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Sometimes, the best way to connect with people of any nationality is to break the ice with greetings. No matter the circumstances, friendly or professional, you can’t go wrong with a proper enthusiastic greeting.
Swedish people are sociable, and they care about traditions, so any foreigner should know how to, at least, properly introduce themselves and start a conversation. Learn more about all the Swedish greetings, and maybe you’ll feel inspired to try something new and start learning the Nordic language. Here’s some to start with:
What you should know
Swedes are respectful, but they rarely use last names or Mr. and Mrs in rather formal conversations as well. They like to call themselves by their first name, even in some professional circles. Equality and the lack of hierarchies in the workplace is a specific trait of the Swedish society. If you want to move to Sweden or visit the country, you must get accustomed to all these little details. This will make it easier for you to become “one of them” and meet new people
If you’re visiting and want to get a coffee, the simplest way to sound and look like a local is to throw in a smile and a “Hej!” (pronounced just like Hey!). This one is the perfect greeting, regardless of the time of day or to whom you address it.
How to say “Hello!” in Swedish
In more formal circumstances, you can use the word “hallå” (/haˈloː/). Sometimes, Swedes like to articulate the word when greeting someone by saying “Hallå, hallå!” or even use it when they’re irritated and what to bring more attention to a situation they’re telling you about.
How to answer the phone in Swedish
Even if you’re just visiting, you might have to answer the phone at the hotel or when you’re expecting a call from the embassy, for example. The easiest way to do this is to say “Hello” followed by introducing yourself. This sounds something like: “Hallå! Det här är [your name].” This will not only impress the person on the other end, but they might mistake you for a local. That would be a good thing, but you need to let them know you don’t speak Swedish fluently before they start talking faster.
How to say “Good Morning!” in Swedish
At the restaurant, cafés, or when you enter a building, saying “Good Morning!” is a sign of respect and will help you establish a connection with those around you. The Swedish equivalent of the morning greeting is “God morgon!”. It’s important to use all the common greetings, even as a foreigner because you will most likely make a good impression.
How to say “Good evening!” in Swedish
“God kväll!” is a rather formal greeting in Swedish, but you might hear this in theaters, or when the evening news show starts. Usually, this greeting is not used between family and friends. “Kväll” is pronounced kvell and the “g” can be silent.
How to say “Goodnight!” in Swedish
After getting acquainted with Swedes, you will most likely enjoy late night talks and drinks, so a proper Goodnight is needed to end the day properly. “Godnatt!”, often pronounced goo-natt is the way to wish locals a good night’s rest and let them know you can’t wait to hang out again soon.
How to say “What’s up?” in Swedish
What better way to find out more about your Swedish friends’ day or how they’re feeling than asking “what’s up?”? “Hur är det?” or “hur går det?” are what is used to ask “how is it?” and “how is it going?”. They are both informal ways of getting a conversation started and can be used when talking on the phone as well, just after you introduce yourself.
How to say “Goodbye!” in Swedish
All fun must come to an end, so saying Goodbye is mandatory for a well-mannered Swede. “Hejdå!” pronounced hey-door is a proper way to say farewell to a taxi driver, people you’ve just met a few hours ago, hosts of a party and the bartender at the local bar. When saying goodbye to friends, Swedes also use “Vi ses!” – see you! or “Vi hörs!” – talk soon.
Greetings can help you connect with people around the world, and learning the Swedish basics will help you get a nice introduction to this beautiful language. Find out more about Sweden and try a few lessons now that you know how to introduce yourself in most situations!