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Swedish ( ) is a
North Germanic language The North Germanic languages make up one of the three branches of the Germanic languages—a sub-family of the Indo-European languages—along with the West Germanic languages and the extinct East Germanic languages. The language group is also r ...
spoken predominantly in
Sweden Sweden, formally the Kingdom of Sweden,The United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names states that the country's formal name is the Kingdom of SwedenUNGEGN World Geographical Names, Sweden./ref> is a Nordic countries, Nordic c ...
and in parts of
Finland Finland ( fi, Suomi ; sv, Finland ), officially the Republic of Finland (; ), is a Nordic country in Northern Europe. It shares land borders with Sweden to the northwest, Norway to the north, and Russia Russia (, , ), or the Ru ...
. It has at least 10 million native speakers, the fourth most spoken Germanic language and the first among any other of its type in the Nordic countries overall. Swedish, like the other Nordic languages, is a descendant of
Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian, is a stage of development of North Germanic languages, North Germanic dialects before their final divergence into separate Nordic languages. Old Norse was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia and t ...
, the common language of the
Germanic peoples The Germanic peoples were historical groups of people that once occupied Central Europe and Scandinavia during antiquity and into the early Middle Ages. Since the 19th century, they have traditionally been defined by the use of ancient and ear ...
living in Scandinavia during the
Viking Era The Viking Age () was the period during the Middle Ages when Norsemen known as Vikings undertook large-scale raiding, colonizing, conquest, and trading throughout Europe and reached North America. It followed the Migration Period and the Germ ...
. It is largely
mutually intelligible In linguistics, mutual intelligibility is a relationship between languages or dialects in which speakers of different but related Variety (linguistics), varieties can readily understand each other without prior familiarity or special effort. It ...
with Norwegian and Danish, although the degree of mutual intelligibility is largely dependent on the
dialect The term dialect (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) arou ...
and accent of the speaker. Written Norwegian and Danish are usually more easily understood by Swedish speakers than the spoken languages, due to the differences in tone, accent, and intonation. Standard Swedish, spoken by most
Swedes Swedes ( sv, svenskar) are a North Germanic peoples, North Germanic ethnic group native to the Nordic region, primarily their nation state of Sweden, who share a common ancestry, culture, history and language. They mostly inhabit Sweden and th ...
, is the
national language A national language is a language (or variety (linguistics), language variant, e.g. dialect) that has some connection—de facto or de jure—with a nation. There is little consistency in the use of this term. One or more languages spoken as fir ...
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 and rural dialects still exist, the written language is uniform and
standardized Standardization or standardisation is the process of implementing and developing technical standards based on the consensus of different parties that include firms, users, interest groups, standards organizations and governments. Standardization ...
. Swedish is the most widely spoken
second language A person's second language, or L2, is a language that is not the First language, native language (first language or L1) of the speaker, but is learned later. A second language may be a neighbouring language, another language of the speaker's home ...
in Finland where it has status as co-official language. Swedish was long spoken in parts of
Estonia Estonia, formally the Republic of Estonia, is a country by the Baltic Sea in Northern Europe, Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland across from Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, sea across from Sweden, to ...
, although the current status of the Estonian Swedish speakers is almost extinct. It is also used in the Swedish diaspora, most notably in
Oslo Oslo ( , , or ; sma, Oslove) is the Capital city, capital and List of towns and cities in Norway, most populous city of Norway. It constitutes both a Counties of Norway, county and a Municipalities of Norway, municipality. The municipality o ...
,
Norway Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic countries, Nordic country in Northern Europe, the mainland territory of which comprises the western and northernmost portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula. The remote Arctic island of ...
, with more than 50,000 Swedish residents.


