Absolute beginner #6 - Asking questions

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Jag heter Joakim.
My name is Joakim.
Vad heter du?
What's your name?
Jag är 33 år gammal.
I'm 33 years old.
Hur gammal är du?
How old are you?
Jag kommer från Sverige.
I come from Sweden.
Var kommer du ifrån?
Where do you come from?

In this lesson, we will build on what we’ve already learned regarding sentence structure and transform those statements, which you should know by heart by now, into questions.

Question words

In the monologue, we got to know three question words:

where from
Varifrån can be divided into two parts, turning a question like Varifrån kommer du? (Where do you come from?) into Var kommer du ifrån? (Where do you come from?)

To construct a question with these, we put them in the beginning of a sentence, followed by a verb. Remember Swedish has the so-called V2 rule, which states that the verb has to come in second place.

Vad är klockan?
What time is it?
Vad gör du?
What are you doing?
Hur gör man?
How do you do this?
Hur mår du?
How are you doing?
Var kommer du ifrån?
Where do you come from?
Varifrån gick han?
From where did he go?

These three words are definitely not the only ones and a few others, which could come in handy, are:

where to

När börjar det?
When does it start?
Var är du?
Where are you?
Varför är jag här?
Why am I here?
Vem är du?
Who are you?
Vart går tåget?
Where is the train going?

Yes/no questions

Although it’s important to put the verb in second place, a question without a question word needs the verb to go in first place, just like in English.

Kommer du från Sverige?
Do you come from Sweden?
Är det fredag?
Is it Friday?

The one and only du

Where other languages differentiate between how they address different sorts of people, Swedes address everyone with the pronoun du. There is no real equivalent to German Sie or French Vous in Swedish. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking to your naked best friend, the mailman, the prime minister or me. You will use first names and du with everyone – except for the royal family. We address them in a more traditional manner with the help of titles.

Kan du hjälpa mig?
Could you help me?
Tycker kungen om blommor?
Does the King like flowers?
Hur mår kronprinsessan efter resan?
How does the Crown Princess feel after the trip?

There is the pronoun ni (the second person plural you) which has been used in the past to address titleless people, a way for ads to address the potential customer, and to translate politeness from another language in literature and subtitles. Some younger people in service professions have started to use this analogous with polite pronouns in other languages. This is however not something that is appreciated by most Swedes.

More examples

Txr kim gzhuaf.
Gu htufh cautimav.
bd xni fazrpf.
Ns lvgfe mlcdfkaz.
Byh mim yjvcyt.
As lorxp rzndcgdn.
Gkt yvm ivybxw.
He zprdn kyyuhejp.
Pvg rvf acnrtt.
z qnudf avfoxtue.
Gzw wwj ixytuf.
Yz ubjuv vddjbmxk.
Wkm drg sqnjlo.
Wz rqfbb xjbqtjii.
Afn mba krnphf.
g xpdqn sgzptxkg.
Xtb tzp ugtsbs.
Gz ledsv ephnuuzi.
Ots cau wcembu.
Sv nmgpl rzdvzhxv.
Cyq cid hvwnss.
Zu losbw fjhomosp.
Exy gav hanjug.
Ik kzmdg pnqsswja.
Exb nib taduea.
Bg qxbnz ggjnuexd.
Dwy lia zovjuu.
Xz zyiqt xehfcrtm.
Qqa yss lpovlb.
Tb ltsay laahnbix.
Ycj jhd izfbyt.
Ch bctfi vzcjxlxp.
Kjg cjp tubsap.
Lp hkyrq yebgfxgv.
Ruu vnj zvocvn.
j vatgb uucandnt.
Gsc bsx pygdpx.
s wllvk drcruzwk.
Hoz bld pcmrxl.
Gm cdzfx qdymmbus.