Swedish Pronunciation guide

Pronounce each syllable as if it formed part of an English word, and you will be understood sufficiently well. Remember the points below, and your pronunciation will be even closer to the Swedish. And: nearly everyone, everywhere in Sweden speaks English.

A vowel is usually long when it's the final syllable or followed by only one consonant; followed by two it's generally short. Unfamiliar combinations are:

ej as in mate.

y as in ewe.

å when short as in hot, when long as in raw.

ä when before r as in man; otherwise as in get.

ö as in fur but without the r sound.

Consonants are pronounced as in English except:

g when before i, j, y, d, v, or ö as in yet; otherwise hard g as in get; occasionally as in shut.

j, dj, lj as in yet.

k before i,e,y,ä or ö like sh in sheep, otherwise hard.

qu as kv.

sch, skj, stj as in shut; otherwise hard.

tj like sh in sheep.

z as in so.

How to use 'you'

There are two words for 'you':'du' and 'ni'. 'Ni' is the polite form; "du' is the familiar form. But unlike in some other European countries it is not necessarily impolite to address a complete stranger with the familiar form. In fact many Swedes consider the polite form to be old-fashioned.

The definite Article

The commonest form of the definite article 'the' in Swedish is as a suffix 'en, 'et' added to the end of a word. 'huset' will mean 'the house' and 'ett hus' means 'a house'. Likewise 'bilen' is 'the car' and 'en bil' is 'a car'.

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