I was hoping you could clarify this /j/ sound? I've gone back and checked many different audio sources, and all I can hear for either dig or det is the English word 'day' (IPA de). Except, sometimes det sounds like dɛ (deaf without the final f).
Actually, now that I am searching through the Duolingo swedish phrases, it looks like, on Duolingo at least, an objective det is pronounced 'dɛ', dig is always pronounced 'day', but it seems to me that a subjective det is also pronounce 'day'. Although, perhaps it is only when followed by an ä sound, similar to how an English 'the' can change from thu to thee before certain vowels.
Jag älskar det. - https://www.duolingo.com/comment/5619685
Jag älskar dig. - https://www.duolingo.com/comment/15189807
Det är en spindel. - https://www.duolingo.com/comment/6144978
Det finns bröd. - https://www.duolingo.com/comment/5563021
So does a swedish /j/ make an 'ay' sound?
/j/ is IPA for English 'y'. Native English speakers transition to this usually voiceless position of the mouth at the end of the word say. You might think it's IPA /se/, but there's a transition there like /sej/. You might be better able to notice it when it's followed by a vowel like in saying.
Swedish 'g' & 'j' can both be close to the English 'y' that is /j/. I think both can sometimes be voiceless similar to the end of English say. Swedish g and j when voiced I think become /g/ & /ʝ/; they aren't the same sound as each other, but their [almost?] unvoiced versions seem to overlap as /j/. Non-native speakers might not always notice some of them, but the end of say is probably a lot like the end of dig.
Ah, I have never noticed that (I am an native English speaker), but after a lot of strange noise making, I see what you mean now.
I cannot think of a good pure /e/ ending word in English to offer people to contrast to words like day, but I think perhaps the spanish word qué is a good example.
English say can be described as /seɪ/, but there's a fine line between that and /sej/ or /seɪj/. I think you just don't sound native without the glide into a /j/ at the end, even though dictionaries probably simplify it to /se/ most of the time.
There are languages that don't really have a j/y letter, but do the same thing with an /ɪ/ letter. Say /ɪest/erday instead of /jest/erday and they sure sound close. The difference could be thrown in gratis. Maybe it's kinda like that for Swedish dig /dɛ/ /dɛɪ/ /dɛj/ /dɛɪj/. It's not as voiceless as in say, but the subtle differences might be harder to pick out consciously than to just pick up from practice. We seem to learn complexities that aren't even represented by the letters and overthinking it just becomes self-defeating. I think it's worse in Spanish, which technically has at least three different /j/ sounds. It's been too many years since I spoke Spanish though.
/j/ and friends seem to be the least precise type of sounds; they can't even decide if they're vowel or a consonant :)
It's quite comparable to speak/talk in English. With languages or adressing a crowd, tala/speak is preferred. Colloquially or in a normal conversation, prata/talk is preferred.
So yes, you can well say "vi pratade om dig". You can also say "han pratar svenska" but tala is preferred there. :)