"I love you" is an intense and passionate phrase that carries great weight in any language, and Swedish is no exception. Whether you're trying to impress your Swedish sweetheart or you just want to know this phrase for the future, learning how to say "I love you" is thankfully not that difficult. Generally, you should use "jag älskar dig" to express your love to someone, although there are other ways to do it.
Method 1 of 2: Learn "I love you"
Step 1. Say "jag."
This word is the first person pronoun in the subject form (or "yo" in Spanish). Swedish grammar is different from Spanish, and in this sentence, the words are in subject-verb-object order, so "I" goes to the beginning.
- "Jag" is pronounced roughly like "ya" but with more emphasis on the "y", like the "g" in the English name "George". Notice that the final "g" is silent: the word is not pronounced "yag".
- Some Swedish speakers pronounce this word with "and" ("ya") due to its regional accent. The use of any of these sounds is a matter of preference.
Step 2. Say "älskar"
In Swedish, this is the present tense form of the verb "to love." It is created by adding an "r" to the end of "älska" ("to love").
This word can be tricky for people who don't speak Swedish. It is pronounced roughly like "elska". The letter "ä" sounds like "e" in Spanish (although, in some dialects, it sounds more like "a"). The "r" at the end is more or less silent: if you pronounce it, you must do it very lightly and delicately
Step 3. Say "dig."
This word is the pronoun "you" in the objective form.
Don't be fooled by the spelling of this word. "Dig" is pronounced much like "dei." It shouldn't sound like you spell
Step 4. Combine the words in a sentence:
"jag älskar dig". Practice saying each word individually until you are confident in all three. When you're ready, put them together. Saying these words in order will produce the phrase for "I love you" in Swedish.
The whole phrase is pronounced roughly "ya elska dei" (don't forget that you can also use the "y" sound for the first word)
Method 2 of 2: Learn Related Romantic Phrases
Step 1. Use "jag älskar dig med" to say "I love you too"
Use this phrase when someone says "jag älskar dig" and you feel the same way. "Med" can be used as the preposition "with" in other situations but here it means "also".
"Jag älskar dig med" is roughly pronounced "ya elska dei ma". Notice that the first three words are exactly the same as the previous section. "Med" has a silent "d" and uses a short sound
Step 2. Use "jag är kär i dig" to say "I'm in love with you."
Just like in Spanish, the meaning is slightly different from "I love you." You can love close friends, family, pets, and even objects, but if you are in love with someone, it must definitely be your romantic partner.
- This phrase is pronounced "ya e SHAAAR y dei". The letter "k" sounds like "sh" or "ch" when placed before some vowels. The "r" at the end of "kär" sounds a lot like the intervocalic "r" in Spanish.
- Finally, notice that "kär" is stressed and pronounced longer than the other words. This is important: in Swedish, the length of the sounds in a word can be part of its correct pronunciation.
Step 3. Use "jag tycker om dig" to say "I like you."
If you enjoy spending time with someone but are not ready for romance, use this phrase. It has a lot less weight than saying "I love you."
- This phrase is pronounced "ya tik-er OUMMM dei". Again, here the "r" sounds like the intervocalic "r" in Spanish. "Om" has a long sound, like the name of the vowel "o" in English ("ou"). The word sounds the same as the "om" that people repeat when they meditate. Accentuate this word and hold it slightly longer than the others.
- If someone tells you this, you can use "jag tycker om dig också" to say "I like you too". This is pronounced the same except that "också" sounds like "ouk-so".
Step 4. Use "jag längtar efter dig" to say "I want you"
If you want to impress your partner with a flowery compliment in Swedish, try this phrase. It's the kind of phrase you might hear Swedes say every day but it can make a remarkable impression when used well.
This is pronounced "ya LAANG-tad efte dei". The "ä" in "längtar" has a long sound (similar to the "e" in "king"). Emphasize the first syllable and hold it longer than the others
Step 5. Say "tack" when they compliment you
Although Swedes generally consider it an insult to give a lot of false compliments, you will get at least a few if you date someone. When you receive one, you can politely reply with "tack!" ("Thank you!").
The "a" in this word is pronounced similar to the "o" in Spanish. Don't stretch the "a" sound as in "längtar". This word is a single quick syllable
Step 6. Say "känner du för en bebis? "to ask if someone wants to have a baby. The approximate translation is" Do you want to have a baby? ". Use this phrase carefully! You should only use it when it is clear that you are going to be with someone long term (or if it is clear you're kidding, of course).
This is pronounced "shin-e du for in babies?" Don't forget to stress the first syllable of "känner", which is pronounced with a short "e" sound (as in "red")
- Before using these phrases to address Swedes, it is important to understand that Swedish culture is a bit reserved when it comes to romance and dating. Honestly saying "I love you" to someone before you have been very intimate could give the impression of "going too fast." Instead, you can show your appreciation by taking an interest in the other person's life and helping them (doing chores, etc.) until you are definitely fond of it.
- Listening to recordings of Swedes saying these phrases is a great way to master pronunciation. A good resource is Forvo, which has pronunciation clips for "jag älskar dig" and many other Swedish phrases.
- Just like in Spanish, the Swedish word "älska" is not only used for romantic love. Now that you know, you can use it to say things like "jag älskar att spela schack" ("I love to play chess").