Something funny, on our wedding day i gave a speech and described my gorgeous new wife to all our guests as 'lagom'. I thought it meant perfect, of course! If only I had met Duo by then.
This is hilarious!! I'm due to give a speech in Swedish at my wedding as well, but I plan to have a Swedish friend read it over beforehand :D
It isn't "become" because it's a phase. If sombody is pouring milk into your coffee when it is "just right" you can say "det blir lagom" Don't get tricked by direct translations!
Can i use "det blir lagom" to say "enough" if someone is putting meal in my plate or pouring a drink?
Yes, though there may be more idiomatic options available depending on context.
I thought "That will do nicely" would be a good, idiomatic way of conveying the same sense. What do people think?
my dictionary says lagom is ¨sufficient¨or ënough¨, both of which seem different from what I mean when I say something is ¨just right¨ Can you clarify it for me? And by the way, would I say ¨var snälla och förklara¨? I mean is the good phrase, or is something else better, more polite, less stilted, or whatever.
Lagom is a bit hard to translate, but it means all of what you mention. It's just the right amout in regards to both sufficiency and politeness as well as preferred amount.
Yes, you could say "var snäll(a) och förklara". Include the A in snäll(a) if adressing more than one person.
Yes and no. My five eurocent are that Perfection is slightly another concept than lagom. If you're pouring me something to drink and I say that "det blir lagom" at a certain amount, there might be dimensions of politeness and moderation as well as generosity, for example. Perfection might be a narrower concept, while lagom is wider and involves more interpretation.
could you possibly expand on what you mean when you say "perfection might be a narrower concept, while lagom is wider and involves more interpreation"?
Well, to me perfection implies a more absolute and somewhat objective value. Lagom is rarely used without someone's opinion of something, making it an opinion of something.
Lagom is more like, "meh, that will be fine, not to much not to little". While perfekt (perfect) would be the only single prefect case where there is exactly the amount you wanted, down to the milligram.
Of course, a good old-fashioned Germanic dative plural! Wiktionary gives the etymology from "lag" meaning law — so it originally meant something like "in accordance with the laws", and by extension, acceptable, sufficient etc. That totally makes sense! https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/lagom#Etymology
I think that "just right" just isn't right. I think it's about right. But it is 50 years since I last used this word, so ...
As a native English speaker I answered with "about right", but this was marked as incorrect. I think that this sounds better and more natural in English, but perhaps "just right" is more pedagogical, and explains the Swedish phrase better.
too me. "just right" and "about right" mean different things. "just right" means it's exactly right, while "about right" means it's more or less right. there's more room for fluctuation with "about right". If you say "that's just the right amount of coffee" it means that the amount of coffee is good, it isn't too much and it isn't too little. if you say "that's about the right amount of coffee" it means that it might be a little too much coffee or a little too little coffee, but it's close enough to the right amount that it's not really worth bothering to adjust for.
another example would be going to the deli. let's say you ask for 1 lb of turkey. If the deli worker measures out somewhere between say 0.95 lbs and 1.05 lbs, that's "about right". But if the deli worker measures out exactly 1 lb, that's "just right"
I also think "about right" is a tiny bit better. But neither explains the word good enough, in my opinion. Because "Lagom" doesn't translate to "Perfect" or "Really good". You can even think about "Lagom" as "Average" sometimes, or "Not good but not bad".
Based on your explanation, lagom should translate to "good enough."
You are right, "just right" means "perfect" or "just what I wanted" (not objectively perfect, but perfect for me).
I watched 'Allt for sverige' and came across the host mentioned about this 'swedish lagom'... he said that swedish people are moderate, humble and do not talk big. I guess this the same 'lagom'?
At least we like to think that of ourselves, sometimes even to the point of bragging about how humble we are. ;) But you're right, the "lagom" concept fits very well into that.
Haha bragging how humble you are! That's somehow true! As I can see from that reality show ;P
Is it true that "ambitious" is thought of as striving to be better than someone else>? So lagom is good because of people being the same or equal?
Yes, that quite much sums up the meaning of "ambitious" as it is commonly used. But lagom is rarely about social order.
Ambitious does not mean striving to be better than someone else. An ambitious person might be doing that, but ambition refers to a desire to do better, regardless of what someone else is doing. It means someone is willing to work hard to accomplish something.
By itself, it is a compliment or a neutral statement about a person.
