Alphabet

There are 29 letters in Swedish alphabet. 26 of them are the same as in English, with three additional letters: å, ä, ö.

Aa Bb Cc Dd Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj Kk Ll Mm Nn Oo
Pp Qq Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv Ww Xx Yy Zz Åå Ää Öö

Vowels

The pronunciation of the vowels depends on whether the vowel is long or short. It depends how many consonants follow after the vowel - if there is no or one consonant, the vowel is long; if there are two or more consonants, the vowel is short.

VowelLongShort
eResembles the English ‘fear’
resa (to travel), tre (three)
Resembles the English ‘effect’
ett (one), svenska (Swedish)
iResembles the English ‘see
bi (bee), vi (we)
Resembles the English ‘it’
till (to), innan (before)
yThis is a sound not found in English. The sound is made by forming your mouth as to say ‘u’ but saying ‘ee
fyra (four), ny (new)
Also not found in English. Pronounce as in ‘it’ but with slightly rounded lips
lyssna (to listen), rygg (back)
äLike e, the long vowel resembles the English ‘ever’
väg (road), äta (to eat)
Resembles the English ‘get’
bäst (best), vägg (wall)
öResembles the English ‘sir’ with a less articulated r at the end
snö (snow), ö (island)
Same as the long one, just shorter
höst (autumn), öppen (open)
aResembles the English ‘father’
bra (good), glas (glass)
Shorter and lower and resembles the English ‘but’
arm (arm), glass (ice cream)
oResembles the English ‘balloon’
bok (book), stol (chair)
Resembles the English ‘hop’
klocka (clock), ost (cheese)
uResembles the English ‘few
sur (sour), nu (now)
Resembles the English ‘put’
buss (bus), lunch (lunch)
åResembles the English ‘poor’
båt (boat), två (two)
Resembles English ‘got’
gått (gone), ålder (age)

Consonants

The majority of consonants in Swedish are pronounced similarly as in English with a few exceptions.

cSounds like k before a, o, u, å, and all consonants: café (café), och (and)
Sounds like s before e, i, y, ä, and ö: cirkus (circus), centimeter (centimeter)
gSounds like g before a, o, u, å, and all consonants: ganska (quite), gråta (to cry)
Sound like y before e, i, y, ä, and ö: ge (to give), gäst (guest)
jSounds like y: familj (family), ja (yes)
kSounds like k before a, o, u, å, and all consonants: ko (cow), klaga (to complain)
Sounds like sh before e, i, y, ä, and ö: kyrka (church), köra (to drive)
lSimilar to English but lighter, and more air escapes faster: ligga (to lie), lång (long)
rMore rolled than the English: radio (radio), resa (to travel)
sResembles the English six: skriva (to write), stå (to stand)
v, wSounds like v, the w is used mostly in foreign words: vad (what), webbsida (web page)
zSounds like s: zebra (zebra), zoo (zoo)

Letter Combinations

sj, skj, stj, sch, chDifficult to describe, sound like a rather harsh h. There are Swedish dialects that pronounce it as sh as well: sju (seven), stjärna (star)
skSounds like sk before a, o, u, and å: sko (shoe), skåp (cabinet)
Before e, i, y, ä, ö, same case as above. Could be pronounced as sh: skidor (skis), skydd (protection)
kj , tjSound like sh: kjol (skirt), tjäna (to earn)
hj, dj, lj, gjSound like y: hjälte (hero), djur (animal), gjorde (did)
ngAlways sounds like in sing, and never like in finger: lång (long), många (many)
gnSounds like ngn: regna (rain), lugn (calm)
.Sounds like d, though the tongue is placed behind the ridge of the mouth: jord (earth), mord (murder)
rgSounds like ry: arg (angry), berg (mountain)
rlSounds like l, though the tongue is placed behind the ridge of the mouth: farlig (dangerous), Arlanda (Arlanda airport)
rnSounds like t, but tongue is placed behind the ridge of the mouth: parti (political party), stort (big)
0Sounds like n, but the tongue is placed behind the ridge of the mouth: barn (child), stjärna (star)
rsSounds like sh but tongue is placed behind the ridge of the mouth: person (person), kors (cross)