Do you feel comfortable speaking Swedish?

I've just started the tree and I love trying to pronounce the words, but I'm sure it sounds very wrong.

Swedes, can foreigners ever pronounce your language correctly? Learners, how's your pronunciation coming along?

October 19, 2016


Swedes, can foreigners ever pronounce your language correctly?

Of course! And if not, we're still delighted to hear you try, and happy to give pointers should you ask. Don't let small things like that discourage you.

October 19, 2016

That's nice to hear! det är trevligt att höra - is google translate correct? :'D

October 19, 2016

Very much so. :)

October 19, 2016

Love your profile picture. :')

October 20, 2016

High five!

October 20, 2016

Of course, they always answer in English...

October 22, 2016

I found that in Germany! At least in Berlin. I think my British accent is just so strong when I order an "Americano"

October 23, 2016

I find Swedish quite tricky to pronounce too. I think it has to do with the fact that Swedish is tonal. Not in the same way Chinese is but tonal in that parts of a word can change pitch. Swedes will know the correct rhythm of pitch pronunciation for Swedish. To a foreigner learning Swedish it can seem very difficult to understand and get right. That is my take on it anyway and I am a foreigner beginning to learn Swedish so I don't know a great deal. Perhaps someone might come along and tell us more about Swedish pitch pronunciation?

There is this good video on pitch -

October 19, 2016

Thank you very much for this. This is a amazing video on something i presumed would just be inherited during the language learning process, however, there is meaning behind the madness! :)

October 19, 2016

I have found most Swedes to be delighted if I tried to say hello and thank you in Swedish. Trying to order from the menu usually gives big encouraging smiles! :-)

October 23, 2016

[deactivated user]

    I am a native English speaker now living in Sweden and at first I was reluctant to speak until I had the accent perfect, but as my Swedish husband pointed out it would mean staying silent for ten years!

    In the beginning, I braved speaking Swedish to other foreigners in SFI classes as we all mangled the language in our own different ways. That gave me some confidence, so I then started slowly with short sentences in shops, cafés etc, but found that the Swedes guessed I was a native English speaker (though they couldn't place the accent) and immediately replied in English. That was nice of them but not helpful when you are really trying your best to learn and practice.

    But I persisted and had a few bizarre conversations where I spoke halting Swedish with an Australian accent and they answered in halting English with a Swedish accent. Over time it gets easier if you just dare to try. I had no trouble reading but speaking was hard mostly because I wanted it to be right. I found that joining in with things I was interested in (sailing, photography) was a good way to begin as I already had the vocabulary and interest and it was then easier to dare to speak. I guess it was pride mostly that prevented me from making a fool of myself. It was difficult coming from a background where I was well educated and working in a job where precise knowledge of English was very important to a country where that knowledge was pretty useless and I was suddenly speaking the language like a toddler.

    Now I just prattle on regardless. My accent is still recognisably "foreign" but no-one seems to mind. Sometimes they are just a bit surprised that a fair skinned, blonde, blue-eyed person with a very Swedish name is actually not a Swede. But mostly people are happy that I try and speak Swedish and not just fall back on the lazy idea of hoping they might understand English.

    As it turns out I seem to live in a town where hardly anyone understands English, so that's been an incentive to keep on with the Swedish. Do I make mistakes? Sure! Some of them quite spectacular - but we can laugh about it anyway. My biggest difficulty is differentiating between the pronunciation of kåt/kort, which can be embarrassing. I try and avoid using it just in case I get it totally wrong. And I remember going around town saying I had a purple dog instead of a small dog (mixing up lila/lilla), ordering a kanelbulle, but my pronounciation sounded like "knullbulle", of telling the maintenence guy at our apartment block that our fire alarm "pippade" instead of "pipade" (I think he dined out on that story for months) and looking for whole wheat flour at our local supermarket and asking "var finns hel vete mjöl", much to the shock of the poor woman working there. But they haven't run me out of town yet :-)

    July 2, 2018

    What a lovely story, thanks for sharing it. :) If you'd like, feel free to post it as a post of its own - after all, this thread is well over a year old, and not many are likely to see your comment.

    Also: the email notification I got about it had no line breaks or paragraphs... I really should have clicked the link prior to reading.

    July 2, 2018

    I don't feel very comfortable speaking anything foreign (more like I am trying to fake something LOL) until it starts to become habitual. I am definitely not there with Swedish yet.

    October 26, 2016

    I highly agree, i have a swedish friend irl but i feel like an idiot when pronouncing words to him XD hopefully my speaking will improve over time :/

    October 27, 2016

    I hope for the same :-) I know that it's possible but it takes time and effort. Right now the thought of me speaking fluent Swedish seems rather crazy :-)

    October 27, 2016

    I think that applies to everyone starting/mid-way through a language :) unless you've had prior knowledge of course :)

    October 27, 2016

    I just moved to Stockholm 2 months ago. I always feel my pronunciation is bad, but despite my bad pronunciation, I find I'm usually understood and in some cases, I've understood them! Of course, I've only done simple tasks in Swedish (ordering at the bakery, grocery shopping, etc.) but it always feels like a small victory if I can get through a conversation in Swedish and I am answered in Swedish. I don't have anyone I can really practice with, but I find that listening to audio of a swedish phrase and then repeating it out loud is helpful.

    November 11, 2016

    I am living in Sweden for one year now and, still, I feel not very comfortable with my pronounciation. Saying that to swedes, you only get responses like "I don't think so" - as kind as the Swedes always are.... Although, I try to do as much as possible in Swedish in daily life but still, I often have to ask people to repeat what they said. Somehow frustrating. Unfortunately, the dominant language at work is English.

    What makes me also sad is the fact, that I understand almost everything in the Swedish lessons (sas grund), but nothing when I try to follow a colloquial conversation of my swedish colleagues during lunch break....

    I recently started to lend audio books and the corresponding printed books to hopefully improve my understanding and pronounciation.

    November 18, 2016
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