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The Best Swedish Foods For Your Study Breaks

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Would you say that you’re the adventurous type? One for tall waves on high seas, long journeys, and tough challenges?

Whether you’re a beginner or an expert in Swedish, you know that the Swedish language can have its rough spots. Why not anchor yourself with something nice and tasty, something closely connected to Swedish culture?

Aside from language, cuisine is one of the most tangible aspects of culture. Go down any main street in any town and you’ll see restaurants serving local and foreign foods right alongside each other. But what about Swedish food?

You may be lucky enough to have Swedish restaurants nearby, or perhaps you have Swedish relatives who can cook nice meals for you.

None of the above? Well in that case, it looks like a trip to Sweden is in order. Start with the stomach, and the head will follow. In this article, you’ll learn about some of the tastiest Swedish food staples for Swedes both inside and outside of Sweden.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Let's Cook in Swedish Table of Contents
  1. What is Swedish Food Like?
  2. Authentic Swedish Food vs. Overseas Swedish Food
  3. Unique Swedish Food
  4. Food-Related Vocabulary
  5. The Top Five Must-Try Dishes in Swedish Restaurants
  6. Conclusion

1. What is Swedish Food Like?

Jonkoping, Sweden

Unless you live in a very international city or a place with a large population of Swedish immigrants, you probably don’t have a particularly clear idea of Swedish cuisine. Aside from “meatballs,” most people would vaguely guess at fish and bread if they had to imagine what Swedes eat.

There’s some truth to that, but that’s far from the only staple food!

Traditional Swedish foods have a rustic flavor because of Sweden’s relatively poor recent history. A lot of people lived off of their own farms, and so they ended up cooking with preserved meat, bread, and vegetables. Cabbage, or kål, is a particularly common ingredient, as you’ll see in this article!

A lot of Swedish food can be described as quite hearty, with rich meats and sauces as well as desserts made with syrupy preserved fruits.

Later on, Sweden began attracting more immigrants. If you walk around a Swedish city today, you’ll see restaurants from places like the Middle East, India, and Asia.

Speaking of restaurants, cafe culture is very important in Sweden and there are lots of pastries and cakes to choose from. The concept of fika, or a coffee break, is one of the most “typically Swedish” things that most Swedes themselves can think of.

Many Swedes treat a fika as a natural break in the work day, as well as a way to meet up with friends or even go on dates. It’s not unheard of for a single fika to last more than an hour and a half on a weekend!

2. Authentic Swedish Food vs. Overseas Swedish Food

Swedish Lingonberry Jam

Many authentic Swedish cuisine dishes have made their way into other countries, but with regional twists.

Sweden’s most popular cultural export by far is the Swedish meatball, a mixture of ground beef and pork baked in a thick gravy for close to an hour before being served. However, in the U.S. at least, meatballs are more of a finger food served with cheese—no doubt due to Italian influence. In Sweden, they’re a main course served with mashed potatoes or with pasta.

The word gravlax (literally, “buried salmon”) might be somewhat familiar to people who enjoy cured salmon and bread. Indeed, it’s quite similar to smoked salmon on a bagel, a classic dish for New Yorkers. Gravlax, though, is not smoked; instead, it’s dry-cured through a mix of sugar, salt, and white pepper. Then instead of cream cheese, the typical topping is a light mustard sauce.

Why “buried,” then? Traditionally, the curing agents are mixed together in a jar with the salmon and it’s literally buried in the ground.

If you had to think of a berry associated with Sweden, you’d probably come up with the word lingonberry. It’s a small, red berry often made into jams and jellies in Scandinavia. In the United States, though, people tend to pair meat with cranberry sauce, not lingonberries. Lingonberries are a little bit smaller and a shade sweeter than cranberries, making them a bit more suitable for desserts.

And speaking of desserts, remember all the pastries in Swedish cafes? A classic one is smulpaj (“crumb pie”). Most pastries in English-speaking countries have a crust and a topping, but not smulpaj. This dessert has a topping of oats and flour and little else—it’s baked directly with the fruit filling on the baking dish.

3. Unique Swedish Food

A Head of Cabbage

It’s tough to find foods other than the meatballs and lingonberry jam mentioned above when you’re outside of Sweden. In this section, we’ll introduce some typical Swedish dishes that rarely make it across the border.

First up is a sort of street snack known as tunnbrödsrulle. From the name, you can see that this has something to do with tunnbröd, or flatbread. Indeed, these are flatbread hot dogs! You take an ordinary sausage as bought from a street cart and lay it in a piece of flatbread before drizzling it with the topping of your choice.

The concept of eating fruit or roses in soup is a bit alien to some cultures. However, wild roses and their fruit grow all over Sweden. Therefore, nyponsoppa is a classic rosehip soup served as an appetizer or as a dessert.

Finally, brunkål (“fried cabbage”) is something that virtually every Swede had growing up at one point. Fast and easy to make, this is cabbage seasoned with meat or vegetable broth and vinegar before being rapidly stir-fried in a pan. It’s often eaten at Christmas to complement a Christmas ham.

4. Food-Related Vocabulary

Cinnamon Buns and a Mug of Coffee

Now it’s time to put down the dictionary and pick up a fork—let’s learn some Swedish phrases for the café or restaurant!

  • Har ni någon lokal specialitet? / “Do you have a local specialty?”
  • Har ni vegetarisk mat? / “Do you have vegetarian food?”

Perhaps you’re lucky enough to be invited for a fika, that luxurious time for coffee and pastries.

  • En kopp kaffe, tack! / “A cup of coffee, please!”

When you’re satisfied with the meal, it’s good manners to pass on your compliments to the chef.

  • Maten var utsökt! / “The food was delicious!”

Of course, that’s far from all the phrases you might need in a Swedish restaurant. Why not check out our vocabulary list of Swedish Words and Phrases for the Restaurant?

5. The Top Five Must-Try Dishes in Swedish Restaurants

Some Bread with Strömming on It

To round it off, here are some of the most beloved dishes in the entire Swedish cooking lexicon.

A- Strömming 

Herring is the small fish strongly associated with Scandinavia. There are actually two different types: the sill in the North Sea and the strömming caught in the Baltic Sea. Typically, Swedes pickle their herring in a sweet curing agent with plenty of salt and sugar. A couple of other popular Swedish herring recipes include nysekt strömming (fried and eaten in sandwiches) and a variety that’s served in sandwiches with senap (“mustard”). 

B- Glögg 

Even in the southernmost parts of Sweden, winter can get extremely cold. That’s a perfect time for a steaming cup of glögg, or Swedish mulled wine. Although other European countries have mulled wine traditions, in Sweden the glasses have raisins and almonds placed at the bottom. Additionally, the glasses are kept small as people tend to add vodka or cognac in the mix—giving the drink a bit of a kick!

C- Kåldolmar 

One more appearance of cabbage here before the end. The word dolmar in the second half of the word actually comes from Turkish, similar to the English word dolmas. These cabbage rolls are stuffed with beef and pork before being baked in a thick broth in the oven. They’re super-rich and hearty, especially when served with a dash of lingonberry jam.

D- Kanelbulle 

While they’re called ‘cinnamon rolls’ in English, the word bulle means “bun” in Swedish. This is probably Sweden’s most popular pastry—on average, each Swede consumes about six of them per week! The secret ingredient separating them from other cinnamon rolls (for those in the know) is cardamom, a spice from India.

E- Prinsesstårta 

Legend has it that this delicate multi-layered cake was named in honor of Swedish princesses who adored baking and eating such a flavorful thing. It has three layers of cake separated by jam, custard, and cream, and the whole thing is topped with green marzipan. Lately, a few cakes with pink marzipan have made an appearance too. 

6. Conclusion    

Did this article whet your appetite? Hopefully not just for eating, but for learning as well. At SwedishPod101.com, you can get a whole lot more than just this sampler platter.

From our flagship podcast series to our YouTube videos and our longform articles, there’s something to suit any palate. The best part is, learning about interesting things like Swedish cooking actually helps you remember vocabulary! You’re going to see the word kanelbulle quite a few more times before your Swedish learning journey is over; you’re pretty much guaranteed to never forget its meaning.

Connecting a new word to something meaningful and emotional is absolutely the best way to learn a language. Sign up for an account at SwedishPod101.com and find out just how tasty the whole journey can be!

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Swedish Waffle Day: A Sweet Start to Spring

What if I told you there was one day a year when you could eat all the waffles you could possibly want? Yes, I’m talking about Waffle Day (formerly known as Our Lady Day) in Sweden. 

If you have a mighty sweet tooth on you (or just love pastries a lot), it’s your lucky day! We’ll discuss the origins of this holiday, get your mouth watering with some info on Swedish waffles, and cover some key vocabulary. 

Let’s get started!

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1. What is Waffle Day?

a waffle with heart-shaped pieces

In Sweden, Våffeldagen (Waffle Day) is a springtime holiday during which the general population can indulge in a feast of waffles! But despite the holiday’s festive and indulgent nature, it was originally celebrated as a solemn feast called Vårfrudagen (Our Lady’s Day). A quick look at the two names is all you need to understand how a serious religious holiday came to be associated with this favorite Swedish pastry! 

Our Lady’s Day is a holiday observed in numerous majority-Christian countries. It’s considered one of the most important dates on the Christian calendar, because it marks the supposed date on which the Angel Gabriel visited the Jungfru Maria (Virgin Mary) and told her she would give birth to Jesus Christ. 

Nowadays, Swedish National Waffle Day is of a less religious nature and the focus is on making and consuming waffles! 

  • Even though this Swedish holiday has largely left its religious roots behind, you’ll still find it useful to learn some Religion vocabulary. 

2. When is Waffle Day in Sweden? 

Waffle Day takes place on March 25 every year, setting it apart from many other Catholic holidays, which are moveable. While this date is associated with Gabriel’s visit to Mary, its association with the springtime is also significant. 

In the past, food was scarce during the winter months and people would have very few perishable items (such as eggs or milk) on hand. The arrival of spring meant the beginning of soil preparation for farms, and people once again had access to two of the most important ingredients in waffles. It was indeed a time for celebration. 😉 

3. Swedish Waffles… <3

A Waffle with Cream and Jam on It

For most of the population, Waffle Day in Sweden means just one thing: plate after plate of waffles! Typically, Swedish waffles are eaten with grädde (cream), sylt (jam), and sometimes even fresh fruit or berries. For this annual waffle festival, some restaurants will have special deals and many Swedish households will be filled with the aroma of waffles on the iron. 

It’s interesting to note that waffles were not introduced to Sweden until the 1600s, and began as a savory dish rather than the sweet and decadent pastries we think of today. In the nineteenth century, Swedish waffles took on a distinctive shape and design with the introduction of the “Swedish waffle iron” which makes waffles with heart-shaped pieces. Prior to adopting this unique shape, they were square and cooked over a fire. 

4. Another Interesting Tradition… 

In times past, there was another interesting tradition associated with Waffle Day. As we mentioned, this holiday takes place near the beginning of spring, when farmers begin their new crop season. To help the crops grow better, children were encouraged to run barefoot around the house or through a manure pile. This act was also thought to prevent the children’s feet from cracking during the hot summer months! 

That doesn’t sound too pleasant, does it? I think I prefer the waffles… 

5. Essential Swedish Vocabulary for Waffle Day

A Waffle Iron

If learning about this holiday has made you drool, it’s a good sign that you should learn some waffle-related vocabulary! Let’s review some of the Swedish vocabulary words from this article, plus a few more.

  • Smör (Butter) – noun, neutral
  • Mjöl (Flour) – noun, neutral
  • Våffeldagen (Waffle Day) – proper noun
  • Jesus (Jesus) – proper noun
  • Grädde (Cream) – noun, common
  • Våffeljärn (Waffle iron) – noun, neutral
  • Våffla (Waffle) – noun, common
  • Jungfru Maria (Virgin Mary) – proper noun, common
  • Vårfrudagen (Our Lady’s Day) – proper noun
  • Sylt (Jam) – noun, common

Also make sure to check out our Waffle Day vocabulary list. Here, you can listen to the pronunciation of each word and practice along with the audio recording.

Final Thoughts

Who’s ready to bring out the waffle iron and get cooking? *raises hand* 

Seriously though, we hope you enjoyed our lesson on this March 25 holiday and that you’re even more curious about Swedish culture after reading! If you would like to expand your knowledge even further, you can visit the following pages on SwedishPod101.com: 

If you like what we have to offer, please consider creating your free lifetime account today. Doing so will give you access to even more Swedish-language content and lessons! 

Before you go: Do you prefer waffles or pancakes? (We won’t judge…) 😉

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Studying Swedish Grammar? Here’s What to Expect.

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A quick glance at some photos of Swedish cities, and you may realize that Sweden doesn’t look all that different from English-speaking countries. And didn’t the Vikings end up living in the British Isles for a while?

Similarly, Swedish grammar isn’t too far off from English grammar. Whether you look at the vocabulary, word order, or verb conjugation, you’re likely to see some major similarities.

