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Svenska-Engelska/Engelska-Svenska ordbok

 Language Learning Forum : Skandinavisk & Nordisk Post Reply
19 messages over 3 pages: 1 2 3  Next >>
Joined 3324 days ago

17 posts - 19 votes
Speaks: Greek*, English
Studies: Swedish

 Message 1 of 19
04 March 2015 at 10:36pm | IP Logged 
Hello guys,

I re-post the topic as it was deleted...

As title says, i'm looking for a dictionary to help me with my Swedish.

From a search i made in the internet, i've found the below four titles:

1. Norstedts

2. Natur och Kulturs

3. Prisma’s Unabridged

4. Prisma’s Abridged

Does anybody knows if any of the above books, will meet my needs...

1. Swedish pronunciation for ALL words in the Svenska-Engelska section (i think Norstedts has the pronunciation for the Engelska-Svenska and not vice versa)

2. the gender (en & ett)

3. the plural forms   

I'm open to other suggestions...

Just to make it clear...i'm looking ONLY for a book and not for an online dictionary (as i already use Folkets lexikon)

Thanks in advance for your help/suggestions

hej då
1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
Joined 5843 days ago

149 posts - 258 votes 
4 sounds
Speaks: English*, GermanC1, Danish
Studies: Swedish, French, Icelandic

 Message 2 of 19
05 March 2015 at 7:10am | IP Logged 
While I'm not familiar with the particular books in questions, here's a few observations that may help you in your quest:

1. It appears to be standard practice in Scandinavia never to include the pronunciation of the reader's presumed native language in bilingual dictionaries, only of the target language.

2. All half-decent English-Scandinavian dictionaries are just repackagings of English bilingual dictionaries written for a Scandinavian audience, with usually only the introduction changed, and never the actual dictionaryish stuff itself.

3. Combine points one and two, and you'll find that all half-decent English-Scandinavian dictionaries marketed to a native English-speaking audience will helpfully provide the pronunciation of the English words, but never the Scandinavian words. I'm pretty sure this was originally just the result of laziness, but I'm increasingly convinced they still keep this practice up for the sole purpose of mocking us.

Thus: If you want a Swedish dictionary which lists the pronunciation of words, a monolingual dictionary is actually your best bet.


...You will never get an honest depiction of how words are actually pronounced from any Swedish dictionary. Ever. This is because there is a vast conspiracy to pretend that Swedish is pronounced in a completely different (and far more phonetic) manner than it actually is.

You see, Swedes have a highly prescriptivist streak; it was only a few decades ago that they stopped the official policy of claiming that all dialects are some sort of abominable demon speech akin to Plutus' nonsensical cries of "Papé Satàn, papé Satàn aleppe!" in Canto VII of Dante's Inferno. Nevertheless, they still try to claim that the "real" Swedish is some sort of imaginary Platonic ideal in which assorted common pan-Scandinavian developments are vigorously denied, all vowels are pure, unsullied vowels and certainly never diphthongs, long "y" is canonical IPA [y] instead of some bizarre duck call, and in which you actually pronounce the g in -ig endings. No one actually speaks like this, of course, but it's strictly forbidden to admit this on pain of having everyone turn up their noses at you and say "Harumph!"

The extent of this phenomenon is really quite astounding, and affects learning and reference materials outside of Sweden as well. You've no doubt encountered many a teaching material which provides descriptions of the various sounds in Swedish, illustrated by sound clips which blatantly contradict the text description in question. I was likewise rather amused (in an exasperated sort of way when this book provided a vowel chart comparing the vowels in Danish and Swedish, the Danish one providing a very detailed and narrow description of all the vowels showing all their idiosyncrasies and how the deviated from the "canonical" vowels, and the Swedish one by contrast showing a completely inaccurate, detail-free chart describing the phantom vowels of the platonic ideal of Swedish, the book explaining this odd discrepancy in narrowness merely by noting that the very suspect-looking Swedish chart was "how it would appear in any textbook". And how!

This book (in German) is about the closest I've seen to an actual examination of Swedish as She is Spoke; it completely skewers, for instance, the notion (still distressingly prominent in many learning resources), that the sj-sound has anything at all to do with [ʃ]. On the other hand, it still tends to downplay certain facts about Swedish pronunciation which it desperately doesn't want to be true; diphthongization of long vowels is given maybe a paragraph or two, and the Viborg-i...well, it is mentioned, I'll give it that (unlike in any other Swedish learning resource on the planet), but only in the context of "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DON'T USE IT!" Now, I hate the Viborg-i as much as the next person (it's possibly the most horrible-sounding vowel after the European French realization of nasalized [ɛ]), but I think we have to admit to ourselves that like it or not, it is the normal realization of /i:/ in Standard Central Swedish. Trying to fight against this is a losing battle, and one that ends with our suffocating beneath a great mound of goofily buzzing, close front vowels, all the while shouting "This cannot be! This cannot be! This cannot bɨɨɨɨɨɨɨɨɨɨɨɨɨ!" until the last gasp of our desperate, incredulous objections merges with the unceasing, all-enveloping buzz of the swarm.

