Swedish Language Blog

Swedish Language Learning Humor Posted by on Jan 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

There comes a point in every language learner’s studies that the language is just frustrating. Swedish is no different. For some, that frustration sets in early. As early as learning you first few nouns even. En or ett? I just have to know it? There is no set rule? Nope. You just have to know it. There is no set rule.

For others it comes a bit later. Like with plurals. There are five different endings to choose from. Luckily, here you’ll at least find some general rules to follow:

ETT words that end in a consonant = NO ENDING
EN words that end in A = OR
EN words that end in E = AR
EN words with stress on last vowel = ER
ETT words that end in a vowel = N
EN words that end in a consonant but do not have the stress on the last vowel = AR or ER

Or how about words that have several different meanings? Like sex. Or val. Or damm.

When you get to that point there are a couple of things that tend to happen. One, yoy get frustrated. Makes sense. Learning a language is difficult. So be frustrated. But work through it.  The next thing that happens is you start to laugh. Sometimes it is that high pitched frustrated laugh that only comes when you are at your wits end. That makes sense too. It’s usually at that point though that I try to find something actually worth laughing at. Luckily for Swedish learners everywhere, there is plenty of good material online that plays with the Swedish language. Like Henrik Schyffert and his Swenglish clips that can be found on YouTube. But for the true Swedish language learner, there is no better clip than Simple Swedish: Episode 1. There are a couple of episodes that follow, but I’m a fan of the first one which you can watch below.

Be warned, the clip does include some questionable language and even mentions sex. The act, not the Swedish number. If you don’t mind that, enjoy (and pay attention to some of the very interest linguistic points that are brought up.)!

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About the Author: Marcus Cederström

Marcus Cederström has been writing for the Transparent Swedish Blog since 2009. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Scandinavian Studies from the University of Oregon, a Master's Degree in Scandinavian Studies from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and a PhD in Scandinavian Studies and Folklore from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He has taught Swedish for several years and still spells things wrong. So, if you see something, say something.


  1. Ekaterina:

    It’s funny, I remember watching this video a few months ago, before I undertook the learning of the language, and not understanding any of the concepts. Nowadays, I watch it and am like: “Pfff, easy! Been there done that.” Got to love progress! 🙂

  2. Eva-Maria Rosengren:

    I think it would be a great idea for some of the contributers to this blog to write a post about the fact that Swedish has in fact not one neutrum but two- reale and neutrum which explains why some of the gender neutral words are used with “en, den(en-ord as some would say)” and some with “ett, det(ett-ord as others would)”, the mix up between these is a common misstake for non-native speakers.

  3. Marcus Cederström:

    Eva-Maria, check out a few of our other blog posts about en and ett