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Fika in the garden
Fika in a café with coffee, cake and tea
Outdoor fika / picnic

Fika is a social institution in Sweden and Finland . It means taking a break from an activity to have coffee or, less often, another drink with family, friends or colleagues.

A fika can last between 15 and 45 minutes. A sweet called fikabröd , usually a sweet pastry or cake, is often eaten with coffee . This tradition of an extended coffee break with a small snack in between is a central part of Swedish culture, as the Swedes are among the largest coffee consumers in the world.

The fika can also contain sandwiches or other non-sweet foods. A fika can take place in a café or pastry shop, at work as a break from work, at home or outdoors. As a specific form of the word Fika also comes fikat instead of fikan ago. However, this is only important when speaking of the actual break instead of the meal.

In addition, there is the use of the word fika , which means coffee as such, as in the expression en kopp fika as “a cup of coffee”.

Word origin

The verb fika , meaning to drink coffee, has been used since 1910. According to the linguist Lars Gunnar Andersson , the syllables of a word kaffi , a subsidiary form of the word kaffe , have been swapped. From this verb later the noun fik with the meaning "café", "confectionery" was formed.

In Malung , Dalarna the leather tanners used a kind of secret language called skinnarmål (de: leather dialect). The secret language worked in such a way that letters or syllables of the word were regrouped in the local dialect. This secret language was carried on by peddlers and still used in 1913 when Ola Bannbers was doing research on the local dialects in western Dalarna. "Coffee" was in accordance Bannbers fäka or fik - the dialectal word was kaffä  - and coffee panna (coffee pot) was, by moving letters, fäkanapa . According to Bannbers, the expression fika is said to have come about through such a shift in syllables and not, as was also discussed, from the Stockholm dialect.

According to Herman Palms Hemliga språk i Sverige from 1910, chimney sweeps in Stockholm used the word fika for “drink coffee” and fikhäck for “coffee”. In Långholmen prison , the word fika was also used, which Palm describes as a kind of spoonerism , the regrouping of letters in a word. Regardless of whether the word in Stockholm colloquial language comes from Malungs skinnerspråk or came about in some other way, it is probably an example of spoonerism: kaffi became fika , which resulted in fika and fik . In the Svenska Academies ordbok of 1924 there is no reference to a meaning in connection with coffee or a coffee break for the word fika .

A similar word can also be found in the French Verlan , in which the word café is rearranged to féka .

Other meanings

The word fika is and was used in Swedish with a different meaning and this long before the word was used for the extensive drinking coffee together. Among other things, the verb fika also means 'to hurry', 'to go quickly to (a place)', 'to be busy, to strive'; fika can also be found in the expression fika, which means “ competing for something”. The fruit of the fig was also previously known as fika .

See also

Individual evidence

  5. according to Svenska Academies Ordbok
  6. ^ Lars-Gunnar Andersson (radio program). Editor: Anna Lena Ringarp, Sveriges Radio, P1, 22 December 2009
  8. Malungs skinnarmål, Ola Bannbers. Norstedt, 1926
  9. ^ Herman Palm: Hemliga språk i Sverige . Norstedt, Stockholm 1911
  10. ^ Gösta Bergman: Ord med historia [etymologisk ordbok med över 2500 ord och deras origin]. 8th edition. Bokförlaget Prisma, Stockholm, ISBN 91-518-4409-5 , p. 163.