Of course, when you’re learning a language, you’re probably a bit more concerned with the differences. That’s why we’ve created this page: to give you a broad overview of some of the grammatical features of Swedish and how they differ from English. The more you know now, the better-prepared you’ll be in the future!

In this Swedish grammar overview, you’ll learn all the basics you need to get started.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Swedish Table of Contents
  1. General Rules
  2. Swedish Nouns
  3. Swedish Verbs
  4. Swedish Adjectives and Adverbs
  5. Swedish Word Order
  6. Conclusion

1. General Rules

A Stack of Books

In general, Swedish grammar is very similar to English grammar, and English speakers won’t have much trouble dissecting the sentences.

But this doesn’t mean that the whole language is easy! Pronunciation and spelling, for instance, have their own challenges—but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Native English speakers can learn to read basic Swedish after a couple of weeks or months of regular study, and that’s cut way down if you have any experience at all with German, Dutch, or another Scandinavian language. 

So what makes Swedish grammar relatively accessible? Well, to start with, you don’t have any long conjugation patterns to memorize. Swedish verbs don’t change at all for first, second, or third person, and the past and future tenses are formed similarly to how they are in English.

Word order is another area where you’ll be able to easily make connections between Swedish and English. Though there are some sentence structures with “reversed” word order from English, you can count on being able to express your thoughts in the same order as you would in English.

You’ll run into some rough spots with grammatical gender, though. Swedish has two word genders and it’s not always clear which one to use with which word. They just have to be memorized separately, and this extends to which form of adjectives you’ll need to use.

In fact, let’s explore Swedish nouns a bit more right now.

2. Swedish Nouns

Piano

In Swedish grammar, gender dictates which article is used with a noun as well as the form of any adjectives describing that noun. Unlike Old English or German, Swedish has not three but two word genders for nouns: common and neuter.

For example, the words katt (“cat”), tomat (“tomato”), and flicka (“girl”) are all common gender, while lokomotiv (“locomotive”), hus (“house”), and piano (“piano”) are all neuter gender. Common nouns take the indefinite article en while neuter nouns take ett. Therefore, you’ll often see nouns simply described as en-words and ett-words in Swedish grammar lessons.

If you’ve never learned a language with grammatical gender before, you may be wondering what exactly makes a locomotive more neutral or less common than a tomato. Well, you’re better off not looking for logic in the system, as it really developed on the basis of words sounding naturally easier to say with one article over the other. Over time, these sounds shifted and new words were adopted, and at this point it’s just something that has to be memorized.

As you learn Swedish vocabulary, you should try and memorize each noun with its gender so that you always know the correct article to use. At the beginning, it’ll be confusing, but as you learn more and more words, your brain will get used to adding that extra little detail in its mental dictionary.

Another typical Scandinavian grammatical feature present in Swedish is how the definite article attaches to nouns. Unlike in most European languages, the definite article in Swedish is directly attached to the noun.

This suffix generally takes the form of the suffix –en or –et (sometimes shortened to –n or –t). For example: ett piano (“a piano”) becomes pianot (“the piano”).

    → Do you want to get a head start? Then check out our vocabulary list of the Most Common Nouns!

3. Swedish Verbs

A Woman Holding a Blue Telephone to Her Ear

A huge chunk of understanding Swedish grammar is getting a grasp of how verbs work.

On the whole, you can think of Swedish verbs as being just about as difficult as English verbs. However, Swedish is a little bit more regular when it comes to identifying which words are verbs in the first place.

In the present tense, Swedish verbs always end in the suffix -r.

  • Jag ringer dig ikväll. / “I’ll call you tonight.”

From this example, you can see that Swedish expresses “I’ll call” with the present tense (Jag ringer), instead of English’s compound future. This is because the present tense in Swedish can indicate future events if the time is specified, in this case ikväll (“tonight”). It also covers English’s present progressive (“I am calling”) and present habitual (“I call”).

The other verb forms in Swedish are: 

  • The Imperative 
    • “Call!” 
    • telling someone to do something
  • The Preterite 
    • “I called.” 
    • the simple past tense
  • The Perfect 
    • “I have called.” 
    • compound past
  • The Infinitive 
    • “I plan to call.” 
    • used with modal verbs

Here are a couple more examples:

  • Hon tänker ringa till Lina. / “She plans to call Lina.”
  • Ringde Lars? / “Did Lars call?”

This terminology may be new to you, but remember that it’s quite similar to the set of tenses that English has. The only difference is that the present perfect (“had done”) is used more commonly in speech than the preterite is.

Swedish also has quite a few irregular verbs, just like English and other Germanic languages. In these cases, the verb stem itself will often change.

As in most languages, the verbs you see the most tend to be the ones that are irregular. This is a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, you have to learn so many irregular verbs to communicate on a basic level. On the other hand, though, these verbs crop up so frequently that they’re naturally absorbed into your mind without you having to spend extra time reviewing them!

    → See our vocabulary list of the 50 Most Common Verbs to get a head start in your vocabulary learning!

4. Swedish Adjectives and Adverbs

Purple Lilacs

In Swedish, adjectives have different forms related to word gender, just like nouns do.

When we put an adjective after a word (called a predicate adjective), we always use the base form with no endings.

  • William är snäll. / “William is kind.”

How about when you place the adjective in front of the noun? That’s where the complexity arises.

For en-words, we use the base form of the adjective. If “nice” is fin and “flower” is blomma:

  • Det här är en fin blomma. / “This is a nice flower.”

Ett-words add a -t.

  • Det här är ett fint piano. / “This is a nice piano.”

These basic Swedish grammar rules will take you far, though there are other rules to follow based on the final sound in the adjective. If you first encounter an adjective in the ett-form, you may not be able to perfectly guess the en-form in every case.

If you feel that the gender aspect of Swedish nouns is challenging, then you’re also likely to find Swedish adjectives challenging. The best advice is to learn words in context.

Adverbs, on the other hand, shouldn’t pose a lot of trouble. They’re formed quite regularly, almost always ending in -t.

  • Jag hoppar högt. / “I jump high.”

Don’t forget to view our vocabulary list of the Most Common Adjectives to learn some useful words in context! 

5. Swedish Word Order

A Bunch of Bananas

Swedish can be described as a verb-second language, where the verb always takes the second place in the sentence. In English, the verb tends to simply follow the subject except in especially formal writing.

  • Nu går jag hem. / “Now I am going home.”

Note the use of the simple present tense to refer to an ongoing action in this example!

Apart from the verb-second rule, in normal main clauses the word order tends to be subject-verb-object, just like in English.

  • Jag köpte en banan i affären. / “I bought a banana in the store.”

Pay attention to where you place adverbs of time in a sentence. In English, they go between the subject and verb, but Swedish is very strict about that verb-second rule.

  • Jag köper alltid bananer. / “I always buy bananas.”

Another slight difference from English is the treatment of yes/no questions. In Swedish, these always begin with the verb, but there’s no helping word (do) as in English. It’s exactly like reversing the word order.

  • Kommer du från Sverige? / “Do you come from Sweden?”

The direct translation, “Come you from Sweden?” sounds archaic to modern English ears, but the best part is that it still sounds like good English. This means that this aspect of Swedish grammar is super-easy to pick up.

6. Conclusion

Do you still have some questions about Swedish grammar? Of course you do!

Since Swedish is so close to English, you can pick up a lot of the nuances automatically by doing a lot of reading and listening to authentic Swedish material, like the stuff on SwedishPod101.com.

And our resources don’t stop there. In addition to explainer videos and special podcast episodes, SwedishPod101 has a whole series of articles letting you know exactly what to pay attention to as you move onto more advanced grammar topics.

The best way to learn a language is to balance direct study of the language’s complicated features with regular consumption of high-quality content. SwedishPod101 is simply the best place for both.

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20 Swedish Quotes To Brighten Your Day

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People are, it seems, primed to enjoy quoting others. In Western culture at least, quoting something well-known is a sign to others that you belong, that you’re part of the in-crowd that knows the book, movie, or TV show in question. 

For that reason, quotes have existed long before books, movies, and TV shows, and they’ll certainly persist into the distant future. 

In this list of Swedish quotes, you’ll find some old favorites that everyone in the world knows, as well as some classic Scandinavian sayings that you probably haven’t heard before. 

Ready to impress your friends with these Swedish quotes?

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Swedish Table of Contents
  1. Quotes About Success
  2. Quotes About Life
  3. Quotes About Time
  4. Quotes About Food
  5. Quotes About Love
  6. Quotes About Family
  7. Quotes About Friendship
  8. Quotes About Health
  9. Quotes About Language Learning
  10. Conclusion

1. Quotes About Success

These inspirational quotes in Swedish have English counterparts with nearly the same meaning. It’s interesting, though, to see how Swedes express the same concepts in different ways.

  • Bättre en fågel i handen än tio i skogen. / “Better a bird in the hand than ten in the forest.”

You’re probably familiar with the equivalent English expression that ends with “than two in the bush.” In Swedish, the “bush” is extended to a whole forest—which may be better for some learners who associate birds with forests rather than bushes.

  • Man ska inte köpa grisen i säcken. / “One shouldn’t buy a pig in a sack.”

Here you can see the “impersonal man” in Swedish. It means “one” or “people,” and that’s how it’s translated here. That said, you should know that in Swedish, it’s used in a common, conversational way. In English, we’d use “you” in the same informal context.

By the way, this quote advises you to take good care in examining your decisions from all angles before following through with them—you don’t want to make a big purchase blind!


2. Quotes About Life

An Unassuming Man with a Chalk Drawing of a Strong Man Behind Him

Are you feeling stuck or unsatisfied with your life? Maybe you just need these quotes about life in Swedish to get back on the right path. 

  • För att lyckas i livet behöver du två saker: okunnighet och självförtroende. / “To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence.”

The word självförtroende might look totally foreign to you at first, but let’s break it down. Själv means “self” and troende means “believing.” The för prefix is a common Germanic feature, linking the other two parts of the word and giving you “self-trust.”

  • Jag har misslyckats om och om igen i livet och det är därför jag lyckas. / “I’ve failed over and over and over again in life and that is why I have succeeded.”

Look carefully at the word lyckas (“success” / “to succeed”) in this example and in the previous one. Since this example begins with Jag har (“I have”), we know that we need to use the supine form lyckats in the root misslyckas (“to fail”). Confused by the word “supine”? Take a look at our Swedish Grammar page!

  • En arbetsam människa är bättre än en hop dagdrivare. / “A hard-working man is better than a crowd of loafers.”

In a sense, this quote is rather similar to “a bird in the hand…” Both compare the positive benefits of a small amount of completed action with a huge amount of unrealized action. As long as you’re doing something, you’re better off than those who are doing nothing. 

3. Quotes About Time

A Rainbow Over a Green Field

The following life quotes in Swedish touch on the topic of time and the influence it has on our lives.

  • Den som lever får se. / “He who lives shall see.”

Don’t worry, this is not a sentence you would hear before a duel breaks out! It means, “Only time will tell,” and in fact, it makes a bit more sense than the English equivalent. Time doesn’t reveal anything, but those who live through the experience will know how things work out.

  • Efter regn kommer solsken. / “After rain comes sunshine.”

This kind of sentiment exists in lots of different languages and cultures all over the world. Bad times always come to an end, and they’re always followed by good times. Also, note the word solsken (“sunshine”) in this phrase. This is a typical sound change present in Swedish, where the “sh” in English became sk in Swedish—but recall that sk has shifted its pronunciation and is now a breathy “sh” sound as well.

4. Quotes About Food

A Smorgasbord of Different Swedish Foods

Who doesn’t enjoy sitting down to a nice meal now and then? Food is a major aspect of any culture, so it should come as no surprise that they feature in several quotes and proverbs. Take the following quotes in Swedish for example.

  • Låt maten tysta mun. / “Let the food silence the mouth.”

Confused what this quote might mean? Well, if your mouth is silenced, it means you can’t talk with your mouth full! Despite the many tasty foods available in Swedish culture, it’s not polite to speak with your mouth full or to eat loudly. Remember that before you have to endure someone quoting this to you!

  • Ratar man agnarna, kan man lätt gå miste om kärnan. / “If we reject the chaff, we may easily lose the kernel.”

This quote is an agricultural equivalent of the English saying, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.” Don’t be so keen on discounting something because of its flaws that you ignore its benefits.

  • Bränn inte dina läppar på andras soppa. / “Don’t scald your lips on another’s soup.”

To get this quote locked in your memory, try and imagine a stern Swedish grandmother saying it at the dinner table. The meaning here is beautifully metaphorical: Don’t involve yourself too much in other people’s business, and you won’t become affected by their problems. 

5. Quotes About Love

A Couple Pressing Their Foreheads Together in Understanding

Are you madly in love with someone? Or maybe you’re a hopeless romantic? Either way, we think you’ll enjoy these love quotes in Swedish. 

  • Bättre älskat och förlorat än att aldrig ha älskat. / “Better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.”

