Swedish Nouns Posted by Tibor on May 20, 2010 in Swedish Language
Whenever learning Swedish words you have to take into account that there are always exceptions. You really do not have to ask why. Language changes all the time. Just compare for example the slang you use with the way your parents speak. Slang is one of the most dynamically developing stratum of our language. When it comes to nouns, singular & plural declinations can change in spoken language. We don´t always pronounce what we write but even the opposite is true. Not in Swedish at least, or French. We have other languages like Finnish, Italian, Hungarian where you most of the time pronounce what you read.
We usually divide the Swedish nouns into 5 groups, but there are more. The five most important groups you can see in the following table. In group 1, 4, 5 the paradigms are easy. First of all you should note that approximately 80% of the Swedish words are having EN as an article and rest are having ETT.
You guys should concentrate on Group 2 and 3, simply because they are more complicated. You can always learn the most frequent exceptions as well in a group i.e. that are important for a language learner in daily interactions.
|Singular Indefinite||Singular Definite||Plural Indefinite||Plural Definite|
|GROUP 1 (EN-word ending with an ”a”)||En blomma
|GROUP 2 (EN-words ending with ”-ing” and words with ”one syllable”, even words ending with unstressed –e, -el,-en,-er,-on,-e,-o like pojke, cykel, öken, syster, afton)Try them!!
|GROUP 3 (EN)Many loan-words from other languages ending up here there you have the stress in pronunciation on the last syllable. I have marked the stress with underline.There are a certain amount of nouns ending with only a single “r”. They belong here.
And words with Umlaut (vowel-changing).
Furthermore words ending with “-else”
|GROUP 4 (ETT-word ending with a vowel)
|GROUP 5 (ETT-word ending with a consonant)
Group 1: rose: ros-rosor, slipper: toffel, tofflor. These are quite useful to know.
Group 2: daughter: dotter-döttrar (This word has so called Umlaut i.e. it´s changing its vowel in plural) You have similar examples in all German languages, for example woman-women in English.
Group 3: There are no real exceptions, since there are several nouns with Umlaut i.e. vowel-changing that you declinate in the same way. I would strongly recommend that you learn the umlaut-cases by heart.
Group 4: No exceptions.
Group 5: No Exception:
Other groups – let´s say group 6 or group 5 A (if you like) – is showing similarity with group 5. En-word that are ending with -are ususally persons and things (en förare-a driver or en telefonsvarare-an answering machine). Here we can also find otherEN- words ending with -er. Usually professions, nationalities like en elektriker-an electrition or en iranier-an Iranian for example. One En-word is ending up here because of the umlaut. A man-En man, The man-Mannen,1,2,3 Men-Män, The Men-Männen.
Then we could create a quite new group let´s say group 7 then. New English loan words that are getting -s suffix in plural indefinite form. Some of these words have got Swedish suffixes by time, but not all of them. Such examples are: container-containers or containrar, CD:er or CD:s (note whenever writing initials you build the plural like this).