|Introduction to Swedish by Urban Sikeborg, Stockholm (1997-98)
  Chapter 1
How to introduce yourself
 
  Home | Chap. 2 | Chap. 3 | Chap. 4 | Chap. 5 | Chap. 6 | Chap. 7 | Chap. 8 | Chap. 9 |
On this page Introduction
Comments om the examples
Sentences to study

Notes and explanations to the sentences:
Personal pronouns (words denoting persons doing something)
Comments on the personal pronouns
Verbs - Doing & Being words

 
Introduction Some foreigners have claimed that Swedes in general are rather reserved and stiff in comparison to their own fellow countrymen. This alleged cultural feature is not a personal quality, however. You will soon find out that the Swedes are as passionate, wonderful or silly as most other people you know.

The exercise below will help you to briefly introduce yourself in Swedish; in turn you will be introduced to some of the most basic elements of Swedish grammar.

 
Comments
on the
examples
To facilitate the learning the Swedish words in this and the following chapters have been marked with accent signs, to show which syllable should be more stressed than the others. Since it is necessary to carefully distinguish between short and long vowel in spoken Swedish, long vowels have been underlined in the examples. Furthermore, letters that usually are not sounded in spoken Swedish have been crossed-out;  'och' ('and'), for instance, is in this course shown as 'och', since the the two last letters usually are silent. Read more about the pronounciation and the three extra vowels in Swedish - , , and - in chapter 9.

Each word is given with its literal counterpart in English. The purpose of this is to help you to immediately understand the sentences presented and also to demonstrate how the word order in Swedish differs from English.

 
Sentences
to study
Hej! Jag hter …… och kmmer frn [click here for a list of countries]. Vad hter du?
Hello! I am called … and come from … What are called you?

Jag hter ……
I am called …

Var kmmer du ifrn? / Vrifrn kmmer du?
Where come you from? / Wherefrom come you?

Jag r frn … och studrar svnska hr. Jbbar du i Stckhlm?
I am from … and study Swedish here. Work you in Stockholm?

Nej, jag rbtar nte hr; jag r cks studnt.
No, I work not here; I am too/also student.

Note

‘Frn’ is usually changed to ‘ifrn’ (literally ‘in-from’) when it appears after the word it is referring to or at the end of a clause or a sentence.

 
Personal
pronouns
‘Jag’ (I) and ‘du’ (you) are pronouns, words denoting persons that perform an action: 'I run', 'You saw'. In English ‘you’ can refer either to one individual or to several persons; in Swedish you use separate forms, depending on the number of people you are addressing. These so-called personal pronouns also exist in a different form, the objective.

The objective form is used whenever someone or something is the object of an action. In the sentence 'You saw me', 'you' is the basic form of the pronoun, whereas 'me' is the objective form of 'I'. Swedish is in this respect very similar to English.  

Singular (Referring to one person)
Personal pronouns   Objective forms
jag = I ser (see) mig/mej = me
du = you
(Ni = you [polite form])
  dig/dej = you
(Er = you [polite form])
han = he   hnom = him
hon = she   hnne = her
den = it   den = it
det = it   det = it
Plural (Referring to two or more people)
Personal pronouns   Objective forms
vi = we   oss = us
ni = you
(Ni = you [polite form])
  er = you
(Er = you [polite form]
de (‘dom’) = they    dem ('dom') = them
 
Comments
on the
personal
pronouns
Swedes usually address each other with the pronoun ‘du’, regardless of what position they might have or if they meet for the first time; in fact, the formal ‘Ni’ is nowadays considered old-fashioned and is mainly used when talking to older people. The English habit of frequently inserting the name of the person you are talking to is not common in Swedish and can sometimes be felt to be too intimate.

The ‘o’ in ‘hon’ is pronounced like ‘oo’ in ‘good’.

There are two words for ‘it’ in Swedish. This is because Swedish, unlike English, still defines living beings and things in terms of gender, and is in this respect similar to the German with its ‘der, die, das’ and the French ‘le, la’. Whether one should use ‘den’ or ‘det’ is decided by what gender the word it refers to has. In the general and neutral meaning of ‘it’ in phrases like ‘it is cold today’, ‘det’ is used: ‘Det r kallt idg.’

The word for ‘they’ is normally spelled ‘de’, but is pronounced ‘dom’.

The objective forms 'mig' and 'dig' are nowadays always pronounced 'mej' and 'dej' (very similar to English 'may' and 'day').

 
Verbs ‘Heter’, ‘kommer’, ‘r’, ‘studerar’, ‘jobbar’ and ‘arbetar’ are verbs, words that show what someone/something is or does or what is happening.

While English has two different endings for regular verbs depending on who is performing the action - I read, you read, but he/she/it reads - Swedish very conveniently uses only one form, regardless of person: 'Jag kommer', 'du kommer', 'hon kommer', 'vi kommer' etc.

Most regular verbs use the ending -er, -ar or -r when they are in the present tense, i.e. describe an action taking place now: ‘hon studrar’ = ‘she studies/is studying’. Read more about the Swedish verbs in Chapter 7.

 
 

Copyright Urban Sikeborg,
Stockholm 1997-1998.

Stockholm School of Economics, Box 6501, SE-113 83 Stockholm
Phone +46-8-736 90 00, Fax +46-8-31 81 86
This page was updated on 21 December 1998.