Here we see the verb älskar (“to love”), which is an Old Norse word quite different from the noun form kärlek (“love”). You’re about to see an example of this noun form, too!

  • Gammal kärlek rostar aldrig. / “Old love never rusts.”

Out of these four words, three of them (all but rostar) are typical Scandinavian/Norse words with no clear equivalent in English. Kärlek (“love”) is actually a compound word made up of cognates, and would be something like “care-like” in English. But that’s so far removed from modern English that it doesn’t quite count as a transparent word.


6. Quotes About Family

A Little Girl Throwing Autumn Leaves

Family is a cornerstone of any society, and there are tons of quotes and proverbs regarding the topic. Here are a couple of quotes in Swedish about familial relationships and childhood. 

  • Sådan far, sådan son. / “Like father, like son.”

The word sådan actually has several possible translations. This version of the world-famous quote means that a son becomes very similar to his father in his manners and behavior. 

  • Barnaminnet är långt. / “Childhood memories last long.”

Here we have a typical example of Swedish compound noun formation. Barn means “child” (people in Scotland may recognize this term), and minnet means “memory.” The two words connect with an a and form barnaminnet (“children’s memories”).


7. Quotes About Friendship

Friends are one of life’s greatest joys and necessities. Here are a couple of friendship quotes in Swedish to warm your heart!

  • Vänner visar sin kärlek i svåra tider, inte i tider av lycka. / “Friends show their love in times of trouble, not in times of happiness.”

This quote translates almost word-for-word into English, so we’ll just focus on one point: In English, “times of trouble” is a set phrase, but in Swedish it’s actually “hard times.” 

  • Min bästa vän är den som tar fram det bästa i mig. / “My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me.”

Here we can see the Swedish verb tar (“to draw out”) combining with the adverb fram (“forward”) to form the verb phrase “to bring out.” Also note that we don’t say “the one who” in Swedish; we just say den som (“that which”). 


8. Quotes About Health

Lots of Healthy Foods

You should always prioritize your health, because good health is required to do more important things and achieve goals. Here are a couple of quotes in Swedish on the topic.

  • Det som inte dödar, härdar. / “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

This classic quote is even more concise in Swedish. Here, we don’t have an object for either verb, and härdar is the equivalent of “to harden.” So in translation, we get: “What does not kill, hardens.”

  • Hårt bröd gör kinden röd. / “Hard bread makes the cheek red.”

When written with a space, hårt bröd simply means “hard bread.” This hard bread refers to the Swedish knäckebröd, a specific type of hard flatbread eaten in Scandinavia as a staple for centuries. This quote is similar to, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Even if apples or crispbread aren’t the most exciting foods, a steady and nourishing diet keeps you healthy. 

9. Quotes About Language Learning

Finally, let’s look at a couple of quotes about language learning. What better way to inspire you in your studies? 

  • Ett nytt språk är ett nytt liv. / “A new language is a new life.”

This one has a perfect one-to-one translation in English! This quote may resound particularly well with the many immigrants coming to Sweden to seek a better life—for them, learning Swedish well is an important step to take in their new lives in Sweden.

  • Gränserna för mitt språk är gränserna för min värld. / “The limits of my language are the limits of my world.”

Now that you’ve finished this list of Swedish quotes, do you feel your gränserna (“borders” / “limits”) expanding a bit?


10. Conclusion

As you can see, Swedish is such an accessible language for English speakers that you don’t even have to try that hard to see the links between the example sentences. 

The fact that learning these examples will make you sound like an educated, worldly person is just a bonus!

By the way, if you want to continue learning Swedish in a relaxed and easy way, sign up now for SwedishPod101! You’ll find tons of content in Swedish that will help you bridge the gap from total beginner to comfortable Swedish speaker. Enjoy our videos, podcasts, and articles just like this one, and start taking your Swedish to the next level today!

Before you go, let us know in the comments which of these Swedish quotes is your favorite, and why. We look forward to hearing from you!

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10 Common Questions in Swedish and How to Answer Them

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Many say that conversation is an art. And more than that, conversations are our primary way of getting to know other people. There are conversations for every situation, and a good one should address topics that are of interest to both people. 

The best way to start a conversation is by asking a question. But asking questions in a foreign language can feel intimidating, especially when you’re not sure what kinds of questions to ask in the first place.

Learning how to ask questions in Swedish is one of the first steps that students of the language must take, after basic greeting phrases. This is mainly because questions are such a good way to start a conversation, and the trick to learning any new language is to practice as much as possible. 

When you’re a beginner, it might feel a bit scary to start speaking. But remember that practice makes perfect, and that Swedes are kind and forgiving when it comes to language mistakes. The fact is, they’ll probably be impressed that you know any Swedish at all!

 
    → In this article, we’re going to focus mainly on common Swedish questions and answers. If you want more information on what an introductory conversation would look like, read our relevant article!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Swedish Table of Contents
  1. The Basics
  2. The Top Swedish Questions and Answers
  3. Ending the Conversation
  4. Conclusion

1. The Basics

Before we move on to our guide on the top Swedish questions for beginners, there are a few things you need to know. Namely, the Swedish question structure and question words. Let’s take a look.

Swedish Question Words

Common English Questions Words in Colorful Bubbles

A question in Swedish will usually start with a question word. Here’s a quick table for you: 

WhatVad
Which (singular)Vilken
WhereVar
WhenNär
WhoVem
WhoseVems
WhyVarför
Which (plural)Vilka
From whereVarifrån
HowHur

Swedish Question Word Order

Learning the Swedish question structure can be difficult for new learners, especially those who speak English as their first language. But there’s a simple pattern for you to memorize: 

Question Word + Verb + Subject

Here are some examples:

  • Where are you from?
Question WordVerbSubjectComplement
Varkommerduifrån?
Wherecomeyoufrom?
  • What is Lisa doing?
Question WordVerbSubject
VadgörLisa?
WhatdoingLisa?


2. The Top Swedish Questions and Answers

Without further ado, here are the basic Swedish questions every new Swedish learner should know, and how to answer them yourself! 

1 – What’s your name?

First Encounter

In Sweden, it’s important to introduce yourself properly before diving into the questions. Keep in mind that in Sweden, you don’t need to use titles such as “Mr.,” “Mrs.,” or “Dr.” when addressing someone. In addition, you needn’t worry about using a person’s last name either. You can and should use first names only, regardless of whether you’re speaking with a new friend, a manager, or a colleague.

Introducing yourself in Swedish is pretty straightforward. Here’s an example of how you can begin the conversation:

  • Hej jag heter ___. Vad heter du? 
    “Hello, my name is ___.” What is your name?”

The person you’re talking to will respond with:

  • Hej, jag heter ___, trevligt att träffas! 
    “Hello, my name is ___, nice to meet you!”

And you should respond:

  • Trevligt att träffa dig också! 
    “Nice to meet you too!”

 2 – How are you?

Two Women Having a Chat Over Coffee

In British and American culture, a “How are you?” can be thrown into a greeting with no expectation of an answer. But the importance of this question in Swedish can’t be overstated. 

When Swedes ask this, they really want to know. They’re not asking just to be polite! 

In Swedish culture, asking how someone is signifies that you care about that person, and it plays an important role in the conversation. Asking this question can establish the status of the day, and maybe even give you or your friend the opportunity to complain a little or talk about your fantastic day.

Here’s an example conversation:

A: Hur mår du? (“How are you?”)

B: Jag mår bra, tack! Hur mår du själv? (“I am well, thanks! How are you?”)

A: Inte så illa. (“Not too bad.”)

However, life’s not always so perfect. What if your friend says something like this?

  • Inte så bra. 
    “Not so good.”

Well, you can expect your friend to add an explanation to this answer. Here are examples:

  • Jag är trött. 
    “I am tired.”
  • Jag har haft mycket att göra idag. 
    “I had a lot to do today.”
  • Jag hade en stressig morgon. 
    “I had a stressful morning.”

You should then reply with something empathetic, such as:

  • Vad tråkigt att höra. 
    “I am sorry to hear that.”

Other ways of responding to the question Hur mår du? (“How are you?”) are:

Mycket bra, tack! 
“Very well, thank you!”

Helt okej! 
“It’s okay!”

Det är bra! 
“All good!”

Regardless of the answer, it’s very important to listen and show empathy and interest when replying. Otherwise, the Swede you’re talking with might think you’re rude.



3 – Where are you from?

Flags of Many Different Countries

A good way to continue a conversation is by telling your interlocutor where you’re from:

  • Jag är från England, var kommer du ifrån? 
    “I am from England, where are you from?”

Of course, you can replace “England” with any other country. Just remember to look up what your country is called in Swedish!

If you’re quite sure that the person you’re talking to is from Sweden, you can say:

  • Jag är från England, är du från Sverige? 
    “I am from England, are you from Sweden?”

The response to this question could be either a ja (“yes”) or a nej (“no”). If it’s the latter, you can always add:

  • Var kommer du ifrån? 
    “Where are you from?”

Find your home country in our Nationalities vocabulary list

4 – Where do you live?

In Sweden, finding out where someone lives is also a way to get clued in on that person’s social status. Sweden has no official class system, but unofficially, people will classify you and themselves according to where you live. What street do you live on? Do you live in a house, a building with flats? Which floor? 

All of these things have meaning, which is why it’s so important for Swedes to ask this question:

  • Var bor du?
    “Where do you live?”

If you live in a city, such as Stockholm, always add the name of the street that you live on as well:

  • Jag bor i Stockholm på Hornsgatan. 
    “I live in Stockholm on Hornsgatan.”

If you live in a smaller town or village, it’s enough to say:

  • Jag bor i ___. 
    “I live in ___.”

5 – Which languages do you speak?

Introducing Yourself

Many Swedes speak at least two languages. The most common are Swedish and English, but many Swedes also speak French, Spanish, or German since it’s mandatory for students to add a language for most high school and college level courses. Another reason for this is that Sweden is a relatively small country and Swedes don’t expect people from other countries to know their language. 

Here’s a dialogue that uses a relevant question and answer in Swedish.

A: Vilka språk talar du? (“Which languages do you speak?”)

B: Jag talar svenska, engelska och franska. Vilka språk talar du? (“I speak Swedish, English, and French. Which languages do you speak?”

A: Jag talar engelska och lär mig svenska. (“I speak English and am learning Swedish.”)

6 – Where did you study Swedish?

Swedes are almost always surprised when they find out that a foreigner is learning their language. It’s a small country, and as mentioned, most people speak at least one language in addition to Swedish, usually English. They’ll be curious and ask you where you learned Swedish:

  • Var lärde du dig svenska? 
    “Where did you learn Swedish?”

Here are two possible ways you can answer:

  • I språkskolan ___. 
    “In the language school ___.”
  • På onlinekursen ___
    “In the online course ___.”

7 – Why did you study Swedish?

You’re very likely to receive this follow-up question:

  • Varför ville du lära dig svenska? 
    “Why did you want to learn Swedish?”

Of course, your answer will vary depending on your personal reasons for wanting to learn. But if you don’t have a particular reason, you can always reply with:

  • Jag är intresserad av Sverige och svensk kultur
    “I am interested in Sweden and Swedish culture.”


8 – Have you been to Sweden?

Swedish City of Lund

If you meet a Swede outside of Sweden, they might want to know if you’ve ever been to their home country. They may ask:

  • Har du varit i Sverige? 
    “Have you been to Sweden?”

To this, you can reply with a ja (“yes”) or nej (“no”). 

9 – Where in Sweden have you been to?

If you reply with a ja (“yes”), they might want to know where in Sweden you’ve been.

  • Var i Sverige har du varit? 
    “Where in Sweden have you been to?”

You can then reply:

  • Jag har varit i ___. 
    “I have been to ___.”

Simply fill in the blank with the place you’ve been to. 



10 – Which other countries have you traveled to?

If your interlocutor happens to be a huge travel buff, they may also want to know where else you’ve been.

  • Vilka andra länder har du rest till? 
    “Which other countries have you traveled to?”

You can then reply:

  • Jag har varit i ___ och ___. 
    “I have been to ___ and ___.”

3. Ending the Conversation

Woman Waving Goodbye to Friends on Campus

In Swedish, there’s mainly one way to say goodbye: Hej då. However, Swedes will often add to this when ending a conversation.

  • Hej då! Vi ses! (“Bye! See you!”)
  • Hej då! Vi hörs! (“Bye! Keep in touch!”)

To reply, you can simply say:

  • Vi ses! (“See you!”)
  • Vi hörs! (“Keep in touch!”)

When a Swede says to “keep in touch,” this should not be taken as a promise or indication that the person wants to actually keep in touch—but they might want to! Depending on the tone, you can determine if they really want to see you again or keep in touch.

If you’re not sure what they mean and you liked the person, don’t be afraid to reach out and invite him/her for a Swedish Fika. This simply means having a cup of coffee, something sweet, and another conversation.

