Eurovision 2013

Host City Guide: Language – how to win friends and confuse people!


Välkommen till Stockholm! In this series of articles, we’ll look at various aspects of the Swedish capital, all aimed at helping you make your Eurovision trip go as smoothly possible. After all, one of the (many) joys of Eurovision is getting to explore somewhere new!

We’ve already had a look at travelling around the Swedish capital. Today, we’re going to talk about language, and making yourself understood in Sweden. You know what that means! Nu talar vi svenska!

Swedish is one of Sweden’s 5 official languages and is the mostly widely used. A North Germanic language closely related to Norwegian and Danish, Swedish has over 9 million speakers, meaning that is has more speakers than all of the other Scandinavian languages combined. As well as Sweden, it is also spoken in the Åland Islands and also by a sizeable minority in Finland.

The stereotype that everyone in Scandinavia speaks perfect English really is alive and well in Stockholm. It’s possible to get by without speaking Swedish at all, but where’s the fun in that?! If you want to impress, here are the basics:-

NOTE: I am NOT a native Swedish speaker – but I’ve take every care to make sure these pronunciation guides are accurate!


Hello = God dag (go dah)

Goodbye = Hej då (hay dor)

Yes = Ja (yah)

No = Nej (ney)

Thank You = Tack (tak)


How much does this cost? = Hur mycket kostar det? (hoor mew-ke kos-tar de)

What does that mean? = Vad betyder det? (vuh beh-tur-der dea)

Do you speak English? = Talar du engelska? (taa-lar du eng-el-ska)

I’m lost = Jag har gåt vilse (yuh har got vil-seh)


Do you have a flag? = Har du en flagga? (Har do en flag-gah)

Where is Romania?! = Var är Rumänien?! (vahr air ru-may-ni-en)

Good luck! = Lycka till! (look-kuh till)

Twelve points go to… = Tolv punkter går till… (tolv punk-ter gor till)


And just because we can…


My head falls off and is full of candy = Mitt huvud trillar av och det är fullt av godis (mitt hoo-vood tril-lar av o dey eyr fult av go-dis)

Everyone in Gothenburg is called Glenn = Alla heter Glenn i Göteborg (alla he-ter glen I yo-te-burg)

My hovercraft is full of eels! = Min svävare är full med ålar! (min svair-va-ruh air full med or-lar)

She’s a witch! Burn her! = Hon är en häxa! Bränna henne! (hon air en heks-ah bren-na hen-neh)

Sju sjösjuka sjömän sköttes av sju sköna sjuksköterskor = Seven seasick sailors were nursed by seven beautiful nurses (???? …not a clue! Ask a Swede?)

Remember the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2016 is TOMORROW NIGHT!! Eeekk! Exciting!

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Author: James Scanlan

Source: Eurovision Ireland

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