If it is used to describe something other than a person, the meaning can be a little different. For example, "That is a very ambitious project" means it is a BIG project, it will take a lot of work. "That plan is too ambitious" means the plan will be impossible to carry out because it is too big in scope, or too complicated, etc.
There are a few phrases that involve the word "ambitious" that are definitely negative and can be used as an insult:
"Blind ambition" = working hard but caring only about accomplishing your own plans while ignoring the needs or wishes of anyone else, possibly ruining other people's work in the process without realizing it, or ruining relationships because the only thing you are focused on is your own success at work or on some single project, not that you are deliberately mean to others but they suffer because you are focused elsewhere, it's about being stupid or short-sighted or oblivious to the negative consequences of your choice to focus on your work/project/moneymaking/etc.
"Selfish ambition" = pretty much the same as "blind ambition" but more emphasis on the selfishness of the person, implying that they deliberately choose their own interests over the known interests or wishes of others, out of selfishness, a definite insult to a person's character. Someone with "selfish ambition" might say, "I'm going to do everything I can to succeed at this, even though I see how it will hurt several other people, because my plans are more important to me than other people's success or failure or feelings."
"Ambition" by itself is not assumed to be negative. It is either a benign fact (someone spends a lot of time and energy on trying to succeed at a big project), or it is a definite compliment (someone works hard at accomplishing important things, which benefits society or their family, or which improves their skills or their character, or allows them to realize a dream, or lifts them out of poverty).
At least in the U.S., "ambitious" doesn't mean anything to do with social status. If nothing is specified, it is assumed to be about earning a living, taking on a project, or improving one's skills. (We have other words and phrases that are specifically about trying to gain social status or trying to be better than someone else.)
I feel like "lagom" is a word that we should have the option of not translating. Much like "fika" it has a uniquely Swedish meaning that is difficult to cleanly translate. Whilst I appreciate that you need to introduce the English meaning in a course that teaches Swedish, this is a word that I now use even whilst speaking English as it is so unique and interesting that I find it has value outside of svenska. Could "that is lagom" or something similar be included as a possible answer?
Can I say lagom when I don't want anything to be happening any more. For example when someone is putting salad on my plate and it is enough can say "lagom" to him?
You could say "det blir lagom" to mean "that's enough, thanks!" in that case, yes.
can i use lagom as "exactly" , "totally agree with you", "as you said" in conversation ?
No, lagom isn't precise or specific like that.
You'd probably want to use "precis", "håller helt med dig" and "som du sa" for the things you mentioned.
No, "so-so" refers exclusively to a quality, and is never positive.
I think It's getting to be just right sounds better, at least as a complete sentence. Yours sounds like a fragment of a sentence to me: Wait until it gets just right before proceeding.
That doesn't sound to me like very idiomatic English, although I think I see what you're getting at.
Yeah, I'm hesitant on that one as well, don't think it should be accepted.
Sorry, point taken. :) Could you please clarify what you mean by the phrase? I'm not sure how to translate it since the English is a little quaint.
So, colloquially "get" can mean "become" — in fact that's pretty mainstream, in sentences like "It's getting hot" — so it's possible to imagine a scenario that would justify saying "It's getting just right", referring perhaps to the temperature of an oven or something like that. It's harder to think of reason to say "It gets just right" since taht would have to refer to something that happens, or is happening, repeatedly or continuously. Maybe as part of a description of a process? Like... "I turn on the cooker, then I wait a few minutes and it gets just right...". The aspect of the verb is very subtle, I think, but perhaps in this case you might translate it as "Det blir lagom"!
As I am not a native english speaker, I am not quite sure of its meaning, although I am almost sure to have heard / read it somewhere already. As I understand it it could mean something like “It is turning out to be just right”. For instance, let’s consider a situation is evolving, and at the very moment I say it: it [the situation] gets just right.
I hope I made myself clear…
I'll let native English speakers chime in, but it really doesn't sound like a phrase that would ever be used in English, which makes it hard to translate well.
english speakers or foreigners will not understand this word if they do not happen to live in Sweden because it is Swedish cultural thing it is same as word 'Fika'
Well, we might not understand "lagom" as it is applied to the cultural identity of Swedes (though it has been explained pretty well here), but it definitely can be translated and understood by English speakers and foreigners who have not moved to Sweden when it is used to communicate that there is enough coffee in one's cup.