Foreign Service Institute Swedish Basic Course

Unit 1: Getting Around

Listen to or download audio (right click and choose Save As...). First you will hear the phrases below in bold, then all of the words and phrases will be pronounced twice.

Basic Sentences

Useful Words and Phrases

good god, gott, goda
day dag -en -ar
Hello (how do you do?) Goddag.
Hi. Hej. [1]
morning morgon -en, mor(g)nar
Good morning. God morgon.
night natt -en, nätter
Good night. God natt.
Good-bye. Adjö.
Mr. Herr
gentleman herr/e -en -ar
Mr. Berg. Herr Berg.
Mrs., wife fru -n -ar
Mrs. Stromback. Fru Strömbäck.
Miss (also to waitress or salesgirl) fröken, fröken, fröknar
Miss Hansson. Fröken Hansson.
how hur
to stand att stå -r, stod, stått
stand(s) står
it det
to till
How are you? Hur står det till? [2]
thank you tack
fine, well bra
to feel att må -r, mådde, mått
feel(s) mår
you (sing.) du
self själv
Thanks, fine. How are you? Tack, bra. Hur mår du själv? [2][3]
to speak att tal/a -ar -ade -at
speak(s) talar
Swedish (the language) svenska -n -ø
Do you speak Swedish? Talar du svenska?
yes ja
little lite
bit grann
Yes, a little bit. Ja, lite grann.
no nej
not inte
at all alls
No, not at all Nej, inte alls.
to understand att förstå -r, förstod, förstått
understand(s) förstår
me mig
Do you understand me? Förstår du mig?
I jag
you (obj. form) dig
No, I don't understand you. Nej, jag förstår dig inte.
to be att vara, är, var, varit
be (imperative) var
kind, good snäll -t -a
please var snäll
and och
speak (imperative) tala
slowly långsamt
Please speak slowly. Var snäll och tala långsamt.
now nu
Thanks, I understand now. Tack, jag förstår nu.
Excuse (me). Ursäkta.
where var
to be found, exist att finnas, finns, fanns, funnits
is (found) finns
there is (are) det finns
a, an en, ett
telephone telefon -en -er
Where is there a telephone? Var finns det en telefon?
restaurant? Var finns det en restaurang -en -er
hotel? Var finns det ett hotell -et -ø
restroom? Var finns det en toalett -en -er
room? Var finns det ett rum -met -ø [4]
bus buss -en -ar
stop hållplats -en -er
here här
in i
in the vicinity, nearby i närheten
subway tunnelban/a -an -or
station station -en -er
Is there a bus stop nearby? Finns det en busshållplats här i närheten?
a subway station? Finns det en tunnelbanestation här i närheten?
a train station? Finns det en järnvägsstation här i närheten?
there där
away borta
Yes, over there. Ja, där borta.
right höger
To the right. Till höger.
left vänster
To the left. Till vänster.
straight rakt
ahead, forward fram
Straight ahead. Rakt fram.
to be able to att kunna, kan, kunde, kunnat
can kan
to help att hjälp/a -er -te -t
Can I help you? Kan jag hjälpa dig?
to say, to tell att säg/a -er, sade, sagt
one, you man
to walk, to go att gå -r, gick, gått
walk(s) går
to till
the American Embassy amerikanska ambassaden
Can you tell me how you get to the American Embassy? Kan du säga mig hur man går till amerikanska ambassaden?
walk (imperative)
just, only bara
to see att se -r, såg, sett
see(s) ser
Just walk straight ahead. You'll see the Embassy on your left. Gå bara rakt fram. Du ser ambassaden till vänster.
so, very
much mycket
Thank you very much. Tack så mycket.
no ingen, inget, inga
cause, reason orsak -en -er
Don't mention it. (You're welcome.) Ingen orsak.
to be allowed (to); to receive att få -r, fick, fått
may får
to buy att köp/a -er -te -t
some, a few, any någon, något, några
postcard vykort -et -ø
I would like (to buy) some postcards. Kan jag få köpa några vykort. [5]
many många
to want att vilja, vill, ville, velat
want(s) vill
you (polite form, and plural) ni
to have att ha -r, hade, haft
How many do you want? Hur många vill ni ha? [6]
what vad
to cost att kost/a -ar -ade -at
cost(s) kostar
How much does it cost? Vad kostar det?
crown kron/a -an -or
fifty femtio
ore öre -t -n
One crown and 50 ore. En krona och femtio öre (en och femtio). [7]

to give att ge -r, gav, gett
give (imperative) ge
day dag -en -ar
news nyhet -en -er
too, also också
Please give me a Dagens Nyheter too. Var snäll och ge mig en Dagens Nyheter också. [8]
Here you are. (Be so good.) Var så god. [9]
to become, to be att bli -r, blev, blivit, blir
become(s), will be blir
How much will it be? Hur mycket blir det? [10]
four fyra
It will be four crowns. please. Det blir fyra kronor, tack.


