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SWEDISH WORD OF THE DAY

Swedish word of the day: ledamot

Today's word is one that often comes up in Swedish news articles.

Swedish word of the day: ledamot
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Ledamot is an old Swedish word that used to mean “body part” or “limb” (led means “joint” in the anatomical sense) but today it means “member”.

Sweden has another, more common word for “member”: medlem. So what’s the difference?

You’ll hear ledamot used in connection with more official, formal institutions. A member of parliament is a riksdagsledamot, and a styrelseledamot is a member of a board, for example the board of your housing association. Note that in both these examples and many others, people will often use ledamot rather than riksdagsledamot/styrelseledamot when the context is clear. A ledamot is often elected to their position and their role comes with officially defined duties.

Because of this formality, you’ll often find ledamot used to talk about institutions that are by their nature exclusive and prestigious: the Swedish Academy, the Royal Academy of Sciences, or the Nobel Committee for example.

Being a medlem is a less exclusive role. You could be a medlem of a choir, sports team, a trade union, Facebook group, political party, and so on. 

The plural of ledamot is ledamöter.

Example

Hon blev vald till riksdagsledamot

She was elected as a member of parliament

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SWEDISH WORD OF THE DAY

Swedish word of the day: foppatofflor

Love them or hate them, foppatofflor are unexpectedly coming back in to fashion. But what are they, and how did they get their Swedish name?

Swedish word of the day: foppatofflor

Foppatoffla – foppatofflor in plural – is the Swedish term for Crocs – plastic sandals or clogs which first became popular in the early 2000s.

The word foppatoffla is made up of two words. The first is foppa, which is the nickname of one of Sweden’s most successful ice hockey players, Peter Forsberg. The second half of the word is toffla, the Swedish word for “sandal”.

Foppatofflor, the Swedish term for Crocs. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/Scanpix/TT

So, what does a famous Swedish ice hockey player have to do with plastic clogs?

The story begins in the early 2000s, when Forsberg was recovering from a foot injury sustained playing professional ice hockey. When looking for a shoe comfortable enough for him to wear without exacerbating his injury, he came across Crocs, which were designed to be comfortable and ergonomic.

Recognising the shoes’ potential, Forsberg became an early investor, securing the sole rights to distribute Crocs in Sweden through his company Forspro. But Forsberg didn’t just invest in the shoes, he also appeared in adverts for them, leading Swedes to start referring to the shoes as foppatofflor.

By 2010, sales of foppatofflor were dwindling, so Forsberg shut down Forspro to focus on other investments – but not before the name had stuck.

Peter “Foppa” Forsberg. The man you can thank (or despise) for introducing Crocs to Sweden. Photo: Erik Simander/TT

The shoes are still popular as ergonomic and hygienic work shoes, particularly in the healthcare sector, although they were briefly banned in some Swedish hospitals on suspicion of causing a build-up of static electricity which disrupted hospital machinery.

They may also be coming back into fashion, gracing the Oscars red carpet and the Instagram feeds of musicians such as Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande and Pharell Williams in the last few years.

So, love them or hate them, foppatofflor seem to be here to stay. Now you know what word to use if you decide to pick up a pair for yourself this summer.

Example sentences:

Jag har precis köpt nya foppatofflor till barnen – de är ju så praktiska!

I’ve just bought new Crocs for the kids – they’re so practical!

Gud, är foppatofflor verkligen trendiga nu? Bra att jag har kvar mina från 00-talet!

God, are Crocs really trendy now? Good job I kept mine from the noughties!

Villa, Volvo, Vovve: The Local’s Word Guide to Swedish Life, written by The Local’s journalists, is now available to order. Head to lysforlag.com/vvv to read more about it. It is also possible to buy your copy from Amazon USAmazon UKBokus or Adlibris.

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