Classification

Swedish is an
Indo-European language The Indo-European languages are a language family native to the languages of Europe, overwhelming majority of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and the northern Indian subcontinent. Some European languages of this family, English language, Englis ...
belonging to the
North Germanic The North Germanic languages make up one of the three branches of the Germanic languages The Germanic languages are a branch of the Indo-European languages, Indo-European language family spoken natively by a population of about 515 millio ...
branch of the
Germanic languages The Germanic languages are a branch of the Indo-European languages, Indo-European language family spoken natively by a population of about 515 million people mainly in Europe, North America, Oceania and Southern Africa. The most widely spoken ...
. In the established classification, it belongs to the East Scandinavian languages, together with Danish, separating it from the
West Scandinavian languages The North Germanic languages make up one of the three branches of the Germanic languages—a sub-family of the Indo-European languages—along with the West Germanic languages and the extinct East Germanic languages. The language group is also r ...
, consisting of Faroese, Icelandic, and Norwegian. However, more recent analyses divide the North Germanic languages into two groups: ''Insular Scandinavian'' (Faroese and Icelandic), and ''Continental Scandinavian'' (Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish), based on mutual intelligibility due to heavy influence of East Scandinavian (particularly Danish) on Norwegian during the last millennium and divergence from both Faroese and Icelandic. By many general criteria of mutual intelligibility, the Continental Scandinavian languages could very well be considered
dialect The term dialect (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) arou ...
s of a common Scandinavian language. However, because of several hundred years of sometimes quite intense rivalry between
Denmark ) , song = ( en, "King Christian stood by the lofty mast") , song_type = National and royal anthem , image_map = EU-Denmark.svg , map_caption = , subdivision_type = Sovereign state , subdivision_name = Danish Realm, Kingdom of Denmark ...
and Sweden, including a long series of wars from the 16th to 18th centuries, and the
nationalist Nationalism is an idea and movement that holds that the nation should be congruent with the State (polity), state. As a movement, nationalism tends to promote the interests of a particular nation (as in a in-group and out-group, group of peo ...
ideas that emerged during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the languages have separate
orthographies An orthography is a set of conventions for writing Writing is a medium of human communication which involves the representation of a language through a system of physically Epigraphy, inscribed, Printing press, mechanically transferred, ...
, dictionaries, grammars, and regulatory bodies. Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish are thus from a linguistic perspective more accurately described as a
dialect continuum A dialect continuum or dialect chain is a series of language varieties spoken across some geographical area such that neighboring varieties are mutually intelligible, but the differences accumulate over distance so that widely separated vari ...
of Scandinavian (North Germanic), and some of the dialects, such as those on the border between Norway and Sweden, especially parts of
Bohuslän Bohuslän (; da, Bohuslen; no, Båhuslen) is a Swedish province in Götaland Götaland (; also '' Geatland'', '' Gothia'', ''Gothland'', ''Gothenland'' or ''Gautland'') is one of three lands of Sweden and comprises ten provinces of Sweden ...
,
Dalsland Dalsland () is a Provinces of Sweden, Swedish traditional province, or ''landskap'', situated in Götaland in southern Sweden. Lying to the west of Vänern, Lake Vänern, it is bordered by Värmland to the north, Västergötland to the southeast ...
, western
Värmland Värmland () also known as Wermeland, is a '' landskap'' (historical province) in west-central Sweden Sweden, formally the Kingdom of Sweden,The United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names states that the country's formal ...
, western
Dalarna Dalarna () is a ''Provinces of Sweden, landskap'' (historical province) in central Sweden. English exonyms for it are Dalecarlia () and the Dales. Dalarna adjoins Härjedalen, Hälsingland, Gästrikland, Västmanland and Värmland. It is also ...
,
Härjedalen Härjedalen (; no, Herjådalen or ) is a historical province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or sovereign state, state. The term derives from the ancient Roman ''Roman province, provincia'', which was ...
,
Jämtland Jämtland (; no, Jemtland or , ; Jamtlandic, Jamtish: ''Jamtlann''; la, Iemptia) is a historical provinces of Sweden, province () in the centre of Sweden in northern Europe. It borders Härjedalen and Medelpad to the south, Ångermanland to t ...
, and
Scania Scania, also known by its native name of Skåne (, ), is the southernmost of the historical provinces of Sweden, provinces (''landskap'') of Sweden. Located in the south tip of the geographical region of Götaland, the province is roughly conte ...
, could be described as intermediate dialects of the national standard languages. Swedish pronunciations also vary greatly from one region to another, a legacy of the vast geographic distances and historical isolation. Even so, the vocabulary is standardized to a level that make dialects within Sweden virtually fully mutually intelligible.


History


Old Norse

In the 8th century, the common Germanic language of Scandinavia,
Proto-Norse Proto-Norse (also called Ancient Nordic, Ancient Scandinavian, Ancient Norse, Primitive Norse, Proto-Nordic, Proto-Scandinavian and Proto-North Germanic) was an Indo-European languages, Indo-European language spoken in Scandinavia that is thou ...
, evolved into Old Norse. This language underwent more changes that did not spread to all of Scandinavia, which resulted in the appearance of two similar dialects: ''Old West Norse'' (Norway, the Faroe Islands and Iceland) and ''Old East Norse'' (Denmark and Sweden). The dialects of Old East Norse spoken in Sweden are called '' Runic Swedish'', while the dialects of Denmark are referred to as ''Runic Danish''. The dialects are described as "runic" because the main body of text appears in the
runic alphabet Runes are the letter (alphabet), letters in a set of related alphabets known as runic alphabets native to the Germanic peoples. Runes were used to write various Germanic languages (with some exceptions) before they adopted the Latin alphabet, a ...
. Unlike Proto-Norse, which was written with the
Elder Futhark The Elder Futhark (or Fuþark), also known as the Older Futhark, Old Futhark, or Germanic Futhark, is the oldest form of the runic alphabets. It was a writing system A writing system is a method of visually representing verbal communicatio ...
alphabet, Old Norse was written with the
Younger Futhark The Younger Futhark, also called Scandinavian runes, is a runic alphabet and a reduced form of the Elder Futhark, with only 16 characters, in use from about the 9th century, after a "transitional period" during the 7th and 8th centuries. The ...
alphabet, which had only 16 letters. Because the number of runes was limited, some runes were used for a range of
phoneme In phonology and linguistics, a phoneme () is a unit of sound that can distinguish one word from another in a particular language. For example, in most List of dialects of English, dialects of English, with the notable exception of the West M ...
s, such as the rune for the vowel ''u'', which was also used for the vowels ''o'', ''ø'' and ''y'', and the rune for ''i'', also used for ''e''.Lars-Erik Edlund, "Språkhistorisk översikt" in From 1200 onwards, the dialects in Denmark began to diverge from those of Sweden. The innovations spread unevenly from Denmark, creating a series of minor dialectal boundaries, or
isogloss An isogloss, also called a heterogloss (see #Etymology, Etymology below), is the geographic boundary of a certain linguistics, linguistic feature, such as the pronunciation of a vowel, the meaning of a word, or the use of some morphological or s ...
es, ranging from
Zealand Zealand ( da, Sjælland ) at 7,031 km2 is the largest and most populous islands of Denmark, island in Denmark proper (thus excluding Greenland and Disko Island, which are larger in size). Zealand had a population of 2,319,705 on 1 January ...
in the south to Norrland, Österbotten and northwestern
Finland Finland ( fi, Suomi ; sv, Finland ), officially the Republic of Finland (; ), is a Nordic country in Northern Europe. It shares land borders with Sweden to the northwest, Norway to the north, and Russia Russia (, , ), or the Ru ...
in the north. An early change that separated Runic Danish from the other dialects of Old East Norse was the change of the
diphthong A diphthong ( ; , ), also known as a gliding vowel, is a combination of two adjacent vowel sounds within the same syllable. Technically, a diphthong is a vowel with two different targets: that is, the tongue (and/or other parts of the speech o ...
''æi'' to the
monophthong A monophthong ( ; , ) is a pure vowel sound, one whose articulation at both beginning and end is relatively fixed, and which does not semivowel, glide up or down towards a new position of articulation. The monophthongs can be contrasted with diph ...
''é'', as in ''stæinn'' to ''sténn'' "stone". This is reflected in runic inscriptions where the older read ''stain'' and the later ''stin''. There was also a change of ''au'' as in ''dauðr'' into a long open ''ø'' as in ''døðr'' "dead". This change is shown in runic inscriptions as a change from ''tauþr'' into ''tuþr''. Moreover, the ''øy'' diphthong changed into a long,
close Close may refer to: Music * Close (Kim Wilde album), ''Close'' (Kim Wilde album), 1988 * Close (Marvin Sapp album), ''Close'' (Marvin Sapp album), 2017 * Close (Sean Bonniwell album), ''Close'' (Sean Bonniwell album), 1969 * Close (Sub Focus song) ...
''ø'', as in the Old Norse word for "island". By the end of the period, these innovations had affected most of the Runic Swedish-speaking area as well, with the exception of the dialects spoken north and east of Mälardalen where the diphthongs still exist in remote areas.


