Mattias Bergström

English plural goes with the flow in Swedish

For spring, the Language Council of Sweden is coming out with a new edition of its Swedish Rules of Writing, the first time in ten years. And the increased influence that English is having over Swedish is indisputable in it.

So much so that, for the first time, Swedish Rules of Writing will contain a chapter on how to handle English extracts in Swedish texts. They also address the use of “s” as a plural in Swedish.

Ola Karlsson at the Language Council of Sweden takes the word “story” as an example:

“I’m sure that for this word, many think that “storyer” sounds awkward. But it goes just fine with an “s” plural. We’ve also noticed that we often put the “s” directly on the root word, so we don’t always follow English rules but often use it in a novel way”, he says.

So one story, two storys, which helps the Swedish to flow well despite the fact that the word is English.

This is a consequence of English words flowing naturally into Swedish for many of us nowadays.

“It’s quite natural; we pop in English words without anyone batting an eyelid. In the past, someone would react if a speaker threw in an English word. Nowadays, they just pass by unnoticed. And that’s a sign that something new has happened,” says Anna W Gustafsson, Lecturer in Scandinavian Languages at Lund University.


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