Swedish: svansföring

Discussion in 'Nordic Languages' started by Språkliga Möten, Nov 10, 2013.

  1. Språkliga Möten Senior Member

    I read in a newspaper where someone wrote:

    ...Nordiska rådet kunde gott ha betydligt högre svansföring.

    I looked up the word svansföring in a dictionary, but it only states that sätt att föra svansen. If I understood it correctly, the above means that Nordiska rådet could have a bigger agenda? a bigger dream? a bigger goal? NR could mean a lot bigger than what it is now?
  2. DerFrosch

    DerFrosch Senior Member

    Well, you're on the right track. But to understand better we have to go back to the origin of the expression; as you already found out, the original meaning is simply the position of the animal's tail. When it comes to certain animals, especially dogs and cats, the way the hold their tails influences our understanding of their "mood", and, even more, confidence; if they hold their tails high (om de har hög svansföring), they're confident, self-assured, positive, perhaps even proud of themselves (I don't know how much truth there is to this, but that's how we humans interpret it). Later, this has been transfered to humans. A person or, as in your case, an institution who has "hög svansföring", knows what he/her/it is doing. It's often used in politics and the buisness world. This can be a good thing, something well-deserved due to successes in the past. Interestingly though, it can also be rather negative, (maybe because of the Swedish culture where you traditionally should be humble and not brag too much about what you're good at). Then it's suggested they don't really have reason to be so confident, they haven't accomplished anything yet; the opposition could for example say this about the ruling party.

    In your case, the writer (or whoever says that) expresses the view that Nordiska rådet has been to "shy" and cautious, they could've stood up more for themselves.
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2013

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