So, what's a learner to do, who's trying to learn the actual, normal pronunciation of Swedish words? Well, as far as online resources go, there is, of course, good old forvo, but since that's dealing with individual words in isolation, there's still a certain tendency among some speakers to pronounce words as the "should" be pronounced, rather than how they actually are (this, of course, varies from speaker to speaker). In terms of print resources, this handy guide frequently points out common words that deviant from the expected pronunciation rules (albeit not in IPA, but rather is Swedishphonemese, so "tjugoett" will be transcribed as /tjuett/, and not, say, /ɕʉːɛt/, so it assumes you know the standard patterns already), but useful as it is, the pronunciation aspect is sort of a side feature, and not readily searchable.

In short, you will never find an accurate systematic guide to Swedish pronunciation, and certainly never in printed form, as the Swedish-speaking public is in woeful denial of just how unphonetic it actually is (you will never get a phonetic North Germanic language; it's a simple fact of life), and thus there appears to be a concerted effort, conscious or unconscious, to assure that such things simply don't exist.

Sad end.
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Joined 3324 days ago

17 posts - 19 votes
Speaks: Greek*, English
Studies: Swedish

 Message 3 of 19
05 March 2015 at 5:16pm | IP Logged 
Rameau wrote:

Wow, that's quite an interesting (and long) post-opinion

Even though i study swedish for the past three months and perhaps i may not have a complete opinion, i must say that you've got a point.

Concerning the dictionary, the option to buy a monolingual was in the back of my mind and now i'm closer than ever :)

Tack så mycket för hjälpen

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Senior Member
Czech Republic
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 Message 4 of 19
05 March 2015 at 6:00pm | IP Logged 
I just opened my Engelsk-svenska svensk-engelska ordboken by Åhlens for the third time or
so and found out you're right, there are no pronunciation notes for Swedish. Forvo is a
great resource and thanks for the warning about some speakers not recording the really
used version.

Have you tried the FSI Swedish? I learnt Swedish pronunciation basics from there and I
absolutely loved it. But does it teach the official or the correct version then?
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Super Polyglot
Winner TAC 2012
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 Message 5 of 19
06 March 2015 at 5:40am | IP Logged 
It officially teaches the official version, but I've learned to ignore that and just
talk like I should (I drop half my letters when speaking Swedish). But they teach you
some of the more particular sounds properly.

There is no correct pronunciation, for my part, as long as you use a more or less
consistent and proper pronunciation you should be understood. You may have an accent,
but so do I and that's never hampered anybody when I spoke Swedish to them. Swedish
has many different pronunciations and the one I use is close to a kind of rikssvenska
(not Stockholmska, which changes a lot of ä to e). A Stockholmer I met would even
write his ä's as e's in text messaging!

The best way to combat this is to hang around Swedes a lot and listen to what they
actually say. I will always say "va sa du" instead of vad sade du, for example...

And then someone from Skåne will upset the status quo...
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Joined 3324 days ago

17 posts - 19 votes
Speaks: Greek*, English
Studies: Swedish

 Message 6 of 19
06 March 2015 at 5:42pm | IP Logged 
Cavesa wrote:
Have you tried the FSI Swedish? I learnt Swedish pronunciation basics from there and I
absolutely loved it. But does it teach the official or the correct version then?

FSI Swedish...? I'm sorry, but i'm not aware of it. Is it online?

As i said, i'm looking for a book...When i use the internet, Folkets lexikon, covers me in most of the cases.

Anyway, i realized that it's likely impossible to find what i'm looking for and probably that has to do with the different dialects-pronunciations

At least, i was hoping to find a guide for most words (let's say, for central Sweden)

Edited by MK on 06 March 2015 at 5:44pm

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Senior Member
Joined 4404 days ago

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 Message 7 of 19
06 March 2015 at 10:43pm | IP Logged 
Lexin online at least has tones indicated:,swe_gre,hall on;

All Lexin's dictionaries can be bought in a paper copy (they're intended for immigrants learning Swedish).

Edited by Medulin on 06 March 2015 at 10:45pm

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 Message 8 of 19
07 March 2015 at 12:11pm | IP Logged 
MK wrote:
FSI Swedish...? I'm sorry, but i'm not aware of it. Is it online?

2 persons have voted this message useful

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