Swedish: Hejsan svejsan

Discussion in 'Nordic Languages' started by The_Red_Lion, May 28, 2008.

  1. The_Red_Lion Member

    Cheshire, England
    England - English

    What is the meaning/significance of hejsan svejsan. I know hejsan means hello, but why is svejsan added.

    I do have various books on Swedish, and I'd like to get around to reading them sometime :D, but I've never come across hejsan svejsan whilst flicking through them.

  2. Svenske_tjommen New Member

    Hejsan svejsan!

    Svejsan doesn't mean anything. It just rhymes with hejsan, and hejsan svejsan makes a cheerful salute. Somewhat old I think. I think it could be used by Bertie Wooster instead of "what-ho, Jeeves". :)
  3. oskhen

    oskhen Senior Member

    The expression exists in Norwegian too (heisann sveisan - very possibly borrowed from Swedish), but I guess it's safe to say that one doesn't encounter it often in any of the languages, and unless it's very different in Sweden, people will very probably think you're a bit weird if you greet them with it. Jocular use recommended.
    (Swedes correct me if this isn't the case in Swedish)
  4. Södertjej

    Södertjej Senior Member

    Junto al Mediterráneo
    Spanish ES/Swedish (utlandssvensk)
    You could also say hej svejs. Same thing, some silly rhyme with no actual meaning. I haven't lived in Sweden since I was a kid so my knowledge of slang is limited but it sounds a bit old fashioned to me. Maybe other Suedes can confirm.
  5. Wilma_Sweden

    Wilma_Sweden Senior Member

    Lund, Sweden
    Swedish (Scania)
    I should add that sometimes "i lingonskogen" (=in the lingonberry forest) is added to either of these, e.g.:
    Hejs(an) svejs(an) i lingonskogen!

    It might be camp or old-fashioned among Swedish youth, but 43,200 hits on Google for "Hejsan Svejsan" is not a small number... I use it myself sometimes, as a joke, but I'm a bit of a dinosaur... ;)

  6. WolfieNex New Member

    Swedish, spanish and english
    The english equivalent is "Hidelyho" or some other Ned Flanders version of "Hi". I think it's safe to say that it's used pretty much as often and is seen as quite lame in either language.
  7. aaspraak Member

    Norway Norwegian
    I sometimes use the Norwegian hei sveis, but only jokingly and almost exclusively when talking to my brother.

    The word sveis can mean hairstyle, but I don't know if that has anything to do with the expression.
  8. Jodalela New Member

    I am not so sure that "svejs" is a meaningless add-on! I am rather sure that the original saying is ""hej svejs", and that the "hejsan svejsan" merely is a natural (and actually meaningless) follow up! Both "hej" and "hejsan" comes from Low German (the Hanseatic period); from "hei" and "heissa"; in Danish it is still "hejsa"!

    I also think that the Norwegians has imported the "svejs" from Swedish, there has been a Swedish influence on modern Norwegian especially with Swedish slang. The Swedish "svejs" could perhaps have been imported from the Baltic languages from the 17th century, when Sweden was the dominating power in the Baltic area. In Lithuanian "I sveikata" means "cheers", in Swedish "skål". I travelled a lot in Latvia 20 years ago, and they have a similar word which I recall as "sveciem". I cannot find this word in dictionaries today, where there is another saying! "Hej svejs" could so have been a popular way of saying "skål" for Swedish soldiers!

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