If there’s a Swedish word that is worth learning first, this word is definitely “tack”.
It’s one of few words ** (that I know of) which Swedes (and even non-Swedes living in Sweden) use frequently and on daily basis.
So, what makes it so frequently used?
Some people say that it’s maybe because Swedes tend to show gratitude easier than other people. But I do think that this is only one part of the explanation.
Another part I concluded when I started to learn Swedish. I asked my teacher after I learned the word tack “How do you say you’re welcome?”. She replied “There’re no particular word for it! Some people would reply and say (Varsågod) which is typically translated to (Here you are), but a direct translation of (You’re welcome) doesn’t exist in Swedish.”
The third part is that when people answer yes or no questions that are service related (in restaurants and shops…etc), the yes and no are almost always associated with a “tack”.
Let me give you an example to demonstrate that. You are buying your morning coffee.
You: One coffee, please!
With or without milk?
You: With milk, (tack)!
You: No, (tack!)
You: Yes, (tack!)
That would be SEK 20
(You give him SEK 50)
Here’s the change, (tack!)
That was 5 “tack’s” in a small conversation to buy coffee which represents a small part of the everyday activity but it gives an idea of how frequent the word (tack) is used.(Just try to imagine longer purchases! :-))
There are some variants of tack which are also used, but not as frequent. Among the popular ones is “tackar” which is simply the verb form of “tack”. Another one is (tusen tack) which means “many thanks”. The word tusen means thousand in Swedish, but I don’t think I can translate it to (thousand thanks!). Some people even tend to repeat tack twice (I call it the double tack :-)). Last but not least “tack så mycket”…(yeah, yeah, I know it’s hard to read it!) which means “thanks a lot or thank you very much!”
Thanks for reading! (tack!)
**I excluded swearwords for sure 😉