What are the Swedish words for hello and thanks?
November 20, 2017 1:39 PM   Subscribe

What are the Swedish words for hello and thanks? Context inside.

I am a PhD student sending an e-mail to a faculty member at a university in Sweden to ask a few clarifying questions about a job advertisement. I do not know Swedish, and that is not a requirement of the job, although a working knowledge is desirable. I would like to start and sign off my e-mail with the Swedish equivalent of "Hello!" and "Thanks!" Partially because I think it'd be nice and partially because I'm hoping it'll indicate that I'm interested in learning Swedish/about Swedish culture.

1) Is this weird? Should I just stick to English?

2) What are the appropriate words to use for this?
posted by lucy.jakobs to Grab Bag (6 answers total)
Hello = Hej / Hej hej (hello / more exuberant hello)
Thanks = Tack / Tack så mycket (thanks / thanks so much)

An actual Swede might give you more appropriate e-mail correspondence terms, but those are typical greetings.
posted by nonmerci at 2:07 PM on November 20, 2017

I think I would stick with “Dear So-and-so” to start, but you could sign off with a cheerful “Tack så mycket!” (“Thank you very much!”).

Almost always a Swedish e-mail will start with “Hej Firstname.’ More formally you can write “Bästa/e Firstname Lastname” (for a woman/man respectively), which means ”dear.” But I kind of think either would come off a little odd if you are continuing in English—at least for the first introductory e-mail. After that you could totally go with “Hej Firstname!”

Anyway, that’s my take! Native English speaker but I have lived in Sweden a while.
posted by bluebird at 2:18 PM on November 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

I am in academia but not Swedish academia.

(1) A little weird, sorry. I would just keep it in English.

I'm hoping it'll indicate that I'm interested in learning Swedish/about Swedish culture

You can state this directly in plain English instead of doing something that you hope indirectly signals it. "While I currently speak only English (and...), I would be happy to commit, if hired, to a series of language classes at my expense until I reached standard instructional proficiency."
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 2:59 PM on November 20, 2017 [3 favorites]

I made it to the final round of consideration for a postdoc at Stockholm University, and all my correspondence with faculty there was in English. They're really used to it. Unless it's quite a small and isolated university, I'd just stick with English (at most, signing off with "Tack så mycket!" as bluebird suggests).
posted by Beardman at 4:32 PM on November 20, 2017

If you want to end the letter a bit more Swedish, you could write Med vänlig hälsning. Although, like sincerely in English, it has detractors that feel it is without any genuine feeling.
posted by troytroy at 7:23 PM on November 20, 2017

The danger of using any Swedish at all is that it implies that you might know some Swedish and you don't. So I would suggest using English only. I lived in Sweden for nine years and speak Swedish but am a native English speaker.
posted by Bella Donna at 11:21 PM on November 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

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