4. Conclusion

By now, you should have a better understanding of what kinds of questions you should expect to hear when visiting Sweden (and how to answer them). Are there any question patterns we didn’t cover in this article that you want to know? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll do our best to help you out! 

Learning questions in Swedish is a major step forward in your language-learning journey, but there’s still so much more. SwedishPod101.com has tons of lessons for beginners, intermediate learners, and more advanced students—this means that there really is something for everyone! 

For more information on the Swedish language, check out the following pages:

Until next time, happy Swedish learning!

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Swedish Keyboard: How to Install and Type in Swedish

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You asked, so we provided—easy-to-follow instructions on how to set up your electronic devices to write in Swedish! We’ll also give you a few excellent tips on how to use this keyboard, as well as some online and app alternatives if you prefer not to set up a Swedish keyboard.

Log in to Download Your Free Swedish Alphabet Worksheet Table of Contents
  1. Why it’s Important to Learn to Type in Swedish
  2. Setting up Your Computer and Mobile Devices for Swedish
  3. How to Activate an Onscreen Keyboard on Your Computer
  4. How to Change the Language Settings to Swedish on Your Computer
  5. Activating the Swedish Keyboard on Your Mobile Phone and Tablet
  6. Swedish Keyboard Typing Tips
  7. How to Practice Typing Swedish

1. Why it’s Important to Learn to Type in Swedish

A keyboard

Learning a new language is made so much easier when you’re able to read and write/type it. This way, you will:

  • Get the most out of any dictionary and Swedish language apps on your devices
  • Expand your ability to find Swedish websites and use the various search engines
  • Be able to communicate much better online with your Swedish teachers and friends, and look super cool in the process! 

2. Setting up Your Computer and Mobile Devices for Swedish

A phone charging on a dock

It takes only a few steps to set up any of your devices to read and type in Swedish. It’s super-easy on your mobile phone and tablet, and a simple process on your computer.

On your computer, you’ll first activate the onscreen keyboard to work with. You’ll only be using your mouse or touchpad/pointer for this keyboard. Then, you’ll need to change the language setting to Swedish, so all text will appear in Swedish. You could also opt to use online keyboards instead. Read on for the links!

On your mobile devices, it’s even easier—you only have to change the keyboard. We also provide a few alternatives in the form of online keyboards and downloadable apps.

3. How to Activate an Onscreen Keyboard on Your Computer

1- Mac

1. Go to System Preferences > Keyboard.

2. Check the option “Show Keyboard & Character Viewers in Menu Bar.”

3. You’ll see a new icon on the right side of the main bar; click on it and select “Show Keyboard Viewer.”

A screenshot of the keyboard viewer screen

2- Windows

1. Go to Start > Settings > Easy Access > Keyboard.

2. Turn on the option for “Onscreen Keyboard.”

3- Online Keyboards

If you don’t want to activate your computer’s onscreen keyboard, you also have the option to use online keyboards. Here are some good options:

4- Add-ons of Extensions for Browsers

Instead of an online keyboard, you could also choose to download a Google extension to your browser for a language input tool. The Google Input Tools extension allows users to use input tools in Chrome web pages, for example.

4. How to Change the Language Settings to Swedish on Your Computer

Man looking at his computer

Now that you’re all set to work with an onscreen keyboard on your computer, it’s time to download the Swedish language pack for your operating system of choice:

  • Windows 8 (and higher)
  • Windows 7
  • Mac (OS X and higher)

1- Windows 8 (and higher)

  1. Go to “Settings” > “Change PC Settings” > “Time & Language” > “Region & Language.”
  2. Click on “Add a Language” and select “Swedish.” This will add it to your list of languages. It will appear as svenska with the note “language pack available.”
  3. Click on “svenska” > “Options” > “Download.” It’ll take a few minutes to download and install the language pack.
  4. As a keyboard layout, you’ll only need the one marked as “Swedish – svenska.” You can ignore other keyboard layouts.

2- Windows 7

1. Go to Start > Control Panel > Clock, Language, and Region.

2. On the “Region and Language” option, click on “Change Keyboards or Other Input Methods.”

3. On the “Keyboards and Languages” tab, click on “Change Keyboards” > “Add” > “Swedish.”

4. Expand the option of “Swedish” and then expand the option “Keyboard.” Select the keyboard layout marked as “Swedish.” You can ignore other keyboard layouts. Click “OK” and then “Apply.”

3- Mac (OS X and higher)

If you can’t see the language listed, please make sure to select the right option from System Preferences > Language and Region

1. From the Apple Menu (top left corner of the screen) go to System Preferences > Keyboard.

2. Click the Input Sources tab and a list of available keyboards and input methods will appear.

3. Click on the plus button, select “Swedish,” and add the “Swedish” keyboard.

Adding a system language

5. Activating the Swedish Keyboard on Your Mobile Phone and Tablet

Texting and searching in Swedish will greatly help you master the language! Adding a Swedish keyboard on your mobile phone and/or tablet is super-easy.

You could also opt to download an app instead of adding a keyboard. Read on for our suggestions.

Below are the instructions for both iOS and Android mobile phones and tablets.

1- iOS

1. Go to Settings > General > Keyboard.

2. Tap “Keyboards” and then “Add New Keyboard.”

3. Select “Swedish” from the list.

4. When typing, you can switch between languages by tapping and holding on the icon to reveal the keyboard language menu.

2- Android

1. Go to Settings > General Management > Language and Input > On-screen Keyboard (or “Virtual Keyboard” on some devices) > Samsung Keyboard.

2. Tap “Language and Types” or “ + Select Input Languages” depending on the device and then “MANAGE INPUT LANGUAGES” if available.

3. Select “svenska” from the list.

4. When typing, you can switch between languages by swiping the space bar.

3- Applications for Mobile Phones

If you don’t want to add a keyboard on your mobile phone or tablet, this is a good app to consider:

6. Swedish Keyboard Typing Tips

Typing in Swedish can be very challenging at first! Here’s a good tip to keep in mind when typing in Swedish:

  • The key for “å” is usually on the right of the P key, “ö” on the right of the L key, and “ä” is on the right of the “ö” key. 
A man typing on a computer

7. How to Practice Typing Swedish

As you probably know by now, learning Swedish is all about practice, practice, and more practice! Strengthen your Swedish typing skills by writing comments on any of our lesson pages, and our teacher will answer. If you’re a SwedishPod101 Premium PLUS member, you can directly text our teacher via the My Teacher app—use your Swedish keyboard to do this!

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Premium PLUS: The Golden Ticket for Language-Learning

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Do you remember the moment you fell in love with languages?

Do you desire to learn or advance in Swedish quickly and effectively?

Then you need a Swedish tutor.

A common question that first-time language-learners ask is “Where do I begin?” The answer? Guidance.

For native English-speakers who want to learn Asian languages, for example, timelines provided by the U.S. Foreign Service Institute can appear discouraging. However, defeating these odds is not unheard of. If you want to beat the odds yourself, one of the best learning options is a subscription to Premium PLUS from Innovative Language.

As an active Premium PLUS member of JapanesePod101.com and KoreanClass101.com myself, I have an enjoyable experience learning at an accelerated pace with at least thirty minutes of study daily. The following Premium PLUS features contribute to my success:

  • Access to thousands of lessons
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  • Spaced-repetition system (SRS) flashcards
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As someone who decided to make Japanese her second language one year ago, I am extremely grateful for Premium PLUS.

Allow me to emphasize on how these Premium PLUS features strengthen my language studies.

Gain Unlimited Access to Audio and Video Lessons!

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As a Premium PLUS member, I have full access to the lesson library and other Premium features. Best of all, I’m not limited to one level; I can learn to my heart’s content with upper-level courses.

There are lessons on various topics that tackle crucial language-learning elements, such as:

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Specifically, there are pathways. Pathways are collections of lessons that center on a specific topic. Some Innovative Language sites, like JapanesePod101.com, even have pathways geared toward proficiency tests. For example, the JLPT N3 Master Course pathway.

Because of the abundance of lessons, I’ve found pathways in the lesson library to help me prepare for certain events. Thanks to the “Speaking Perfect Japanese at a Restaurant” pathway, I spoke fully in Japanese while dining in Japan. Additionally, I participated in conversations at language exchange meetups in South Korea after completing the “Top 25 Korean Questions You Need to Know” pathway.

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As someone who’s constantly on-the-go, I heavily benefit from mobile access to lessons. Podcasts and lesson notes are available on the Innovative Language app and/or Podcasts app for iOS.

All lessons and their contents are downloadable. Prior to my flights to Japan and South Korea, I downloaded lessons on my iPhone. The apps make learning more convenient for me during my commutes.

Practice Speaking with the Voice Recording Tool!

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Pronunciation is an essential ingredient in language-learning. Proper pronunciation prompts clear understanding during conversations with native speakers.

Prior to learning full Korean sentences, my online Korean language tutor assigned the “Hana Hana Hangul” pathway to me. It demonstrated the writing and pronunciation of Hangul, the Korean alphabet. Throughout this pathway, I submitted recordings of my Hangul character pronunciations to my language teacher for review.

I was given a similar task on JapanesePod101.com with the “Ultimate Japanese Pronunciation Guide” pathway. My Japanese language teacher tested my pronunciation of the Japanese characters kana. My completion of the two pathways boosted my confidence in speaking.

Speaking is one of the more challenging components of learning a language. The voice recording tool in particular was a great way for me to improve my speaking skills. Further, because the lesson dialogues are spoken by native speakers, I’m able to practice speaking naturally.

This feature is also available for vocabulary words and sample sentences. Being able to hear these recordings improves my pronunciation skills for languages like Japanese, where intonation can change the meaning of a word entirely. The voice recorder examines my speed and tone. I also follow up by sending a recording to my online language tutor for feedback.

A great way to boost one’s speaking confidence is to shadow native speakers. During the vocabulary reviews, it’s helpful for me to hear the breakdown of each word; doing so makes a word that was originally difficult to even read a breeze to say!

Some lessons create opportunities to speak your own sentences. For example, the “Top 25 Korean Questions You Need to Know” pathway presents opportunities to answer questions personally. This helps you gain the ability to give answers as the unique individual you are.

Example Scenario:

The host asks the following question:

어디에 살고 있습니까?

eodieseo salgo isseumnikka

“Where do you live?”

If you live in Tokyo, you would readily say the following:

도쿄에 살고 있습니다.

Tokyo-e salgo isseumnida.

“I live in Tokyo.”

Increase Your Vocab with Spaced-Repetition Flashcards and More!

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Imagine having a conversation with a native speaker and hesitating because you lack a solid vocabulary base.

Premium PLUS offers various features to expand learners’ vocabulary, including Free Gifts of the Month. SwedishPod101’s free gifts for April 2020 included an e-book with “400 Everyday Phrases for Beginners,” and the content is updated every month. When I download free resources like this, I find opportunities to use them with co-teachers, friends, or my language tutors.

An effective way to learn vocabulary is with SRS flashcards. SRS is a system designed for learning a new word and reviewing it in varying time intervals.

You can create and study flashcard decks, whether it’s your Word Bank or a certain vocabulary list. For example, if you need to visit a post office, the “Post Office” vocabulary list for your target language would be beneficial to study prior to your visit.

In addition to the SRS flashcards, each lesson has a vocabulary slideshow and quiz to review the lesson’s vocabulary.

There’s also the 2000 Core Word List, which includes the most commonly used words in your target language. Starting from the 100 Core Word List, you’ll gradually build up your knowledge of useful vocabulary. These lists can be studied with SRS flashcards, too.

With the SRS flashcards, you can change the settings to your liking. The settings range from different card types to number of new cards per deck. Personally, I give myself vocabulary tests by changing the settings.

After studying a number of flashcards, I change the card types to listening comprehension and/or production. Then I test myself by writing the translation of the word or the spoken word or phrase.

The change in settings allow me to remember vocabulary and learn how to identify the words. This is especially helpful with Japanese kanji!

Complete Homework Assignments!

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Homework assignments are advantageous to my language studies. There are homework assignments auto-generated weekly. They range from multiple-choice quizzes to writing assignments.

Language tutors are readily available for homework help. Some writing assignments, for instance, require use of unfamiliar vocabulary. In such cases, my language teachers assist me by forwarding related lessons or vocabulary lists.

In addition to these auto-generated homework tasks, language tutors customize daily assignments. My daily homework assignments include submitting three written sentences that apply the target grammar point of that lesson, and then blindly audio-recording those sentences. My personal language tutor follows up with feedback and corrections, if needed.

Your language tutors also provide assignments upon requests. When I wanted to review grammar, my Korean teacher sent related quizzes and assignments. Thus, you are not only limited to the auto-generated assignments.

Every weekend, I review by re-reading those written sentences. It helps me remember sentence structures, grammar points, and vocabulary to apply in real-world contexts.

Furthermore, I can track my progress with language portfolios every trimester. It’s like a midterm exam that tests my listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills.

Get Your Own Personal Language Teacher!

