Swedish language

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Swedish
svenska
Pronunciation [ˈsvɛ̂nskâ]
Native to Sweden, Finland
Native speakers 8.7 million  (2007)[1]
Language family
Indo-European
Early forms:
Writing system Latin (Swedish alphabet)
Swedish Braille
Official status
Official language in

 Sweden
 Finland


 European Union
Nordic Council
Regulated by Swedish Language Council (in Sweden)
Swedish Academy (in Sweden)
Research Institute for the Languages of Finland (in Finland)
Language codes
ISO 639-1 sv
ISO 639-2 swe
ISO 639-3 swe
Linguasphere 52-AAA-ck to -cw
Distribution-sv.png
Major Swedish-speaking areas

Swedish (Loudspeaker.png svenska (info • help)) is a language mostly spoken in Sweden and in parts of Finland, typically along the southern and western coasts and on the Åland islands. More than nine million people speak Swedish. It is similar to two of the other Scandinavian languages, Norwegian and Danish, and a person who understands one of these languages can understand the others. Other Scandinavian languages, such as Icelandic and Faroese, are less closely related and cannot be understood by Swedish speakers. Standard Swedish is spoken and written throughout Sweden, but there are some local dialects with differences in grammar and vocabulary in small towns and rural areas.

Swedish began as a dialect of Old Norse, which was a language that everyone in Scandinavia understood during the Viking Age. Around the 12th century Swedish began to slowly become different from the other dialects. These dialects later became what we today call Norwegian, Icelandic, Faroese and Danish. Swedish is a Germanic language and some similarities to English because of the Vikings that invaded England in the 10th Century. It is even more similar to German and Dutch, partly because of the Hanseatic League of the Middle Ages, when Sweden traded very openly with Germany.

There are three characters in the Swedish language that are not used in English. These are å, ä and ö. The letter å is a vowel sound between [a] and [o], similar to the English word awe. The letter ä is a vowel sound similar to [ɛ], like in the English word bed. The letter ö is a vowel sound between [o] and [ɛ], pronounced [øː] like the u in the English word burn. These characters are also used in the Finnish language, while Norwegian and Danish languages replace ä and ö with similar characters æ and ø. There can never be multiple consecutive vowels in Swedish; they are always replaced with a single vowel.

Swedish also has some important differences in grammar. Definite articles are suffixed onto the end of their nouns, so ett hus (a house) becomes huset (the house). Also unlike English, Swedish uses two grammatical genders called Common and Neuter. Nouns of the Common gender are sometimes called "en words", and many words for living (or once-living) things are "en words". Nouns of the Neuter gender are sometimes called "ett words".

Example of some words in Swedish[change | change source]

Swedish English
Ett One
Två Two
Tre Three
Fyra Four
Fem Five
Sex Six
Sju Seven
Åtta Eight
Nio Nine
Tio Ten
Ja Yes
Nej No
Jag I
Du You
Mig Me
Han He
Hon She
Vi We
De/dem They
Jag är I am
Sverige Sweden
Hus House
Hem Home
Väg Way
Björnar Bears
Hjälp Help

Basic Swedish Expressions[change | change source]

Swedish English
God dag/Hej Good day/Hello
Hur mår du? How are you?
Jag mår bra, tack Very good, thank you
Tack Thank you
Tack så mycket Thank you very much
God morgon Good morning
God eftermiddag Good evening
Hej då Goodbye

References[change | change source]

  1. Nationalencyklopedin "Världens 100 största språk 2007" The World's 100 Largest Languages in 2007

Other websites[change | change source]

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