Swedish: Gengångare

Discussion in 'Nordic Languages' started by Alxmrphi, Dec 20, 2012.

  1. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    Hej allihopa,

    I'm watching a French show with Swedish subtitles and the original French title is Les Revenants which I think translates to English as the zombies, but the English title was "They Came Back", which I guess fits in with the zombie theme. The Swedish title is called Gangångare which I think means something like a 'walker' (judging from the second part of the word anyway) which I guess could maybe be zombie but a search on Google brings back results that relate it more to a 'ghost'. How far along the supernatural scale is gangångare - zombies, ghosts, spirits?

  2. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    In Norwegian a 'gjenganger' means a ghost, a spectre, especially one that appears for a living human being. I suppose that Swedish 'gengångare' means the same.
  3. AutumnOwl Senior Member

    A gengångare (gen- is the same word as in igen = again, and gångare = walker, someone who walks again) is a special type of ghost, a person who has died a violent or in some other way a horrible death, and who can't find peace. They are usually bound to a certain place and often also a certain time, and they are not possible to communicate with, it's like a movie playing again and again. From: http://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gengångare
  4. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    Perfect explanation!
  5. Giski New Member

    Swedish - neutral
    For me the word "gengångare" means doppelganger. Though the word "gengångare" is kind of old and I'd rather use "dubbelgångare". I guess it could mean ghost but I've never heard it being used to describe something other than my suggestion.
  6. Aldarad New Member

    I am afraid that I disagree with wikipedia in this case. To me a "gengångare" seems(?) like a modern word for this horror:
    the Draug. A ghost combined with a Zombie and possibly given magical powers.

    But yes Gengångare would be a fitting translation for Revenant, I guess.
  7. AutumnOwl Senior Member

    Well, if you think that a word known since 1780 is a modern word, as it's known as "vålnad av avliden människa, spöke" according to Svenska Akademiens Ordbok, http://g3.spraakdata.gu.se/saob/ , if you search for gengångare.
  8. JohanIII

    JohanIII Senior Member

    Ghosts and spectres are clearly immaterial. Or at least they are very flimsy or gooey.
    Spöke (ghost) is the most commonly used word for an afterlife apparition.
    It is taught to children like in the saga Spöket Laban - the kind young ghost that must learn to frighten little children, as he is not very good at it :) .

    A zombie is material - rotten, but very strong (and isn't that a great contradiction?) flesh.
    Of course the contradiction can be explained by the (originally Haitian) magic behind its resurrection.

    I'm not sure a gengångare would be fleshy, but I wouldn't rule it out.
    As it is an old word, I'm sure the meaning has changed a bit, and to a good extent have been replaced by modern (more specific) words as zombie.

    By the way revenir in French means "return" or literally "come again", so it's a good translation.

    Giski: dubbelgångare means "lookalike". As does the word Doppelgänger - in German. Let's not re-import it with yet another meaning ;) .

    Aldarad: thanks for the Draug - the viking horror.
    I find gengångare slightly more spookish, or actually more of a general word, without much connotations.
    Vålnad also, though it's clearly a ghost, as in immaterial.

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