Last time it was my turn to take over our Snapchat I got a couple of questions regarding Swedish language. I’ve also gotten some questions via email asking whether it’s necessary to speak Swedish if you want to work and live here. so I got inspired to tell you a bit more about how Swedish language is like and whether or not it’s difficult to learn. Here we go!
1. How is Swedish language like?
Swedish is a north Germanic language, it’s a descendant of Old Norse, a language spoken by Germanic peoples living in Scandinavia during the Viking Era. Swedish is closely related to Norwegian and Danish, so most Scandinavian people can to some extent understand each other. It’s also related to other Germanic languages, such as German, Dutch and English, so you’ll find some similarities between Swedish and them. Swedish language is spoken in Sweden and some parts of Finland, though it’s not at all similar to Finnish.
2. Is it necessary to learn Swedish?
If you come to Sweden for studies, many programmes at Swedish universities are taught in English, so you don’t necessarily need to know any Swedish before moving here. If you wish to study on a university level in Sweden in Swedish language you have to take a language test called Tisus (Test i svenska för universitets- och högskolestudier) in order to prove that you have the necessary language skills.
For working in Sweden the language requirements depend on the job and the company, there are multinational companies that do business outside Sweden and they often have some positions where knowing Swedish isn’t necessary. However, learning the language definitely increases your opportunities for finding a job in Sweden. And at least for my self learning the local language has brought me closer to the culture and people. I also find it annoying not being able to understand anything people are saying. ?
3. How / where to learn it?
Some learn Swedish just by coming to Sweden and starting to interact and learn from the natives. Most people take Swedish courses in order to start from the basics. SFI schools are a popular place for foreigners to study Swedish on a basic level. Many universities also provide courses in Swedish language. We all have different preferences when it comes to studying and learning new things and at least for me it’s been important to learn the basic grammar and vocabulary and to be able to practice first at a classroom. I’ve learned a lot of Swedish at the university when doing group work with Swedes and they spoke to Swedish to each other. I’ve found it easier, or at least felt more comfortable in participating in a group conversation, than having a one on one conversation.
A link to my previous post on studying Swedish in Umeå:
4. Is it easy?
Yes and no. If compared to, for instance, English, Swedish language isn’t really complicated. The grammar is quite simple and many words are borrowed from English or German. The biggest issue for most foreigners is that Swedes are very good with English and are happy to speak it. There are also different dialects, some of which might be easier to understand than others. But technically speaking, Swedish is not difficult to learn.
Do you find learning Swedish or any other foreign language easy or difficult? Share your experience in the comments below! ?
Featured image by Ola Ericson