"Jag äter det."
Translation:I eat it.
Late answer, I just answered this at the bottom of this thread but I'll post it here too.
The normal way of saying a sentence like this is "Jaétere", skipping many of the consonants and reducing the word 'det' so that there isn't much left of it.
If you say det in isolation the vowel is long, but when the word is unstressed the vowel sound gets shorter too. It turns into what's called a 'schwa' vowel https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schwa – a sort of generally blurry vowel which takes very little effort to pronounce. :) This sound occurs in English too, usually in similar situations.
Basically vowels in Swedish can only be long if they're stressed, all unstressed vowels are short. e:s easily get reduced to schwas, but other vowels such as o or i don't.
In everyday speech, very often. But if we speak more clearly or slowly, it's heard.
As far as I know (I'm a native but not a grammar expert) the default it should be "det" . E.g. It's your fault = Det är ditt fel. In any case, the "det" in "Jag äter det" is not a default "det" but is clearly referencing to eating something with the neutrum gender.
You're right. To elaborate a little, the default it for grammatical purposes is det – used when the sentence needs a subject, but there isn't one. For instance if we say Det regnar 'It is raining' – there's really no one there who rains, but the sentence needs a subject anyway, so we use det. Same goes for the presenting construction, which I wrote more about here: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/9708920 – we say Det är min hund 'It is my dog' even though hund is an en noun, because det is only there for grammatical reasons and does not refer to the dog.
However, when we do refer to some specific object, only we don't know the gender of the object, den is normally used as the default. For example, there's some device on the table and you don't know what it is, you want me to pick it up and give it to you so you can have a closer look at it – in this kind of situation, you could use either, but den would be more common.
So to sum it up, den is default (but not obligatory) for unknown objects, but for grammatical uses, det is not only default, but also obligatory.
Okay I read all the comments but I gotta ask something. I already know the words in a sentence blend in with each other (or part of it) and the sentence is pronounced as a whole. What I want to know is, can it be understood by the Swedish if I were to speak slowly word by word and may end up pronouncing every word seperatly? Like in this sentence the äter and det blended with each other and created a new sound "ätere". Will it be totally wrong if I were to clearly pronounce each words? For a newbie its difficult to form a sentence and speak it as a whole.
Thank you very much. So I understand the blurring of the sound d when it comes after a word ending in r but, does the e sounds different? Is as if it changes from a long sound to a short one. If so, why, does this happen? I went through all the comments and the only one I could see asking something alike was funtaco but no one answered. Thanks again
Sorry, I only noticed the part about the d sound. For the vowel, if you say det in isolation the vowel is long, but when the word is unstressed the vowel sound gets shorter too. It turns into what's called a 'schwa' vowel https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schwa – a sort of generally blurry vowel.
Basically vowels in Swedish can only be long if they're stressed, all unstressed vowels are short.