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How hygge is misunderstood in the English language (in one Twitter thread)

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How hygge is misunderstood in the English language (in one Twitter thread)
Hygge? Not necessarily. Photo: Ólafur Steinar Gestsson/Ritzau Scanpix
17:33 CEST+02:00
An incisive Twitter thread took apart misunderstandings of the concept of hygge and its dubious grammatical usage in English. See whether you agree with the analysis.

Hygge entered the Oxford English Dictionary a while back now, and countless numbers of Anglophone books have been written about the concept.

But while the concept remains an interest – and aspiration – for many in the English-speaking world, the word itself is more mundane than you might think when used in its original language.

London-based Danish comedian, author and activist Sofie Hagen ripped through what she called “making a wrong about ‘hygge’” in a sharply-worded Twitter thread, posted in response to a headline in the Observer which incorrectly used ‘hygge’ as a countable noun.

Hagen did not hold back on incorrect pronunciations she has come across and wrote that she had even been corrected for pronouncing the word in her native tongue.

 

 

She then explained that hygge does not just mean 'cosy' as it is often translated, but encompasses a wide range of expressions and situations.

 

 

The comedian also had a few things to say about Danes' ability to cut through polite niceties and get to the point.

 

 

She was also prepared to voice criticism of her home country.

A commenter noted that, in their defence, the Observer may have been trying a pun with 'hygge' standing in for 'hug'. That did little to make the London-based Dane feel better about the offending headline.

 

What do you think? Should English-language media and publishers rein in their hygge fixation -- at least until they understand it properly? Or is it okay for a concept to take on a new form in other cultures and languages? How do you view Hagen's assessment of Danish attitudes to feminism? Do you appreciate the directness of Danes or do you miss hearing words like 'please' and 'pardon'? Let us know -- we'd love to hear your thoughts.

READ ALSO: It's official: 'hygge' is now an English word

 
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