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We’ve all been there. You’re trying to learn a new language and you’re practicing reading. And then you come across a clump. A clump of numbers that refers to a year. And so the question appears: How do you even say that?!
Well, lucky for you, we’ve got a Swedish year guide right here!
So, let’s start with the year we’re in right now. That’s 2015. Written out in English, two-thousand fifteen. So how do we say this in Swedish? Simple! We say it in the exact same way: tvåtusenfemton. In writing, Swedish whole numbers (including years) are written without spaces. The written-out spelling of 2015 is made up of three parts: två, tusen, and femton.
Years prior to tvåtusen (2000), though, are a little bit different. Let’s take the year 1957 for example. In English, we would say nineteen fifty-seven. The Swedish equivalent is similar, but not exactly the same. In Swedish, we mark the number of hundreds (centuries) in the year by adding the word hundra, or “hundred”, after the number of hundreds. And so, the way we say 1957 is nittonhundrafemtiosju – made up of nitton, hundra, femtio and sju – there are 19 hundreds plus 57.
But what if you want to talk about something before the year 0? Something like 3000 BC? Easy! Just as in English, the Swedes say tretusen före Kristus, where före Kristus means “before Christ”. In text, you will see this shortened as f.Kr. . Years “after Christ”, for example 359 AD, are simply written as in trehundrafemtionio efter Kristus – three fifty-nine “after Christ”. And, easily enough, this is shortened as e.Kr. in text.
So, next time you come across a year in a Swedish text, you won’t have to read it in your native language instead – now you know how to read it in Swedish! Have fun!