Dialogue - Swedish



pappaledighet paternity leave
att vara bosatt to live
att växa upp to grow up
att födas to be born
biträdande assistant
föräldraledighet parental leave
medan while
chef manager
att introducera introduce
sambo partner

Lesson Notes



The Focus of This Lesson Is to Learn How to Make a Self-Introduction.
Jag är född i Stockholm, men växte upp i Uppsala.
"I was born in Stockholm, but I grew up in Uppsala."

We have in previous series learned how to introduce yourself by name with phrases like jag heter [name], meaning "my name is [name]," and we will in this lesson take this a step further and learn how to do a self-introduction, similar to the one done by Emma in this lesson's dialogue. Being able to make a self-introduction can prove useful in situations where you meet a new group of people, like at a new workplace or when attending a conference. A self-introduction in Sweden should not be too long, and the content of it will vary from situation to situation. In this lesson, we will therefore try to cover some standard phrases that might be suitable in most self-introductions.

Let's start with the standard phrase Jag är född i Stockholm, men uppvuxen i Uppsala, which means "I was born in Stockholm but was brought up in Uppsala" but literally translates to "I am born in Stockholm but was brought up in Uppsala." Notice here how the verb född is in its present tense, even though we are talking about something that happened in the past. In Swedish, we will use the present tense for sentences like the one above when the subject is still alive but the preterit tense föddes when we talk about people who are no longer alive. Here are two examples.

For Example:

  1. Jag är född i Linköping.
    "I was born in Linköping."
  2. Napoleon föddes på Korsika.
    "Napoleon was born on Corsica."

Another phrase that might be good in a self-introduction is jag arbetar som [occupation], meaning "I work as [occupation]." Notice here that we are using the verb att arbeta instead of the verb att jobba, which both translate to "to work." The reason why we should prefer the verb att arbeta is because a self-introduction is more of a formal situation, and the verb att arbeta compared to the verb att jobba has a more formal sound to it. Here are two examples.

For Example:

  1. Jag arbetar som läkare.
    "I work as a doctor."
  2. Jag jobbar som snickare.
    "I work as a carpenter."

If you are not working and are studying, you can instead use the phrase jag studerar [name of subject you are studying], meaning "I am studying [name of subject you are studying]." There are two Swedish verbs that correspond to the English verb "to study": namely, att studera and att plugga. Using att studera in a self-introduction is to be preferred because it has a more formal sound to it. Here are two examples.

For Example:

  1. Jag studerar biologi.
    "I am studying biology."
  2. Jag pluggar filosofi.
    "I am studying philosophy."

The last phrase that we are going to look at is the phrase jag bor i [name of place where you live] med min [noun that denotes the type of relations you have with the person you live with, such as friend, partner, boyfriend, girlfriend], which means "I live in [name of place where you live] with my [noun that denotes the type of relations you have with the person you live with]." Notice how we use the preposition med ("with") instead of hos, which also corresponds to "with." In a previous lesson, we have talked about the Swedish preposition hos, which can be a bit tricky for non-native speakers to use correctly. In Swedish, using med when talking about a person with whom you live communicates that you live together with that person, such as a friend, a partner, or a parent. If you instead use the preposition hos, that means that you are staying at a person's home. The person that you are staying with can of course also be a friend, a partner, or a parent, but the accommodation is theirs, and your staying there is not seen as something permanent.

For Example:

  1. Jag bor med min sambo.
    "I live in Stockholm with my partner."
  2. Jag bor hos min vän.
    "I am staying with my friend."

Cultural Insights

Parental Leave in Sweden

In Sweden, the right for parents to take out parental leave is regulated through law, and this more specifically means that mothers and fathers have the right to be on parental leave until the child is eighteen months old. Swedish parents have the right to a total of 480 days of paid parental leave. If the custody of the child is shared, the mother and the father each have the right to half of these days, but the parents can divide the days any way they wish. On top of the 480 days, the fathers also get an extra ten days of paternity leave when the child is born, enabling the parents to be on parental leave together for the first ten days. Even though this regulation gives the legal right for mothers as well as fathers to stay home with their children, mothers use the majority of parental leave. In 2010, fathers used twenty-three percent of the parental leave. Statistics show that mothers with lower education and fathers with higher education are the groups that tend to use the parental leave the most.


