Notes on the Swedish Language

Notes on the Swedish Language

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Headed to Sweden soon? Our Swedish translator, Peggy Oskarsson, has some helpful notes to complement our Swedish SpeakSheets.


  • Some vowels need to be very clipped in Swedish (“lamm”, “hand”). We’ve indicated the clipped vowel using double consonants (lhamm, hannd)
  • The hard “g” sound is sometimes difficult to communicate phonetically. We use “gh” to indicate a hard “g” – this is pronounced like “gear” or “ghee,” the clarified butter from India.
  • “s” will sometimes be pronounced with a “z” sound in English. We rarely have a full-on “z” sound in Swedish, so we’ve tried to indicate a full-on “s” sound by using double ss’s (ses = sehss, not “says”).
  • We don’t have a rainy/dry/hot/cold seasons in Sweden, so it is better to use terms such as “It’s raining” instead. We’ve used “värmebölja” for hot season, but that’s closer to “heat wave”. Same for “köldknäpp” – “cold snap”.
Here are some specific notes on some of the more than 200 phrases found on our Swedish SpeakSheets. The capital letters represent an emphasized syllable.
Phrase Translation Pronunciation Notes
Good Morning God morgon gu MORR-on Short, almost silent u sound.
Good Afternoon God middag gu MID-ah Short, almost silent u sound.
Good Evening God afton gu OFF-ton Short, almost silent u sound.
Good Night God natt gu nut Short, almost silent u sound.
How are you? Hur mår du? hoo MOOR do? / hoo moor DOO? Short “do” if you’re the first one to ask, long “doo” if you’re asking after being asked.
taxi taxi TUCK see The English pronunciation works too
Eat! Eat! Hugg in! Hoo ghin! “GH” here as in “ghee”
sleep sova / sömn sohver / sumn The first is the verb “to sleep”, the second is the noun.

(Image is of Ales Stenar, a formation of stones (like Stonehenge) in the south of Sweden. courtesy: rigahouse)
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