Swedish online dictionaries and lexical resources
Swedish online dictionaries and lexical resources
The classical Svenska Akademiens ordlista, aka SAOL, used by all Swedes, is a spelling wordlist that only has definitions of words that may be unknown to a native speaker. This is the best wordlist if you're looking for the correct spelling or want to know the forms of a word.
The Swedish dictionary which has the best definitions (in Swedish) is Svensk ordbok. It is now available as an app for both iPhone and Android. Link Not free, but very good.
Lexin is an online dictionary made mainly for immigrants. It has sound files for many words, read by native speakers. Click the word lyssna example here. This dictionary also has ”picture themes” – pictures of stuff, collected in themes like "City and traffic" with words and their sounds. These are here. In the top left menu that says Svenska, you can choose languages like Albanian, Finnish, Russian, Greek or Spanish, to see the same pictures with words and sounds in those languages instead. Could be useful for Swedes learning other languages!
Folkets lexikon The above mentioned Lexin is no longer maintained for English, but they still provide this version of it, which is originally based on research, and then enhanced by crowdsourcing, if I understand it correctly.
Svenska Akademiens ordbok (SAOB, not to be confused with SAOL) is a historical dictionary. The first volume was printed in 1893 but they're not finished yet (they're close to the end of T)! This dictionary is good if you're interested in when a word first appeared in the Swedish language, or how it was spelled and used historically. Only for very advanced learners.
Svensk etymologisk ordbok If you're interested in etymology (the origin of words), this is what you're looking for.
Wiktionary is like Wikipedia, but for languages. You can become a contributor too. This dictionary often has conjugation tables and sentence examples, sometimes translations too. If the word is in Wiktionary in another language, a link on the left side will take you there. Depending on what your native language is and how good that Wiktionary is, it may be very useful to you. If it's not that good, you might want to improve it.
Wikipedia For words that denote things, Wikipedia is a really good resource. Look up the word in Swedish, then go to View in another language (or Språk), and click on your language. Does not work for all words, but for the kind of stuff that has Wikipedia articles, this is great. You'll learn a lot too.
Ord.se – look up words and get English translations and sometimes phrases. This is based on Norstedts Swedish-English dictionary, which is very good. wordfinderonline.se seems to use the same database.
The People’s Dictionary is a crowdsourced online dictionary.
bab.la is an online dictionary with sound files and English translations. The best part is the example collection though, more about that below.
tyda.se is another online dictionary. It often gives a lot of synonyms, but not much else. Edit: many learners like this one.
Woxikon – gives translations into many languages.
synonymer.se the name says it all – synonyms.
Svensk-engelsk ordbok för den högre utbildningen Looking for terms related to higher education? Here's your dictionary.
KARP If you're seriously interested in lexicology and want to be able to search many dictionaries at the same time, this is your new home online. For nerds only.
Forvo is an online pronouncing dictionary with words read by native speakers. Very useful.
Resources to see the language in action:
Korp is a huge collection of Swedish corpora (text collections). You can choose which corpora to search. There are lots of options for the advanced user. For a beginner it is still interesting just to type in a word and look at what sentences come up.
bab.la is a large collection of real-life translations. These can be very useful, but remember they are not checked by a human eye. Some translations are just wrong. However, the site can be useful to get an idea of how the language is used. Most translations seem to be from EU contexts. There's a dictionary part too.
linguee.com is also a large, searchable collection of real-life translations.
Svenska Akademiens ordlista (see above) is available as a free app for Android, iPhone, Windows Phone 7, and Symbian. If you've got a smartphone, you should have this app.
bab.la (see above) also has a free app.
The dictionary apps from Norstedts are good, but expensive. See further comment from antspants01 on this page about them.
There is now an app for Svensk ordbok available both for iPhone and Android. Not free, but this is the best monolingual Swedish definition dictionary you can find imho.
Here's a link to an overview of 150+ apps for people (anyone from children to immigrants) who are learning Swedish: http://www.pappasappar.se/svenska-sprakappar/
If you've know about other online dictionaries, please comment. I'll edit this text to add your suggestions.
After sifting through a couple of these, I noted that the terminology is a bit different from English dictionaries. Would you consider a post or a bonus skill or something that explains some words for dictionary-reading?