Old Swedish

Old Swedish (Swedish: ''fornsvenska'') is the term used for the
medieval In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted approximately from the late 5th to the late 15th centuries, similar to the post-classical period of global history. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire ...
Swedish language. The start date is usually set to 1225 since this is the year that '' Västgötalagen'' ("the Västgöta Law") is believed to have been compiled for the first time. It is among the most important documents of the period written in
Latin script The Latin script, also known as Roman script, is an alphabetic writing system based on the letters of the classical Latin alphabet, derived from a form of the Greek alphabet which was in use in the ancient Greece, Greek city of Cumae, in southe ...
and the oldest Swedish law codes. Old Swedish is divided into ''äldre fornsvenska'' (1225–1375) and ''yngre fornsvenska'' (1375–1526), "older" and "younger" Old Swedish. Important outside influences during this time came with the firm establishment of the
Christian church In ecclesiology, the Christian Church is what different Christian denominations conceive of as being the true body of Christians or the original institution established by Jesus Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yē ...
and various
monastic Monasticism (from Ancient Greek , , from , , 'alone'), also referred to as monachism, or monkhood, is a religion, religious way of life in which one renounces world (theology), worldly pursuits to devote oneself fully to spiritual work. Monastic ...
orders, introducing many
Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group. *Greek language, a branch of the Indo-European language family. **Proto-Greek language, the assumed last common ancestor ...
and
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around present-day Rome, but through ...
loanwords. With the rise of Hanseatic power in the late 13th and early 14th century,
Middle Low German Middle Low German or Middle Saxon (autonym: ''Sassisch'', i.e. "Saxon", Standard German, Standard High German: ', Dutch language, Modern Dutch: ') is a developmental stage of Low German. It developed from the Old Saxon language in the Middle ...
became very influential. The Hanseatic league provided Swedish commerce and administration with a large number of
Low German : : : : : (70,000) (30,000) (8,000) , familycolor = Indo-European , fam2 = Germanic , fam3 = West Germanic , fam4 = North Sea Germanic , ancestor = Old Saxon Old Saxon, also known as ...
-speaking immigrants. Many became quite influential members of Swedish medieval society, and brought terms from their native languages into the vocabulary. Besides a great number of loanwords for such areas as warfare, trade and administration, general grammatical suffixes and even conjunctions were imported. The League also brought a certain measure of influence from Danish (at the time much more similar than today's language).Lars-Erik Edlund, "Språkhistorisk översikt" in Early Old Swedish was markedly different from the modern language in that it had a more complex
case Case or CASE may refer to: Containers * Case (goods) A case of some merchandise is a collection of items packaged together. A case is not a strict unit of measure. For consumer foodstuff such as canned goods, soft drink, soda, cereal, and suc ...
structure and also retained the original Germanic three-
gender Gender is the range of characteristics pertaining to femininity and masculinity and differentiating between them. Depending on the context, this may include sex-based social structures (i.e. gender roles) and gender identity. Most cultures us ...
system.
Noun A noun () is a word that generally functions as the name of a specific object or set of objects, such as living creatures, places, actions, qualities, states of existence, or ideas.Example nouns for: * Organism, Living creatures (including people ...
s,
adjective An adjective (list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ) is a word that describes a noun or noun phrase. Its semantic role is to change information given by the noun. Traditionally, adjectives were considered one of the main part of speech, par ...
s,
pronoun In linguistics and grammar, a pronoun (list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ) is a word or a group of words that one may substitute for a noun or noun phrase. Pronouns have traditionally been regarded as one of the part of speech, parts o ...
s and certain numerals were inflected in four cases; besides the extant
nominative In grammar, the nominative case (list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ), subjective case, straight case or upright case is one of the grammatical cases of a noun or other part of speech, which generally marks the subject (grammar), subject ...
, there were also the
genitive In grammar, the genitive case (list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ) is the grammatical case that marks a word, usually a noun, as modifying another word, also usually a noun—thus indicating an attributive noun, attributive relationshi ...
(later
possessive A possessive or ktetic form (Glossing abbreviation, abbreviated or ; from la, possessivus; grc, κτητικός, translit=ktētikós) is a word or grammatical construction used to indicate a relationship of possession (linguistics), possessio ...
),
dative In grammar, the dative case (list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated , or sometimes when it is a core argument) is a grammatical case used in some languages to indicate the recipient or beneficiary of an action, as in "Maria Jacobo potum dedit ...
and
accusative The accusative case ( abbreviated ) of a noun A noun () is a word that generally functions as the name of a specific object or set of objects, such as living creatures, places, actions, qualities, states of existence, or ideas.Example nouns for ...
. The gender system resembled that of modern German, having masculine, feminine and neuter genders. The masculine and feminine genders were later merged into a ''common gender'' with the definite suffix ''-en'' and the
definite article An article is any member of a class of dedicated words that are used with noun phrases to mark the identifiability of the referents of the noun phrases. The category of articles constitutes a part of speech. In English language, English, both " ...
''den'', in contrast with the neuter gender equivalents ''-et'' and ''det''. The verb system was also more complex: it included
subjunctive The subjunctive (also known as conjunctive in some languages) is a grammatical mood, a feature of the utterance that indicates the speaker's attitude towards it. Subjunctive forms of verbs are typically used to express various states of unreality s ...
and imperative moods and verbs were conjugated according to
person A person (plural, : people) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness or self-consciousness, and being a part of a culturally established form of social relations such as kinship, ownership of pr ...
as well as
number A number is a mathematical object used to count, measure, and label. The original examples are the natural numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and so forth. Numbers can be represented in language with number words. More universally, individual numbers can ...
. By the 16th century, the case and gender systems of the colloquial spoken language and the profane literature had been largely reduced to the two cases and two genders of modern Swedish. A transitional change of the Latin script in the Nordic countries was to spell the letter combination "ae" as æ – and sometimes as a' – though it varied between persons and regions. The combination "ao" was similarly rendered ao, and "oe" became oe. These three were later to evolve into the separate letters ä, å and ö. The first time the new letters were used in print was in ''Aff dyäffwlsens frästilse'' ("By the Devil's temptation") published by Johan Gerson in 1495.


