Absolute beginner #5 - Talking about yourself in Swedish

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Hej!
Hello!
Jag heter Joakim.
My name is Joakim.
Jag är 33 år gammal.
I'm 33 years old.
Jag är musiker.
I'm a musician.
Jag är svensk.
I'm a Swede.
  
gammal
old
  
hej
hello
  
heta
be named
  
jag
I
  
musiker
musician
  
svensk
Swede
  
vara
be
  
år
year

When introducing and talking about yourself, you need only a few building blocks – tools which can be super powerful to kickstart your Swedish. We already talked about constructing simple sentences in an earlier lesson and if you’re still unsure on how to do that, check out the very first lesson first. You should also already know how to properly great someone in Swedish. We talked about that in lesson #4.

Heta

The big new thing we’re learning in this lesson is the verb heta. It’s used in conjunction with a name, to express that someone or something is named something.

Jag heter Markus.
My name is Markus.
Affären heter "Anderssons mat & diverse".
The store is called "Andersson's food & miscellaneous".
Using the construction I am + [name] is considered unidiomatic in Swedish, but is of course understood and might not, due to Swede’s exposure to English, be something your Swedish friends would see as wrong at first and correct. Use Jag heter.

Talking about age

Talking about one’s age is done in the exact same way in Swedish as in English. This means we can also leave out the same words.

In Swedish, gammal or år (or both!) can be omitted, and most people would just state their age without any extra words.

Jag är 33 år gammal.
I'm 33 years old.
Jag är 33 år.
I'm 33 years old.
Jag är 33.
I'm 33.

When Swedes reply to the question of how old they are, it is extremely common that they answer with the year they were born in the following manner: Jag är 89:a. (I'm an 89.)

Naked nouns

Swedish is a Germanic language that uses articles and endings to determine if a noun is definite or indefinite. This isn’t supposed to be covered in this lesson, but it’s important to know here, especially if your native language need to use an article in this context, that when we speak about something general in Swedish, we omit the indefinite article. We thus say that we are “Swede” instead of “a Swede”. The article can still be used, but would then emphasize that we are one of many.

Jag är lastbilschaufför.
I'm a truck driver.
Jag är dansare.
I'm a dancer.