Swedish (svenska), is a North Germanic language, spoken by approximately 10 million people, predominantly in Sweden and parts of Finland, where it has equal legal standing with Finnish. It is largely mutually intelligible with Norwegian and Danish. Along with the other North Germanic languages, Swedish is a descendant of Old Norse, the common language of the Germanic peoples living in Scandinavia during the Viking Era. It is currently the largest of the North Germanic languages by numbers of speakers.
Interesting Facts About the Swedish Language and Sweden
- Swedish is noted for its musical quality.
- Sweden is the third largest country in the EU, has borders with Norway, Finland and Denmark and has a population of about 10 million.
- The first literary text from Sweden is the Roek Runestone, from the Viking age in 800 AD. During the Swedish Viking Age, ~700-1200 AD, the Swedish Vikings traveled through the Baltic region, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, the Black Sea and as far south as Baghdad.
Where Is Swedish Spoken?
Swedish is spoken mainly in Sweden and Finland, and also in Estonia, Norway, Canada and the USA. It is closely related to Norwegian and Danish and is mutually intelligible with them to a large extent, particularly in its written form.
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About the Swedish Language
Standard Swedish, used by most Swedes, is the national language that evolved from the Central Swedish dialects in the 19th century and was well established by the beginning of the 20th century. While distinct regional varieties descended from the older rural dialects still exist, the spoken and written language is uniform and standardized.
Finland was ruled by Sweden from the 12th century until 1809 and during that period, Swedish was the main language of government and education there. Today Finnish and Swedish have equal status as official languages in Finland.