Modern Swedish

Modern Swedish (Swedish: ''nysvenska'') begins with the advent of the
printing press A printing press is a mechanical device for applying pressure to an inked surface resting upon a printing, print medium (such as paper or cloth), thereby transferring the ink. It marked a dramatic improvement on earlier printing methods in wh ...
and the European
Reformation The Reformation (alternatively named the Protestant Reformation or the European Reformation) was a major movement within Western Christianity in 16th-century Europe that posed a religious and political challenge to the Catholic Church and in ...
. After assuming power, the new monarch
Gustav Vasa Gustav I, born Gustav Eriksson of the House of Vasa, Vasa Swedish nobility, noble family and later known as Gustav Vasa (12 May 1496 – 29 September 1560), was King of Sweden from 1523 until his death in 1560, previously self-recognised Prot ...
ordered a Swedish translation of the
Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek , , 'the books') is a collection of religious texts or scriptures that are held to be sacredness, sacred in Christianity, Judaism, Samaritanism, and many other religions. The Bible is an anthologya compilation of ...
. The
New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Christian biblical canon. It discusses the teachings and person of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus, as ...
was published in 1526, followed by a full
Bible translation The Bible has been translation, translated into Bible translations by language, many languages from the biblical languages of Biblical Hebrew, Hebrew, Biblical Aramaic, Aramaic, and Koine Greek, Greek. all of the Bible has been translated into ...
in 1541, usually referred to as the '' Gustav Vasa Bible'', a translation deemed so successful and influential that, with revisions incorporated in successive editions, it remained the most common Bible translation until 1917. The main translators were Laurentius Andreæ and the brothers Laurentius and
Olaus Petri Olof Persson, sometimes Petersson (6 January 1493 – 19 April 1552), better known under the Latinisation of names, Latin form of his name, Olaus Petri (or less commonly, Olavus Petri), was a clergyman, writer, judge, and major contributor to the ...
. The Vasa Bible is often considered to be a reasonable compromise between old and new; while not adhering to the colloquial spoken language of its day, it was not overly conservative in its use of archaic forms. It was a major step towards a more consistent Swedish orthography. It established the use of the vowels "å", "ä", and "ö", and the spelling "ck" in place of "kk", distinguishing it clearly from the Danish Bible, perhaps intentionally, given the ongoing rivalry between the countries. All three translators came from central Sweden, which is generally seen as adding specific Central Swedish features to the new Bible. Though it might seem as if the Bible translation set a very powerful precedent for orthographic standards, spelling actually became more inconsistent during the remainder of the century. It was not until the 17th century that spelling began to be discussed, around the time when the first grammars were written.
Capitalization Capitalization (American English) or capitalisation (British English) is writing a word with its first Letter (alphabet), letter as a capital letter (uppercase letter) and the remaining letters in lower case, in writing systems with a Letter cas ...
during this time was not standardized. It depended on the authors and their background. Those influenced by German capitalized all nouns, while others capitalized more sparsely. It is also not always apparent which letters are capitalized owing to the Gothic or
blackletter Blackletter (sometimes black letter), also known as Gothic script, Gothic minuscule, or Textura, was a script used throughout Western Europe from approximately 1150 until the 17th century. It continued to be commonly used for the Danish, Norweg ...
typeface that was used to print the Bible. This typeface was in use until the mid-18th century, when it was gradually replaced with a Latin typeface (often antiqua). Some important changes in sound during the Modern Swedish period were the gradual assimilation of several different consonant clusters into the
fricative A fricative is a consonant manner of articulation, produced by forcing air through a narrow channel made by placing two Place of articulation, articulators close together. These may be the lower lip against the upper teeth, in the case of ; the ba ...
and later into . There was also the gradual softening of and into and the
fricative A fricative is a consonant manner of articulation, produced by forcing air through a narrow channel made by placing two Place of articulation, articulators close together. These may be the lower lip against the upper teeth, in the case of ; the ba ...
before
front vowel A front vowel is a class of vowel sounds used in some spoken languages, its defining characteristic being that the highest point of the tongue is positioned as far forward as possible in the mouth without creating a constriction that would otherw ...
s. The
velar fricative A velar fricative is a fricative consonant produced at the velar place of articulation. It is possible to distinguish the following kinds of velar fricatives: *Voiced velar fricative, a consonant sound written as in the International Phonetic Alph ...
was also transformed into the corresponding
plosive In phonetics, a plosive, also known as an occlusive or simply a stop, is a pulmonic consonant in which the vocal tract is manner of articulation, blocked so that all airstream mechanism, airflow ceases. The occlusion may be made with the tongu ...
.


