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Lesson Transcript


Michael: What are some noun suffixes In Swedish?
Jesper: And why are they useful to know?
Michael: At SwedishPod101.com, we hear these questions often. Imagine the following scenario: Ben Lee hears a new word that sounds familiar, but he isn't sure about the meaning. He asks his friend,
"What does 'båtar' mean?"
Ben Lee: Vad betyder "båtar"?
Ben Lee: Vad betyder "båtar"?
Viktor Viklund: Det betyder "boats."
Michael: Once more with the English translation.
Ben Lee: Vad betyder "båtar"?
Michael: "What does 'båtar' mean?"
Viktor Viklund: Det betyder "boats."
Michael: "It means 'boats.'"

Lesson focus

Michael: A suffix is a letter or group of letters added to the end of a stem or root word, which results in the formation of a new word. In English grammar, a suffix is added to a word either for the derivation of a new word or for forming an inflection. The same is true in Swedish grammar where suffix is also known as
Jesper: ändelse
Michael: or "ending." In English grammar, suffixes are often used for forming plural nouns. It's the same way in Swedish grammar, only that, in Swedish, suffixes serve other purposes, as well.
In Swedish, suffixes also function in a similar manner to the definite article in English. In English, there is only one definite article, which is the, and it is placed before the noun, or
Jesper: substantiv
Michael: In Swedish, there are several definite articles, and one way of using them is by attaching them to the end of the noun as a suffix. For instance, if you want to say "the table" in Swedish, you say
Jesper: bordet
Michael: with -et being the definite article. Another suffix functioning as a definite article is -en, as in,
Jesper: bilen
Michael: "The car." Here, the suffix is attached to the end of the word "car," or
Jesper: bil
Michael: and functions as a definite article.
[Recall 1]
Michael: Let's take a closer look at the dialogue.
Do you remember how Ben Lee says "What does 'båtar' mean?"
(pause 4 seconds)
Jesper as Ben Lee: Vad betyder "båtar"?
[Recall 2]
Michael: Now, let's take a look at our second sentence.
Do you remember how to say "It means 'boats?'"
(pause 4 seconds)
Jesper as Viktor Viklund: Det betyder "boats."
Michael: The singular form of the Swedish word for 'boat' is
Jesper: båt
Michael: We get the plural 'boats' by adding the suffix -ar, thus,
Jesper: båt
Michael: becomes
Jesper: båtar
Michael: In English grammar, there are several rules in forming plural nouns with the help of a few pluralization suffixes, the most common of which are -s and -es. In Swedish grammar, there are no less than six suffixes used in forming plural nouns, and -ar is just one of them.
Michael: In this lesson, you've learned that the Swedish language uses several suffixes to form the plural form of nouns. At the same time, some suffixes function as definite articles.
Michael: In addition to the suffix -ar, let's see what other suffixes are used to form plural nouns in Swedish. Let's use the example
Jesper: bild
Michael: This is the singular form of the word "picture." To achieve the plural form, we add the suffix -er to the end:
Jesper: bilder
Michael: "Pictures." Another example is
Jesper: dator,
Michael: which means "computer." Again, we add the suffix -er to come up with the plural,
Jesper: datorer.
Michael: Another suffix used for pluralization is -or. This suffix is only used for words ending in -a, as in the Swedish word for girl,
Jesper: flicka.
Michael: To form the plural, we drop the a and attach the suffix:
Jesper: flickor
Michael: Just like in English, there are nouns in Swedish with complete irregularity, in which case we don't use any suffixes to achieve the plural form. This is true with the word "house," which has the same singular and plural form,
Jesper: hus
Michael: The same goes with the word "baker," which in Swedish is
Jesper: bagare
Cultural Expansion
Michael: The Swedish language used to have three genders and not two with respect to nouns. There's the masculine, or
Jesper: maskulin,
Michael: the feminine, or
Jesper: feminin,
Michael: and the neuter, or
Jesper: neutrum.
Michael: The three-gender system still exists in many dialects today, but masculine and feminine nouns in the standard language have merged into the common gender known as
Jesper: utrum.
Michael: These genders determine the definite form of a noun, as well as the form of the articles or adjectives used to describe it. Noun gender in Swedish must be memorized, though, as it is largely arbitrary. However, it's also important to note that almost all Swedish nouns are common gender.


Michael: Do you have any more questions? We're here to answer them!
Jesper: Vi ses!
Michael: See you soon!

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