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New list reveals common Swedish and English spelling mistakes

David Landes · 16 Jun 2009, 13:40

Published: 16 Jun 2009 13:40 GMT+02:00

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Norstedts, Sweden’s oldest publishing house, together with the Language Council of Sweden (Språkrådet), has put together a list of words in Swedish and English thought to be most often misspelled by Swedes.

“It’s impossible to say exactly which misspellings are the most common, but we know which words are often spelled incorrectly,” said the Language Council’s Anna Antonsson to Sveriges Television (SVT).

Among Swedish words which often end up spelled incorrectly are aborre (‘perch’; correct spelling: abborre); cyckel (‘bicycle’; correct spelling: cykel); fotölj (lounge chair; correct spelling: fåtölj); and tillfredställande (‘satisfying’; correct spelling: tillfredsställande).

As for English words which Swedes often fail to spell correctly, Norstedt’s list includes ‘allways’ (always); ‘fabolous’ (fabulous); ‘mutch’ (much); and ‘verry’ (very).

Some words are associated with several possible misspellings.

For example, Norstedts lists three common faulty constructions for the Swedish word diskussion (‘discussion’: diskution, diskusion, disskution) and for ‘because’ in English (becouse, becuse, beacuse).

According to Språkrådet, the increased occurrence of pronunciation-based spelling mistakes indicates that young people are writing words less often than before, causing them to come up with spellings based more on how words sound.

One advantage to the phenomenon, however, is that young people find it easier to give English words more Swedish-style spellings, with mejl (mail) and dejt (date) cited as examples.

Story continues below…

Below is the complete list of commonly misspelled Swedish words. Double click on any word in the 'Correct Spelling' column to launch The Local’s translation tool, provided by Tyda, and find out the meaning of the word in English.

Incorrect SpellingsCorrect Spellings
hejdåhej då
iallafalli alla fall
isåfalli så fall
kvalitekvalitet, kvalité
någongångnågon gång
speciel speciell

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David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

14:29 June 16, 2009 by Julian S
wlel taht was vrey ittserneing, but i fnid if i wrtie the ltteers down, it edns up maknig ssene to msot poeple awnyay.

Ibeännr dteta att fngerua i snksvea ocskå ?
14:57 June 16, 2009 by Miss Kitten
As lnog as the fsirt and lsat ltetres of ecah wrod are in the crorcet oderr, you can slistl raed tehm.
16:17 June 16, 2009 by symbol shift
Just fishing more mistakes: the English name of "abborre" is perch, not pike. The pike is called "gädda".
17:36 June 16, 2009 by byke
Spelling is not an issue I get annoyed with over here.

Punctuation, Comprehension & use of Grammar are not taught over here which are key factors to English.

I constantly see Panglish being used for signs everywhere.

Items such as : "News" displayed in shops selling new seasonal based products or collections.

There is a cafe on drottninggatan : "We have meny in English".

Even companies such as Bo Concept have advertising campaigns that are cringe worthy with such slogans as "don't blame us".

I would go as far as to say that most Swedes do NOT comprehend English.

This is because the education used for teaching English, is not English.

I am by no means saying that rules of extreme pompous Shakespearean English should be enforced. But if any Swede was to go to school to learn any other language another language with different comprehension such as French, then the basic rules would be taught in a much stricter manner.
18:18 June 16, 2009 by bambam
aborre is perch, not pike
21:11 June 16, 2009 by spy
Language should be enjoyed by all. Spelling is not the most important factor. C U L8R.
12:03 June 18, 2009 by Taketh
grammer is obviously the skeleton of language. spelling is not that important, but it's good to know that a word has one spelling and not 52 different ways.

what annoys me the most is why we use the question mark (?). we obviously know it's a question when it begins with 'did', 'why', 'where', 'who', 'when', 'which'. and many more ways in which a sentenced is constructed.

as long as we can communicate well. Who cares!
12:41 June 18, 2009 by Streja
byke, English is taught in English in Sweden.

I teach English in English. I teach grammar, word use, common mistakes Swedes make, essay writing, communicating/debating using common phrases, punctuation, literature, culture etc etc.

It's difficult to learn a different language than your own. Punctuation is different in Swedish and English.

I agree with the sign problem. I think it's stupid that Swedish companies use English words when they are only operating in Sweden. They think it's cool but it's horrible to come across spellings like "We belive" on Ellos tops.
12:42 June 18, 2009 by Streja
Taketh, the question mark is very important because if you're reading aloud and the sentence is very long you need to change your intonation.
12:57 June 18, 2009 by High Priestess Kang - Slut
What does Frasier have to do with this?

(spelling is important to some)
13:06 June 18, 2009 by Puffin

13:12 June 18, 2009 by Streja
Hejdå is incorrect then? I was always told you can write either hej då or hejdå...shouldn't the SAOL introduce hejdå as it is commonly used?

Very very strange...
13:15 June 18, 2009 by Puffin
There is so much slang Swedish - even used in the media

- for example dej/mej - my daughter was taught to write this at school
13:19 June 18, 2009 by Streja
Some people tried to introduce mej/dej in the 60's I think it was, but it never caught on. It looks silly to me.