Contemporary Swedish

The period that includes Swedish as it is spoken today is termed ''nusvenska'' (lit., "Now-Swedish") in linguistics, and started in the last decades of the 19th century. It saw a democratization of the language with a less formal written form that approached the spoken one. The growth of a public school system also led to the evolution of so-called ''boksvenska'' (literally, "book Swedish"), especially among the working classes, where spelling to some extent influenced pronunciation, particularly in official contexts. With the industrialization and urbanization of Sweden well under way by the last decades of the 19th century, a new breed of authors made their mark on
Swedish literature Swedish literature () refers to literature written in the Swedish language or by writers from Sweden. The first literary text from Sweden is the Rök runestone, carved during the Viking Age circa 800 AD. With the conversion of the land to Chris ...
. Many scholars, politicians and other public figures had a great influence on the emerging national language, among them prolific authors like the poet Gustaf Fröding, Nobel laureate Selma Lagerlöf, and radical writer and playwright
August Strindberg Johan August Strindberg (, ; 22 January 184914 May 1912) was a Swedish people, Swedish playwright, novelist, poet, essayist and painter.Lane (1998), 1040. A prolific writer who often drew directly on his personal experience, Strindberg wrote mo ...
. It was during the 20th century that a common, standardized national language became available to all Swedes. The orthography finally stabilized and became almost completely uniform, with some minor deviations, by the time of the spelling reform of 1906. With the exception of plural forms of verbs and a slightly different syntax, particularly in the written language, the language was the same as the Swedish of today. The plural verb forms appeared decreasingly in formal writing into the 1950s, when their use was removed from all official recommendations. A very significant change in Swedish occurred in the late 1960s, with the so-called '' du-reformen'', "the you-reform". Previously, the proper way to address people of the same or higher social status had been by title and surname. The use of ''herr'' ("Mr" or "Sir"), ''fru'' ("Mrs" or "Ma'am") or ''fröken'' ("Miss") was considered the only acceptable way to begin conversation with strangers of unknown occupation, academic title or military rank. The fact that the listener should preferably be referred to in the third person tended to further complicate spoken communication between members of society. In the early 20th century, an unsuccessful attempt was made to replace the insistence on titles with ''ni''—the standard second person plural pronoun)—analogous to the French ''vous''. (Cf. T-V distinction.) ''Ni'' wound up being used as a slightly less familiar form of ''du'', the singular second person pronoun, used to address people of lower social status. With the liberalization and radicalization of Swedish society in the 1950s and 1960s, these class distinctions became less important, and ''du'' became the standard, even in formal and official contexts. Though the reform was not an act of any centralized political decree, but rather the result of sweeping change in social attitudes, it was completed in just a few years, from the late 1960s to early 1970s. The use of ''ni'' as a polite form of address is sometimes encountered today in both the written and spoken language, particularly among older speakers.


Geographic distribution

Swedish is the sole official national language of
Sweden Sweden, formally the Kingdom of Sweden,The United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names states that the country's formal name is the Kingdom of SwedenUNGEGN World Geographical Names, Sweden./ref> is a Nordic countries, Nordic c ...
, and one of two in Finland (alongside Finnish). As of 2006, it was the sole native language of 83% of Swedish residents. In 2007 around 5.5% (c. 290,000) of the population of Finland were native speakers of Swedish,Population structure
Statistics Finland Statistics Finland ( fi, Tilastokeskus, sv, Statistikcentralen) is the national statistical institution in Finland Finland ( fi, Suomi ; sv, Finland ), officially the Republic of Finland (; ), is a Nordic country in Northern Europe. ...
(29 March 2007). Retrieved on 27 November 2007.
partially due to a decline following the Russian annexation of Finland after the
Finnish War The Finnish War ( sv, Finska kriget, russian: Финляндская война, fi, Suomen sota) was fought between the Gustavian era, Kingdom of Sweden and the Russian Empire from 21 February 1808 to 17 September 1809 as part of the Napoleonic ...
1808–1809. The
Finland Swedish Finland Swedish or Fenno-Swedish ( sv, finlandssvenska; fi, suomenruotsi) is a general term for the Variety (linguistics), variety of the Swedish language and a closely related group of Swedish dialects spoken in Finland by the Swedish-speaking ...
minority is concentrated in the coastal areas and
archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster, or collection of islands, or sometimes a sea containing a small number of scattered islands. Examples of archipelagos include: the List of islands ...
s of southern and western Finland. In some of these areas, Swedish is the predominant language; in 19
municipalities A municipality is usually a single administrative division Administrative division, administrative unit,Article 3(1). country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, constituent state, as well as many similar terms, are ge ...
, 16 of which are located in
Åland Åland ( fi, Ahvenanmaa: ; ; ) is an Federacy, autonomous and Demilitarized zone, demilitarised region of Finland since 1920 by a decision of the League of Nations. It is the smallest region of Finland by area and population, with a size of 1 ...
, Swedish is the sole official language. Åland county is an autonomous region of Finland. According to a rough estimation, as of 2010 there were up to 300,000 Swedish-speakers living outside Sweden and Finland. The largest populations were in the United States (up to 100,000), the UK, Spain and Germany (c. 30,000 each) and a large proportion of the remaining 100,000 in the Scandinavian countries, France, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Canada and Australia. Over 3 million people speak Swedish as a second language, with about 2,410,000 of those in Finland. According to a survey by the
European Commission The European Commission (EC) is the Executive (government), executive of the European Union (EU). It operates as a cabinet government, with 27 European Commissioner, members of the Commission (informally known as "Commissioners") headed by a P ...
, 44% of respondents from Finland who did not have Swedish as a native language considered themselves to be proficient enough in Swedish to hold a conversation. Due to the close relation between the Scandinavian languages, a considerable proportion of speakers of Danish and especially Norwegian are able to understand Swedish. There is considerable migration between the
Nordic countries The Nordic countries (also known as the Nordics or ''Norden''; literal translation, lit. 'the North') are a geographical and cultural region in Northern Europe and the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It includes the sovereign states of Denmar ...
, but owing to the similarity between the cultures and languages (with the exception of Finnish), expatriates generally assimilate quickly and do not stand out as a group. According to the 2000 United States Census, some 67,000 people over the age of five were reported as Swedish speakers, though without any information on the degree of language proficiency. Similarly, there were 16,915 reported Swedish speakers in Canada from the 2001 census. Although there are no certain numbers, some 40,000 Swedes are estimated to live in the London area in the United Kingdom. Outside Sweden and Finland, there are about 40,000 active learners enrolled in Swedish language courses.


