When I came to Sweden, I decided to learn some standard important words and expressions such as: varsågod, god morgon, ursäkta mig. A bit later I learned the importance of ‘fika’ and that the right pronunciation is essential. Namely, you have to make the ‘i’ very loooong. Otherwise, you actually say ‘ficka’ which means a pocket! Only at that point I have understood why one of my teachers said ‘You cannot make a Swedish vowel too long’ 😉
At that moment, I thought that expressions like ‘tack så mycket’ are far below my level of Swedish. I figured that simple ‘tack’ has no more mysteries to discover. I couldn’t have been more wrong! While talking to one of my colleagues I have learned that there is another ‘sort of’ tack: Tack för senast! Apparently, it is an absolutely basic knowledge for any Swedish child that you have to thank for the last meeting as soon as you meet again. This becomes essential if you have visited somebody at their home. My teacher claims that the ‘tack för senast’ is so strongly rooted in Sweden that if you do not thank your host, they will be worried and sure that they did something wrong. The matter gets more complicated, as it is required that you thank within a week. It means that if you do not meet with the host of the last meeting within a week, you should call or send an sms!
‘Tack’ decided to surprise me one more time a few days later. While participating in a conference I saw an ‘acknowledgements’ slide on which it was written ‘Tack för mig; och tack för att ni har lyssnat’. I did not understand what was happening. Tack för mig? The speaker was thanking herself? I rushed to my colleagues again to ask what it meant. They were surprised at first that this is not obvious to me but calmly answered: ‘Well, this means ‘thanks for listening; this is all that I had to say’.
What can I say? Tack för mig, och tack för att ni har läst!