A woman teaching pronunciation in a classroom

My language teachers cater to my goals with personalized and achievable learning programs. The tangible support of my online language teachers makes it evident that we share common goals.

Once I share a short-term or long-term goal with my teacher, we establish a plan or pathway that will ultimately result in success. I coordinate with my teachers regularly to ensure the personalized learning programs are prosperous. For example, during my JLPT studies, my Japanese language tutor assigned me practice tests.

Your language tutor is available for outside help as well. When I bought drama CDs in Japan, I had difficulty transliterating the dialogue. My Japanese teacher forwarded me the script to read along as I listened.

Additionally, I often practice Korean and Japanese with music. I memorize one line of the lyrics daily. Every time, I learn a new grammar point and new vocabulary. I add the vocabulary to my SRS flashcards, locate the grammar in the Grammar Bank, and study the associated lessons online.

I send my teachers the name of the songs, making them aware of my new goal. One time, my song for Korean was “If You Do” by GOT7. My Korean teacher revealed that she was a huge fan of GOT7 like me! For Japanese, it was “CHA-LA HEAD-CHA-LA,” also known as the Dragonball Z theme song. My Japanese teacher excitedly told me that she sang the song a lot as a kid!

A remarkable thing happened to me in South Korea. I was stressed about opening a bank account with limited Korean. I sought help from my Korean teacher. She forwarded me a script of a bank conversation.

After two days, I visited the local bank. It all started with my opening sentence:

은행 계좌를 만들고 싶어요

eunhaeng gyejwaleul mandeulgo sip-eoyo.

I want to open a bank account.

Everything went smoothly, and I exited the bank with a new account!

The MyTeacher Messenger allows me to share visuals with my teachers for regular interaction, including videos to critique my pronunciation mechanisms. I improve my listening and speaking skills by exchanging audio with my teachers. In addition to my written homework assignments, I exchange messages with my language teachers in my target language. This connection with my teachers enables me to experience the culture as well as the language.

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Telling Time in Swedish – Everything You Need to Know

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What’s your relationship with the clock like? Does it run your day from a morning alarm to a cut-off chime for bed, or are you more of a go-with-the-flow type, letting your mood and emotions decide how much you fall in line with time?

Understanding time in Swedish is an important part of your studies. As humans, our lives are filled with habits and schedules. From waking up and going to work or gym, to missing rush hour traffic on our way home, we’re always aware of time. We have routines around coffee breaks, meetings, soccer games and vacations. In fact, time can seem rather capricious – going slowly, going fast, sometimes against us, other times on our side – like a force that has a life of its own.

In science, time is often referred to as a fourth dimension and many physicists and philosophers think that if we understood the physics of the universe, we would see that time is an illusion. We sense an ‘arrow’ or direction of time because we have memories, but really time is just a construct that humans have created to help make sense of the world. 

On the other hand, poets through the ages have written impassioned thoughts about time, depicting it as both a relentless thief and an immensely precious resource, not to be wasted at any cost.

Well, poets and scientists may have their views, but in our everyday lives there’s the question of practicality, isn’t there? I mean, if you have plans and want things to happen your way, there’s a certain amount of conforming to the human rules of time that you can’t avoid. 

In ‘The Little Prince’ by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the prince has a rose that he falls in love with, and he tenderly protects it with a windscreen and places it under a glass dome on his tiny planet.  I love this quote from the book:  “It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”  If we truly love something, we spend time with it and not a second of that time could ever be seen as wasted. I feel that way about horses, my children, travel and learning languages

With that in mind, I’d like to take you on a journey into ‘time’ from a Swedish perspective. It’s fun, it’s informative and it’s a basic necessity if you’re learning the language – especially if you plan to travel. SwedishPod101 has all the vocab you need to fall in love with telling time in Swedish, and not a minute will be wasted.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Time Phrases in Swedish Table of Contents
  1. Talking about Time in Swedish
  2. How to Tell the Time in Swedish
  3. Conclusion

1. Talking about Time in Swedish

As a traveler, your primary need for knowing how to read the hour in Swedish will be for transportation schedules: the bus, train, airplane, ferry, taxi… whatever you plan to use to get from A to B, it won’t wait for you! Fortunately, it’s really not complicated. You already have a firm grasp of time in English and you know you’ll need to reset your watch and phone to the local time. Great – that means you’ll have the correct time on your person. 

We’re so used to just looking at our phones for the time, that it’s easy to take this convenience for granted and forget some travel basics: in a foreign country, times won’t always be written digitally. If you see the time written in words, it’ll be the same challenge to you as hearing it spoken: you’ll need to be familiar with the language. 

You may be surprised at how often ‘time’ comes into conversation. Learning the Swedish terms for time will help you when you have to call a taxi, ask about opening and closing times of events and tourist attractions, restaurants and bars and even late-night food cafes.

My biggest annoyance when traveling is not being able to get coffee and amazingly, even at nice hotels this has happened more times than I care to think about. I’ll be up late planning something, writing my blog or chatting and when I go looking for coffee downstairs, I’m told the kitchen is closed or the ‘coffee lady’ has gone to sleep. Frustrating!

If you’re doing a homestay or at a youth hostel or backpackers, there will probably also be a limited timeframe for when you can grab dinner. Do you know how to ask when it’s time to eat in Swedish? I’ve learned that it’s vital to know how to make my queries clearly understood to accommodation staff and for me to clearly understand their answers. Perfect your ‘time in Swedish’ translations early on – you’ll thank me. 

At SwedishPod101, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of Swedish time words and phrases to get you going. 

Pedestrians in a city

1- Morning – morgon

Morning is the time when we wake up from our dreamworld, hopefully fully rested and restored; we brew the first delicious cup of coffee for the day and watch the sunrise as we prepare for another glorious twelve hours of life. No matter what happened the day before, a new morning is a chance to make everything right. 

I like these quiet hours for language practice, as my mind is clear and receptive to learning new things. I start by writing the Swedish time, date and word of the day on my whiteboard, then get back under the covers for an engrossing lesson.

Time in the morning is written as AM or A.M., which stands for ante meridiem – meaning ‘before midday’ in Latin.

Person typing with coffee next to them

2- Evening – kväll

Evening is the part of night when we’re still awake and doing things, winding down from the day. Whether you enjoy a tasty international dinner with friends, go out to see a show, or curl up on the couch with a Swedish snack and your favorite TV series, evening is a good time to forget your worries and do something that relaxes you. If you’re checking in with your Facebook friends, say hi to us, too!  

Evening is also an ideal time to catch up on your Swedish studies. The neighbourhood outside is likely to be quieter and time is yours, so grab a glass of wine or a delicious local tea, and see what’s new on your Mac App or Kindle

3- Daytime – dagtid

Daytime is defined as the period from early morning to early evening when the sun is visible outside. In other words: from sunrise to sunset.  Where you are in the world, as well as the season, will determine how many daylight hours you get. 

Interestingly, in locations north of the Arctic Circle and south of the Antarctic Circle, in summertime the sun does not sink below the horizon within a 24-hour period, bringing the natural phenomenon of the midnight sun.  You could only experience this in the north, though, because there aren’t any permanent human settlements south of the Antarctic Circle.

4- Nighttime – nattetid

Nighttime is all the hours from sunset to sunrise and depending on where in the country you are, people may be partying all night, or asleep from full-dark. 

In the same northernmost and southernmost regions where you can experience a midnight sun, winter brings the opposite phenomenon: the polar night. Can you imagine a night that lasts for more than 24 hours? 

Girl sleeping; moon and starry sky

5- Hour – timme

An hour is a unit of time made up of 60 minutes and is a variable measure of one-24th of a day – also defined by geeks as 3 600 atomic seconds. Of all the ‘time’ words we use on a daily basis, the hour is the most important, as time of day is typically expressed in terms of hours. 

One of the interesting methods of keeping time that people have come up with is the hourglass. Although the origins are unclear, there’s evidence pointing to the hourglass being invented around 1000 – 1100 AD and one of the ways we know this, is from hourglasses being depicted in very old murals. These days, with clocks and watches in every direction we look, they’re really only used symbolically to represent the passage of time. Still – a powerful reminder of our mortality and to seize the day. In his private journal, the Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius, wrote: “You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think.”

An hourglass with falling sand

6- Minute – minut

Use this word when you want to say a more precise time and express minutes in Swedish. A minute is a unit of time equal to one sixtieth of an hour, or 60 seconds. A lot can happen in the next 60 seconds. For example, your blood will circulate three times through your entire vascular system and your heart will pump about 2.273 litres of blood. 

7- O’clock – klockan

We use “o’clock” when there are no minutes and we’re saying the exact hour, as in “It’s two o’clock.”

The term “o’clock” is a contraction of the term “of the clock”. It comes from 15th-century references to medieval mechanical clocks. At the time, sundials were also common timekeepers. Therefore, to make clear one was referencing a clock’s time, they would say something like, “It is six of the clock” – now shortened to “six o’clock”.

We only use this term when talking about the 12 hour clock, though, not the 24 hour clock (more on that later!) The 12-hour clock can be traced back as far as Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt. Both an Egyptian sundial for daytime use and an Egyptian water clock for nighttime use were found in the tomb of Pharaoh Amenhotep I. Dating to c.1500 BC, these clocks divided their respective times of use into 12 hours each. The Romans also used a 12-hour clock. Daylight was divided into 12 equal hours and the night was divided into four watches. 

These days, the internet has made it very easy to know what the time is in any part of the world.  Speaking of which, why not add the Swedish time zone clock to your laptop?

Many different clocks

8- Half past – halv

When the time is thirty minutes past the hour, in English we say “half past”. Just like the hour, the half-hour is universally used as an orientation point; some languages speak of 30 minutes before the hour (subtraction), whereas others speak of 30 minutes after the hour (addition). 

9- AM – förmiddag

As mentioned earlier, AM is the abbreviation of the Latin ante meridiem and means before midday. Using ‘AM’ as a tag on your time simply tells people you’re speaking about a time in the morning. In some countries, morning is abbreviated to “AM” and you’ll see this on shop signs everywhere, announcing the opening hour. A typical shop sign might read something like this:

“Business hours are from 7AM to 6PM.” 

Woman in a shop, adjusting the shop sign

10- PM – eftermiddag

PM is the abbreviation of the Latin post meridiem and means after midday. Along with ‘AM’, you’ll usually find ‘PM’ on store signs and businesses, indicating the closing hours. It’s advisable to learn the difference between the two, since some establishments might only have one or the other on the sign. For example, a night club sign might say: 

“Open from 10 PM until late.” 

11- What time is it now? – Vad är klockan nu?

Here’s a very handy question you should memorize, as you can use it in any situation where you don’t have your watch or phone on you. This could be on the beach, in a club, or if you’re stuck anywhere with a flat phone battery. It happens at home, so it can happen when you’re traveling! 

Woman on the phone, looking at her watch

12- One o’clock – klockan ett

One o’clock, or 1 PM, is the average lunch time for many people around the world – at least, we try to get a meal in at some point between midday and 2 PM.  In terms of duration, the nations vary: Brazililans reportedly take the longest lunch breaks, averaging 48 minutes, whereas Greece reports an average break of only 19 minutes. Historically, Greeks were known for their very leisurely lunch breaks, so it just goes to show how fast the world is changing. If you’re curious about what to expect in Sweden, try asking our online community about lunch time in Swedish.

13- Two o’clock – klockan två

In his last days, Napoleon Bonaparte famously spoke of “Two o’clock in the morning courage” – meaning unprepared, spontaneous  courage. He was talking about soldiers who are brave enough to tumble out of bed in an instant, straight into action, without time to think or strategize. Do you think you have what it takes? I’m pretty sure all mothers know this feeling!

14- Three o’clock – klockan tre

3 AM can be perceived as the coldest time of day and is not an hour we want to wake up, but meteorologists will tell you that the coldest time is actually half an hour after sunrise. Even though the sun is peeking over the horizon, the solar radiation is still weaker than the earth’s infrared cooling to space.

Clock pointing to 3 o'clock

15- Four o’clock – klockan fyra

Do you know anyone who purposely gets up at 4 o’clock in the morning? As crazy as it sounds, there is something to be said for rising at 4 AM while the rest of the world sleeps. If you live on a farm, it might even be normal for you. I know that whenever I’m staying in the countryside, rising early is a lot easier, because there’s a satisfying reason to do so: watching a sunrise from a rooftop, with uninterrupted views, can’t be beat! It’s also likely that you’ll be woken by a cock crowing, or other animals waking to graze in the fresh pre-dawn air. 

In the world of business, you’ll find a small group of ambitious individuals – many entrepreneurs – who swear by the 4 o’clock in the morning rise. I’m not sure I like that idea, but I’d wake up at 4 AM if it was summer and I had my car packed for a vacation!

