Dialogue

Vocabulary

Learn New Words FAST with this Lesson’s Vocab Review List

Get this lesson’s key vocab, their translations and pronunciations. Sign up for your Free Lifetime Account Now and get 7 Days of Premium Access including this feature.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Notes

Unlock In-Depth Explanations & Exclusive Takeaways with Printable Lesson Notes

Unlock Lesson Notes and Transcripts for every single lesson. Sign Up for a Free Lifetime Account and Get 7 Days of Premium Access.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Transcript

Intro

Alisha: What are diminutives and how are they formed in Swedish?
Jesper: And are they commonly used?
Alisha: At SwedishPod101.com, we hear these questions often. In the following scenario, Hanna Hakansson points out a cute kitten to her daughter, Hedda Hakansson. She says,
"Look at the kitten!"
Hanna Håkansson: Titta på kattungen!
Dialogue
Hanna Håkansson: Titta på kattungen!
Hedda Håkansson: Söt!
Alisha: Once more with the English translation.
Hanna Håkansson: Titta på kattungen!
Alisha: "Look at the kitten!"
Hedda Håkansson: Söt!
Alisha: "Cute!"

Lesson focus

Alisha: Did you notice how Hanna replaces the word,
Jesper: katt
Alisha: with
Jesper: kattungen?
Alisha: She attaches the suffix,
Jesper: -ungen
Alisha: to create what is called a diminutive, or,
Jesper: diminutiv
Alisha: A diminutive is a word that has been modified to convey the smallness of its root meaning. In Swedish, it is also used to express one's affection toward another person. Thus, in Swedish, diminutives are often used for affectionate names. Diminutives are created by attaching certain affixes to nouns, and in some cases, adjectives and verbs.
[Recall 1]
Alisha: Let's take a closer look to understand this better. Do you remember how Hanna says, "Look at the kitten?"
[pause 4 seconds]
Jesper as Hanna Håkansson: Titta på kattungen!
Alisha: Here, Hanna attaches the suffix,
Jesper: -ungen
Alisha: to the root noun,
Jesper: katt
Alisha: which means "cat," in Swedish. The suffix is derived from the word,
Jesper: ung
Alisha: which means "young," and is often attached to names of animal offsprings. Another example would be
Jesper: fågelunge
Alisha: which means "chick," or "small bird." The suffix in question can also be attached to names of people to create diminutives like
Jesper: jäntunge
Alisha: which means "little girl." Diminutives in Swedish are also used in affectionate names. For instance, we have the name
Jesper: Kajsa,
Alisha: which is a diminutive of the name
Jesper: Karin
Alisha: There's also the name
Jesper: Gittan,
Alisha: which is derived from the name
Jesper: Brigitta
Alisha: For males, we have names like
Jesper: Jonte
Alisha: which is a diminutive of
Jesper: Jonatan
Alisha: We also have the name
Jesper: Theo
Alisha: a diminutive of the name
Jesper: Theodor
Alisha: And, finally, there's the name
Jesper: Hasse
Alisha: which is a diminutive of the name
Jesper: Hans
Alisha: As you can see, there are no rules on how to form diminutives for people's names. Most of the time, it's not simply to shorten the name but to make the name sound sweeter or cuter.
[Summary]
Alisha: So far, we have learned that diminutives are words that have been modified to convey the smallness of their root meaning. In Swedish, they are often used in names of animal offsprings, as well as for forming affectionate names for family members.
Expansion
Alisha: What makes Swedish diminutives unique is that they are formed not only by attaching suffixes but also prefixes to root words. In fact, most Swedish diminutives are formed using prefixes. One such prefix is
Jesper: mini-
Alisha: such as in the word
Jesper: minilektion
Alisha: which means "mini lesson." Another one is
Jesper: lill-
Alisha: such as in the word
Jesper: lillördag
Alisha: which means "little Saturday," a term used to refer to midweek afterwork activities. Another common Swedish diminutive prefix is
Jesper: små-
Alisha: such as in the word
Jesper: småbarn
Alisha: or "toddler," and the word
Jesper: småsur
Alisha: which means "a bit angry." Finally, there's the prefix,
Jesper: pytte-
Alisha: which is used for words like
Jesper: pytteliten
Alisha: which means "tiny" or "exceptionally small." As we learned earlier, Swedish has diminutive suffixes as well. Aside from what we have already discussed, there's also the suffix
Jesper: -ling
Alisha: such as in the word
Jesper: älling
Alisha: which means "young duck." Interestingly, there's another way to say "young duck" or "duckling" in Swedish, and it's with the use of the diminutive suffix,
Jesper: -unge
Alisha: The word is
Jesper: ankunge
Cultural Insight
Alisha: In colloquial Swedish, you will also find the suffix
Jesper: -is
Alisha: used in forming diminutives. Most of the diminutives formed with this suffix are purely from the creativity of the Swedish people. For instance, take the word
Jesper: godis
Alisha: which means "candy." Breaking the word down, you will get the root,
Jesper: god
Alisha: which means "good." Add the diminutive suffix, and you get "tiny goods." And then there's the word
Jesper: kompis
Alisha: a diminutive meaning "buddy." It is said to have been derived from the word,
Jesper: kompanjon
Alisha: which means "partner." Be careful, though, because not all Swedish words that end in this suffix are diminutives. The good thing is that you will easily recognize these non-diminutive words with their long "i" sound.

Outro

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

3 Comments

Hide
Please to leave a comment.
😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

SwedishPod101.com Verified
Monday at 06:30 PM
Pinned Comment
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Do you have any questions about the Swedish language?

SwedishPod101.com Verified
Thursday at 01:16 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hej T,


Thank you so much for your positive message! 😇❤️️

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

We wish you good luck with your language studies.


Kind regards,

Levente

Team SwedishPod101.com

T
Monday at 11:04 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Awesome lesson! Supepr helpful!