Excellent list! Do note, however, that the etymological dictionary available online is a digitalisation of the first edition, which may contain errors. Later editions are still under copyright.
For some true ”överkurs” my favourite dictionary, "Glossarium öfver föråldrade eller ovanliga ord och talesätt” is also to be found online: http://runeberg.org/ovanliga/
There are more old dictionaries here: http://litteraturbanken.se/#!/om/hjalp?ankare=Ordb%C3%B6cker
And there are of course errors in all the crowdsourced dictionaries above. I've also spotted a few in Lexin.
I'm not sure if this has been answered before but is there a site that explains how gender is determined, when to use "en" and "ett" and other grammar issues I may come across?
a very nice dictionary app and free for Android phones is Folkets https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=air.air.com.fiddleapps.FolketsOrdbokhl=en
A useful function it has and also that bab.la nice iPhone app has is "history" of things you look up. I find this terribly useful. Both offline-ready which is more useful.
Another app solution that is good is for Kindle (or e-readers) - on Amazon there wasa very cheap Swedish English dictionary and also a free one I found somewhere - I forget where. Handy if you are reading on kindle at least and no wifi. I find I use dictionary most when I am not data connected, otherwise I settle for Google Translate as it is so versatile.
This is an absolutely fantastic list, thanks! In a similar vein, does anyone have some good resources for children's books in Swedish? That seems like it would be a good supplement to the Duolingo training.
Adlibris Mondo is a version of the online bookshop, Adlibris, that only sells e-books and audible books, but it will sell them to the worldwide market. If you live in the USA, the extremely frustrating thing is that Swedish bookshops do not generally deliver to the USA, so buying e-books is basically the only option.
A very popular beginning reader series right now in Sweden is the LasseMajas Detektivbyrå series. You can buy e-book versions of these for about 50SEK each.
Just like in English, picture books can contain complex words, because they are written for adults to read to children. However, Sweden has a thriving picture book industry and those books are definitely worth checking out. Picture books are great ways to enrich your vocabulary.
If you want very very basic picture books, then the author Stina Wirsén is a great place to start.
Gunilla Bergström's Alfons series is fantastic and another series that would be a good place to go once you get the toddler books under your belt.
Jan Lööf's book are in a similar difficulty level as Alfons and are also fun, captivating stories with a lot of nice humor.
Again, the list goes on and on, because Sweden's children's literature is so rich. Many authors are not yet available digitally, however. Barbro Lindgren's Loranga series was available at the UC Berkeley library when I was learning Swedish, and I found it to be a great "easy" chapter book.
I would really love to get some easy reading texts too. I would also ask for cartoons or similar material with Swedish audio in the web. No svensk episodes of Peppa Pig or Dora The Explorer (Dora utforskaren) online? Or Chuggington...
I found some some free streaming TV programs with swedish closed captioning at
Currently there are a few short cartoon stories like this in the children's section
I think they expire after 30 days but also looks like new programs are added.
Thanks a lot for the URL. I found the episoes in youtube too, so no worries about expiry dates.
Wiktionary has always been fantastic for me. The quality of Finnish words is amazing (individual pages for most common forms of each word). Usually the translations of Swedish words are present with complete inflection tables which is immensely helpful. The fact that it's free is pretty fantastic as well.
I have created a Swedish Multi-Search tool inspired by the contributors to fluent-forever.com and by the Duolingo Swedish-English Team. Currently, this tool searches 12 websites for Swedish words. The tool also has a button for clearing the tabs for previous multi-searches. The tool works just fine when opened with Chrome or Firefox. However, the 'Click Here to Delete Tabs for Previous Multi-Searches'' button does not function in Microsoft Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge. For all 12 windows to appear when using IE or Edge, you must "Allow Pop-up Windows''. I don't know if it works on mobile devices.
The 12 websites are:
- Forvo (audio for pronunciation of searched word by native Swedes)
- Google Images (for images associated with the searched word, can be used in flash card applications like Anki)
- Norstedts Ordböcker (includes lots of phrases in which the searched word is used)
- SV Wiktionary (includes inflection of searched word and example sentences)
- EN Wiktionary (same as above)
- Bab.la Dictionary (audio of searched word; sentences for various different meanings of searched word)
- Google Translate
- The People's Dictionary (includes audio, synonyms, example sentences, derived compound words using searched word)
- Interglot Translation Dictionary
- SALDO (includes comprehensive conjugations, inflections; shows verb group and noun declension)
- Word Reference
I used this tool in creating my own Anki (http://ankisrs.net/) card sets for Swedish. I hope you find this tool useful too. CandyKD
I just finished the Swedish tree so this is my way of giving back to the community that got me to 51% fluency in Swedish. ( I still have a lot of practice to do!)