16- Five o’clock – klockan fem

What better way to signal the transition between work and play than the clock hands striking 5 o’clock? It’s the hour most working people look forward to each day – at least, those who get to stop working at 5 PM.  Meanwhile, millions of retired folks are taking out the wine glasses, as 5 PM is widely accepted as an appropriate time to pour the first glass. I don’t know how traditional your families are, but for as long as I’ve been alive, my grandparents have counted down the milliseconds to five o’clock, and the hour is announced with glee.

A sunset

17- Six o’clock – klockan sex

This is the time many working people and school kids wake up in the morning. In many parts of the world, 6 o’clock is also a good time to watch the sunrise, go for a run or hit the hiking trails. 

18- Seven o’clock – klockan sju

Health gurus will tell you that 7 o’clock in the morning is the best time to eat your first meal of the day, and 7 o’clock in the evening is the time you should eat your last meal. I’ve tried that and I agree, but it’s not always easy!

19- Eight o’clock – klockan åtta

8 o’clock in the morning is the time that most businesses open around the world, and the time most kids are in their first lesson at school – still full of energy and willing to participate. Interestingly, it’s also the time most babies are born in the world!  In the evening, 8 o’clock is many young children’s bedtime and the time for parents to watch the evening news. 

Smiling boy in school with his hand up

20- Nine o’clock – klockan nio

It’s good to occasionally sleep late on a weekend and for me, this means waking up at 9 AM. If you’re traveling in Sweden and staying at a hotel, planning to sleep late means politely requesting to not be woken up by room service.

21- Ten o’clock – klockan tio

10 o’clock in the morning is a popular time to conduct business meetings, and for first break time at schools. We’re usually wide awake and well into our day by then.  But what about the same hour at night? Modern people are often still awake and watching TV at 10 PM, but this isn’t exactly good for us. Experts say that the deepest and most regenerative sleep occurs between 10 PM and 2 AM, so we should already be sound asleep by ten o’clock. 

In advertising, have you ever noticed that the hands of the clock usually point to 10:10? Have a look next time you see a watch on a billboard or magazine. The reason? Aesthetics. Somehow, the human brain finds the symmetry pleasing. When the clock hands are at ten and two, they create a ‘smiley’ face and don’t cover any key details, like a logo, on the clock face. 

22- Eleven o’clock – klockan elva

When I see this time written in words, it makes me think of the hilarious Academy Award-winning very short film, “The Eleven O’Clock”, in which the delusional patient of a psychiatrist believes that he is actually the doctor. 

Then there’s the tradition of ‘elevenses’ – tea time at eleven o’clock in the morning. Strongly ingrained in British culture, elevenses is typically a serving of hot tea or coffee with scones or pastries on the side. It’s a great way to stave off hunger pangs before lunch time arrives. In fact, if you were a hobbit, ‘Elevenses’ would be your third meal of the day!

23- Twelve o’clock – klockan tolv

Twelve o’clock in the daytime is considered midday, when the sun is at its zenith and the temperature reaches its highest for that day; it’s written as 12 noon or 12 PM. In most parts of the world, though, this doesn’t happen at precisely 12 PM. ‘Solar noon’ is the time when the sun is actually at its highest point in the sky. The local or clock time of solar noon depends on the longitude and date. If it’s summertime, it’s advisable to stay in the shade during this hour – or at least wear good quality sunblock.

Midnight is the other ‘twelve o’clock’, of course. Midnight is written as 12 AM and is technically the first minute of the morning. On the 24-hour clock, midnight is written as 00:00. 

Sun at noon in a blue cloudy sky

2. How to Tell the Time in Swedish

Telling the time

Using a clock to read the time in Sweden is going to be the same as in your own country, since you’re dealing with numbers and not words. You’ll know the time in your head and be able to say it in English, but will you be able to say it out loud in Swedish? 

The first step to saying the time in Swedish is knowing your numbers. How are you doing with that? If you can count to twelve in Swedish, you’re halfway there! We’ve already covered the phrases you’ll need to say the exact hour, as in “five o’clock”, as well as how to say “half past”. What remains is the more specific phrases to describe what the minute hand is doing.

In everyday speech, it’s common to say the minutes past or before the hour. Often we round the minutes off to the nearest five. 

Then, there’s the 24-hour clock. Also known as ‘military time’, the 24-hour clock is used in most countries and, as such, is useful to understand. You’ll find that even in places where the 12-hour clock is standard, certain people will speak in military time or use a combination of the two.  No doubt you’ve also noticed that in written time, the 24-hour clock is commonly used.  One of the most prominent places you’ll have seen this is on airport flight schedules.

Airport flight schedule

Knowing how to tell military time in Swedish is really not complicated if you know your numbers up to twenty-four. One advantage of using the 24-hour clock in Swedish, is there’s no chance of confusing AM and PM.

Once you know how to say the time, it will be pretty easy to also write the time in Swedish. You’re already learning what the different hours and minutes look and sound like, so give yourself some writing practice of the same. 

3. Conclusion

Now that you understand the vocabulary for telling time in Swedish, the best thing you can do to really lock it down is to just practice saying Swedish time daily. Start by replacing English with Swedish whenever you need to say the time; in fact, do this whenever you look at your watch. Say the time to yourself in Swedish and it will become a habit. When learning a new language, the phrases you use habitually are the ones your brain will acquire. It feels amazing when that turning point comes!

To help yourself gain confidence, why don’t you make use of our various apps, downloadable for iPhone and iPad, as well as Android? Choose what works best for you. In addition, we have so many free resources available to supplement your learning, that you simply can’t go wrong. Some of these are:

If you prefer watching your lessons on video, check out our YouTube channel – there are hundreds of videos to browse. For those of you with Roku, we also have a TV channel you can watch.

Well, it’s time for me to say goodbye and for you to practice saying the time in Swedish. Look at the nearest clock and try to say the exact time, down to the seconds. See you again soon at SwedishPod101!

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Essential Vocabulary for Directions in Swedish

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Do you know your left from your right in Swedish? Asking for directions can mean the difference between a heavenly day on the beach and a horrible day on your feet, hot and bothered and wondering how to even get back to the hotel. Believe me – I know! On my earlier travels, I didn’t even know simple terms like ‘go straight ahead’ or ‘go west,’ and I was always too shy to ask locals for directions. It wasn’t my ego, but rather the language barrier that held me back. I’ve ended up in some pretty dodgy situations for my lack of directional word skills.

This never needs to happen! When traveling in Sweden, you should step out in confidence, ready to work your Swedish magic and have a full day of exploring. It’s about knowing a few basic phrases and then tailoring them with the right directional words for each situation. Do you need to be pointed south in Swedish? Just ask! Believe me, people are more willing to help than you might think. It’s when you ask in English that locals might feel too uncertain to answer you. After all, they don’t want to get you lost. For this reason, it also makes sense that you learn how to understand people’s responses. 

Asking directions in Sweden is inevitable. So, learn to love it! Our job here at SwedishPod101 is to give you the confidence you need to fully immerse and be the intrepid adventurer you are.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Around Town in Swedish Table of Contents
  1. Talking about position and direction in Swedish
  2. Getting directions in Swedish
  3. Conclusion

1. Talking about position and direction in Swedish

Have you ever tried saying the compass directions of north, south, east and west in Swedish? These words are good to know, being the most natural and ancient method of finding direction. In the days before GPS – before the invention of the compass, even – knowing the cardinal directions was critical to finding the way. Certainly, if you were lost somewhere in the mountain regions now and using a map to navigate, you’d find them useful. Even more so if you and a Swedish friend were adrift at sea, following the stars!

In most situations, though, we rely on body relative directions – your basic up, down, left and right, forward and backwards. Most cultures use relative directions for reference and Swedish is no exception. Interestingly, in a few old languages there are no words for left and right and people still rely on cardinal directions every day. Can you imagine having such a compass brain?

A black compass on a colored map

Well, scientists say that all mammals have an innate sense of direction, so getting good at finding your way is just a matter of practice. It’s pretty cool to think that we were born already pre-wired to grasp directions; the descriptive words we invented are mere labels to communicate these directions to others! Thus, the need to learn some Swedish positional vocabulary. So, without further ado… let’s dive in.

1- Top – topp

If planting a flag at the top of the highest mountain in Sweden is a goal you’d rather leave for  adrenaline junkies, how about making it to the top of the highest building? Your view of the city will be one you’ll never forget, and you can take a selfie  for Twitter with your head in the clouds. 

man on the top rung of a ladder in the sky, about to topple off

2- Bottom – nedersta

The ‘bottom’ can refer to the lower end of a road, the foot of a mountain, or the ground floor of a building. It’s the place you head for after you’ve been to the top!

What are your favorite ‘bottoms’? I love the first rung of a ladder, the base of a huge tree or the bottom of a jungle-covered hill. What can I say? I’m a climber. Divers like the bottom of the ocean and foxes like the bottom of a hole. Since you’re learning Swedish, hopefully you’ll travel from the top to the bottom of Sweden.

3- Up – upp

This is a very common and useful word to know when seeking directions. You can go up the street, up an elevator, up a cableway, up a mountain… even up into the sky in a hot air balloon. It all depends on how far up you like to be!

Hot air balloons in a blue cloudy sky

4- Down – ner

What goes up, must surely come down. This is true of airplanes, flaming arrows and grasshoppers – either aeronautics or gravity will take care of that. In the case of traveling humans who don’t wish to go down at terminal velocity, it’s useful to know phrases such as, “Excuse me, where is the path leading back down this mountain?”

5- Middle – mitt

In Lord of the Rings, Tolkien’s characters live in Middle-earth, which is just an ancient word for the inhabited world of men; it referred to the physical world, as opposed to the unseen worlds above and below it. The ancients also thought of the human world as vaguely in the middle of the encircling seas.

When we talk about the ‘middle’, we’re referring to a point that’s roughly between two horizontal lines – like the middle of the road or the middle of a river. While you’re unlikely to ask for directions to the ‘middle’ of anything, you might hear it as a response. For example, “You’re looking for the castle ruins? But they’re in the middle of the forest!”

Castle ruins in a forest

6- Center – mitt

In Swedish, “middle” and “center” use the same word. Technically, “center” means the exact central point of a circular area, equally distant from every point on the circumference. When asking for directions to the center of town, though, we don’t mean to find a mathematically-accurate pinpoint!

Bull’s eye on a dartboard

7- Front – framsida

The front is the place or position that is seen first; it’s the most forward part of something.  In the case of a hotel, the front is going to be easy to recognize, so if you call a taxi and are told to wait “in front of the hotel”, you won’t have a problem. It’s pretty cool how just knowing the main Swedish directional words can help you locate something if there’s a good landmark nearby.

8- Back – baksida

I once rented a house in a charming little street that was tucked away at the back of a popular mall. It was so easy to find, but my boss took three hours to locate it from 300 meters away. Why? Well, because she spoke no English and I had no clue what the word for ‘back’ was. All she heard, no matter which way I said it, was “mall, mall, mall”.  As a result, she hunted in front of and next to the mall until she was frazzled. 

Knowing how to describe the location of your own residence is probably the first Swedish ‘directions’ you should practice. This skill will certainly come in handy if you’re lost and looking for your way home. 

9- Side – sida

If the place you’re looking for is at the ‘side’ of something, it will be located to the left or the right of that landmark. That could mean you’re looking for an alleyway beside a building, or a second entrance (as opposed to the main entrance). 

As an example, you might be told that your tour bus will be waiting at the right side of the building, not in front. Of course, then you’ll also need to understand “It’s on the right” in Swedish.

Jeepney taxi parked at the side of a building

10- East – öst

If you’re facing north, then east is the direction of your right hand. It’s the direction toward which the Earth rotates about its axis, and therefore the general direction from which the sun appears to rise. If you want to go east using a compass for navigation, you should set a bearing of 90°. 

We think of Asia as the ‘East’. Geographically, this part of the world lies in the eastern hemisphere, but there’s so much more that we’ve come to associate with this word. The East signifies ancient knowledge and is symbolic of enlightenment in many cultures.

Monks reading on a boulder in front of a Buddha statue

11- West – väst

West is the opposite to east and it’s the direction in which the sun sets. To go west using a compass, you’ll set a bearing of 270 degrees. 

If you were on the planet Venus, which rotates in the opposite direction from the Earth (retrograde rotation), the Sun would rise in the west and set in the east… not that you’d be able to see the sun through Venus’s opaque clouds. 

Culturally, the West refers mainly to the Americas and Europe, but also to Australia and New Zealand, which are geographically in the East. The Western way of thinking is very different to that of the East. One of the most striking differences is individualism versus collectivism. In the West, we grew up with philosophies of freedom and independence, whereas in the East concepts of unity are more important. 

Food for thought: as a traveler who’s invested in learning the languages and cultures of places you visit, you have an opportunity to become a wonderfully balanced thinker – something the world needs more of.

12- North – norr

North is the top point of a map and when navigating, you’d set a compass bearing of 360 degrees if you want to go that way. Globes of the earth have the north pole at the top, and we use north as the direction by which we define all other directions.