Official status

Swedish is the official main language of Sweden. Swedish is also one of two official languages of Finland. In Sweden, it has long been used in local and state government, and most of the educational system, but remained only a ''de facto'' primary language with no official status in law until 2009. A bill was proposed in 2005 that would have made Swedish an official language, but failed to pass by the narrowest possible margin (145–147) due to a pairing-off failure. A proposal for a broader language law, designating Swedish as the main language of the country and bolstering the status of the minority languages, was submitted by an expert committee to the Swedish Ministry of Culture in March 2008. It was subsequently enacted by the
Riksdag The Riksdag (, ; also sv, riksdagen or ''Sveriges riksdag'' ) is the legislature and the Parliamentary sovereignty, supreme decision-making body of Sweden. Since 1971, the Riksdag has been a unicameral legislature with List of members of th ...
, and entered into effect on 1 July 2009. Swedish is the sole official language of
Åland Åland ( fi, Ahvenanmaa: ; ; ) is an Federacy, autonomous and Demilitarized zone, demilitarised region of Finland since 1920 by a decision of the League of Nations. It is the smallest region of Finland by area and population, with a size of 1 ...
(an
autonomous In developmental psychology and morality, moral, political, and bioethics, bioethical philosophy, autonomy, from , ''autonomos'', from αὐτο- ''auto-'' "self" and νόμος ''nomos'', "law", hence when combined understood to mean "one who g ...
province under the
sovereignty Sovereignty is the defining authority within individual consciousness, Social constructionism, social construct, or territory. Sovereignty entails hierarchy within the state, as well as external autonomy for states. In any state, sovereignty i ...
of Finland), where the vast majority of the 26,000 inhabitants speak Swedish as a first language. In Finland as a whole, Swedish is one of the two "national" languages, with the same official status as Finnish (spoken by the majority) at the state level and an official language in some
municipalities A municipality is usually a single administrative division Administrative division, administrative unit,Article 3(1). country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, constituent state, as well as many similar terms, are ge ...
. Swedish is one of the official languages of the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a supranational union, supranational political union, political and economic union of Member state of the European Union, member states that are located primarily in Europe, Europe. The union has a total area of ...
, and one of the working languages of the
Nordic Council The Nordic Council is the official body for formal inter-parliamentary Nordic cooperation among the Nordic countries. Formed in 1952, it has 87 representatives from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden as well as from the autonomou ...
. Under the Nordic Language Convention, citizens of the
Nordic countries The Nordic countries (also known as the Nordics or ''Norden''; literal translation, lit. 'the North') are a geographical and cultural region in Northern Europe and the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It includes the sovereign states of Denmar ...
speaking Swedish have the opportunity to use their native language when interacting with official bodies in other Nordic countries without being liable for interpretation or translation costs.


Regulatory bodies

The Swedish Language Council (''Språkrådet'') is the regulator of Swedish in Sweden but does not attempt to enforce control of the language, as for instance the ''
Académie française An academy (Attic Greek: Ἀκαδήμεια; Koine Greek Ἀκαδημία) is an institution of secondary education, secondary or tertiary education, tertiary higher education, higher learning (and generally also research or honorary membershi ...
'' does for French. However, many organizations and agencies require the use of the council's publication ''Svenska skrivregler'' in official contexts, with it otherwise being regarded as a ''de facto'' orthographic standard. Among the many organizations that make up the Swedish Language Council, the
Swedish Academy The Swedish Academy ( sv, Svenska Akademien), founded in 1786 by King Gustav III of Sweden, Gustav III, is one of the Swedish Royal Academies, Royal Academies of Sweden. Its 18 members, who are elected for life, comprise the highest Swedish lang ...
(established 1786) is arguably the most influential. Its primary instruments are the spelling dictionary '' Svenska Akademiens ordlista'' (''SAOL'', currently in its 14th edition) and the dictionary ''
Svenska Akademiens Ordbok A complete set of ''Svenska Akademiens ordbok'', as of late 2014. The majority of the volumes remain unbound in this set. ''Svenska Akademiens ordbok'' (), abbreviated SAOB, is a dictionary A dictionary is a listing of lexemes from the lex ...
'', in addition to various books on grammar, spelling and manuals of style. Although the dictionaries have a
prescriptive Linguistic prescription, or prescriptive grammar, is the establishment of rules defining preferred usage The usage of a language is the ways in which its written language, written and spoken language, spoken variations are routinely employed ...
element, they mainly describe current usage. In Finland, a special branch of the
Research Institute for the Languages of Finland The Institute for the Languages of Finland,, from which the shortened name ''Kotus'' is derived, smn, Päikkieennâm kielâi tutkâmkuávdáš, se, Ruovttueatnan gielaid guovddáš, sms, Dommjânnmlaž ǩiõli kõõskõs, rom, Finnosko tšimbe ...
has official status as the regulatory body for Swedish in Finland. Among its highest priorities is to maintain intelligibility with the language spoken in Sweden. It has published ''Finlandssvensk ordbok'', a dictionary about the differences between Swedish in Finland and Sweden.


