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Swedish: An Essential Grammar (Routledge Essential Grammars) Paperback – 7 Apr 2008

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Product details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 2 edition (7 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415458005
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415458009
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 1.4 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 274,489 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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About the Author

Freelance translator Freelance translator, formerly at the University of Hull, UK

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 40 people found the following review helpful By "markisevil" on 26 Feb. 2002
Format: Paperback
This book was just what I needed, having moved from Ireland to Sweden, to learn Swedish quickly. With a decent dictionary (say, David Harper's Swedish Dictionary - also Routledge - which is the only dictionary I have found so far that gave the genders of nouns), and this book, I am able to understand and follow conversations in Swedish more easily, and feel much more confident to try my "Baby Swedish" out on people and improve it.
This book is designed to be used by native English speakers, and every point is compared and related to English grammar. That, alone, makes it much easier to grasp the grammar concepts quickly. Swedish is a notoriously difficult language to learn for English speakers, and the grammar is very different to any other European languages, not least of all English.
Starting with a basic guide to pronouncing Swedish words, which should perhaps be skipped if you don't want to sound like you're from Stockholm, the book is broken into a small number of logical chapters - nouns, adjectives, etc., each of which is described in excellent (but never superfluous) detail.
The structure of the book means that I can read it from start to finish, or search for and immediately find the exact topic I am interested in. The quality of the binding feels excellent, and the print is very clear, with a clean, uncluttered layout, so I feel that I will be using this paperback book for a long, long time.
Holmes also writes an excellent classroom book "Colloquial Swedish" with Serin Gunilla, and if you add this to "An Essential Grammar" and your decent dictionary, you will find that you can study and learn a lot of useful Swedish in a short time by yourself, or in addition to some language classes (the approach I'm taking).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Pollin on 26 Jan. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As somebody who is trying to learn Swedish from noting this was a helpful book. Grammar is presented in an easy to understand way. Bought second hand at a ridiculously good price - well recommended.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you happen to own more than a few electronic devices, I'd strongly recommend avoiding the Kindle version of this book, as it has a ridiculously limiting licensing scheme attached, which finds you facing the prompt "License limit exceeded" whenever you happen to trigger enough upgrades any of your desktop, laptop, phone or tablet devices. What's especially stupid about the licensing restrictions attached to this product is that the only people it penalizes are those who are honest enough to actually pay for the Kindle book. This Swedish grammar is a textbook (pun intended) example of DRM done wrong.
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By Lydia Hillerud on 9 Sept. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Basic grammar book - all you need to know.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 7 reviews
44 of 49 people found the following review helpful
Excellent concise grammar 16 Dec. 2003
By Magellan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a very well written, interesting, informative, and concise grammar of Swedish. For the hard-core linguist, there is also the Comprehensive Grammar published by Routledge at 95 bucks by Holmes, but this one will do for most people, expecially since it's about 1/6 the price.
I learned a lot about Swedish from this book, and it was fun reading it as the similarities between English and Swedish are still very much in evidence. The two languages still share many features in common. Here are some of the ones that I learned from this book:
1. There are two levels of syllabic stress in Swedish and four in English. This gives Swedish it's sing-song quality.
2. Many words are the same or almost the same. (However, note that the vowel diacritical marks in the Swedish words can't be shown). These words include: fot (foot), finger (finger), gras (grass), hus (house), kna (knee), lamm (lamb), oss (us), skarp (sharp), son (son), tva (two), tre (three), and vi (we).
3. Both have only the nominative and genitive cases:
skepparen i baten (the skipper of the boat)
skepparens katt (the skipper's cat)
4. Both have subject and direct object forms for pronouns:
vi (we)
oss (us)
5. The have similar ways of distinguishing adjectives and adverbs:
dyr (dear)
dyrst (dearest)
6. There are similar methods for comparing adjectives with inflectional endings:
fet (fat)
fetare (fatter)
fettest (fattest)
7. Without inflectional endings, they look like this:
mer typisk (more typical)
mest typisk (most typical)
8. Both have weak verbs with dental endings: (i.e., "d" and "t" in the past tense)
vi cylcade (we cycled)
de kysste mig (they kissed me)
9. Both have strong verbs with internal vowel changes in the past tense:
vi sitter (we sit)
vi satt (we sat)
10. The languages have similar auxiliary verbs:
kan, ska, maste (can, shall, must)
de kan komma (they can come)
