Online Resources

by Erik Wilhelm Gren

The Official Swedish Dictionary

You might have heard of the so-called Nobel price. This price is given out by an independent organization in Sweden founded by the Swedish king Gustaf III in 1786. The organization is called Svenska Akademien (The Swedish Academy). The goal of Svenska Akademien is, in their own words:

…att arbeta uppå Svenska Språkets renhet, styrka och höghet.

…to work upon the Swedish Language’s purity, strength and highness.[1]

This might sound very “Royal” and old-fashion (because it is), but the real goal of the organization today is to maintain the official Swedish dictionary, thesaurus and word list called the SAOL, SAOB and SO respectively. These stand for:

  1. SAOL – Svenska Akademiens Ordlista

    SAOL – The Swedish Academy’s Wordlist (dictionary)

  2. SAOB – Svenska Akademiens Ordbok

    SAOB – The Swedish Academy’s Wordbook (thesaurus)

  3. SO – Svensk Ordbok

    SO – Swedish Wordbook (list of words and their definitions)

Where Can I Find them?

Conveniently, these are all available for free on their website! You can type any Swedish word and get a definition in Swedish from the SAOL with conjugations and more, synonyms or secondary definition from the OL and finally, historical use of the word from the SAOB. All at the same time!

It’s a wonderful tool and I myself use it almost always when I write in Swedish. The problem is, however, that it only has definitions and descriptions of Swedish words written in Swedish. This can, for some, be very troublesome. However, it’s a great way to study! Because, if you learn the word’s definitions int the language of the word, you get a much more rigorous definition that is usable when learning Swedish.

  1. This is my more literate translation. The official translation by The Swedish Academy themselves is: “to advance the Swedish language and Swedish literature.”.

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