Lesson Transcript

Elin: Hej allihopa! I’m Elin
Becky: Hi everyone, I’m Becky. Welcome to SwedishPod101.com. This is Upper Beginner, Season 1, Lesson 1 - Meet Your New Swedish Coworker! In this lesson you’ll learn how to do a self-introduction.
Elin: The conversation takes place at Emma’s new workplace.
Becky: It’s between Emma and her employees. Emma is using formal Swedish, because this is the first time she’s introducing herself to them.
Elin: Okay. Let's listen to the conversation.
Becky: I must say that it was interesting to hear that Anders, the manager who Emma is taking over for, is going to go on paternity leave. Is this common in Sweden?
Elin: I wouldn’t say that it’s common, but I guess it’s becoming more and more common.
Becky: That’s great news! What’s the parental leave system like in Sweden?
Elin: Well, I would say that it’s very generous, because it gives Swedish parents the right to 480 days of paid parental leave.
Becky: For each parent?
Elin: No, not that generous! The parents of one child get 480 days of parental leave, and each of them are entitled to half of that by law, but the days can be divided any way the parents agree upon.
Becky: Okay, I see.
Elin: But the father also gets an extra 10 days of paternity leave, so that the whole family can be together right after the child is born.
Becky: That’s great! Now let’s move on to the vocab.
Becky: Let's have a closer look at the usage for some of the words and phrases from this lesson.Where should we start?
Elin: Lets start with the word pappaledighet.
Becky: Which means “paternity leave” right?
Elin: Yes, that’s right! In Swedish, like in English, you have specific words for parental leave, whether it’s the mother or the father you’re talking about.
Becky: So what is the name for “maternity leave” in Swedish then?
Elin: That’s mammaledighet”.
Becky: I see, and for the word “parental leave”?
Elin: Föräldraledighet.
Becky: Okay, and what else do we have?
Elin: We also need to talk about the word “sambo”.
Becky: That means “partner”.
Elin: Yes, a “sambo” is a person you’re having a relationship with, but really, “sambo” doesn’t have an English counterpart.
Becky: Hmm, I’m not sure I understand.
Elin: The word “sambo” has a more specific meaning than the English word “partner”, since you only use it for a person that you’re in a relationship with, and also live with.
Becky: Okay, I think I understand. So this word is used for two people who live together, but aren’t married?
Elin: Yes, you could say that being a “sambo” means that you live with your partner in a marriage-like relationship, but it’s not a registered partnership.
Becky: Okay, now I’ve got it. Let’s move on to the grammar now!
Elin: In this lesson, you’ll learn how to do a self-introduction.
Becky: Does that mean that we’ll learn how to say things like “my name is”?
Elin: No, we’ve already learned that in earlier series. Instead, we’ll focus on learning how to talk about things like, where we were born, what you do for a living, and your current living arrangements.
Becky: Ok, that sounds useful. Let’s start with where we were born?
Elin: Sure thing!
Becky: How would you say, “I was born in Stockholm”, like Emma says in this lesson’s dialog?
Elin: You would start with the “I was born” part, followed by the name of the place you were born, in this case, Stockholm. So “I was born in Stockholm”, becomes “Jag är född i Stockholm”.
Becky: Actually, I have a question about that sentence.
Elin: What’s that?
Becky: Why do you use the present tense of the verb “to be born”, even though we’re talking about something that happened in the past?
Elin: That’s a great question. Actually, “jag är född i Stockholm” literally translates to “I’m born in Stockholm”. That’s because Swedes use the present tense of the verb “to be born”, which is “är född”, when we talk about people that are still alive.
Becky: How about when you want to talk about people that are no longer alive?
Elin: You would use the preterit tense, “föddes”, if you were talking about people who are no longer alive.
Becky: I see. So how would you say “I was born in Linköping”, for example?
Elin: You would say “jag är född i Linköping”.
Becky: And how would you say, “Napoleon was born on Corsica”?
Elin: That’s “Napoleon föddes på Korsika.
Becky: Great! Let’s get our listeners to practice the “I was born in Linköping” one.
Elin: Listeners, repeat after me! “Jag är född i Linköping”. [pause]
Becky: Now, let’s take a look at how to talk about what you do for a living.
Elin: Ok. Here, we’ll learn to say things like “I work as a doctor”.
Becky: How would you say “I work as doctor” in Swedish?
Elin: You would start with the “I work as a” part, which is “jag arbetar som”, followed by the name of the occupation, in this case the word for “doctor”, which is “läkare”. So, “I work as a doctor” becomes “jag arbetar som läkare”.
Becky: Isn’t there another verb for “to work” that you can use?
Elin: Well, you could also use the verb “att jobba”, but the verb “att arbeta” has a more formal sound to it, and since we are doing a self-introduction, “att arbeta” is better to use.
Becky: How about practicing that sentence one time?
Elin: Sure. Listeners, repeat after me! “Jag arbetar som läkare.”[pause]
Becky: What about if you don’t work, because you are a student. How would you for example say, “I’m studying biology”?
Elin: Well, there are actually two ways of saying this using two different verbs. They can both be translated as “to study” in English.
Becky: And what are the verbs?
Elin: If you want to say “to study” in Swedish, you can use the verbs “att plugga” or “att studera”.
Becky: And is there any difference between these two?
Elin: Yes. “att plugga” is more commonly used than “att studera” in everyday conversation, but it also has a more informal sound to it.
Becky: So I guess, for the purposes of a self-introduction, we should stick to the other then! So how would you say “I’m studying biology”?
Elin: You would start with the “I’m studying” part, followed by the name of the subject, in this case the Swedish word for “biology”, “biologi”. So “I’m studying biology” in Swedish is “jag studerar biologi”. Listeners repeat after me.
Elin: “Jag studerar biologi”.
Becky: Ok, now let’s learn to talk about your current living arrangements.
Elin: Sure thing!
Becky: How would you, for example, say “I live in Lund with my boyfriend”?
Elin: You’ll start with the “I live in” part, which is “jag bor i”. That’s followed by the name of the place where you live, in this case “Lund”. After that, you have the “with my” part, which is “med min”, and then a noun that denotes the kind of relationship you have with the person you live with. In this case, it’s “boyfriend”, which is “pojkvän”.
Becky: Hmm, that was a bit long. How would it sound if you put it together?
Elin: “I live in Lund with my boyfriend” becomes “jag bor i Lund med min pojkvän”. Listeners, repeat after me! “Jag bor i Lund med min pojkvän”. [pause]
Becky: Okay, I just have one final question! Why do you use the preposition “med” instead of “hos” in this kind of sentence? Both of them translate as “with”, right?
Elin: Yes, both “med and “hos” can mean “with”. But if you use “hos” instead of “med”, that means you’re staying at a person’s home, rather than living with that person, and your staying there isn't seen as something permanent.
Becky: Okay! I’m glad we cleared that up! Listeners, if you want to make sure you’ve understood this grammar point, please check the lesson notes.


Becky: Okay that’s it for this lesson. Thanks for listening everyone, and we’ll see you next time.
Elin: Hej då!