Pronunciation #1 - The alphabet

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A [ɑː] K [koː] U [ʉː]
B [beː] L [ɛl] V [veː]
C [seː] M [ɛm] W [dʊbəlveː]
D [deː] N [ɛn] X [ɛks]
E [eː] O [uː] Y [yː]
F [ɛf] P [peː] Z [”sɛːta]
G [geː] Q [kʉː] Å [oː]
H [hoː] R [ær] Ä [ɛː]
I [iː] S [ɛs] Ö [øː]
J [jiː] T [teː]
The Swedish alphabet has 29 letters: nine vowels and 20 consonants.

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.

Vowels

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)
  
(ett) bi
bee
  
(en) bil
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)
  
(en) fågel
bird
  
(en) häst
horse
  
(en) puss
kiss
  
(en) tomte
santa claus, father christmas, santa, gnome

Consonants

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.

  
(ett) hem
home
  
(en) man
man