Learning the Swedish Language: Tips and resources.
Updated: Nov 12, 2022
Swedish (Svenska) is a Germanic language spoken by almost 10 million people in Northern Europe. Most of its speakers live in Sweden, Finland and the Åland Islands, where it is the official language. Swedish is a Nordic language, as are Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic and Faroese.
In 1786, King Gustave III (King period: 1771–1792) established the Swedish Academy dedicated to preserving the purity, vigour and majesty of the Swedish language and its literature.
Swedish is described, by many people, as a singsong rhythm because it has a tone or pitch accent. The vocabulary contains many loanwords, especially from Low German and High German, and recently from French and English; for example:
to park / parkera
to study / studera
pipe / pippa
three / tre
apple / äpple
Antenna / Antenn
Hand / Handen
The alphabet is written with a Latin-based alphabet consisting of 29 letters: the 26 letters and three extra letters (vowels) Å, Ä and Ö.
There are two differences in pronouncing the nine vowels in Swedish: long or short. Short vowels come before a long consonant and Long vowels come before a short consonant, a vowel or at the end of a word.
When speaking Swedish, tone accents are very important because intonation differences can have different meanings.
There are two Swedish tones:
Rising tone: rises on the stressed syllable and falls on the next syllable. It commonly happens on single syllables words.
Falling-rising-falling tone: tone falls on the stressed syllable, then rises and falls again on the next syllable. It's more common for multiple-syllable words.
The writing structure is Subject-Verb-Object. In questions, the word order is Verb-Subject-Object.
Vad heter du? / What is your name?
Jag heter Adriana / My name is Adriana.
Feminine, masculine and neuter were the gender of Svenska; but nowadays there are two genders: common and neuter (masculine and feminine genders merged).
Swedish / English
Jag / I
du / you singular
han / he
hon / she
hen / gender-neutral
den / it for common gender
det / it for neuter gender
vi / we
ni / you plural
de / they
40 Swedish useful words and phrases: