It looks like Swedish (and Norwegian) is one of the only languages in the world to not use the Finnish word "sauna".
I was going to tell that, lol. Even hungarian, korean, thai, armenian,... chinese! All of them use that universal word.
Actually, many Finnish-speaking people now use the word "bastu" instead of "sauna", at least in the Greater Helsinki area: "Jäiks se mun bisse sinne bastulle?"
When I see the word "bastun," I think "basement." Hopefully, I'll get it straight soon.
Is "het" hotter than "varm"? (as in english "Hot" vs "warm") Can those words even be used interchangeably in this context?
"Het" is normally hotter than "varm", but in Swedish we often use "varm" when hot is used in English, e.g.
varmkorv = hot dog
en kopp varm choklad = a cup of hot chocolate
varmt väder = hot weather
In that case, what word would be used to describe something that isn't cold but isn't hot either? (english "warm")
Ljummen, maybe. The dictionary says it means lukewarm, which is a word I don't know.
If you're taking a bath (in a tub), "vattnet är ljummet" probably means that it's too cold, but if you're swimming in a lake for example, "vattnet är ljummet" means that it's warmer than average. At least in Sweden :).
Lukewarm is almost a negative way to describe something. It means it's not very warm, but it's not actually cold, which definitely fits the bath/lake description. It can also be used figuratively to mean something wasn't that well received: "Despite huge sales for his first book, the response to the author's new book was lukewarm." Can 'ljummen' work like that, too?
If there isn't a common word for warm (or if 'varm' is more commonly understood as 'hot') is there any way to differentiate 'warm' from 'hot' by context? Where I'm from (Australia) there is a big difference between a warm and a hot day :)
"Det" is the default placeholder pronoun. Compare to "det regnar" - it is raining.
If you are referring to the sauna though, you have to use "den" since "bastu" is an en-noun:
- Hur är bastun?
- Den är varm.
You can argue that the meaning is similar, but "the sauna is hot" would be ignoring the word "i" in the Swedish sentence. "It's hot in the sauna" suggests that the speaker is in the sauna, or has been recently, but "the sauna is hot" is just a passing observation.
Also, the common Swedish construction with "Det är..." maps really well to the common "It is..." in English, so I think it's almost always the best way to translate it.
Can anyone tell me how to say "I'm going to take a sauna" in Swedish, please?