Language minorities in Estonia and Ukraine

From the 13th to 20th century, there were Swedish-speaking communities in Estonia, particularly on the islands (e. g.,
Hiiumaa Hiiumaa (, ) is the second largest island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atolls can be called ...
, Vormsi,
Ruhnu Ruhnu ( sv, Runö; german: Runö; lv, Roņu sala) is an Estonian island in the Gulf of Riga in the Baltic Sea. It is administratively part of Saare County but is geographically closer to the Latvian mainland. At , it has currently fewer than 100 ...
; in Swedish, known as ''Dagö'', ''Ormsö'', ''Runö'', respectively) along the coast of the Baltic, communities that today have all disappeared. The Swedish-speaking minority was represented in
parliament In modern politics, and history, a parliament is a legislative body of government. Generally, a modern parliament has three functions: Representation (politics), representing the Election#Suffrage, electorate, making laws, and overseeing ...
, and entitled to use their native language in parliamentary debates. After the loss of Estonia to the
Russian Empire The Russian Empire was an empire and the final period of the List of Russian monarchs, Russian monarchy from 1721 to 1917, ruling across large parts of Eurasia. It succeeded the Tsardom of Russia following the Treaty of Nystad, which ended th ...
in the early 18th century, around 1,000 Estonian Swedish speakers were forced to march to southern
Ukraine Ukraine ( uk, Україна, Ukraïna, ) is a country in Eastern Europe. It is the List of European countries by area, second-largest European country after Russia, which it borders Russia–Ukraine border, to the east and northeast. Ukraine ...
, where they founded a village, '' Gammalsvenskby'' ("Old Swedish Village"). A few elderly people in the village still speak a Swedish dialect and observe the holidays of the Swedish calendar, although their dialect is most likely facing extinction. From 1918 to 1940, when Estonia was independent, the small Swedish community was well treated. Municipalities with a Swedish majority, mainly found along the coast, used Swedish as the administrative language and Swedish-Estonian culture saw an upswing. However, most Swedish-speaking people fled to Sweden before the end of
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the World War II by country, vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great power ...
, that is, before the invasion of Estonia by the Soviet army in 1944. Only a handful of speakers remain.


Phonology

Swedish dialects have either 17 or 18 vowel
phoneme In phonology and linguistics, a phoneme () is a unit of sound that can distinguish one word from another in a particular language. For example, in most List of dialects of English, dialects of English, with the notable exception of the West M ...
s, 9 long and 9 short. As in the other Germanic languages, including English, most long vowels are phonetically paired with one of the short vowels, and the pairs are such that the two vowels are of similar quality, but with the short vowel being slightly lower and slightly centralized. In contrast to e.g. Danish, which has only tense vowels, the short vowels are slightly more lax, but the tense vs. lax contrast is not nearly as pronounced as in English, German or Dutch. In many dialects, the short vowel sound pronounced or has merged with the short (transcribed in the chart below).; There are 18 consonant phonemes, two of which, and , vary considerably in pronunciation depending on the dialect and social status of the speaker. In many dialects, sequences of (pronounced alveolarly) with a dental consonant result in
retroflex consonant A retroflex ( /ˈɹɛtʃɹoːflɛks/), apico-domal ( /əpɪkoːˈdɔmɪnəl/), or cacuminal () consonant is a coronal consonant where the tongue has a flat, concave, or even curled shape, and is articulated between the alveolar ridge and the ...
s; alveolarity of the pronunciation of is a precondition for this retroflexion. has a
guttural Guttural speech sounds are those with a primary place of articulation In articulatory phonetics, the place of articulation (also point of articulation) of a consonant is a location along the vocal tract where its production occurs. It is a poi ...
or "French R" pronunciation in the South Swedish dialects; consequently, these dialects lack
retroflex consonant A retroflex ( /ˈɹɛtʃɹoːflɛks/), apico-domal ( /əpɪkoːˈdɔmɪnəl/), or cacuminal () consonant is a coronal consonant where the tongue has a flat, concave, or even curled shape, and is articulated between the alveolar ridge and the ...
s. Swedish is a stress-timed language, where the time intervals between stressed syllables are equal. However, when casually spoken, it tends to be
syllable-timed Isochrony is the postulated rhythmic division of time into equal portions by a language. Rhythm is an aspect of prosody (linguistics), prosody, others being intonation (linguistics), intonation, stress (linguistics), stress, and tempo of speech. T ...
. Any stressed syllable carries one of two tones, which gives Swedish much of its characteristic sound. Prosody is often one of the most noticeable differences between dialects.


