In case you’re wondering whether or not lagom is an English word, it’s not. It might be Monday, but you’re not going crazy in regards to your language.
Lagom is a Swedish word that has no precise English translation or equivalent. It roughly means “just right” or “in moderation,” but it has neither a positive or negative connotation. It’s more of a feeling and a cultural idea. It’s also a Norwegian and Finnish word, but in those languages the word has different connotations.
I saw it on Twitter this morning and really liked it. Even though I still subscribe to the idea that meaning is constructed by language, I think it’s cool that particular words of a language either influence or are the products of the cultural identity of the people who speak it. It especially reminds me of Aristotle’s golden mean, which was a significant aspect of discussion in my literary theory class last fall. And when I look at the word, it’s a perfectly symmetrical one phonetically and orthographically. Two syllables, a beautiful “g” in the middle.
What’s your word of the week?