If you look into the night sky, the North Star (Polaris) marks the way due north. It’s an amazing star, in that it holds nearly still in our sky while the entire northern sky moves around it. That’s because it’s located nearly at the north celestial pole – the point around which the entire northern sky turns. Definitely a boon for lost travelers!

The North Star with the Big Dipper in a night sky

13- South – söder

South is the opposite of north, and it’s perpendicular to the east and west. You can find it with a compass if you set your bearings to 180 degrees. 

The south celestial pole is the point around which the entire southern sky appears to turn. In the night sky of the southern hemisphere, the Southern Cross is a very easy to find constellation with four points in the shape of a diamond. If you come from the southern hemisphere, chances are your dad or mum pointed it out to you when you were a kid. You can use the Southern Cross to find south if traveling by night, so it’s well worth figuring it out!

14- Outside – utanför

This word refers to any place that is not under a roof. Perhaps you’ve heard talk about some amazing local bands that will be playing in a nearby town on the weekend. If it’s all happening outside, you’ll be looking for a venue in a park, a stadium or some other big open space. Come rain or shine, outside definitely works for me!

A young woman on someone’s shoulders at an outdoor concert

15- Inside – inne

I can tolerate being inside if all the windows are open, or if I’m watching the latest Homeland episode. How about you? I suppose going shopping for Swedish-style accessories would be pretty fun, too, and that will (mostly) be an inside affair. 

16- Opposite – motsatt

This is a great word to use as a reference point for locating a place. It’s right opposite that other place! In other words, if you stand with your back to the given landmark, your destination will be right in front of you. 

17- Adjacent – närliggande

So, the adorable old man from next door, who looks about ninety-nine, explains in Swedish that the food market where he works is adjacent to the community hall on the main road. ‘Adjacent’ just means next to or adjoining something else, so… head for the hall! 

While you’re marveling at the wondrous and colorful displays of Swedish food, think about how all of these delicious stalls lie adjacent to one another. Having a happy visual association with a new word is a proven way to remember it!

Outdoor food market fruit display

18- Toward – mot

To go toward something is to go in its direction and get closer to it. This word can often appear in a sentence with ‘straight ahead’, as in:

“Go straight ahead, toward the park.”

If you’ve come to Sweden to teach English, you might have to ask someone how to find your new school. Depending on what town you’re in, you could simply head toward the residential area at lunch time. You’ll see (and probably hear) the primary school soon enough – it will be the big fenced building with all the kids running around the yard!

19- Facing – vänd mot

If you look at yourself in a mirror, you’ll be facing your reflection. In other words: you and your reflection look directly at each other.  Many plush hotels are ocean-facing or river-facing, meaning the main entrance is pointed directly at the water, and the beach out front faces the hotel. 

20- Beside – brevid

I know of a special little place where there’s a gym right beside a river. You can watch the sun go down over the water while working out – it’s amazing. What’s more, you can park your scooter beside the building and it will still be there when you come out.

21- Corner – hörn

I love a corner when it comes to directions. A street corner is where two roads meet at an angle – often 90 degrees – making it easier to find than a location on a straight plane. 

“Which building is the piano teacher in, sir?”

“Oh, that’s easy – it’s the one on the corner.”

The key to a corner is that it leads in two directions. It could form a crossroads, a huge intersection, or it could be the start of a tiny one-way cobblestone street with hidden treasures waiting in the shadow of the buildings.

A white and yellow building on the corner of two streets

22- Distant – avlägsen

When a location is distant, it’s in an outlying area. This Swedish word refers to the remoteness of the site, not to how long it takes to get there. For that reason, it’s a very good idea to write the directions down, rather than try to memorize them in Swedish. Even better, get a Swedish person to write them down for you. This may seem obvious, but always include the location of your starting point! Any directions you’re given will be relative to the exact place you’re starting from.

Man lost on a dusty road, looking at a road map and scratching his head

23- Far – långt

This word has a similar meaning to the previous one, but it speaks more about the fact that it will take some time to get there. If you’re told that your destination is “far”,  you’ll no doubt want to go by public transport if you don’t have your own vehicle. Get your hands on a road map and have the directions explained to you using this map. Don’t hesitate to bring out the highlighters. 

24- Close – nära

This word is always a good one to hear when you have your heart set on a very relaxing day in the sun. It means there’s only a short distance to travel, so you can get there in a heartbeat and let the tanning commence. Remember to grab your Nook Book – learning is enhanced when you’re feeling happy and unencumbered. Being close to ‘home’ also means you can safely steal maximum lazy hours and leave the short return trip for sunset! 

A smiling woman lying in a hammock on the beach

25- By – vid

This word identifies the position of a physical object beside another object or a place. A Bed and Breakfast can be ‘by the sea’ if it’s in close proximity to the sea. 

‘By’ can also be used to describe the best mode of transport for your route, as in:

“You can get there by bus.”

26- Surrounding – kringliggande

If something is surrounding you, it is on every side and you are enclosed by it – kind of like being in a boat. Of course, we’re not talking about deep water here, unless you’re planning on going fishing. Directions that include this word are more likely to refer to the surrounding countryside, or any other features that are all around the place you’re looking for.

A polar bear stuck on a block of ice, completely surrounded by water.

27- All sides – alla sidor

Another useful descriptive Swedish term to know is ‘all sides’. It simply means that from a particular point, you will be able to see the same features to the front, back and sides of you. It doesn’t necessarily imply you’ll be completely surrounded, just more-or-less so. Say, for example, you’re visiting the winelands for the day. When you get there, you’ll see vineyards on all sides of you. How stunning! Don’t neglect to sample the local wines – obviously. 

28- Next to – bredvid

The person giving you directions is probably standing next to you. The place being described as ‘next to’ something is in a position immediately to one side of it. It could refer to adjoining buildings, neighbouring stores, or the one-legged beggar who sits next to the beautiful flower vendor on weekdays. ‘Next to’ is a great positional term, as everything is next to something! 

“Excuse me, Ma’am.  Where is the train station?”

“It’s that way – next to the tourist market.”

29- Above – ovanför

This is the direction you’ll be looking at if you turn your head upwards. Relative to where your body is, it’s a point higher than your head. If you’re looking for the location of a place that’s ‘above’ something, it’s likely to be on at least the first floor of a building; in other words, above another floor.

‘Above’ could also refer to something that will be visible overhead when you get to the right place. For example, the road you’re looking for might have holiday decorations strung up from pole to pole above it. In the cities, this is very likely if there’s any kind of festival going on.

View from below of a carnival swing, with riders directly above the viewer

30- Under – under

Under is the opposite of above, and refers to a place that lies beneath something else. In the case of directions in Swedish, it could refer to going under a bridge – always a great landmark – or perhaps through a subway. In some parts of the world, you can even travel through a tunnel that’s under the sea!

Of course, you might just be missing your home brew and looking for an awesome coffee shop that happens to be under the very cool local gym you were also looking for. Nice find!

2. Getting directions in Swedish

The quickest and easiest way to find out how to get where you’re going is simply to ask someone. Most people on the streets of Sweden won’t mind being asked at all and will actually appreciate your attempt to ask directions in Swedish. After all, most tourists are more inclined to ask in their own language and hope for the best. How pedestrian is that, though?

Asking directions

I know, I know – you normally prefer to find your own way without asking. Well, think of it like this: you obviously need to practice asking questions in Swedish as much as you need to practice small talk, counting, or ordering a beer. Since you can’t very well ask a complete stranger if they would please help you count to five hundred, you’ll have to stick with asking directions!

We spoke earlier about body relative directions and these tend to be the ones we use most. For example:

“Turn left.”

“Go straight.”

“Turn right.” 

Remember, too, that your approach is important. Many people are wary of strangers and you don’t want to scare them off. It’s best to be friendly, direct and get to the point quickly.  A simple ‘Hi, can you help me?” or “Excuse me, I’m a bit lost,” will suffice. If you have a map in your hand, even better, as your intentions will be clear. 

The bottom line is that if you want to find your way around Sweden with ease, it’s a good idea to master these basic phrases. With a little practice, you can also learn how to say directions in Swedish. Before you know it, you’ll be the one explaining the way!

3. Conclusion

Now that you have over thirty new directional phrases you can learn in Swedish, there’s no need to fear losing your way when you hit the streets of Sweden. All you need is a polite approach and your own amazing smile, and the locals will be excited to help you. It’s a chance for them to get better at explaining things to a foreigner, too. Most will enjoy that!

I advise keeping a few things handy in your day pack: a street map, a highlighter, a small notebook and pen, and your Swedish phrasebook. It would be useful to also have the Swedish WordPower app installed on your phone – available for both iPhone and Android

Here’s a quick challenge to get you using the new terms right away. Can you translate these directions into Swedish?

“It’s close. Go straight ahead to the top of the hill and turn left at the corner. The building is on the right, opposite a small bus stop.”

You’re doing amazingly well to have come this far! Well done on tackling the essential topic of ‘directions’ – it’s a brave challenge that will be immensely rewarding. Trust me, when you’re standing at a beautiful location that you found just by knowing what to ask in Swedish, you’re going to feel pretty darn good.

If you’re as excited as I am about taking Swedish to an even deeper level, we have so much more to offer you. Did you know that we’ve already had over 1 billion lesson downloads? I know – we’re blown away by that, too. It’s amazing to be bringing the world’s languages to people who are so hungry for learning. Let me share some of our best options for you:

  • If you haven’t done so already, grab your free lifetime account as a start. You’ll get audio and video lessons, plus vocabulary building tools. 
  • My favorite freebie is the word of the day, which will arrive in your inbox every morning. Those are the words I remember best!
  • Start listening to Swedish music. I’m serious – it really works to make the resistant parts of the brain relax and accept the new language. Read about it here for some tips.
  • If you enjoy reading, we have some great iBooks for your daily commute.
  • If you have a Kindle and prefer to do your reading on a picnic blanket,  there are over 6 hours of unique lessons in Swedish for you right there.

That’s it for today! Join SwedishPod101 to discover many more ways that we can offer you a truly fun and enriching language learning experience. Happy travels!

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Learn the Best Compliments in Swedish for Any Occasion

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What would you say to lift the spirits of a special person you know? No doubt, you have dozens of kind words that come to mind in English, but do you know many compliments in Swedish?

A compliment can be described as a polite expression of praise, admiration, encouragement or congratulations. It’s sometimes used in absolute sincerity and sometimes to flatter, but either way, human beings love to receive compliments!

Table of Contents

  1. The Importance of Compliments
  2. Compliments you always want to hear
  3. Conclusion

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1. The Importance of Compliments

Giving and receiving compliments is so important in society, that you can be considered rude if you’re a person who never acknowledges anyone. We all need to hear words of affirmation to feel good about ourselves or our achievements, whether big or small. Life is full of daily challenges that can feel overwhelming sometimes – both in terms of the things we have to accomplish and the way we look at the world.

Call it vanity, but it’s a basic human need to hear kindness and appreciation from other people. In the same way, we need to be giving out some of that kindness and helping others to feel good about themselves. Remember the saying “It’s better to give than to receive”? Well, that applies to compliments in a big way. The cool thing is that when you’re generous with your words, you more than likely will invite the same back from people.

So, where did this wonderful idea originate? The word ‘compliment’ has its origins in the mid-17th century; back then it meant ‘fulfilment of the requirements of courtesy’. There was a time when it was normal to compliment others upon meeting for the first time. In some cultures, that’s still the norm. If only we could have more of that today!

If you think about how much it means to receive a genuine compliment from someone whose opinion matters to you, it’s easy to reverse that and realize they probably feel the same way. There is no way around this: it’s vital to pay compliments to each and every person who is a part of your life, and to do so regularly and with sincerity.

2. Compliments you always want to hear

Smiling cat toys

The nuances in the type of personal compliments you’ve been hearing all your life are so deeply present with you by now, that you have a very specific emotional response to each of them. It will be a little different for each of us, since we’ve had different input from the people around us since childhood – especially from family and close friends – but we’re individually used to certain words and as a result, we can detect when they’re spoken with sincerity. How we perceive and receive compliments from specific people has a lot to do with how much we value them, too.

Put yourself in a foreign country and suddenly you’re having to think about the words you’re hearing, doing mental and emotional arithmetic to determine the speaker’s intent. It’s tricky business! When you’ve only been learning Swedish for a little while, you’ll get the gist, but some of the speaker’s truth might be lost on you.

Can you see where I’m going with this? When it comes to compliments in Swedish, do yourself a great favor and use them often. Learn the real meaning and impact of what you’re saying, and you’ll be able to start feeling those squishy emotional responses in no time. You’ll also be able to pay genuine compliments in Swedish that will win people over and earn you a valued place in their hearts.

A compliment in Swedish culture is as important as one in any other culture – perhaps even more so. Part of fitting into your new community means having a likeable and approachable nature, so bring on the compliments and start winning people over!

SwedishPod101 has fifteen great compliments to teach you for various situations. Enjoy!

Five hands giving a thumbs up against a cloudy blue sky

1- You’re handsome. – Du är snygg.

