Alphabet and Pronunciation

Alphabet

This lesson introduces the Swedish alphabet and provides a quick guide to Swedish pronunciation. Some sounds in Swedish are not in English and will take a bit of practice to get right. Pronunciation also varies a bit depending on the region that Swedish is spoken.

At the end of this lesson are two samples of spoken Swedish, along with the transcript in both Swedish and English.

A a (ah) Sounds like the a in father when followed by a single consonant. Otherwise between the a in bat and the u in but.
B b (bay) Pronounced as in English.
C c (say) Pronounced like k, except when followed by e, i, y, ä, or ö, where it is pronounced like s.
D d (day) Pronounced as in English. In the combination dj the d is silent.
E e (ay) Pronounced like e in bed when followed by a single consonant. Otherwise like ay in day.
F f (eff) Pronounced as in English.
G g (gay) Before the vowels (e i y ä ö) or in the combination gj, pronounced like y in yes. Otherwise pronounced like g in go.
H h (hoh) Pronounced as in English. H is silent in the combination hj.
I i (ee) Pronounced like i in bid when followed by a single consonant. Otherwise like ee in see.
J j (yee) Pronounced like y in yes.
K k (koh) Before the vowels (e i y ä ö) or in the combination kj, pronounced like sh in shirt. Otherwise pronounced like k in king.
L l (ell) Pronounced as in English. L is silent in the combination lj.
M m (em) Pronounced as in English.
N n (en) Pronounced as in English.
O o (oo) Pronounced like o in hoop or o in hop.
P p (pay) Pronounced as in English.
Q q (kew) Rare in Swedish.
R r (ar) Pronounced as in English. Except rs which is pronounced sh. Can be silent before n and t.
S s (ess) Pronounced like s in sit.
The combination rs is prounounced sh.
The combinations sj, skj, stj, as well as sk before (e i y ä ö) do not have an equivalent sound in English. Somewhat like the h in huge.
T t (tay) Pronounced as in English. The combination tj is pronounced like sh in ship.
u (Sound not in English) Pronounced like oo but with the lips more rounded. Represented by ew.
V v (vay) Pronounced same as English.
W w (dobbel vay) Pronounced like v. Not common in Swedish
X x (eks) Pronounced like ks.
Y y (Sound not in English.) A sound between ee and oo.
Z z (sayta) Rare in Swedish. Pronounced like the s in sit.
Å å (oh) Pronounced like oa in boat.
Ä ä (eh) Pronounced like e in get.
Ö ö (Not in English) Pronounced as a sound between ay and o. Represented by oe.

For a more thorough guide to pronunciation see. Wikipedia Swedish orthography and Wikipedia Swedish phonology


Video

Here is a youtube video by "Swedish with Axel" to help you with Swedish pronunciation.

Swedish Audio

The following are two samples of spoken Swedish. The first sample is from the Edgar Alan Poe poem "The Raven". and the Second sample is from the story "Yes and No" by Helena Nyblom.

Korpen



Korpen The Raven
Att en fågel så kan svara, hör ju till det underbara; dock, han säger ett ord bara, som han kanske övats i av en skald, vars hårda öde, förrn han lades till de döde, ville, att hans strängar ljöde till det enda ord: förbi - att hans sång, den brustna, ljöde i det enda hjärteskri: förbi, förbi! That a bird so can answer, belongs to the wonderous; However, he says one word only, as he maybe practiced as a poet, whose hard fate, ere he was added to the dead, wanted his strings to sound the word: gone - that his song, the broken, sounded in the only heart-cry: gone, gone!

Ja och Nej



Ja och Nej Yes and No
Han var en svartskäggig och svartögd man, stor och stark och skicklig till allt arbete. Ett gott förstånd hade han också, och hans ord var att lita på, men hans vilja var så hård som stångjärnet i hans smedjor, ja, ännu hårdare. Ty när stångjärnet blev glödgat och hamrarna började dansa på det, kunde till och med de hårdaste stänger böja sig, men hade Rolf en gång sagt: Jag vill! eller: Jag vill icke! så kunde ingen mänsklig makt förmå honom att ändra beslut. He was a black-bearded and black-eyed man, big and strong and accomplished all the work. A good sense he had, too, and his word was to be trusted, but his will was so hard as rod iron in his smithy, yes, even harder. For when the iron rod was annealed and hammers began to dance on it, could even with the toughest closing bow down, but had Rolf once said: I want to! or: I don't want to! so could not a human power cause him to change his decision.