farm, we said breakfast, dinner, and supper with "a little lunch" at 10:00 and 3:30, included a cookie or cake with coffee or tea. In the city we would say coffee break. I didn't hear the term fika until my parents visited Sweden... and their grandparents came from Sweden in the 1800s. I don't think this is a term fika is used generally in the U.S. at least.

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