Here is the link to my GitHub repository for the tool:
Be sure to read the 'README.md' file for instructions for accessing the tool.
Special ''thanks'' to thorr18 below for helping me make this tool more accessible.
Now I can right-click on the following URL, "save link as" and open the file without any renaming. https://github.com/CanDKD/SV_Multi_Search/raw/master/SVENMultiSearch.html
The Nordstedts dictionary apps are very conveniently split up into several. If you're wanting something like the Collins Complete Unabridged German app with all its features you'll be fairly disappointed. One dictionary had noun endings for definite singular and definite plural, another has pronunciation of Swedish verbs and another had some different feature that I can't remember off the top of my head. To be honest, they could have easily fit all those features into one app but they don't. After seeing all these links it looks like there's a plethora of free options so now I won't have to spend a fortune!
Another useful resource is linguee.com. This is a searchable database of "hundreds of millions" of human-translated texts (most from the EU it seems). I've used it a lot for French/English, but Swedish is there too. The big advantage over dictionaries and machine-translation sites is the ability to see several real-world translations of words and phrases in context. Translation quality can vary though.
Hello ninariikonen, I just looked at the site and it doesn't give a transcription of the Swedish words. It seems a nice site, but it isn't really what I was looking at...
Aha, were you looking for like an IPA transcription or something? Which one have your fond to be the best for providing that?
Yeah indeed, it's IPA that I would like. I don't really understand what you mean by that last sentence...
It seems to me that the German side of it is more complete. I find a lot more translations for German into Swedish and Norwegian than I do English into either of those.
Ok, thanks for this one too, but it still hasn't the phonetic transcription (it's IPA that I need).
Hey, guys... I have a question. I'm planning to work as nurse in Sweden. Can someone point me in direction of some medical related resources, that could help me with that part of swedish. Thanks.
I think this is the best place to ask and not a new topic; can anyone recommend me some good podcasts? The trouble with finding swedish podcasts is that swedes all speak english too well... if I put my country as sweden most podcasts (especially in stuff i'm interested in, science and games) are still in english! I've tried the barn och familj categorie, thinking I could find something easy, but I don't know if I'd get bored... and the sesame street and children's stories podcasts were both in english! Anyone know some with cool fairy tales or something? (or maybe folklore?)
The "information radio channel" P1 is providing a lot of their programs as podcasts. An example for a science program is "Vetandets värld" for which you can get an RSS feed for the poscast here: http://api.sr.se/api/rss/program/412
A list of many more programs is found here: http://sverigesradio.se/sida/allaprogram.aspx?filterpodd=true When you click on the program you like and scroll down to the very end there is an XML and an RSS link in the lower left corner...
Is there also a dictionary or vocabulary with the (official IPA) phonetic transcription? It would be nice to search the pronunciation of words I learn by reading and not by listening...
I also came here to see if someone mentioned IPA. Wiktionary gives lots of English IPA, but doesn't always have the IPA for Swedish words. I'll check all the others listed in the post.
I use acapela http://www.acapela-group.com/voices/demo/ a lot: when I get a "translate from English to Swedish" task I try and then (not getting the sound file here with this type of a task) copypaste the correct answer to acapela to listen to it there. It's only a robot as well of course, so for instance they don't turn a sound into a retroflex one after a word ending in -r; on the other hand they have four speakers for "standard" Swedish and one each for Finnish, Scanian and Gothenburg Swedish.
I liked the "Filip" child voice a lot,
Try my pronounce-test below on Filip :-) See if you can figure out what the only real error was that I found now:
Tjena! Ja,det låter ju bra #SWALLOW02# Jag vet inte om det här är OK eller skräp, #LAUGH01# Men det måste ju utvärderas.Typ vi testar väl med nått lätt: Sju sjuka sjömän och sex laxar i en laxask schabblade bort en jädra massa miljarder spänn, häromdan. Dagens Mat-tips: Köttgrytor ä gott och nyttigt
If you learn with texts, for example on www.8sidor.se i can strongly recommend using it together with "Learning with Texts", a totally free open-source application that saves your read words, provides a in-app dictionary and helps to learn words and expressions in context. You should check it out: http://lwt.sourceforge.net/
What is the best way to determine if a word is an en or ett word?
