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The chart below shows how the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents Swedish pronunciations in resource articles. For a guide to adding IPA characters to resource articles, see {{IPA-sv}} and Resource: Manual of Style/Pronunciation § Entering IPA characters.

The transcription system is based primarily on Central Standard Swedish.

See Swedish phonology for a more thorough look at the sounds of Swedish.

IPA Examples English approximation
b About this soundbok book
? About this soundkjol, About this soundtjock, About this soundkön like sheep, but more "y-like"
d About this sounddop dad
? About this soundnord[1] retroflex /d/
f About this soundfot foot
? About this soundgod good
h About this soundhot hat
? About this soundsju, About this soundstjärna, About this soundskör, About this soundstation, About this soundpension, About this soundgeni, About this soundchoklad[2] somewhat like Scottish loch (varies regionally)
j About this soundjord, About this soundgenom, About this soundGöteborg yoyo
k About this soundkon cone
l About this soundlov lack
? About this soundrl[1] retroflex /l/
m About this soundmod mode
n About this soundnod node
? About this soundbarn[1] retroflex /n/
? About this soundng long
p About this soundpol pole
r About this soundrov[3] somewhat like American water or rose
s About this soundsot soot
? About this soundtorsdag[1] retroflex , somewhat like shrine
t About this soundtok tool
? About this soundparti[1] retroflex /t/
v About this soundvåt vote
Rare sounds
IPA Examples English approximation
w Wales Wales
a: Zlatan, Bratislava father
e? Schweiz lady
oe? Creutz, Reuter void
IPA Examples English approximation
a About this soundmatt cut
?: About this soundmat bra
e: About this soundfet mayor
? About this soundhäll, About this soundfett sell
?: About this soundhäl RP pair
æ About this soundvärk,[4]About this soundverk[4] trap
æ: About this soundära[4] ham
? About this soundsill hit
i: About this soundsil leave
? About this soundmoll[5] off
o: About this soundmål[5] floor
oe About this soundnött[5] French soeur, somewhat like RP nurse
oe: About this soundöra[4][5] German Schön, somewhat like RP burn
ø: About this soundnöt[5]
? About this soundfull, About this soundmusik[5][6] Dutch hut
? duell,
Australian goose; like German About this soundmüssen
?: About this soundful[5][8] Australian choose; like German About this soundüben
? About this soundbott[5] put
u: About this soundbot[5] fool
? About this soundsyll[5][7] somewhat like hit, but with rounded lips; Norwegian nytt
y: About this soundsyl[5][8] somewhat like leave, but with rounded lips; Norwegian lys
IPA Examples Explanation
' anden[9]
tone 1 / acute accent:
  • rising-falling tone in Stockholm:
  • low-rising tone in Gothenburg: ['àn:dn]
  • falling-low tone in Malmö: ['ân:dn]
  • simple primary stress in Finland[11] and (rarely) some
    parts of Mainland Sweden: ['an:d?n][12]
² anden[13]
tone 2 / grave accent:
  • falling-falling tone in Stockholm:
  • falling-rising tone in Gothenburg: ['ân:dn]
  • rising-falling tone in Malmö: ['?n:dn]
  • simple primary stress in Finland[11] and (rarely) some
    parts of mainland Sweden: ['an:d?n][12]
? Oxenstierna
secondary stress, as in intonation
. fria
syllable break: co-op, rower
: Helsingfors
geminated consonant: fresh shrimp[14]


  1. ^ a b c d e In many of the dialects that have an apical rhotic consonant, a recursive sandhi process of retroflexion occurs, and clusters of /r/ and dental consonants /rd/, /rl/, /rn/, /rs/, /rt/ produce retroflex consonant realisations: , , , , . In dialects with a guttural R, such as Southern Swedish, they are [?d], [?l], [?n], [?s], [?t]. Nevertheless, retroflexion might occur in some varieties of Finland Swedish, especially among young speakers and in fast speech.
  2. ^ Swedish /?/ varies regionally and is sometimes , , or .
  3. ^ /r/ varies considerably in different dialects: it is pronounced alveolar or similarly (a trilled r when articulated clearly or in slow or formal speech; in normal speech, usually a tapped r or an alveolar approximant) in virtually all dialects (most consistently [r] in Finland), but in South Swedish dialects, it is uvular, similar to the Parisian French r. At the beginning of a syllable, it can also be pronounced as a fricative , as in English genre or vision.
  4. ^ a b c d Before /r/, the quality of non-high front vowels is changed: the unrounded vowels /?/ and /?:/ are lowered to and , whereas the rounded /oe/ and /ø:/ are lowered to open-mid and . For simplicity, no distinction is made between the mid and the open-mid , with both being transcribed as ⟨oe⟩. Note that younger speakers use lower allophones and .
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l [?, o:, oe, oe:, ø:, ?, y:] are protruded vowels, while [?, ?, ?:, ?, u:] are compressed.
  6. ^ a b and are unstressed allophones of a single phoneme /?/ (stressed /?/ is always realized as ):
    • is used in all closed syllables (as in kultur ) but also in some open syllables, as in musikal [m?s?'k?:l]. Some cases involve resyllabification caused by retroflexion, which makes the syllable open, as in kurtisan [k's?:n];
    • appears only in open syllables. In some cases, is the only possible realization, as in känguru [':r?], such as when /?/ appears in hiatus, as in duell [d?'?l:];
    • In other cases, is in free variation with so musik can be pronounced as or [m?'si:k] (Riad (2014:28-29)). For simplicity, only will be used.
  7. ^ a b The distinction between compressed and protruded is particularly difficult to hear for non-native speakers:
    • Swedish compressed sounds very close to German compressed (as in müssen );
    • Swedish protruded sounds more similar to English unrounded (as in hit) than to German compressed , and it is very close to Norwegian protruded (as in nytt [n?t:]).
  8. ^ a b The distinction between compressed and protruded is particularly difficult to hear for non-native speakers:
    • Swedish compressed sounds very close to German compressed (as in üben );
    • Swedish protruded sounds more similar to English unrounded (as in leave) than to German compressed , and it is very close to Norwegian protruded (as in lys [ly:s]).
  9. ^ Meaning "the duck".
  10. ^ a b c Placed before the stressed syllable. For words with the second toneme, ⟨²⟩ will be used instead of the primary stress mark, and ⟨?⟩ to indicate the secondary stress when more than one syllable follows.
  11. ^ a b The variety of Swedish spoken on the Åland Islands usually resembles phonetically speaking the dialects of the Uppland area rather than Finland Swedish, but the pitch accent is largely missing.
  12. ^ a b Finland Swedish, as well as a few accents of Mainland Sweden, have a simple primary stress rather than a contrastive pitch accent. In such accents, anden meaning 'wild duck' and anden meaning 'spirit' are pronounced identically.
  13. ^ Meaning "the spirit".
  14. ^ Consonants tend to geminate after a stressed short vowel.


  • Engstrand, Olle (1999), "Swedish", Handbook of the International Phonetic Association: A Guide to the usage of the International Phonetic Alphabet., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 140-142, ISBN 0-521-63751-1
  • Reuter, Mikael (1971). "Vokalerna i finlandsvenska: En instrumentell analys och ett försök till systematisering enligt särdrag". Studier i nordisk filologi (in Swedish). Svenska litteratursällskapet i Finland. 46: 240-249.
  • Riad, Tomas (2014), The Phonology of Swedish, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-954357-1

External links

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