Note: I only use the username (soulofsweden) on tumblr. The same name on other networks/platforms eg.youtube is not me
#sweden #Götaland #Svealand #Norrland
#learn swedish #swedish language #wotd
Bo and leva (to live)
The English verb “live” can be used to specify both where one lives and that one lives or is alive. In Swedish, there is a distinction between att bo and att leva. Bo is the word you use when you want to tell someone where you “dwell” or “reside”. For example:
Jag bor i Sverige. – I live in Sweden.
Du bodde i Venedig i ett år. – You lived in Venice for a year.
Gustav bodde på en gård som barn. – Gustav lived on a farm as a child.
Leva, on the other hand, means “to live” as in “to be alive”. It pertains to the experience of life itself. For example:
95-åringen lever fortfarande. – The 95 year-old still lives/is still alive.
Sångerskan levde ett hårt liv. – The singer (female) lived a hard life.
Hennes minne lever vidare. – Her memory lives on.
It is incorrect to say *95-åringen bor fortfarande as a sentence on its own – you have to specify where if you use bo. For instance, you could say:
95-åringen bor fortfarande i byn. – The 95 year-old still lives/is still living in the village.
However, while it’s true that bo and leva are not interchangeable, it is not incorrect to say the following; it just has a different meaning:
Jag lever verkligen i Sverige. – I really feel alive in Sweden. (Lit.: “I really live/am really alive in Sweden.”)
It makes more sense if you compare your living situation in one place to that in another:
Jag levde inte riktigt i Danmark. Jag lever däremot i Sverige. – I wasn’t really alive in Denmark. I am, however, alive in Sweden.
(Denmark is most certainly a lovely place to live, but my fictional example character didn’t feel as “alive” in Denmark as in Sweden. To each his own. :))
When it comes to philosophical statements about society, it makes much more sense to say:
Vi lever i ett perfekt samhälle. – We live in a perfect society.
than to use bo. We don’t reside in society; we live it each and every day.
Lastly, as a reminder, Swedish verbs are different from, for example, the Romance languages, in that they are not conjugated based on person (yay!):
#sweden #scandinavia #europe #winter #snow #landscape #night