Friday, 28 December 2012


The Swedish language is celebrated as a plastic and living entity and each year dozens of new words are championed by the Språkrådet, the national language council.

While many of these new words are for the nonce, topical, portmanteaux or English adoptions, may not be destined forever and ever in the country’s lexicon, it is laudable that such an institution takes an interest in bon mots. Among my favourites on the list released for 2012 (the story is no longer there but please visit the Swedish daily for similar ones) are Ogooglebar (something or someone who produces no hits in an internet search), Nomofob (anxiety due to being on-line and disconnected—from no mobile phone phobia), and Henifiera (to make a statement gender neutral, in reference to the re-introduction of the neuter pronoun hen to the Swedish language this past year, a grammatically correct way to use the ambiguous and incorrect they instead of committing to he or she). The year before, some of the inventive terms included: Säpojogg (a word to describe the gait of secret agents running in business suits after their wards), Åsiktstaliban (someone who won’t give other opinions consideration) and Flipperförälder (the exact opposite of helicopter-parenting, adventuresome and encouraging pin-ball parents).