Swedish names in English for pronunciation by an American

An American friend was complaining that pronouncing Swedish names correctly was a pain – and he used Göteborg, Göran, Håkan and Norrköping as his “evidence”.

I bet him that I could write all Swedish names phonetically in English such that he would have no choice – even in his deep South drawl – but to pronounce them correctly. We enlisted another friend to be judge. He was – unlike me – a native Swedish speaker whose own name caused some problems for Americans – Jönsson.

I think I won more than a whiskey or two that night.

A few examples below. It seems to be possible also with Hindi words rendered phonetically in English for pronunciation by an American (even one from Boston). And getting someone with a Boston twang to even pronounce English correctly is an achievement in itself.

Swedish Name Rendered phonetically in English
Göteborg Yette-bor-ye
Göran Yo-rahn
Håkan Ho-kahn
Jönsson Yuhn-sson
Norrköping Nor-scher-ping
Östergötland Oester-yert-land
Kjell Schell
Agneta Ahg-nyet-a



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