Do you know how to compliment a guy in Swedish? This is one of the best Swedish compliments you can pay a man if you want to make him feel attractive. What man doesn’t like to hear that he’s handsome? The younger generation may see it as quite an old-fashioned word, yet men of all ages respond well to “You’re handsome”.

There are many other ways to tell a guy that he’s good-looking, of course, but these particular words carry a timelessness that is only ever good. It doesn’t have any subtle meanings or flirtatious implications, so it’s pretty safe to say to a man who you have no romantic intentions with. Of course, it certainly can also be said romantically! As with most things, it’s all in the way you do it.

Girl kissing her laughing beau on the cheek

2- Great job! – Bra jobbat!

When you’ve worked really hard at something, you want your efforts to be appreciated. There isn’t one of us who doesn’t feel that way. You might know you’ve done a great job, but you need to know that other people have noticed and are appreciative of your effort. Otherwise, why bother giving it your all? Part of our basic makeup as humans is the need to be pleasing to others.

How much more so in a work environment, where your performance could determine the trajectory of your career? We seek validation from our bosses mainly because this is vital information that tells us whether we’re heading for success or failure.

Smiling woman giving a thumbs-up

3- Your resume is impressive. – Ditt CV är imponerande.

It’s pretty much a given that attending a job interview is going to be nerve-wracking and the first thing you want to be sure of is that your resume looks good to the interviewer. Hearing the above words will give you hope and help you to relax before the questions start. In other words, these are important Swedish praise words to know if you’re job-hunting. Next time you’re being interviewed by a Swedish boss, listen for these words, as they’re a positive sign.

In my experience working abroad, I found that the most important requirement interviewers had was just that they like me. By the time you get to the interview, you’ve already been screened, so what’s next in the deciding factor? It’s simple: chemistry. The energy between two people is a huge factor in how well you’ll work together, and that magic happens in the first ten minutes. First impressions go a long way!

Man and woman in an interview

4- Your inside is even more beautiful than your outside. – Din insida är ännu vackrare än din utsida.

Isn’t this just a wonderful compliment to hear? It sure is, and that makes it equally wonderful to give. If you meet someone who has a heart of gold, use these words!

Most women love to be complimented on their external beauty, but being seen as attractive can feel like a burden if it’s the only thing people notice. When paying compliments in Swedish to a woman, try to think of her personality and what her perception of your words will be. Women want different things from different people, and someone who cares about you will care a lot about how you see her on the inside. Looks are fleeting; the people we trust to stick around forever are those who’ve seen beneath the surface and still want in.

It seems to be true that the more self-aware and ‘conscious’ a person is, the more they’re going to appreciate being valued for their place and importance in this world, above their looks. Men or women – we’re the same in this way. It doesn’t mean you should stop telling people that they’re physically beautiful, just that you should balance it with thoughtful observations about the person’s character. Psychologically, we crave this balance and without it, insecurity gets a foot in the door.

Men are no different. Compliments directed to a man’s inner core are highly prized by guys. For his self-esteem, he needs to know he is valued for who he is deep down.

Pair of people enjoying themselves at a party

5- You make me want to be a better person. – Du får mig att vilja bli en bättre människa.

Do you know someone who inspires you so much, that their mere existence makes you want to move those metaphorical mountains and become the absolute best version of yourself?

This phrase is a lovely thing to say to someone who you care about on a personal level. It’s the kind of compliment reserved for the few special individuals who mean so much to us, that our greatest desire is to have them see us ‘becoming’ – not for anyone’s profit, but just for the sake of love and personal growth.

You might feel this way about a romantic partner, a very close friend or a family member. If you feel this way, don’t hold it in! That person needs to hear it. You will make them feel good and help them to know that the love they put into nurturing your heart is noticed. Chances are, they feel the same way about you.

When you look for the good in others, you start to see the good in yourself. It takes a bit of thought to come up with a string of kind words that convey maximum positive truth about the other person; in those moments, you’re being unselfish and considering their needs before your own. I genuinely believe that paying someone a heartfelt compliment is an act of self-love. After all, giving is more important than receiving. When you give out compliments that are true, you do the world a service and create beauty in your circle. What’s more, you invite reciprocated words of affirmation – whether from the same person, or someone else. When you give, it will inevitably come back to you.

Pair of women hugging and laughing

6- That jacket looks nice on you. – Den jackan ser bra ut på dig.

Men secretly love to be complimented on their clothes. Yup – it makes a man feel good to hear these words, especially since a favorite jacket is something he’ll wear often in cooler weather or to work. If the fabric brings out his eyes, tell him!

Learning some practical and more specific Swedish compliments like this one is a great idea, because it shows that you’ve actually thought about what you’re saying. Noticing details about a person’s outfit and commenting on them comes across well to the hearer and sounds more sincere than “You look good.” Think about the last time someone noticed your outfit, and you’ll know just what I mean. It makes you feel more confident as you go about your day.

Man showing off a jacket in front of a camera

7- I know that it was a tough project, but your performance exceeded my expectations. – Jag vet att det var ett tufft projekt, men din prestation överträffade mina förväntningar.

In the work environment, it’s vital to know some Swedish praise words that encourage, uplift and express real appreciation. In this sense, compliments can be a form of leadership; a good leader helps his or her team to grow by building them up and pushing them on.

If you hear these Swedish words, you can rest assured that your boss is very pleased with your work. If you’re a teacher at a Swedish high school, this is also a great phrase to encourage learners with when they’ve worked hard on a project.

8- You’re smart! – Du är smart!

Smart, clever, brainy – these are all synonyms for intelligence and one of the best compliments you can give. Everybody likes being thought of as smart, so here’s a compliment that can be used in both casual and formal settings. We say this to boost the self-esteem of kids, to praise our friends when they have good ideas and to express awe of a colleague in the workplace.

Being ‘smart’ can mean you make good choices in general, that you have a particular area you excel in, or even that you have an above-average IQ.

Everybody likes the idea of having a high IQ, but it’s not as simple to determine what that even means as we once thought. When I was studying to work in Asia, there was a lot of buzz about Multiple Intelligences Theory as a more accurate determination of intelligence than traditional IQ testing. The theory was developed by Doctor Howard Gardner and the critical reception was complex, to say the least.

Gardner argues that there is a wide range of cognitive abilities, but that there are only very weak correlations among them. For example, a child who learns to multiply easily is not necessarily more intelligent than a child who has difficulty with this task; the child who seems better at art might actually understand multiplication at a fundamentally deeper level. Humans have different learning styles; if one appears to have difficulty grasping a certain concept, the first step is to change the teaching approach.

We’re all smart in our own way, so remind your reflection of that each morning!

Young man holding a solved rubik's cube

9- You are an awesome friend. – Du är en fantastisk vän.

On a more personal note – how good does it make you feel to hear that your friend appreciates you? I’d say it’s right up there with the best kinds of ‘thank you’. Knowing this, it makes sense to learn this phrase in Swedish and use it next time your Swedish friend has done something selfless and amazing for you. Let them know with this compliment in Swedish and make their day.

The lovely thing about using these words is that they encourage even more acts of kindness and support from friends. When you put effort and energy into a friendship and aren’t afraid to share sentiments of love, such as this phrase, chances are the friendship will go the distance. If your sojourn in Sweden is more than a few weeks, you’re going to need a good friend or two, so hold on to this friendly phrase!

Two dogs running together, holding one stick

10- You have a great sense of humor. – Du har ett gott sinne för humor.

Did you know that chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos, and orangutans engage in social laughter? It’s true! Laughter is an important form of social play that connects us and helps to relieve tension. It’s nice being around someone who makes us laugh or who finds us amusing.

I have a weird sense of humor that many people don’t get, but those who do seem to end up cry-laughing a lot in my presence and somehow that makes them my favorite humans. I’ve learned who I can and can’t be funny with. Have you had a similar experience?

Being able to tell someone that you like their sense of humor is important in your social circle. In fact, take these words along with you on a date. If he or she cracks you up, they will definitely appreciate hearing you say so in Swedish.

11- Your smile is beautiful. – Ditt leende är vackert.

When paying aesthetic compliments in Swedish, especially to a woman you don’t know very well, try to avoid talking about her body and say something like “Your smile is beautiful”, instead. It’s a guaranteed winner! It can be tricky complimenting women in this modern world, where ladies don’t always feel safe, but that’s no reason to stop expressing admiration altogether. Choose your words wisely and you’ll be well on your way to making their day!

Let’s not exclude men from this compliment, though – it’s an excellent choice for a guy you like and feel safe with. In fact, the beauty of this compliment is that you can say it to pretty much anyone, of any age, and it will likely be well-received. Next time you want to make a homeless person smile – this is the better word choice!

Compliments

12- I love your cooking. – Jag älskar din matlagning.

If there’s one form of praise we can’t leave out, it’s how to give kudos for someone’s culinary skills. Swedish compliments for food are a must if you want to be invited back for another home-cooked dinner at the home of the local masterchef. As much as the street food is to die for, nothing beats the experience of an authentic home-cooked meal in Sweden. Be sure to read up on basic dining etiquette before you go, and don’t forget to download the Swedish WordPower app to your phone so you can confidently ask the cook for tips.

Man in a kitchen, tossing food in a wok

13. You have good taste. – Du har god smak.

My sister is one of those people who’d rather be complimented on her taste than on her personality, brains or looks. Do you know someone like that? It’s usually the girl or guy in your group who’s always well-dressed and probably has a full-on feng shui vibe in their home. If you meet someone in Sweden who loves their labels, only wears real leather and whose hair is always on-fleek, here’s a compliment they will appreciate.

To have good taste means knowing what is excellent and of good quality, with an eye for detecting subtle differences that make something genuine or not. People with good taste can discern what others find appealing, and tend to impress with their aesthetic choices. This friend will be the one you’ll go to when you aren’t sure what jacket to buy for your interview, or what gift to choose for your hosts.

So, is good taste about social conventions, or the genuine value of an item? Well, since it can refer to taste in music, art, design and fine wines as well as style choices, I think it’s an interesting combination of both. What do you think?

Well-dressed woman drinking red wine in a restaurant

14- You look gorgeous. – Du ser fantastisk ut.

“Gorgeous” makes me think of powder blue lakes, newborn babies, wild horses and Terrence Hill in the 80’s. Synonymous with ‘stunning’, it’s a word that means something beyond beautiful and as such, it’s one of the ultimate words of admiration. The vocabulary.com dictionary suggests reserving this word for the kind of looks that take your breath away; in other words, save it for someone special – like a date you adore and definitely want to see again.

Does that mean you can only tell a captivating date that they look gorgeous? Of course not. You can say “You look gorgeous” to a friend dressed up to meet their beau, a child tolerating a bunny suit for the school play, or to anyone special who needs a confidence boost. As long as you’re being sincere, this is a wonderful phrase to express admiration.

Woman in a billowing red dress

15- You have a way with words. – Du har ett sätt med ord.

There’s always that one person in the group who’s great at articulating deep thoughts, writing intriguing social media posts or comforting others when they’re feeling low. Your companion with this skill is likely very empathetic and although the words seem to come easy for them, they might find it difficult to be vulnerable.

When your friend or lover has let their guard down and shown you that soft place, don’t be afraid to tell them that it’s good, because they need to hear it. “You have a way with words” is a meaningful phrase that lets them know they’ve made a positive impact and their words are wanted. Your kind compliment will ensure that their eloquent words keep coming.

Positive feelings

3. Conclusion

Next time you’re traveling or working in Sweden, keep an ear open for the compliments you’ve learned, as they might be aimed at you! If you’re taking time to listen to native speakers on our YouTube channels or with Audio Books, it will also help a lot with the accent. Familiarizing yourself with the sound of compliments in the Swedish culture is important for your journey and will make your overall experience more meaningful.

Being acknowledged by others helps us to feel accepted and secure, and these are two things we all want to feel when venturing into unfamiliar territory. Remember that although compliments have more impact in your own language, it’s only because you’ve spent a lifetime hearing them and have become accustomed to the fullness of their meaning. You can get there with Swedish, too – it just takes a little time.

Don’t forget the golden rule: give more than you receive! Paying compliments to the people you meet will not only give you excellent language practice, but the reward will be new friendships and positive vibes.

Here are a few more ways you can practice daily:

  • Chat online with the guys and gals in our learning community. Nothing beats real-time information on how people are currently speaking. It’s a good way to hear some Swedish colloquialisms.
  • Take time out to read. Reading is an excellent way to develop photographic memory of how the phrases look in Swedish. We have both iBooks and Kindle books to choose from.
  • There are also some fantastic free podcasts you can listen to on iTunes. They promise to get you speaking after the very first lesson.

One last thought I want to leave you with: don’t forget to receive a compliment with grace. You deserve to hear good words, so get used to smiling and just feeling the kindness with gratitude.

Well, time for me to go! I hope you’ve enjoyed learning these useful compliments with us at SwedishPod101 today. Now, go out and find some cool people who need to hear them!

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