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introduction to svenska

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introduction to svenska

    

    Introduction to Svenska

    By Urban Sikeborg, Stockholm 199798

    Printed by Jinn Oct.11,2007

CONTENTS

Swedish a brief presentation ............................................ 1

    1. How to introduce yourself .................................................. 2

     Personal pronouns. ‘Är’, -er and -ar verbs in the present

    2. Greetings and goodbyes ...................................................... 5

     Common salutary phrases. Temporal expressions

    3. Things in general and particular......................................... 8

     Nouns in the singular. Indefinite and definite forms

    4. Even more things ............................................................... 10

     Nouns in the plural. Cardinal and ordinal numbers

    5. What is yours like? ............................................................ 14

     Adjectives (weak and strong inflection).

     Possessive and demonstrative pronouns

    6. To compare and to be compared ........................................ 19

     Comparison of adjectives. ‘Ingen’, ‘något’, ‘varje’. Adverbs

    7. Doing and being................................................................ 22

     Tenses/Conjugation of verbs

    8. A guide to the pronunciation of Swedish .......................... 33

    INTRODUCTION TO

    SVENSKA

    BY URBAN SIKEBORG

    STOCKHOLM 1997?

    wedish is a fascinating and expressive language. It is also a melodic language, admittedly S difficult to pronounce like a native because of its characteristic sing-song rhythm, but otherwise not more complicated to learn than English. Most Swedes born after World War II do speak or understand English many of them very well, actually and you will probably be

    able to have a memorable and enjoyable stay in Sweden without any deeper knowledge of Swedish. But you will find that just a few words of Swedish will work as a wonderful door-key to the Swedes, who have a reputation of being rather reserved to strangers. Addressing someone in his or her native language is a matter of respect, a way of showing that you play by their rules, so to speak. To learn a language means to learn to understand the culture where it is spoken and the people who speak it. In a way, to learn a language opens up a new world.

     Swedish is a member of the Indo-European family, to which belong almost all European languages (with the exception of the Finnish-Ugrian, Basque, and Caucasian languages), and has many features in common with all of these. Its closest relatives are Danish, Norwegian, and Icelandic. The latter has due to its isolation remained remarkably intact from the Viking Age and therefore is very difficult to understand for other Nordic speakers. Swedes, Norwe-gians, and Danes usually do not have any difficulties in communicating with each other. Even though Danish is slightly more closely related to Swedish than Norwegian, its “hot-potato-in-

    the-mouth” pronunciation is the main obstacle when Danes and Swedes speak with each other, whereas Norwegian in that respect is very similar to Swedish. All in all, the differences between the languages are not very big most Swedes would probably even find it difficult to

    tell whether a text was written in Norwegian or Danish. Since Swedish also is the second official language of Finland, a basic knowledge of Swedish will thus enable you to understand and make yourself understood in several countries.

     There is no natural language which does not require years of study to master completely, but you will soon acquire an impressive passive vocabulary. You will find that signs and headlines become more and more comprehensible and that you within short will be able to browse through a Swedish newspaper and get a good grasp of what is said. Learning Swedish is facilitated by the fact that over the centuries it has borrowed thousands of words from Low German, French, and English; some very common words in English have in turn been borrowed from the Vikings. This means that many words will be familiar to you from the very beginning.

     But a language is more than just a collection of words; without a basic knowledge of the grammar, your linguistic proficiency will most likely be very limited. This introduction to Swedish presents a brief outline of Swedish grammar, with the emphasis on the spoken, everyday language. It is advisable to browse through the rules for pronunciation in chapter 8 before each chapter. Otherwise you might end up sending disquietingly like the Swedish Chef in the Muppet Show.

    1

    Chapter 1:

    How to introduce yourself

    ome foreigners have claimed that Swedes in general are rather reserved and stiff in comparison to S their own fellow countrymen. This alleged cultural feature is not a personal quality, however; you will soon find out that the Swedes are as passionate, wonderful or silly as most other people you know.

SENTENCES TO STUDY

Hej! Jagter …… och kómmer från …… Vadter du?

    Hello! I am called … and come from … What are called you?

     Jagter ……

    I am called …

Var kómmer du ifrån? / Várifrå?n kómmer du?

    Where come you from? / Wherefrom come you?

Jag är från … och studérar svenska hä?r. Jóbbar du i Stóckhólm?

    I am from … and study Swedish here. Work you in Stockholm?

Nej, jag árbétar ínte hä?r; jag ä?r óckså studént.

    No, I work not here; I am too/also student.

NOTES

1. Personal pronouns

    „Jag‟ (I) and „du‟ (you) are pronouns, words denoting persons that perform an action. In English „you‟ can refer either to one individual or to several persons; in Swedish you use separate forms, depending on the number of people you are addressing. The Swedish so-called personal pronouns are:

Personal pronouns: Objective forms:

    Someone or something that is doing something Someone or something that is the object of an

    (”You see”) action (”I see you”)

    Singular (referring to one person)

    jag = I mig/mej = me

    1dig/dej = you du = you (Er = you [polite form]) (Ni = your [polite form])

    han = he hónom = him

    2hénne = her hon = she

    3den = it den = it

    2

det = it det = it

    Plural (referring to two or more people)

    vi = we oss = us

    ni = you er = you

    (Ni = you [polite form]) (Er = you [polite form])

    44de (‘dom’) = they dem (‘dom’) = them

    1. Swedes usually address each other with the pronoun „du‟, regardless of what position they might have or if they meet for the first time; in fact, the formal „Ni‟ are nowadays considered old-

    fashioned and is mainly used when talking to older people. The English habit of frequently inserting the name of the person you are talking to is not common in Swedish and can sometimes be felt too intimate.

2. The „o‟ in „hon‟ is pronounced like „oo‟ in „good‟.

    3. There are two words for „it‟ in Swedish. This is because Swedish, unlike English, still define animals and things in terms of gender, and is in this respect similar to the German with its „der,

    die, das‟ and the French „le, la‟. Whether one should use „den‟ or „det‟ is decided by what gender the word it refers to has. In the general and neutral meaning „it‟ has in phrases like „it is cold