You type the basic form "brev" in dictionary and see if the definite form ends in something that resembles "et"?
Like in this case, http://tyda.se/search/brev?lang%5B0%5D=en&lang%5B1%5D=sv
Says: brevet brev breven
From which I can tell that brev must be an ett word.
is there like "Project Gutenberg" but with small text in swedish, or children books i can get online? little red riding hood, or other folk stories for kids..??? i learnt english way before anyone in my school, by curiously reading books... for me this is how i learn a language... Tack sa mycket.
You might want to add: https://addons.mozilla.org/sv-SE/firefox/addon/g%C3%B6rans-hemmasnickrade-ordli/ to the resources list, a good private initiative for a spellchecker-plugin in the browser. Very good for writing emails in webmail, or at web-pages, for example it will highlight words that I spell wrong here in the comment box before I send it., right click on your word to get suggestions.
svenska.se is really great. Here you can search SO, SAOL and SAOB at once. Note that all of these are Swedish-Swedish dictionaries, but once your Swedish is up to it, I highly recommend using them. (Especially SO, which is also available as app. In the past the app cost like 50 SEK, which it's definitely worth, but now it seems to be available for free.)
I was wondering is there a dictionary that also includes "en"/"ett" with nouns, sort of like "le"/"la" for French words? It would be even better if Duolingo dictionary included these....
Great resources, thank you very much. Do you know of any reading text and/or reading text+audio which would be suitable for beginner? I tried reading Harry Potter och De vises sten I got book + audiobook, but at my current level is a bit too difficult, do you know of anything?
My absolute favourite dictionary is Nationalencyklopedins ordbok, which you have to pay for unfortunately unless you can access it through your university or school. I think it's really brilliant, with very exact definitions, example sentences and short etymology. It's very extensive and in Swedish, so the definitions can be hard to grasp as a non-native speaker however.
I haven’t used it, so I don’t know, but from the example page given it looks very similar. :)
Personally I prefer this one. http://folkets-lexikon.csc.kth.se/folkets/folkets.html
also, not sur eif I Should mention this here, but the best site apart from Duolingo for me as an autodidactical student is 8sidor.se
It has few-minutes long audio of current news.
So this is Foreign, Swedish, Sport news etc. No translations are given but the language is simplified although not to any major detriment in my view. It is about clarity for learners.
They have added a nice little widget player for listening, and you can even choose slower or faster playback for that. It also highlights the current word in its accompanying transcripted text.
Very nice resource and gives good listening practice with helpful scaffolding.
Also, don't forget to listen to Klartext every day. ;)
this is brilliant so we can improve the listening skills. it will be very helpful :) Tack Luke
Ah, thank you so much for this! Even though I don't take Swedish on DuoLingo, I do in school, I'll be using this a lot!
Thanks you so much for this article ! I was needing a lot that help, utmärkt!
Thank you very very much :) I hope to be able to speak some Swedish next time I visit my friend there :)
It can be laughably bad/wrong... but occasionally it can be quite spot on with idioms and even sometimes comes through when absolutely nothing else at hand does.
I wish I could read Swedish well enough to use more of these :/ There's one that looks like it could answer a question I had about the etymology of ursäkta.
I'm a complete beginner in Swedish, but when I was googling around for a dictionary to look up utrum/neutrum classifications and declensions, I found SALDO (Svenskt associationslexikon 2) from Uni Gothenburg. LOVE IT.
(The Search SALDO link at the left is where I usually go: http://spraakbanken.gu.se/ws/saldo-ws/fl/html )
I'm excited to access the Svenska Akademiens ordbok because I am trying to read and understand manuscripts written several hundred years ago. This may not be the most appropriate place to ask this question, but does anyone have a good place to get acquainted with old Swedish handwriting? The formulation of the letters has me baffled.