Eating and Drinking in a Restaurant

to eat att ät/a -er, åt, ätit
eat(s) äter
lunch lunch -en -er
dinner middag -en -ar
breakfast frukost -en -ar
We are having lunch. Vi äter lunch.
dinner Vi äter middag.
breakfast. Vi äter frukost.
to look, to see att se -r, såg, sett
at, on
menu matsedel -n, matsedlar
May I look at the menu? Kan jag få se på matsedeln?
a couple, pair ett par -et -0
cheese ost -en -ar
sandwich (open faced) smörgås -en -ar
May I have a couple of cheese sandwiches? Kan jag få ett par ostsmörgåsar? [11]
waitress servitris -en -er
to drink att drick/a -er, drack, druckit
coffee kaffe -t -ø
Waitress: What would you like to drink? Servitrisen: Vad vill ni ha att dricka?
Coffee? Kaffe?
glass glas -et -ø
milk mjölk -en -ø
water vatt/en -net -ø
beer öl -et -ø
wine vin -et -er
May I have a glass of milk, please? Kan jag få ett glas mjölk?
water? Kan jag få ett glas vatten?
beer? Kan jag få ett glas öl?
wine? Kan jag få ett glas vin?
cup kopp -en -ar
tea te -et -ø
A cup of coffee, please. En kopp kaffe, tack.
tea En kopp te, tack.
some, a little lite
butter smör -et -ø
bread bröd -et -ø
Some bread and butter. Lite smör och bröd.



0 noll 20 tjugo
1 en, ett 21 tjugoen, tjugoett
2 två 22 tjugotvå
3 tre 23 tjugotre
4 fyra 24 tjugofyra
5 fem 25 tjugofem
6 sex 26 tjugosex
7 sju 27 tjugosju
8 åtta 28 tjugoåtta
9 nio 29 tjugonio
10 tio 30 trettio
11 elva 31 trettioen, trettioett
12 tolv 32 trettiotvå
13 tretton 40 fyrtio
14 fjorton 41 fyrtioen, fyrtioett
15 femton 50 femtio
16 sexton 60 sextio
17 sjutton 70 sjutio
18 arton 80 åttio
19 nitton 90 nittio


100 (ett)hundra
200 tvåhundra
1,000 (ett)husen
2,000 tvåtusen
100,000 (ett)hundra tusen
1,000,000 en miljon
2,000,000 två miljoner
1,000,000,000 en miljard
2,000,000,000 två miljarder
one trillion en biljon


Notes on Basic Sentences

At this point we'd like to call your attention to some of the things you've been learning to say in the Basic Sentences. Sometimes it will be important for you to practice grammatical patterns from the sentences; for this purpose we are including a Points to Practice section, where you will find explanations as well. However, there are some other points which you should understand now, even though you don't need to work with them intensively yet. Read through this section carefully, and then go back over the Basic Sentences once more to be sure you are fully aware of what we are pointing out.

[1] Goddag, Hej. While in English "Good day" is an expression used upon taking leave of someone, Goddag is used by Swedes as a greeting approximately corresponding to "Hello." The informal Hej is more widely used but it implies also the use of the informal du.

[2] stå till, må. Stå till is more formal than . Hur står det till is therefore more appropriately asked of a person whom one does not call du.

[3] Du. "You" can be translated with du (sing.) or ni (formal sing. and plural of du/ni) in Swedish. The use of the informal du is rapidly growing in Sweden and will most likely soon be the only form of addressing a person. Most young people nowadays call everyone du (however, eyebrows were raised when a young journalist interviewing the king called His Majesty du) and du is used between all employees and management in many factories and offices. However, with conservative and older Swedes it is wise for a newcomer to be cautious and let the Swede indicate how he or she prefers to be addressed.

[4] Var finns det ... Det finns is the Swedish equivalent of English "there is" and "there are". The reversed word order used here is a result of the question pattern (compare English "Where is/are there ... ?").

[5] Kan jag få ... corresponds to the English "may I have". Example: Kan jag få en kopp kaffe? (May I have a cup of coffee?). Another infinitive may be added to kan jag få. In that case loses its meaning of "have". The second infinitive becomes the key word and kan jag få takes on the meaning of "may I". Examples: Kan jag få köpa ... (May I buy ... ); Kan jag få se ... (May I look ... ). This is one of a number of Swedish equivalents of English "please". Another way of saying "please" is var snäll och ...

[6] Vill. In Swedish vill = "want" and should never be confused with "will" in English.

[7] Krona, öre. The krona is the Swedish currency unit; there are 100 öre per krona.

[8] Dagens Nyheter is one of the two Stockholm morning newspapers.

[9] Var så god has two different uses: 1. meaning "here you are" (a bit of graciousness) when handing over something; 2. meaning "you are welcome" in answer to "thank you".

[10] Hur mycket blir det? Note that the present tense of the verb att bli (blir) is used with the same meaning as the English "will be". Be sure to learn this expression now; a grammatical explanation will come later.

[11] Ett par ostsmörgåsar. In English we express quantity with the preposition "of", for example "a glass of milk, a cup of coffee". In Swedish the quantifier simply precedes the noun directly, and no preposition is used.
Examples: ett par ostsmörgåsar, ett glas mjölk, en kopp kaffe.


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