Dialogue

Vocabulary

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Lesson Notes

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Lesson Transcript

Intro

Michael: What is the difference between neuter and common genders?
Jesper: And how do you tell if a noun is neuter or common?
Michael: At SwedishClass101.com, we hear these questions often.
Consider the following situation. Henrik Hakansson is talking to a friend about his long-time dream. His daughter Hedda Hakansson happily joins the conversation.
"I want a house."
Henrik Hakansson: Jag vill ha ett hus.
Dialogue
Henrik Hakansson: Jag vill ha ett hus.
Hedda Hakansson: Jag vill ha en häst!
Michael: Once more with the English translation.
Henrik Hakansson: Jag vill ha ett hus.
Michael: "I want a house."
Hedda Hakansson: Jag vill ha en häst!
Michael: "I want a horse!"

Lesson focus

Michael: In the conversation, Henrik tells a friend about his long-time dream:
Jesper: Jag vill ha ett hus.
Michael: "I want a house." His daughter Hedda joins the conversation and shares what she wants.
Jesper: Jag vill ha en häst!
Michael: "I want a horse!" You may have noticed that different Swedish articles are used for "a house"
Jesper: ett hus
Michael: and "a horse."
Jesper: en häst.
Michael: Yes, something that distinguishes Swedish from English is that Swedish still possesses grammatical gender. The grammatical gender in Swedish no longer has feminine or masculine forms, like some other languages. Instead, Swedish has neuter and common genders. The neuter gender can also be called neutrum, and the common gender can also be called utrum. In the dialogue, "a house"
Jesper: ett hus
Michael: is a neuter gender noun, which therefore comes with the article
Jesper: ett
Michael: "A horse."
Jesper: en häst
Michael: however, is a common gender noun and comes with the article
Jesper: en.
Michael: Determining the gender of a noun is not only important for knowing which article to use, but it is also critical when assigning a pronoun to that noun. For example, the personal pronoun
Jesper: det
Michael: is used for neuter gender nouns, and the personal pronoun
Jesper: den
Michael: is used for common gender nouns. Knowing the gender of a noun also comes into play in other situations, such as when using a definite article or when using adjectives for the specific noun. Unfortunately, for Swedish learners, the grammatical gender of Swedish nouns is largely randomly assigned. This means that the gender of the noun needs to be learned and memorized with the noun. There are, however, a few hints that can help this learning process. Living beings are often common gender nouns. For example;
Jesper: en flicka
Michael: "a girl"
Jesper: en man
Michael: "a man," or
Jesper: en häst
Michael: "a horse." As mentioned, however, learning which nouns are neuter and which are common gender will largely be based on memorization.
Practice Section
Michael: Let's review what we heard in this lesson. I will say the target sentence in English. Then, you should respond by saying the sentence out loud in Swedish. Jesper will then model the correct answer. Listen to him carefully, with the focus on pronunciation, and then repeat.
The first sentence is "I want a house."
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Jesper: Jag vill ha ett hus.
Michael: Did you get it right? Listen to Jesper again, and repeat.
Jesper: Jag vill ha ett hus.
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Jesper: Jag vill ha ett hus.
Michael: The second sentence is "I want a horse!"
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Jesper: Jag vill ha en häst!
Michael: How did you do this time? Again, listen to Jesper and repeat.
Jesper: Jag vill ha en häst!
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Jesper: Jag vill ha en häst!
Cultural Expansion
Michael: You might hear some Swedish learners say that, when in doubt, guess that a noun is common gender. Why is that?
Jesper: Well, about three quarters of all nouns in Swedish are utrum, or common gender nouns.
Michael: Therefore, if you're not sure whether to use
Jesper: en
Michael: or
Jesper: ett,
Michael: going for the common gender
Jesper: en
Michael: is a pretty good guess. It is, however, still just a guess until you know for sure, so don't forget to study your neuter and common gender nouns!

Outro

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

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