Swedish for beginners

I’ve been learning Swedish for several weeks now, after a pause about a year! I’m glad to restart this language and to devote my time to it.

Today, I would like to tell you more about Swedish and to share with you some basic rules, and maybe, to give you some desire to learn Swedish. Let’s start!

Being an Indo-European language, Swedish belongs to the North Germanic branch. If more precisely, Swedish is an East Scandinavian language. So, it is quite close to Danish and Norwegian. Moreover, it is official language in 2 countries: Sweden and Finland!

Svenska means Swedish in …. Swedish. So, what’s curious about this språk (language), except that they say tack (thank you) more often than other nationalities.


New letters, pronunciation, stress

There are some new letters, such as: ä, å, and ö (äter [eter] – to eat, åtta [otta] – eight, trött [trɜːt] – tired). Also, I was surprised by the pronunciation of some other letters. If you see K, you pronounce [sh] (after vowels ä, ö, i, y, e)! Köper [shɜːper] – to buy. But it is not the only sound [sh]. You can find it in such words as: sjätte, tjugo, skiva, skjorta… in words like mycket, fyra, “y” pronounce like [i:]. Ok, I finish with the pronunciation for now.

Another thing is also interesting. In Swedish words there are several stresses: the first one is strong and the second one is more soft. In the word framsteg, the first stress is on A and the second one is on E. That’s quite interesting difference from other languages.


In Swedish, there are two genders – neutral and … not neutral. So, logically, there are 2 indefinite articles: ett – neutral, en – not neutral. En dag (a day) and ett kött (meat). To transform these articles into the definite ones is very simple. You just need to replace en or ett in the end of a word. In our case it will be: dagen, köttet. Voilà!


Here are Swedish pronouns:

I – jag

You – du

He – han

She – hon

We – vi

You (pl.) – ni

They – de

It – det

Infinitive and the Present Tense in Swedish

For me, good news is that there are no conjugation! So whether you want to say “I have” or “she has” it always will be har (jag har, hon har), youpii! However, the infinitive of har is att ha. So, if we take another word as skrattar (laugh), the infinitive will be… right att skratta. C’est simple comme le bonjour!

Interesting Swedish words

Linslus – a person who wants to be very much a clown on photos.

Fika – a coffee break.

Ont i håret (to have pain in the hair) – hungover. That reminds me the same French expression “avoir mal aux cheveux”.

Sockergris (a sugar pig) – sweet-tooth.

Orka – to have energy.

Phrases for beginners

Let’s practice a little! Here are some expressions for absolute beginners:

Hej – hello

Hej då – bye

Hur mår du? – how are you?

Bra, tack – fine, thanks

Vad heter du? – What’s your name?

Jag heter… – my name is…

Ja visst – Yes, sure

Okej – OK

Ursäkta – pardon

Hur gammal är du? – how old are you?

Ha en fin dag – have a nice day

Jag älskar dig – I love you

Resources to learn Swedish

Personally, I started learning Swedish with Duolingo to understand some basic rules and to hear the pronunciation, then I’ve moved to “Svenska Utifrån” book written by Roger Nyborg, and “Mål 1” book written by Anette Althén. Now, to restart my Swedish I use “Assimil”.


For the end, I would like to introduce you some Swedish music that you can use to learn new words.

Josef Johanson – Hela Natten

Josef Johanson – Blickar kan mörda

Norlie & KKV – Ingen annan rör mig som du

Markus Krunegåd – Du stör dig hårt på mig

That’s all for today. Write me in the comments below what are your favourite resources to learn Swedish.

5 commentaires

  1. I really like the format of this post. It’s a nice little « bite » of Swedish! I’m learning Norwegian now, and while I knew there were similarities between the two languages, it’s crazy to see just how close they are!

      1. It is not! The grammar is quite straight forward, and you will find you can already understand most of it from your Swedish knowledge.


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