Swedish

Language History

Swedish is one of the three Scandinavian languages to emerge from Old Norse – the language of the Vikings. Dubbed a ‘North Germanic language’, there was much Danish influence on Swedish before 1525 when King Gustav I Vasa gained power. He famously gave rise to Modern Swedish after ordering a Swedish translation of the Bible. This led to Swedish being spoken and written uniformly among the people.

Swedish eventually gained influence from other languages such as Low German, especially in the 17th century. As one of Europe’s main languages, French also had an impact over the evolution of the Swedish language in the 18th and 19th centuries. It was after the 19th century when a sense of national identity brought about the popularity of the Swedish language, when figures like August Strindberg, encouraged the standardisation of its grammar and vocabulary.

According to Babbel, there are around 10.5 million people who speak Swedish around the world. Approximately 9 million of these people are native Swedish speakers, with 8.5 million living in Sweden.

Where is Swedish Spoken?

Swedish is the official language of Sweden and one of the two national languages in Finland. It is also a common language in other countries around the world including Estonia, Ukraine, and other Scandinavian countries like Denmark and Norway. The U.K, U.S, Germany, France, Switzerland and the Netherlands also have a large number of Swedish speakers.


Swedish language_map_inner page

FACT

The three Scandinavian languages to emerge from Old Norse are Swedish, Danish and Norwegian. The languages are so similar, that Swedish speakers can understand both Danish and Norwegian.

Did you know?

Did you know that Swedish has the highest number of speakers compared to all the North Germanic languages?

Swedish Dialects

Swedish can be categorised into six dialect groups, although there are said to be a few hundred out there.

• Norrland

• Svealand

• Gotland

• Götaland

• South Swedish

• East Swedish (Finland Swedish)

4 Easy Phrases in Swedish!

SwedishEnglish
God morgonGood Morning
Hur är det? / Hur har du det?How are you? (How are you feeling?)
Välkommen!Welcome!
Hur gammal är du?How old are you?

Population vs. Internet Penetration

Sweden Population:

10,053,135

Internet Users:

9,653,776

Penetration:

96.0%

As of 2019. Source:
www.internetworldstats.com

Fact!

Did you know that more words in Swedish begin with “S” than any other letter? There are very few that start with “Q” or “X”.

False Friends in Swedish and English

SwedishTranslationWrong Meaning
prickdotdislikeable person
badbathing placesomething unpleasant
dogto die (past tense)animal
glassice creamshiny object

“Swedish is considered one of the easiest languages for English speaking people to learn.”

Swedish Translation Tips

• Remember rules of word order in Swedish – the finite verb appears in second position in a declarative main clause.

• “K” is used instead of “Q” (except in proper names) and “W” is replaced with “V” (except in proper names).

• There are no case endings in nouns except for the possessive “s”.

• The Swedish language has only two genders – neuter and common.

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