"Fina dagar fikar vi i trädgården."
Translation:On nice days we have a coffee in the garden.
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We could start with 'På', but it is optional, or rather for me it feels a bit awkward, a bit 'too much'. For me, it feels more elegant without the preposition here. And you are right, I would translate it to "Nice days we have coffee in the garden", if that's okay in English?
It would be better: "on nice days, we have coffee in the garden". The official translation is stilted and odd. Punctuation is important in English.
Short, yes, but not to the point. "Kaffepaus" exists as a concept in the Swedish language and culture, and it implies grabbing your coffee (maybe shortly chatting with your colleagues), while "fika" definitely implies setting up the coffee and associated things to nibble on properly, sitting back and relaxing, and maybe also not in the workplace context, as you can have a "kaffepaus".
I agree, and more generally, for those kind of words that don’t have any direct translation (att fika), less strict rules should be applied. It is just plain annoying to have a quite clear notion of what att fika means, yet get rejected because you happen to use an unintended loose english translation instead of the one-and-only intended, but yet loose, english translation…
Ethymologi : according to a nice book from the 'Ordriket' series I read as a kid ''fika'' comes from the secret children language which was popular even before the sjörövarspråket was used by and in the boks of Astrid Lingren : fikon-språket. You took a word like 'kaffe' and reversed its whats-the-name-again-parts and added the word 'fi-kon' split up at the start and end so that...let us take an easier example...the name 'Lasse' bekam fi-sse-la-kon and Bosse 'fissebokon' and 'kaffe' became 'fi-ffe-ka-kon'. That was then adapted and shortened to just 'fi-ka'. The language is cool and works, but the story...well, decide for yourself, but it is kinda cool yet.
I wonder if children in every country come up with a way to twist their language. We have "Pig Latin" and I remember a friend of mine who went to a different school who taught me an easier but just as odd sounding twisted English. We would use it when we wanted to confuse others around us, or just annoy them. :-)
"går och tar" (go and take), both verbs have to be in present tense, not infinitive. But it is actually 'more' (?) idiomatically Swedish not to use take, since 'fika' can be a verb in itself - so we say går och fikar, as you can see 'fikar' is here conjugated in present tense.
Where I live in the U.S., it sounds odd to say, "We have coffee in the yard." It is more idiomatic to say, "We have coffee in the back yard," or "outside," or "on the patio" (which would normally be in the back of the house), or "on the deck," or "on the lawn" (which could mean in chairs or on a blanket).
I don't know what your native language is, so I'm just adding my two cents.
Fika is an activity, not a drink. English doesn't have an equivalent; the reason it is translated as "having a coffee" is because that is the closest translation, but fika also involves biscuits, buns, maybe also juice, and so on. "To fika" (the verb) means to have coffee etc, and "the fika" (as a noun) refers to the whole set up, a bit like the work breakfast or something. In fact, I would say that an English equivalent is tea break, or elevenses, or afternoon tea.
Translating "fika" to American English is impossible, lol. We don't take tea, or have "elevensies," so we don't have a word for it. But we do know what they mean. And thanks to LOTR we also know about "second breakfast" and "lunch" and "luncheon" being two different things, lol! Silly Hobbitses.
I think the closest American equivalents would be coffee breaks and coffee dates.
American coffee breaks tend to be less relaxed than fika. It's more a time to gather your thoughts than relax per se.
Coffee dates feel closer to fika to me, but we don't really do them at home ever. These can also be platonic/professional meetings, but I wouldn't call them dates in those cases.
I think we tend to think of coffee as a personal, rather than shared, experience in the US. Same with other hot beverages, I think. By default, a good way to get a little time to yourself, but certainly something we're happy to share at times.
