Random questions!

Got a bunch of little questions, none of which totally warrant a new thread...would love some help with any or all of them!

1) What's the deal with the e with the accent mark? I don't think there are any notes about it, and when Swedes talk about their alphabet they don't even mention it. Is it considered a letter? Is there any logic behind where it shows up? I've only seen it in three words so far.

2) When Swedes speak, and say a present tense verb, do they really pronounce the r at the end or does it get cut off? For example "jag talar svenska?"

3) I'm going to Sweden in a month and definitely want to be as polite as possible. When asking for something should I use "kan" or "får" or something else? For example I plan on asking "can/may I practice Swedish with you?" Is "may" the proper choice as it is in English? Or is it something else alltogether?

4) What's a good gift for an AirBnb host in Sweden? Is there anything they really like from the US?


March 18, 2015


1) Nope, it's not considered a letter. As far as I know, it only exists for a small number of French loanwords, similar to some English words (e.g. fiancée). And in those cases, they're used to show that "this e isn't pronounced like it would normally with Swedish pronounciation rules, but rather always like in led".

2) That's debatable :) and dialectal, too. I would say that the vast majority either do not pronounce it whatsoever, or just add a slight trace of an "r". To pronounce it clearly would be considered very formal and/or snobby.

3) Both are fine, but depending on context there may be a slight difference where kan is a general "would this be okay?" and får sounds like you're asking for your teacher's permission. There's also kan jag få or even skulle jag kunna få, but note that those are used mostly to e.g. order food.

4) Dunno really, but I would wager that depends on whether it's actually a homeowner renting to you or whether it's a company making a profit. I would probably try to bring something in the ~$25 range, maybe candy or wine from my native country.

Hope you enjoy Sweden! :)

March 18, 2015

Amazing answers, thanks. So if I were to ask someone "can I practice Swedish with you?", how would you suggest I say it?

March 18, 2015

I'm assuming you're not just going to go up to a random stranger and lead with that, right? :) Would make a lot of Swedes very uncomfortable.

But assuming you mean e.g. asking a waiter if they mind you trying out your Swedish, I wouldn't even ask - that's always fine, and you can fall back on English worst case. If you've started a conversation in English and would like to switch, go with something like "Är det okej om vi pratar svenska, förresten? Jag skulle gärna vilja öva lite."

March 18, 2015

Yes, I was only going to ask people who were already being friendly, maybe if I meet someone at a bar or something - just to have a simple conversation for fun. I'm a little shy myself so I wouldn't ask a complete stranger :) Thanks again!

March 18, 2015

When I went to Sweden to visit my boyfriend and his family I brought whole bean coffee and loose leaf tea as gifts for the hosts!

March 21, 2015
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