Swedish word of the day: åsiktskorridor

This word is crucial if you want to get along with Swedes, whether in a professional or personal context.

Swedish word of the day: åsiktskorridor
The phenomenon is not limited to Sweden. Image: nito103/Depositphotos

Åsiktskorridor means 'opinion corridor' or 'corridor of opinions', from en åsikt (view/opinion) and en korridor (corridor).

It's used to talk about the range of different opinions that are socially acceptable to share or to hold on a subject.

Åsiktskorridor is a recently coined term, its first known use being in 2009. It was later defined by political science professor Henrik Oscarsson, who was describing the subjects that it's acceptable to put up for debate.

If a topic is outside the åsiktskorridor, it is viewed as too extreme or divisive to debate, and therefore rarely brought up in the public debate or even within conversation, especially among people who don't know each other well. Playing devil's advocate or starting a debate on these topics for fun rarely goes down well in Swedish circles.

On one hand, the åsiktskorridor could in theory help to keep extreme views such as racist or homophobic opinions outside the mainstream, and helps to avoid giving airtime to people who are arguing against something that has been proven as fact, such as climate change deniers or conspiracy theorists.

The problem that Oscarsson raised was that many people may still hold opinions outside the 'corridor', so if the åsiktskorridor is too narrow, people are losing out on the chance for constructive debate and free speech in favour of the Swedish preference for consensus.

READ ALSO: How to have an argument without offending a Swede

One example the political scientist gave was abortion rights, since studies showed 14 percent of Swedes agreed with limiting the right to abortion. Since these rights have been a key part of Swedish feminism for several decades, this view is often seen as too extreme and outside the accepted range of views.

The phenomenon isn't limited to Sweden, and terms like 'political correctness' and 'echo chamber' in English show there's an understanding that people tend to surround themselves with people who hold similar views, and only share opinions which they believe are held by the majority in the group, in other cultures too.


Det är inte bra om åsiktskorridoren blir för smal

It's not good if the opinion corridor gets too narrow

Är åsiktskorridoren i Sverige en myt eller verklighet?

Is the opinion corridor in Sweden a myth or reality?

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Swedish word of the day: blåsippa

Today's word of the day is a little blue spring flower with an unexpected political connection.

Swedish word of the day: blåsippa

The blåsippa blooms in Swedish forests between April and May, meaning it is one of the earliest spring flowers to bloom in Sweden, even popping up through the snow in some areas.

The latin name for blåsippor is anemone hepatica, and they also go by the name common hepatica, liverwort or pennywort in English.

It is most common in southern Sweden, although it does grow as far north as southern Norrland.

The blåsippa is a protected flower in all of Sweden, meaning that you can’t dig it up or pick the flowers, so you won’t see the small blue flowers for sale in florists or garden centres.

In some areas, the rules are even stricter. In Halland, Skåne, Stockholm and Västerbotten counties, and parts of Västra Götaland county, you are not allowed to remove or damage the flowers or even collect its seeds.

The name blåsippa is a compound made up of the word for blue, blå, and the word sippa, which is the Swedish name for plants in the Anemone genus, which are related to buttercups and sometimes referred to in English as windflowers.

Other common plants in this genus you may also come across in Sweden are vitsippor (literally: “white sippor“, known in English as wood anemones), and gulsippa (“yellow sippa“, known in English as yellow anemone, yellow wood anemone, or buttercup anemone).

From left: backsippor (pasqueflowers), gulsippor (wood anemones), and blåsippor (anemone hepatica, also known as common hepatica, liverwort or pennywort). Photo: Jurek Holzer/SvD/Scanpix

The word sippa can be traced back to the Finland-Swedish word for vitsippa used in the Nyland or Uusimaa region of Finland: säper. This in turn comes from the French word chapel, borrowed into Swedish from the German schappel or scheppel, which means “crown of flowers”, “diadem”, “royal crown” or “bridal crown”.

In popular culture, blåsippor are perhaps most well-known as the official flower of the nationalist Sweden Democrats political party since 2006. The flowers are also blue and yellow, the same colours as the Swedish flag. 

Almost all of Sweden’s political parties have historically had official flowers, and some still do, such as the Social Democrats’ red rose, the Left Party’s red carnation, the Centre Party’s four-leaf clover and the Green’s dandelion.

The Christian Democrats had a wood anemone or vitsippa prior to 2017 and the Liberals had a cornflower prior to 2016. The Moderates are the only party without an official flower, choosing instead a blue letter M as their party symbol.

There is also a popular Swedish children’s song about blåsippor, Blåsippan ute i backarna står, about children picking blåsippor in the spring and running home to their mother, saying that they no longer have to wear shoes or socks because spring has now arrived.

Blåsippor don’t catch colds,” their mother says, telling them they still have to wear shoes and socks as it’s still winter.

Example sentences:

Får man plocka blåsippor?

Are you allowed to pick blåsippor?

Nej, blåsippor är fridlysta i Sverige.

No, blåsippor are protected in Sweden.

Villa, Volvo, Vovve: The Local’s Word Guide to Swedish Life, written by The Local’s journalists, is available to order. Head to to read more about it.

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