How to read in Swedish

Lesson 2: How to read in Swedish / Hur man läser
Swedish alphabet :

Aa       Bb       Cc       Dd       Ee        Ff         Gg       Hh      Ii          Jj         Kk
a:         be:       se:       de:       e:         ɛf:        ge:       ho:       i:          ji:         ko: 

Ll         Mm      Nn       Oo       Pp       Qq       Rr        Ss        Tt       Uu       Vv  
ɛl          ɛm        ɛn        ω:         pe:       ku:       ær        ɛs         te:       u:         ve:  

Ww                Xx         Yy         Zz        Åå       Ää       Öö
dub:ǝltve:    ɛks        y:         sɛ:ta      o:         æ:         ø:

In the following video you can listen how different people pronounce the Swedish letters.

Source: youtube.com, video by SVENSKA FÖR ALLA 

1. Vowels

There are two types of vowels in Swedish. These are hard vowels (a, o, u, å) and soft vowels (e, i, y, ä, ö). Hard vowels do not affect the reading of consonant sounds. Soft vowels make the consonant into a completely different sound.

CONSONANT

Hard (rear) vowels 
a, o, u, å

Soft (front) vowels
e, i, y, ä, ö

SK… [ sk ]

ska, skola,  skura, skåp, Skåne, skulle,
fiska, skada

[ ch ]

sked, skidor, skynda, skära, skönt, sky

OBS! människa

G [ g ]

gammal, golvet, gul, gå, godis

OBS! gem, get

[ j ]

ge, gissa, gymnasium, gärna, göra, gift, gillar

K

[ k ]

katt, ko, kultur, kål

OBS! kö, kille, kör (chorus)

[ sh ]

kedja, kilo, kyrka, kärlek, köra bil

C

[ k ]

cancer, cobra,
cup…

[ s ]

cement, cäsar,
citron, cykla…

2. Always read TJ, RS, SCH as [ sh ].
TJ tjugo, tjej, tjata, tjena…
RS [ sh ] i morse, mars, försent, Vänersborg…
SCH duscha, affisch, bransch
3. Always read SKJ, STJ, CH as [ ch ].
SKJ skjorta, skjul, skjuta…
STJ [ ch  ] stjärna, stjäla, stjälk…
CH chans, charm, champagne…
4. Always read DJ, LJ, HJ, GJ as [ j ].

For example: djur, ljus, hjul, gjorde, djup…

5. Always read tion/sion as [ hu:n ].

There are about 5,000 words in all European languages (including Swedish) that have the same meaning. They all end with …tion/sion. /
For example: tradition, nation, station, expansion, expression

To listen the pronunciation, you can always type the Swedish word in Google Translate and click the sound button. Or read the transcription and listen to the word on the site https://svenska.se/

Click here to open How to Read grammar table in PDF format.

How to read Swedish – 7 rules

Lesson 2: How to read Swedish / Hur man läser

Here are 7 rules of how to read Swedish.

1. How to read Swedish alphabet / Hur man läser svenska alfabetet:

Aa       Bb       Cc       Dd       Ee        Ff         Gg       Hh      Ii          Jj         Kk
a:         be:       se:       de:       e:         ɛf:        ge:       ho:       i:          ji:         ko: 

Ll         Mm      Nn       Oo       Pp       Qq       Rr        Ss        Tt       Uu       Vv  
ɛl          ɛm        ɛn        ω:         pe:       ku:       ær        ɛs         te:       u:         ve:  

Ww                Xx         Yy         Zz        Åå       Ää       Öö
dub:ǝltve:    ɛks        y:         sɛ:ta      o:         æ:         ø:

In the following video you can listen how different people pronounce the Swedish letters.

Source: youtube.com, video by SVENSKA FÖR ALLA 

2. Vowels / Vokalerna

There are 2 types of vowels in the Swedish language. /
Det finns 2 typer av vokaler i svenska språket:

  • Hard (rear) vowels / hårda (bakre) vokaler –     a, o, u, å
  • Soft (front) vowels / mjuka (främre) vokaler – e, i, y, ä, ö

Consonant + hard (rear) vowels = You are reading normally. /
Konsonant + hårda (bakre) vokaler = Man läser normal.

Consonant + soft (front) vowels = You are reading differently. /
Konsonant + mjuka (främre) vokaler = Man läser annorlunda.

CONSONANT/
KONSONANT

Hard (rear) vowels /
hårda (bakre)
a, o, u, å

Soft (front) vowels /
mjuka (främre) vokaler
e, i, y, ä, ö

SK… [ sk ]

ska, skola,  skura, skåp

[ ch ]

sked, skidor, skynda, skära, skönt

G [ g ]

gammal, golvet, gul, gå

[ j ]

ge, gissa, gymnasium, gärna, göra

K

[ k ]

katt, ko, kultur, kål

[ sh ]

kedja, kilo, kyrka, kärlek, köra

3. You always read TJ, RS, SCH as [ sh ]. / Man läser alltid TJ, RS, SCH som [ sh ].
TJ tjugo, tjej, tjata, tjena…
RS [ sh ] i morse, mars, försent, Vänersborg…
SCH duscha, affisch, bransch
4. You always read SKJ, STJ, CH as [ ch ]. / Man läser SKJ, STJ, CH som [ ch ].
SKJ skjorta, skjul, skjuta…
STJ [ ch  ] stjärna, stjäla, stjälk…
CH chans, charm, champagne…
5. You always read DJ, LJ, HJ, GJ as [ j ]. / Man läser DJ, LJ, HJ, GJ som [ j ].

For example / till exempel: djur, ljus, hjul, gjorde, djup…

6. How to read C / Hur man läser C:

CONSONANT/
KONSONANT

Hard (rear) vowels /
hårda (bakre)
a, o, u, å

Soft (front) vowels /
mjuka (främre) vokaler
e, i, y, ä, ö

C [ k ]

cancer, cobra, cup…

[ s ]

cello, citron, cykla…

7. You always read tion/sion as [ hu:n ]. / Man läser tion/sion som [ hu:n ].

There are about 5,000 words in all European languages (including Swedish) that have the same meaning. They all end with …tion/sion. /
Det finns cirka 5 000 ord på alla europeiska språk som har det samma betydelse. De alla slutar med …tion/sion.

For example / Till exempel: tradition, nation, station, expansion, expression

To listen the pronunciation, you can always type the Swedish word in Google Translate and click the sound button.