The letter W wasn’t considered a letter until 2006 but a variation of V. Now it is once again a member of the alphabet and together with Q and Z it is only found in loan words and names.
Å, Ä and Ö are also added to the alphabet. They aren’t just “umlauts” like in German but free from their oppressors and are their own unique individual letters. If you want to check a dictionary for something beginning with one of these three letters, check in the back.
In Swedish we differentiate between hard and soft vowels.
Hard vowels are A, U, O and Å and the soft ones are E, I, Y, Ö and Ä. This is important for some consonants since soft vowels change their pronunciation.
Furthermore, we divide them into long and short vowels.
A vowel is long:
- when they are emphasized and no consonant follows (bi [biː] bee)
- where they are emphasized and only one consonant follows (bil [biːl] car)
A vowel is short:
- when a double consonants follow (puss [pɵs] kiss)
- when two or more consonants follow (häst [hɛst] horse)
- when it isn’t emphasized or just softly pronounced (fågel [foːgəl] bird, tomte [”tomtə] father christmas)
Double consonants shorten the vowel before them. Only M and N are exceptions since they often shorten the vowel before them also when they aren’t written in pairs.