Hejdå is common so it should be official.
13:24 June 18, 2009 by Bender B Rodriquez
Not as silly as 'mejl', 'stajl', etc. DN used to promote those awful words for a while.

My favourite word to hate is 'jos' instead of 'juice'...
13:28 June 18, 2009 by Streja
Mejl is awful...

I tend to write email and emaila.

Who writes jos? I'm guessing it's some Stockholmian...never seen it here in Gbg.
13:35 June 18, 2009 by Jamtjim
Of course a question mark is important. Take the following sentences:

So your new car is green.

So your new car is green?

The first is a statement. The second is a question which illicits a reponce. Same words, same order, different meaning!
15:09 June 18, 2009 by bufflo
"One advantage to the phenomenon, however, is that young people find it easier to give English words more Swedish-style spellings, with mejl (mail) and dejt (date) cited as examples."

No, that's not an advantage. Words like 'date' and 'website' actually make sense. If you don't wish to use the word 'date', for example, using 'träff' makes more sense. I don't understand why it was decided that it's better to "invent" new words, like 'mejl', instead of using the English words that blend right in. Pronunciation doesn't dictate spelling, and spelling can only be seen as a weak guide for how to pronounce a word.
18:43 June 18, 2009 by Streja
Perhaps in English, but in Swedish spelling and pronunciation are more closely related.
19:25 June 18, 2009 by jack sprat
True... Sometimes a question and a statement can be identical word for word,the only difference being, in speech, with a question, the tone is raised at the end to differentiate between the two.

Hence question marks are essential.

Because this is normal practise in Spain,they normally use two question marks,one in front and one after,the first one being inverted.

Oops!...No doubt I'm telling my Spanish grannie how to suck eggs.
17:15 July 27, 2009 by Rapalyea1
English Spelling Needs Your Help!

We don't have an Official English Institute in the US, so I appeal to the non-English speaking world for assistance. Plurals first. Use mouses, gooses, and oxes and all the rest instead of mice, geese and oxen. Certainly no American will object. We have the same problem.

Next, spellings. Sykology, not psychology. Specifically, the ch sound should be no more and no less then the English sound for cheese. However, I accept Cheese instead of Chees as a simple expedient since the final 'e' is nearly universal in the lanquage.

So. Now I am phyching for additional suggestions! Any taykers?
17:43 July 27, 2009 by Charles Xii Was A Bit Of A Mad B
Usually, those who can't spell also can't communicate logically in writing. I've known people who spell poorly or have some grammar blindspots who still write clearly overall, but they are the exception.

Eg, I don't understand what you mean by "we obviously know it's a question when it begins with 'did', 'why', 'where', 'who', 'when', 'which'. and many more ways in which a sentenced is constructed."

I can guess that you mean:

"We obviously recognize a question when it begins with words such as 'did', 'when', 'where' and 'which', or by the construction of the sentence."
18:08 July 27, 2009 by Kind Man
Most Swedes say" Hej" for Hello and "Hej" for Bye as well. The Swedish language is not so rich and it was recently became the official language of Sweden. they should work on the language to make it better.

In my language when I want to say "Hello" I say Asalam alyckom which means peace be upon you. actually we pray for the person when we say Salaam, and When we say Bye we say Allah Hafiz which means May Allah protect you and be with you again we pray.

We should have meaningful words which we use often or commonly.
18:09 July 27, 2009 by jack sprat
A common mistake I come across in most countries is the plural of sheep.

It sounds quite funny when someone asks how many sheeps have you.

Sometimes I say a bloody great fleet.

Anyway, I often have to explain that its many ships and many sheep,(not sheeps).

....and just to avoid any green wellie jokers,I gave them up a long time ago.
19:07 July 27, 2009 by Rapalyea1
Dear Sprat & Charles;

Sprat: The plural of sheep is of supernatural indiffence to me. Sheeps, ships, oxes and mouses, OH MY. The entire purpose of written lanquage is to convey meaning to the reader, as is the case with spoken speach. While living in Germany I had a flat tire (tyre). I told a passerby "Mein reifen ist mit luft nicht".

Charles: You wrote: "Usually, those who can't spell also can't communicate logically in writing." Non-sequetor. Spelling should not be a task or test of education. Instead, the lanquage should be phonetic, and not a test or trap for the less educated. The communication itself should stand on its own merrits without the intermediate filter of SPELLING.

English is especially mischievious in this way. I am curious, and not flippant, when I ask you how many languages promt nation wide Spelling Bees?
12:36 July 28, 2009 by tara casey
Jack Sprat

you say ....

"It sounds quite funny when someone asks how many sheeps have you.

Sometimes I say a bloody great fleet."

Why would someone ask you such a question? Are you a shepherd or an Admiral?
14:08 July 28, 2009 by Eel
Swedes tend to comfuse cheap and sheep. That´s a bit more comfusing.
14:24 July 28, 2009 by Benzed
Not a spelling mistake as such, but I am irked by my svensk pals constantly using funny instead of fun and vice versa. The vice versa only really occurring because I occasionally try and correct the original error and screw them up even more. Tyvärr innit.
17:24 July 28, 2009 by nic_tester
Adress and address are words from hell.
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