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The chart below shows how the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents Swedish pronunciations in Wikipedia articles. The transcription system is based primarily on Central Standard Swedish. See Swedish phonology for details about pronunciation.

IPA Examples English approximation
b About this sound bok book
ɕ About this sound kjol, About this sound tjock, About this sound kön like sheep, but more "y-like"
d About this sound dop dad
ɖ About this sound nord[1] retroflex /d/
f About this sound fot foot
ɡ About this sound god good
h About this sound hot hat
ɧ About this sound sju, About this sound stjärna, About this sound skör, About this sound station, About this sound pension, About this sound geni, About this sound choklad[2] somewhat like Scottish loch (varies regionally)
j About this sound jord, About this sound genom, About this sound Göteborg yoyo
k About this sound kon cone
l About this sound lov lack
ɭ About this sound rl[1] retroflex /l/
m About this sound mod mode
n About this sound nod node
ɳ About this sound barn[1] retroflex /n/
ŋ About this sound ng long
p About this sound pol pole
r About this sound rov[3] somewhat like American water or rose
s About this sound sot soot
ʂ About this sound torsdag[1] retroflex /ʃ/, somewhat like shrine
t About this sound tok tool
ʈ About this sound parti[1] retroflex /t/
v About this sound våt vote
Rare sounds
IPA Examples English approximation
w Wales Wales
Zlatan, Bratislava father
Schweiz lady
œɪ Creutz, Reuter void
IPA Examples English approximation
a About this sound matt cut
ɑː About this sound mat bra
About this sound fet mayor
ɛ About this sound häll, About this sound fett sell
ɛː About this sound häl RP pair
æ About this sound värk,[4] About this sound verk[4] trap
æː About this sound ära[4] ham
ɪ About this sound sill hit
About this sound sil leave
ɔ About this sound moll[5] off
About this sound mål[5] floor
œ About this sound nött[5] French sœur, somewhat like RP nurse
œː About this sound öra[4][5] German Schön, somewhat like RP burn
øː About this sound nöt[5]
ɵ About this sound full, About this sound musik[5][6] Dutch hut
ʉ duell,
Australian goose; like German About this sound müssen
ʉː About this sound ful[5][8] Australian choose; like German About this sound üben
ʊ About this sound bott[5] put
About this sound bot[5] fool
ʏ About this sound syll[5][7] somewhat like hit, but with rounded lips; Norwegian nytt
About this sound syl[5][8] somewhat like leave, but with rounded lips; Norwegian lys
IPA Examples Explanation
ˈ anden[9]
tone 1 / acute accent:
² anden[13]
tone 2 / grave accent:
  • falling-falling tone in Stockholm: About this sound [ˈânːdɛ̂n]
  • falling-rising tone in Gothenburg: [ˈânːdɛ̌n]
  • rising-falling tone in Malmö: [ˈǎnːdɛ̂n]
  • simple primary stress in Finland[11] and (rarely) some
    parts of mainland Sweden: [ˈanːdɛn][12]
ˌ Oxenstierna
secondary stress, as in intonation
. fria
syllable break: co-op, rower
ː 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: [ɖ], [ɭ], [ɳ], [ʂ], [ʈ]. In dialects with a guttural R, such as Southern Swedish, they are [ʁd], [ʁl], [ʁn], [ʁs], [ʁt]. Nevertheless, retroflexion might occur in some varieties of Finland Swedish, especially among young speakers and in fast speech.
  2. ^ Swedish /ɧ/ varies regionally and is sometimes [], [ɸˠ], or [ʂ].
  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 [ʒ], 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 /ɛ/ and /ɛː/ are lowered to [æ] and [æː], whereas the rounded /œ/ and /øː/ are lowered to open-mid [œ] and [œː]. For simplicity, no distinction is made between the mid [œ˔] and the open-mid [œ], with both being transcribed as ⟨œ⟩. Note that younger speakers use lower allophones [ɶ] and [ɶː].
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l [ɔ, , œ, œː, øː, ʏ, ] are protruded vowels, while [ɵ, ʉ, ʉː, ʊ, ] are compressed.
  6. ^ a b [ɵ] and [ʉ] are unstressed allophones of a single phoneme /ɵ/ (stressed /ɵ/ is always realized as [ɵ]):
    • [ɵ] is used in all closed syllables (as in kultur About this sound [kɵlˈtʉːr]) but also in some open syllables, as in musikal . Some cases involve resyllabification caused by retroflexion, which makes the syllable open, as in kurtisan ;
    • [ʉ] appears only in open syllables. In some cases, [ʉ] is the only possible realization, as in känguru , such as when /ɵ/ appears in hiatus, as in duell ;
    • In other cases, [ɵ] is in free variation with [ʉ] so musik can be pronounced as About this sound [mɵˈsiːk] or [mʉˈsiːk] (Riad (2014:28-29)). For simplicity, only [ɵ] will be used.
  7. ^ a b The distinction between compressed [ʉ] and protruded [ʏ] is particularly difficult to hear for non-native speakers:
    • Swedish compressed [ʉ] sounds very close to German compressed [ʏ] (as in müssen About this sound [ˈmʏsn̩]);
    • Swedish protruded [ʏ] sounds more similar to English unrounded [ɪ] (as in hit) than to German compressed [ʏ], and it is very close to Norwegian protruded [ʏ] (as in nytt [nʏtː]).
  8. ^ a b The distinction between compressed [ʉː] and protruded [] is particularly difficult to hear for non-native speakers:
    • Swedish compressed [ʉː] sounds very close to German compressed [] (as in üben About this sound [ˈyːbn̩]);
    • 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 [lyːs]).
  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 ⟨ˌ⟩ 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