11. Verb tenses are very similar:
vi ar har nu (we are here now)
han har redan kommit (he has already arrived)
12. They have similar use of the formal subject:
det ar kallt har (it is cold here)
dett finns ett museum dar (there is a museum here)
13. Both have inverted (verb-subject) word order for questions:
var ar vi? (where are we?)
ar du sjuk (are you sick?)
14. Both have only pre-positional adjectives:
em warm sommar (a warm summer)
den warma sommaren (the warm summer)
However, lest I give the impression that the languages are exactly alike, I should mention some some important differences between Swedish and English. Swedish is entirely phonetic, whereas English is not. Swedish main clause word order is much more labile and flexible than in English. The sentence often begins with word or words that are not the actual subject, and subject and sentence elements can appear in different positions in both dependent and independent clauses.
Nouns have gender in Swedish, but they are either neuter or non-neuter, which is different from the Romance languages, where they are female or male, or in other Germanic languages, like German, where they are male, female, or neuter. Also, adjectives inflect in the definite although not the indefinite declension.
In terms of verb constructions, in modern Swedish there is only one form of the verb for all persons, singular or plural, for all tenses. Like English, Swedish has no continuous form of the verb, and uses auxiliary verbs for the future, perfect, and pluperfect. There are four principle verb conjugation types, with I, II, and III being weak and IV being strong.
These are just a few of the many interesting things I learned about Swedish from this book. Overall, this is an excellent concise grammar of Swedish and one of the few mass market paperbacks out there devoted to this important language. For those who are interested, there is also Ake Viberg's brief grammar, Swedish: Essentials of Grammar, that I can recommend also. They are both relatively inexpensive so I would recommend you just buy both, but either one will give you an excellent background in the subject of Swedish grammar.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Finally, a comprehensive Swedish grammar. 3 Aug. 2000
By Lee - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I have heard even Swedes complain that there is no readily available comprehensive grammar of the language. Now Routledge's "Comprehensive Grammar" series and their "Essential Grammar" series are filling niches long empty. The "Comprehensive" grammars, such as this one, are reference works for students who have some knowledge of the language and want full explanations of the main points as well as full lists of irregularities and explanations of the niceties of usage. This is information that no other Swedish book I know of provides.
The beginning student should consult the Foreign Service Institute's course, or Assimil's "Le suedois sans peine," or books and recordings offered by American universities, or perhaps Linguaphone's Swedish course. Use this comprehensive grammar as a supplement and as a reference for times when standard textbooks leave doubts.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Good book, but incomplete 1 Mar. 2011
By oswald - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
If you're planing on studying Swedish in depth, than you should get Swedish: A Comprehensive Grammar written by the same author. It's much more complete with about three times as much content.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A great reference 4 Dec. 2011
By Svenskatjej - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this book, because I was interested in learning how to speak Swedish. When I first got this book, I was glad that I had a solid knowledge of English grammar terms. You really need to have an understanding of these, otherwise this book could be a little confusing at times to you. I tried reading through the book to read through, but that is impractical, as there is no way to actually memorize it the first time when reading through. If you have other books which have exercises, this book is a great reference and can give you a much better grammatical understanding.

When I studied abroad in Sweden, I brought this book along with me since I was going to take courses in Swedish. The textbooks required for the class was called Rivstart A1+A2 and Rivstart B1+B2 [...]. In addition to the textbooks I bought the workbooks. The text book was great for dialog, vocabulary etc. The workbook was great for exercises and explaining the concepts taught in the different sections. However throughout my courses, this book was very, very handy. Especially when I needed something explained better, or just having a different way of explaining the concept. I would highly recommend having the book to serve this function. It was a great balance of being detailed, but not overly detailed.

The major thing I would say that it lacks however is a cd, or some sort of audio component. There is an entire section spent on explaining how the different letters and letter combinations are pronounced. Additionally the section explains where to put the accents or stress on the parts of the word. It is one thing to read through it, but unless if you can hear what the word actually sounds like, or understand where the placement of the sound is supposed to be in your mouth and how to form the sound, it can be very difficult to learn via just reading.
Indispensable! 23 Dec. 2013
By Samantha - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There is absolutely nothing that this grammar guide doesn't cover. I don't have any complaints so far! This is a must-have if you intend on learning Swedish.
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