What Language Do People Speak in Sweden?

Sweden has become a significant destination for tourists. Whether students decide to study there or tourists want to see the many beautiful sights, they may wonder what language Swedish people speak.

Most people in Sweden speak Swedish, which is also spoken in other Scandinavian countries.

About 10 million people speak the language. Still, many people in Sweden also speak English. 

This article will go into depth about the Swedish language and provide some tips on learning it.

Also, see Sweden vs. Switzerland to learn more.

Does Everyone in Sweden Speak Swedish?

Almost everyone in Sweden speaks Swedish. It’s by far the most popular language spoken there, with about 10 million people speaking it worldwide [1].

While it isn’t in the top 10 or even the top 20 list of most popular languages globally, it is the most popular Scandinavian language [2]. 

Swedish is the country’s official language. However, other languages are spoken in the country, and these include: 

  • Finnish 
  • German 
  • English 
  • Yiddish 
  • Other minor languages of the area [3]

As with any other language, Swedish has area-specific dialects, while the residents have different accents.

However, it’s still the main language of Sweden, with just a few dialectical differences present in different areas. 

When visiting any Scandinavian country, speaking Swedish is a major advantage because it’s widely spoken throughout the area.

Even among different dialects, the base language of Swedish stays relatively the same. 

This means that learning Swedish can help visitors communicate all over Scandinavia. 

Do People in Sweden Speak English?

Many people in Sweden speak English, and it’s one of the most popular foreign languages for locals to learn.

Visitors can expect to run into plenty of other English speakers there, as it’s a popular language worldwide.

Native Swedish speakers learn English in school and through popular media like movies and television shows. 

So, many tend to be able to speak at least some common phrases. 

Any visitor to Sweden can benefit from learning some basic phrases and terms, which will help them to understand important signs and notices. Some parts of Sweden provide English translations on signs in public transportation areas. 

However, this isn’t the case throughout the entire country. 

If visitors plan to see more of the country than just the common tourist parts, then they must learn Swedish to travel safely without needing to constantly ask for help with translations.

Otherwise, visitors will struggle to read signs and other landmarks that they need to understand to travel safely. 

Long-Term Visitors 

For those planning to live in Sweden permanently or for an extended period, it’s advisable to learn at least the language basics.

This is common for those who may be attending school there or seeking a job opportunity.

The good news is that the Swedes are typically patient and kind people and appreciate anyone making the effort to learn the language, so even a little effort goes a long way. 

The Swedish government has programs for non-native speakers that help them quickly learn and understand the language for free.

There are basic and intermediate courses that anyone can sign up for to learn the language without needing to pay anything. 

Many highly recommend it for those staying in Sweden long-term. 

Whether it’s for a job or schooling opportunity, there are plenty of reasons that visitors come to Sweden and stay for an extended period.

Immersing into the culture, taking in media, and practicing with locals can help anyone learn the basics of Swedish a lot easier. 

Why Learn Swedish?

As mentioned, many Swedes speak English. This might make many people wonder if it’s worth learning the language at all.

While it’s often easier to visit a country knowing some local phrases, if a visitor is only going for a few days they might think it’s unnecessary.  

However, it’s worth the effort to learn at least a few basic Swedish phrases. Here are the reasons why a visitor should consider learning the language:

  • It is a sign of respect for the local people. This shows a clear effort to understand and respect the culture of Sweden. 
  • Aside from showing respect, learning Swedish can help a visitor understand other Nordic languages more easily. For instance, learning Swedish can help a visitor better understand Danish or Finnish given the grammatical similarities. 
  • If someone is moving to the country for work, understanding Swedish can help them perform better in their job. Not only will it show people in the company that the employee is serious, but it will also demonstrate a desire to integrate into Swedish culture. It can also help when searching for a job out there. 
  • Learning Swedish will help visitors and immigrants become more independent. A Swedish speaker won’t need to rely on English translations and helpful native speakers. Being able to communicate will allow for a more independent experience.

Where To Learn Swedish

For people looking to get a head start in learning the language before visiting Sweden, there are plenty of ways to do it.

So, here are some easy ways to learn the language from anywhere. 

  • Locally: For visitors and immigrants alike, Sweden offers free courses to learn Swedish. 
  • University or college: Many places of higher learning offer Swedish language courses. Though the courses may not always be free, they are a great way for potential visitors to better understand the language before visiting. 
  • Adult Education Centers: Similar to university courses, sometimes local education centers have free or discounted courses for learning other languages. 
  • Online courses: Taking online courses is easier for those who don’t have enough spare time to take in-person courses. 
  • Swedish media: For those who have some understanding of the language, they can easily pick up common phrases. Reading a book or watching a Swedish movie can help make learning common phrases and even full sentences easier. 
  • Speaking and writing: Anyone trying to learn a language will have a better grasp of it if they practice speaking and writing. Speaking the language may not come right away when trying to learn, but writing sentences can help people remember the right words and phrases more easily. 

[1] Source
[2] Source
[3] Source

Christian Christensen

Christian started Scandinavia Facts to explore his family heritage, raise awareness of one of his academic interests as a professor, and civilly promote the region. Please see the About page for details.

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