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The chart below shows how the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents Swedish pronunciations in Wikipedia articles. For a guide to adding IPA characters to Wikipedia articles, see {{IPA-sv}} and Wikipedia: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
ɕ About this soundkjol, About this soundtjock, About this soundkön like sheep, but more "y-like"
d About this sounddop dad
ɖ About this soundnord[1] retroflex /d/
f About this soundfot foot
ɡ About this soundgod good
h About this soundhot hat
ɧ 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
ɭ About this soundrl[1] retroflex /l/
m About this soundmod mode
n About this soundnod node
ɳ About this soundbarn[1] retroflex /n/
ŋ 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
ʂ About this soundtorsdag[1] retroflex /ʃ/, somewhat like shrine
t About this soundtok tool
ʈ About this soundparti[1] retroflex /t/
v About this soundvåt 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 soundmatt cut
ɑː About this soundmat bra
About this soundfet mayor
ɛ About this soundhäll, About this soundfett sell
ɛː About this soundhäl RP pair
æ About this soundvärk,[4] About this soundverk[4] trap
æː About this soundära[4] ham
ɪ About this soundsill hit
About this soundsil leave
ɔ About this soundmoll[5] off
About this soundmål[5] floor
œ About this soundnött[5] French sœur, somewhat like RP nurse
œː About this soundöra[4][5] German Schön, somewhat like RP burn
øː About this soundnöt[5]
ɵ About this soundfull, About this soundmusik[5][6] Dutch hut
ʉ duell,
Australian goose; like German About this soundmüssen
ʉː About this soundful[5][8] Australian choose; like German About this soundüben
ʊ About this soundbott[5] put
About this soundbot[5] fool
ʏ About this soundsyll[5][7] somewhat like hit, but with rounded lips; Norwegian nytt
About this soundsyl[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
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 [mɵsɪˈkɑːl]. Some cases involve resyllabification caused by retroflexion, which makes the syllable open, as in kurtisan [kɵʈɪˈsɑːn];
    • [ʉ] appears only in open syllables. In some cases, [ʉ] is the only possible realization, as in känguru [ˈɕɛŋːɡʉrʉ], such as when /ɵ/ appears in hiatus, as in duell [dʉˈɛlː];
    • 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 secondary stress.
  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[edit]