Swedish: tvåvägsfordon järnväg (structure used in technical/bureaucratic texts?)


Senior Member
English, USA
In Swedish technical texts, I frequently run across examples like the following (from a description of a roadwork job):

Använda tunga fordon ska dokumenteras och vid anmodan kunna redovisas i en förteckning med uppgifter om fordonstyp, märke, modell, registreringsnummer och utsläppsklass (Euroklass) samt tillverkningsår (uppgift om tillverkningsår gäller endast direktimporterade fordon för transport av geoteknisk utrustning och fast monterade arbetsmaskinsmotorer på tunga tvåvägsfordon järnväg).

The highlighted phrase (and others like it) throws off my comprehension, because it lacks any clear "connective tissue" – there are no prepositions, suffixes, punctuation, etc. to tell you how the words relate to each other.

Instead, a reader is (seemingly) supposed to be able to see the two words and "connect the dots" in his/her mind.

The best I can guess is that tvåvägsfordon järnväg refers to two-way vehicles that are typically used on railroads, or for working on railroads, but I could of course be wrong. (And I could be missing important details even if right.)

Are phrases like these mostly restricted to "tech speak" in Swedish, perhaps also bureaucratic language?

Or are they a common feature of the everyday language?

Thanks for your time,
  • Seems pretty 'specific' to me. I would probably expect language like that to be understandable by people who work in whatever field the text refers to.
    Tvåvägsfordon - a vehicle that can be used on railways as well as an ordinary road. Railrent | Nya moderna arbetsfordon

    If a "tvåvägsfordon" is by definition a railroad vehicle, then I don't understand what the word järnväg accomplishes in tvåvägsfordon järnväg.

    In any case, thanks for responding.

    I don't want to get too stuck on the example tvåvägsfordon järnväg -- I'm more curious about the general structure that this example represents.

    Here are some similar cases from an unrelated text:

    Att utföra de arbetsuppgifter som han/hon har behörighet för enligt dokumentet ”Sammanställning behörighetsprotokoll” som finns i pärmen ”Behörighet utbildning personal” i produktionsenheten.

    When you (native/fluent speakers) see these highlighted phrases, do you recognize the pattern that they represent, and have no difficulty interpreting them?

    Or do you find them opaque, and/or difficult to understand without a background in the specific field (or organization) where they were produced?
    As a Swede who's lived at this point half his life abroad I'm curious about this too. When I see those other two examples I actually have to use my brain to figure it out, it isn't 'obvious' to me and it isn't obvious that one would deduce what the meaning is based on Swedish grammar.

    To me it reads as several terms describing a whole, and if it's a name on a binder then I'm not sure if it's a type of Swedish common in organizations or just what an individual decided independently (which could be 'bad' Swedish).

    Certainly ”Sammanställning behörighetsprotokoll” seems pretty straight forward; a compilation of those protocols regarding eligibility. The binder name is less clear I think. Not sure if there's a hierarchy in that name.