In the book "Essentials of Swedish Grammar" by Åke Viberg, Kerstin Ballardini, and Sune Stjärnlöf it says this:
"De is pronounced in rather a different way from what you might expect from the spelling. Usually it is pronounced dom."
In order to understand spoken Swedish, it is VERY important to know that "de" is almost always pronounced "dom."
The book doesn't provide any more info other than the fact that it would be considered 'rather informal' to actually write "dom." I took Swedish classes in University, and in our classroom setting we ALWAYS said /dɔm/ Our classroom curriculum was the same Swedish language course that immigrants and refuges receive when they move to Sweden.
To reply to some of the questions in the comments.
"de" is always pronounced as dom, unless you're speaking Finland Swedish.
In this sentence, the /r/ in "dricker" would not be pronounced because it is unstressed, and followed by a consonant (/v/ in 'vatten'). This is a rule.
De dricker vatten is thus actually pronounced "Dom dricke' vatten".
Yes in Finland we say it just as it is written when we have to mind our language. Usually we say "Di dricker vatten" with the R in dricker. The written Swedish is the same in both countries. The melody when speaking is monotone in Finland. Just learn the Swedish of Sweden. Everybody in Finland will understand you. Besides the Swedish of Sweden is always considered correct if there are differences (and they are quite few)
de/dem/dom is always leading to slightly heated discussions among swedes. Here is my contribution :-D
These are three different and individual words.
In written swedish you use de/dem accordingly.
When speaking/reading loud, one usually replace 'de'/'dem' with the word 'dom'.
In some very formal cases (imagine the nobelprize being announced etc) one can hear de/dem being used.
Personally i sometimes use de/dem when speaking. I never write 'dom' unless citing someone etc.
There are some set rules (linked several times in the comments) for this usage but most people tend to do their own interpretation.
Nja (nej+ja), if one were to translate 'stora äpplena' to english you are ending up with 'Big apples'. However there is a slight difference when it comes to usage.
I would 'maybe' say 'stora äpplena' as an answer to the question 'Which apples do you like?' And 'De stora äpplena' if someone asked me 'Which apples did you pick?'
So it is a matter of the need to be precise whether if something in general or more specific.. BUT it is more of an exception to leave out 'de' and 'det' in such cases so don't.
I think just about every language has this sort of thing, where words aren't pronounced the way they're written. I've encountered it in Spanish, French (oh my gosh, don't get me started on French doing this), Japanese, and also my native English. The problem is that spoken language changes over time because of people, slang, regional accents and dialects, populations shifting about, etc., but the written language, being written, is far more static. Native speakers often learn these exceptions to the rules as they learn their first words, long before they even learn the rules in grade school, and as a result probably don't consciously notice that a rule is even being broken.
I've been told by a friend who began studying Swedish from Duolingo before me that this patricular question used to have the pronunciation match the spelling, but some input from native speakers resulted in a new sound file with pronunciation to match what is colloquially common in most, if not all, of Sweden. I'm grateful for this, since my goal, ultimately, is to be understood by and effectively communicate with Swedish speaking people. :)
Both de and dem are pronounced as dom In Standard Swedish. dom is just a spelling variation, unless you mean en dom as in 'a judgement, a verdict'. That one is pronounced differently, with the [ʊ] sound instead of the [ɔ] sound. (hear sound samples here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swedish_phonology, you can also listen to words pronounced by native speakers at forvo.com)
SINGULAR: 1:st pers. JAG=I, 2:nd pers.DU=YOU, 3:rd pers. HAN=HE, HON=SHE, DEN/DET=IT
PLURAL: 1:st pers. VI=WE, 2:nd pers.NI=YOU, 3:rd pers. DE = THEY (and only they)
SING. MIN/MITT=MY/MINE, DIN/DITT= YOUR/YOURS, HANS=HIS; HENNES=HER/HERS; DESS=ITS
PL. VÅR/VÅRT= OUR/ OURS, ER/ERT= YOUR/YOURS, DERAS=THEIR/THEIRS
DATIVE and ACKUSATIVE
SING. MIG=ME, DIG=YOU, HONOM=HIM; HENNE = HER; DEN/DET= IT
PL.. OSS=US, ER = YOU, DEM = THEM