Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Language Lesson # 2

Remember these? Å, Ä and Ö (å, ä and ö)

So the vowels in Swedish are - a, e, i, o, u, y, å, ä and ö

Short and Long Vowels

The short and long vowels for the letters we have in English because are very similar - for example:

The letter "A" - The long vowel is pronounced like the A in father. The short vowel is prounced like the A in cat. Which is kind of how we do it.

The letter Y is slightly different though - I'll go through the pronunciations in a second.

SO how do you know when to use a short or a long vowel?

The vowel length is connected with stress. A stressed vowel is more prominent than the other letters in the word. (can you tell I copied that bit from a book?)

A stressed vowel is long when:
  • it is an end vowel in words of one syllable. for example "Ja" - it is a long vowel so pronounced like the A in father.
  • it comes before a single consonant - for example in the word heter, the E's would be long vowels. In the word "far" the A would be a long vowel.

A stressed vowel is short when:

  • it comes before two or more consonants - for example in Kall - the A will be short and sound like the A in the English word cat. There is an exeption though, when it is next to the consonant R it is pronounced long - i.e. barn, lärd etc.
  • It appears in a few common words of one syllable: han, hon, den, min, din, sin.
  • often in words of one syllable ending in m, or n. Vem, hem, kim, kam, som, rum, man, etc.

The vowels are divided into two groups:

a, o, u, å - these are hard vowels

e, i, y, ä and ö - these are soft vowels

Okay - I'll just tell you how to pronounce each vowel in long and short ways then I'll leave it for today:

VOWEL---LONG -------------------------------------SHORT

a - -------pron like A in father-------------------------pron like A in Katt (cat)

e - -------pron a bit like the E in ear ------------------pron like E in men - penna (pen)

i - --------pron like the ea in heat - Liv (life) ----------pron like the i in kiss - hiss (lift)

o ---------like the oo in moon -------------------------like the oo in book - blomma (flower)

u ---------like the u sound in true ---------------------like the u in full

y ---------like the long i, but with tightly rounded lips --like the short i - syster (sister)

å ---------pron like AW in saw -------------------------pron like "o" in Scott

ä ---------pron like air without the R -------------------pron like "e" in set

ö ---------pron like err like thats yuck (but no R sound!!) --pron like "u" in Curt

Say all your letters lightly, flowing and somewhat musical.

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