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Absolute Beginner #1 – Hej! An introduction to Swedish

The Swedish language

Swedish is a small Nordic language, being the administrative language in Sweden and some regions in Finland. It is a Germanic language, just like German, Dutch, and English. Furthermore, you can use it to communicate with citizens of Norway and Denmark because of the common origin in old Norse.

Greetings

To greet someone in Swedish, you use the word hej, which just sounds like “hey” in English. However, this is not an informal expression but the most common neutral greeting. It’s one of the most important bits of Swedish that you could ever learn.

Hej Hello

Building sentences

Swedish is considered easy to learn in that sense, that you don’t need to modify words depending on whom you are talking about. In English, for instance, you have to conjugate the verb, as it’s called in fancy linguistic lingo, depending on who performs the action.

To be Att vara
(I) am är
(You) are är
(She) is är
(We) are är

Can you spot which word är is related to? Right, it’s “are”!

So to start constructing sentences in Swedish you only have to have a subject: a thing that IS something. Jag (I) and det (it) are good words to start with. Then you move on with är and then you add something that your subject is going to be.

Jag är …
I am …

Det är …
It is …

Hej! Jag är amerikan.
Hello! I am American.

Hej! Jag är brittisk.
Hello! I am brittish.

Det är bra.
It is good.