As a child in the late 1950s I remember my mother having neighboring moms coming over or her going over for coffee and coffee cake or some other baked goods. That was before most mothers had jobs or careers. It was often the only time they had a chance to talk with another adult during the day. I know we were not allowed to come into the kitchen unless we were in serious danger. If we did interrupt their "koffeeklatch" we would be in serious danger. :-D
btw 'fikaställe' just means a place where you can 'gå och fika' but not just coffe. But even if you get a coffee at an espresso bar I never heard anyone using fika for going there, so yes it is not coffee to anymore it is the whole concept or 'coffee and tea and cake culture'
To confuse things further (my most sincere apologies) I saw when driving across Sweden a poster on a service station advertising "Kaffe och fika", meaning coffee with a small (and unfortunately rather tasteless) bun. So, yet another way of using the word as a noun, but here we are discussing the usage as a verb.
fika is the general concept of having some coffee or tea and e.g. some snacks or biscuits, sitting and talking, etc. As such, "have a coffee" is allowed since English doesn't have a direct equivalent - but "drink coffee" is too specific and not quite what the Swedish word means.
Probably not as much as you think given how many people I've seen complaining about English borrowing words like 'otaku' or 'volksgeist'. For a language that doesn't have a formally standardized dialect, we sure have a lot of zealous language purists...
I must admit some degree of enjoyment of irritating such people by randomly code-switching for single words every few sentences, especially when I can do it with words that require a ridiculous degree of explanation to translate into English properly.
"On nice days we have a cup of coffee together" isn't accepted but "On nice days we have a coffee together" is. In English "have a coffee" sounds really unnatural. Coffee is almost always a mass noun unless it's bottled. "Have coffee" and "have a cup of coffee" make more sense.
For all the german interested people
In Germany we have a coffee-and-cake-break too: "Vesper". But I guess it's an east german thing. I never heard it in West germany. We say "Wir machen Vesper (we make) or" wir vespern", the same way like "vi fikar".
After the second world war, Vesper was only a piece of butter-roasted bread with sugar or salt and my parents still practice that :)
Oooohhh I know what you did, but that is too easy :) Vesper is not only an inbetween-meal, which you can have everywhere and at any time. It is a break with a little bit of preparation, a well-laid table at home and time for friends/family. Thanks for your reply :)
Well I am a Swede, and really Swedes drink coffee several times a day, and eating all the delicious bread and cakes everytime we 'fikar', would not be realistic. Of course we offer cakes when having guests, or meeting relatives on week-ends etc, but people 'fikar' everyday at work as well. Or at home after work, before dinner. Bread every time would make us fat.
fika isn't really a ritual. It's more of a loosely defined concept. If you go out for fika, or if you offer it to someone, then I'd expect something to eat with it. friswing's example of having a cup of coffee at work is a great example of when the term applies without eating.
Sju sorters kakor is the name of a classic Swedish recipe collection. It's from an antiquated etiquette rule stating that a good host should offer seven different kinds of cookies. I really don't get what's so horrifying about that. :)
‘fika’ is notoriously hard to translate, to the point that I actually see it used with some regularity as an example of something that is difficult to translate.
AIUI, fika is just as much, if not more, about the social aspects as it is about anything else, coffee just happens to be the common choice of drink. Given this, ‘have a coffee’ is not a particularly bad translation in that for many people it can have a similar connotation, but there’s no good English translation that universally conveys that meaning.
Of course, as far as difficulty translating goes, ‘fika’ still has nothing on stuff like פירגון (the functional opposite of schadenfreude, from Hebrew), θυμός (usually translated as ‘spiritedness’, though that loses a lot of the meaning), or 珍道具 (usually translated as ‘unusual tool’ or ‘weird tool’, though both also lose much of the meaning).
'Fikar' is the verb in present tens. 'Fika' is also the verb, but in its infinitive form, used e.g. when we are planning to drink coffee: 'vi ska fika', but 'fika' is also the noun for the drink and snack you're having. Since 'Fika' ends in an '-a' it automatically became easy to think of it as a verb, and started to being used as a verb.