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Word Power #1

Earlier this summer, the journalist Lotta Olsson urged readers of the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter to adopt an endangered Swedish word. Her feeling was that the Swedish language had become more and more impoverished, possibly due to the strong influence of English words, and she wanted to take action. Adopting a word meant promising to use it in everyday conversation at least 10 times during 2009 – no matter how odd or outdated it felt. When the journalist came back from her summer vacation a few days ago, she was amazed to find that almost 1000 people had taken on the mission, and this sudden “ordglädje” (word joy) had caused the journalist’s email account to crash.

Attempting to influence (or hinder) the development of the language hands-on might feel great, even if the long term effect will most likely be negligible. WORD POWER TO THE PEOPLE!


One word from the adoption list is the almost forgotten “OKYNNES”, which might be translated as “out of spite”, “in excess”, “for pleasure”. It is used as a prefix to create words like:

“okynnesäta” (eating an extra slice of cheese/eating for the sake of eating)
“okynneskörning” (driving too fast/without destination and/or without a seatbelt)
“okynnesringa” (make prank phone calls)

This word has always implied some degree of shame, but those Lutheran days are gone. Why not embrace your okynne? The nice part is that it can be combined with any decadent activity you like, even the newer anglicisms or tech derived words. The best of both worlds:

“okynnes-surfa” (indulge in aimless surfing for a lot longer than planned)
“okynnes-tvittra” (twitter all day long instead of working)
“okynnes-messa” (insist on always getting the last word over sms. -OK. -ok. -OK!)
“okynnes-zappa” (obsessively zap between channels, not even to avoid commercials)
“okynnes-powernappa” (take a nap even though you didn’t need any more power)

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