The Swedish language is an Indo-European language, of the North Germanic language branch. It is a descendent of the Old Norse language, which was spoken by Germanic people in the Viking Era, mostly living in the Scandinavian area. In more recent years, linguists have theorized that there are two different classifications for the Scandinavian languages, which are Insular Scandinavian and Continental Scandinavian. The Swedish language is a member of the latter, due to the influence of East Scandinavian (primarily Danish) languages.
However, there is more of a similarity in the root of these languages, as opposed to the modern way in which they are used these days, because of the rivalry between the countries of Denmark and Sweden. In the 16th and 17th centuries, these two countries were engaged in a series of wars, and as a result of this, in the centuries of the aftermath, the countries have developed very separate nationalist ideals.
The outcome today is that the languages of Danish and Swedish have become quite different in terms of grammar and vocabulary. The Swedish language itself shares a lot of traits with the Norwegian and Danish languages. In terms of the former, despite the geopolitical conflicts, there is a relatively high level of mutual intelligibility because of the shared root of the words. The Swedish language as we know it today directly evolved from Central Swedish in the 19th century. It grew in popularity and usage over the next century until it became the language that it still used today.
The Swedish language is mostly spoken in Sweden, though there are a large number of speakers in Finland. These speakers predominantly live along the coast and on the Aland Islands of Finland. While it is not much used by speakers outside of Sweden or Finland, there are still 70,000 speakers in the US, with another 30,000 in the UK, and 40,000 in Spain.
It is spoken by around 10 million people, though most of these speakers live in Sweden and Finland. The Swedish language is the most spoken of the Old Norse languages, in regards to the amount of speakers of the language, and is the official language of Sweden itself.
There are many dialects to the Swedish language, due to the distinct regions of the country developing their own working rural dialects over the past few hundred years. Traditionally, these are North Swedish, Finland Swedish, Svealand Swedish, Gotland Swedish, Gotland Swedish and South Swedish. Standard Swedish is accepted to be the form that emerged around the region of Stockholm.
The rural accents and dialects can have quite a different sound and lexicon to Standard Swedish. However, Swedish is a standardized language, and the written language is the same, whichever region you are in. These regional dialects have lost popularity in the last few decades, but are becoming a little more popular again as the effort is made to preserve them.
The Swedish language uses a Subject Verb Object word order, although in certain cases this can be changed to give a word or phrase more importance in the sentence. There are only two genders, but these are classified as common and neutral. Common is referencing any sex of person, while neutral is for inanimate objects.
The Swedish alphabet uses an adapted 26 letter Latin alphabet for its 29 letter one. There are three additional letters, which are two As and one O. One of the As and the O uses an umlaut to show difference, while the other A has a halo. In the Swedish language, these are considered to be entirely different letters, though often when discussed in English, they are referred to as diacritics, which is not precisely what they are.
Why Learn The Swedish Language?
The Swedish language is the most spoken language in this area of the world; the most spoken of the North Germanic languages. While it is primarily spoken in Sweden and Finland, it is also spoken in other surrounding countries to a lesser degree. This makes it one of the more useful languages to learn if you would like to travel or work in this part of the world.
There are many rich cultural aspects to visiting or living in Sweden, such as music, architecture, cinema and literature. The music industry in particular is incredibly diverse compared to some other countries, and Sweden enjoys a varied history of folk music as well as many modern kinds of music such as metal and hip hop. Jazz also has a surprising home in Sweden.
Sweden itself is a developed country, very clean and highly ranked in many areas, such as education, health and democracy. It is also a highly tolerant country, with a liberal attitude towards homosexuality and civil partnerships, so if you are looking for somewhere to holiday or live that is more diverse and open then Sweden is one of the best countries in the EU to do so, and learning the Swedish language is a great idea.