Here's one page which shows letter forms as a table: http://www.anarkiv.se/anarkiv/index.asp
Here's a link to a page with exercises: http://www.genealogi.se/component/content/article/146-rotterarkivet/artiklar-som-boerjar-pa-l/980-lar-dig-lasa-gammal-handstil
I guess there are many other resources too, since this is a common problem for people who are interested in genealogy. There are even university courses in how to read old handwriting…
Thank you, Qtrne, I have added this dictionary to my SVEN Multi-Search tool above. :)
Folkets is an excellent English-Swedish dictionary. It can also be installed on mac os x as a system dictionary which can be very useful in your day to day life. http://hashier.github.com/MacFolket
wiktionary offers examples, usage, spelling, conjugations, etc., except pronunciation. You can install an app on ios to access the dictionary in a nice format suitable for smartphones.
I think I found a resource where Swedish words are transcribed correctly in IPA: http://de.pons.com/ Could some Swedes familiar with IPA check some (or many :p) regularly and irregularly pronounced words in this dictionary, and let me/us know if the transcription is indeed correct? Tack så mycket!
Thank you! This website really has helped! I couldn't have learned anything without this site! So TAK x A TRILLION! I definitely would recommend this site to users all around the world!!! Like I said, TAK x A TRILLION!
Excellent, thank you so much! I have been wishing for a Swedish Dictionary where I can hear the correct way to pronounce the words.
The apps for the Svensk ordbok seem to be free now:
One may also have a look at https://dict.cc. It is a dictionary platform founded by an Austrian guy in 2002, where users cannot only look up but also add and share translations between various languages. Germans in particular may like https://desv.dict.cc. It is the "German/Swedish" dictionary and has the most entries (+120.000) of all language combinations (often more than "German/English").
half the time you want barnet the other half you want ett barn... MAKE UP YOUR MIND! THIS IS COMPLETE GARBAGE!
They are both different. Ett barn = a child whereas barnet = the child. Swedish and most Scandinavian languages are the same in that unlike most languages which have seperate words for the they put the article at the end. It's really just that one little thing that they had to add to make up for the fact you don't have to learn verb conjugations ;) Pretty much every language has one or more things that will trip up foreigners:
Chinese = a few thousand characters to learn, German = almost latin like grammar, French = annoying spelling rules, liasions, silent letters, and difficult to write phonetically. English = Even worse than French with pronunciation/writing but then adds an extra layer of Germanic randomness. I go changes to I went? Why?!
Who knows why things happen in the development of languages? While gå in modern Swedish has the past tense gick (with the plural gingo well into the 20th century), modern English lost the past form yede or yode (one of a huge variety in the different dialects) to the pressure of a more regular verb, with the same meaning: wend, past tense went - like send, sent - but wend lost out in the present and participle to go and gone. This had already happened when printing came in. Modern Scots has gang for go and gaen for went. Wend in modern English has a more restricted meaning: move slowly and indirectly. In English go is used for any sort of travel, in Swedish (if my memory serves me right) gå is only used for walking.
-"Gå" , walking (now)
-"Gått" , Been walking, before
-"Men snälla du.., du stör mig så jag inte kan koncentrera mig på mina studier, ..så gå härifrån, nu!" , Please, leave me alone.. / Hey you annoying guy.., you are disturbing, so I cant concentrate on my studying .. so walk away, now!
-"Går det bra?" For example when asking someone about their progress on some work.
-"Vi är ute och går/promenerar", we are outdoors and walking (as in doing this right now). (Maybe "-Skall vi ta en promenad?" (Should we take a walk?) is the same as the Verb "promenade" in old English?)
-"Vi har varit ute och gått" , We have been outdoors walking.
-"Vi gick en promenad tidigare i dag", we went for a walk earlier today
-"Gången / din gångstil", The style, How someone walk, your walking style
"Gången" , The path / for example the walkingpath up to a house
-"Javisst, den här gången gick det ju väldigt bra!". Sure, this time it went very well! ;-)
-"Gångaren" . The walker.
-"Gångare/fotgängare". Walkers/ Pedestrians.
-"Hur många gånger har det här upprepats?", How many times have this been repeated?
-"Gångertabell" (multiplikationstabell), a multiplication table (5 times 5 = 25)
-"Du måste lära dig Gångertabellerna". You must learn The Multiplication tables