Learning the Swedish Language: Tips and resources.

Updated: Nov 12

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.


Stockholm view.

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:


English loanwords:

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.


Aa

Bb

Cc

Dd

Ee

Ff

Gg

Hh

Ii

Jj

Kk

Ll

Mm

Nn

Oo

Pp

Qq

Rr

Ss

Tt

Uu

Vv

Ww

Xx

Yy

Zz

Åå

Ää

Öö

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.

For example:

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).


Svenska Pronouns

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

Svenska numbers:

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

ett

två

tre

fyra

fem

sex

sju

åtta

nio

tio


40 Swedish useful words and phrases:

  1. Hej god dag / Hello good day

  2. God kväl / Good evening

  3. God natt / Good night

  4. Hej då / Goodbye

  5. Snälla / Please

  6. Tack / Thank you

  7. Tack så mycket / Thank you very much

  8. Varsågod / You are welcome

  9. Ursäkta / Exuse me

  10. Förlat / I am Sorry (apologize)

  11. Ja / Yes

  12. Nej / No

  13. Jag förstår inte / I don´t understand

  14. Godmorgon / Good morning

  15. Hur är det? How are you?

  16. Bara bra, tack. Och du? / I’m fine, thanks. And you?

  17. Vad heter du? / What´s your name?

  18. Jag heter / My name is

  19. Trevligt att träffas / Nice to meet you

  20. Välkommen / Welcome

  21. Varifrån kommer du? / Where are you from?

  22. Jag kommer från.. / I am from..

  23. Var vor du? / Where do you live?

  24. Jag bor i.. / I live in..

  25. Hur gammal är du? / How old are you?

  26. Jag är ___ år gammal / I am ___ years old

  27. Talar du svenska? / Do you speak Swedish?

  28. Jag talar Engleska / I speak English

  29. Ja, lite grann / Yes, a little bit

  30. Nej, inte alls / No, not at all

  31. Jag förstår / I understand

  32. Jag förstår inte / I don´t understand

  33. Jag vet / I know

  34. Jag vet inte / I don´t know

  35. Jag gillar dig / I like you.

  36. Jag älskar dig / I love you

  37. Jag saknar dig / I miss you

  38. Skål / Cheers

  39. Fika / coffee break

  40. Ursäkta mig, var ligger toaletten? / Excuse me, where is the restroom/toilet?


The municipality offers free lessons to learn Swedish, some are coffee sessions with native speakers.

Although in Sweden, a large percentage of the population speaks fluent English; it is important to belong to the Swedish society, and to learn the Swedish language.

The government offers free courses to immigrants who have received a residency, are over 16 years of age and are registered with the municipality.



The municipality is the one that offers the Swedish for Immigrants (SFI-Svenska för invandrare) courses at its different levels; They interview the person interested in learning Swedish to offer the appropriate type of course. It can also be learned and practised in: coffee sessions with native speakers; in student associations that organize socio-cultural activities: in professional Swedish for those whose jobs and professions require learning specific vocabulary; Swedish as a second language in which people learn advanced grammar and vocabulary and online classes with different materials to learn, such as movies, text, etc.


"After taking some Swedish courses at the university, it was a slow start for me in the beginning, but I practised with my colleagues at work and I was able to communicate and write in Swedish. It was not difficult when I spoke more and more. To learn quicker, I recommend reading newspapers, practising with a Swedish person and watching cartoons and movies in Swedish" (Yaw G, Ghana).


In March 1944 Astrid Lindgren fell and sprained her ankle. To pass the time, while she was resting it, she put the Pippi Longstocking (Full name: Pippilotta Victoriaria Tea-cosy Appleminta Ephraim’s-daughter Longstocking) stories down on paper, and in 1945 the story was printed out, and it became one of the world's most famous children’s book characters (Astrid Lindgren Company).





Swedish pop music began to be known in the world at the end of the 1960s. The group ABBA was one of the main exponents of this musical genre in its beginnings.



Swedish singers and groups


Pop: The Cardigans, Titiyo, Lars Winnerbäck, ABBA, Roxette, Håkan Hellström, Per Gessle, Gyllene Tider, Tomas Ledin, Lisa Nilsson, Molly Snandén, Laleh.

Jazz: Lisa Ekdahl, Miss Li,

Rock: Europe, The Hives, Kent, Lambretta, Mando Diao, Egle Eye Cherry, The Ark, Yngwie J. Malmsteen, The Sounds, Lisa Miskovsky

Rap: Petter, Fattaru, Feven, Timbuktu, The Latin Kings,

Dance/Electronic: Ace of Base, A-Teens, Alcazar, Basshunter, The Knife, Robyn, Eskobar, Barbados, E-type, Orup,


There are currently some channels on Youtube, which SFI teachers have developed to help you learn.



To keep up with what's happening in Sweden and the world in the country's language, there are resources with Easy Swedish, for example Nyheter på lätt svenska.



As you could read, many English-like phrases make it easy to learn the Swedish language and there are many online resources like videos, and texts that can help you become a pro and speak like a native.


Start your journey with Iknal Semikan now and expand your borders!




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