Swedish Language Blog

Talking about money in Swedish, Part 1 Posted by on Mar 15, 2017 in Swedish Language, Vocabulary

Money is a standard topic of conversation in any language. After all, wherever you are, you have to be able to buy groceries, fika, and that bottle of wine from Systembolaget for dinner at your friends’.

(If you don’t know, Systembolaget is the (only) liquor store in Sweden.)

The basic Swedish word for money is pengar. Pengar is a plural noun, which means that you have to make sure your any adjectives you use with the word are also declined in plural; for example, lätta pengar “easy money”. The definite form “the money” is pengarna.

The main currency of Sweden, as you probably know as a learner of Swedish, is the krona. En krona is one “crown”, as it translates into English; fem kronor is five “crowns”. Colloquially, many Swedes talk about amounts of money with the more vulgar term spänn. You might hear a friend or colleague talking about how they got the latest album from Avicii for only hundra spänn – 100 SEK. Spänn is generally only used in plural.

Charities and other institutions that take donations (often because they survive on these donations) might ask you to skänka en slant – to give a small amount of money. (Skänka is a word meaning “give” only in the context of giving to a good cause, charity, etc.) In this case, en slant indicates a modest way of asking for money. En slant is also used in examples like this:

Fantastisk mat för en billig slant! – Fantastic food for a modest price!

Billig means “cheap”. Its opposite is dyr, “expensive”. These are adjectives – don’t forget to decline them when you use them! Billig becomes billigt in neuter and billiga in plural. Likewise, dyr becomes dyrt and dyra, respectively. When the noun is in definite form (i.e. den dyra tröjan “the expensive shirt”), the form is always ends in -a as billiga and dyra, respectively.

Check out part 2 of Talking about money in Swedish!

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About the Author: Stephen Maconi

Stephen Maconi has been writing for the Transparent Swedish Blog since 2010. Wielding a Bachelor's Degree in Swedish and Nordic Linguistics from Uppsala University in Sweden, Stephen is an expert on Swedish language and culture.