Grammar

The standard word order is, as in most
Germanic languages The Germanic languages are a branch of the Indo-European languages, Indo-European language family spoken natively by a population of about 515 million people mainly in Europe, North America, Oceania and Southern Africa. The most widely spoken ...
, V2, which means that the
finite verb Traditionally, a finite verb (from la, fīnītus, past participle of to put an end to, bound, limit) is the form "to which Grammatical number, number and Grammatical person, person appertain", in other words, those Morpheme, inflected for grammat ...
(V) appears in the second position (2) of a declarative main clause. Swedish morphology is similar to English; that is, words have comparatively few
inflections In linguistic Morphology (linguistics), morphology, inflection (or wikt:inflexion#English, inflexion) is a process of word formation in which a word is modified to express different grammatical category, grammatical categories such as grammati ...
. Swedish has two genders and is generally seen to have two grammatical cases
nominative In grammar, the nominative case (list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ), subjective case, straight case or upright case is one of the grammatical cases of a noun or other part of speech, which generally marks the subject (grammar), subject ...
and
genitive In grammar, the genitive case (list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ) is the grammatical case that marks a word, usually a noun, as modifying another word, also usually a noun—thus indicating an attributive noun, attributive relationshi ...
(except for pronouns that, as in English, also are inflected in the
object Object may refer to: General meanings * Object (philosophy) An object is a philosophy, philosophical term often used in contrast to the term ''Subject (philosophy), subject''. A subject is an observer and an object is a thing observed. For mo ...
form) – although it is debated if the genitive in Swedish should be seen as a genitive case or just the nominative plus the so-called genitive ''s'', then seen as a
clitic In Morphology (linguistics), morphology and syntax, a clitic (, Back-formation, backformed from Ancient Greek, Greek "leaning" or "enclitic"Crystal, David. ''A First Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics''. Boulder, CO: Westview, 1980. Print.) ...
. Swedish has two
grammatical number In linguistics, grammatical number is a grammatical category of nouns, pronouns, adjectives and verb agreement that expresses count distinctions (such as "one", "two" or "three or more"). English and other languages present number categories ...
s –
plural The plural (sometimes list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated pl., pl, or ), in many languages, is one of the values of the grammatical number, grammatical category of number. The plural of a noun typically denotes a quantity greater than the ...
and
singular Singular may refer to: * Singular, the grammatical number that denotes a unit quantity, as opposed to the plural and other forms * Singular homology * SINGULAR, an open source Computer Algebra System (CAS) * Singular or sounder, a group of boar, s ...
.
Adjectives An adjective ( abbreviated ) is a word that describes a noun or noun phrase. Its semantic role is to change information given by the noun. Traditionally, adjectives were considered one of the main parts of speech of the English language, althou ...
have discrete comparative and superlative forms and are also inflected according to gender, number and
definiteness In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. It is called a scientific study because it entails a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise analysis of all aspects of language, particularly its nature and ...
. The definiteness of nouns is marked primarily through
suffixes In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. It is called a scientific study because it entails a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise analysis of all aspects of language, particularly its nature and s ...
(endings), complemented with separate definite and indefinite articles. The prosody features both stress and in most dialects tonal qualities. The language has a comparatively large
vowel A vowel is a Syllable, syllabic speech sound pronounced without any stricture in the vocal tract. Vowels are one of the two principal classes of speech sounds, the other being the consonant. Vowels vary in quality, in loudness and also in Vowel ...
inventory. Swedish is also notable for the voiceless dorso-palatal velar fricative, a highly variable consonant
phoneme In phonology and linguistics, a phoneme () is a unit of sound that can distinguish one word from another in a particular language. For example, in most List of dialects of English, dialects of English, with the notable exception of the West M ...
. Swedish
noun A noun () is a word that generally functions as the name of a specific object or set of objects, such as living creatures, places, actions, qualities, states of existence, or ideas.Example nouns for: * Organism, Living creatures (including people ...
s and
adjective An adjective (list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ) is a word that describes a noun or noun phrase. Its semantic role is to change information given by the noun. Traditionally, adjectives were considered one of the main part of speech, par ...
s are declined in genders as well as
number A number is a mathematical object used to count, measure, and label. The original examples are the natural numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and so forth. Numbers can be represented in language with number words. More universally, individual numbers can ...
. Nouns are of
common gender In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. It is called a scientific study because it entails a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise analysis of all aspects of language, particularly its nature an ...
(''en'' form) or
neuter gender In linguistics, grammatical gender system is a specific form of noun class system, where nouns are assigned with gender categories that are often not related to their real-world qualities. In languages with grammatical gender, most or all nouns ...
(''ett'' form). The gender determines the declension of the
adjective An adjective (list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ) is a word that describes a noun or noun phrase. Its semantic role is to change information given by the noun. Traditionally, adjectives were considered one of the main part of speech, par ...
s. For example, the word ''fisk'' ("fish") is a noun of common gender (''en fisk'') and can have the following forms: The definite singular form of a noun is created by adding a suffix (''-en'', ''-n'', ''-et'' or ''-t''), depending on its gender and if the noun ends in a vowel or not. The definite articles ''den'', ''det'', and ''de'' are used for variations to the definitiveness of a noun. They can double as
demonstrative Demonstratives (list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ) are words, such as ''this'' and ''that'', used to indicate which entities are being referred to and to distinguish those entities from others. They are typically deictic; their meaning ...
pronoun In linguistics and grammar, a pronoun (list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ) is a word or a group of words that one may substitute for a noun or noun phrase. Pronouns have traditionally been regarded as one of the part of speech, parts o ...
s or demonstrative determiners when used with
adverb An adverb is a word or an expression that generally modifies a verb A verb () is a word (part of speech) that in syntax generally conveys an action (''bring'', ''read'', ''walk'', ''run'', ''learn''), an occurrence (''happen'', ''become''), or ...
s such as ''här'' ("here") or ''där'' ("there") to form ''den/det här (can also be "denna/detta")'' ("this"), ''de här (can also be "dessa")'' ("these"), ''den/det där'' ("that"), and ''de där'' ("those"). For example, ''den där fisken'' means "that fish" and refers to a specific fish; ''den fisken'' is less definite and means "that fish" in a more abstract sense, such as that set of fish; while ''fisken'' means "the fish". In certain cases, the definite form indicates possession, e. g., ''jag måste tvätta håret'' ("I must wash ''my'' hair").
Adjective An adjective (list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ) is a word that describes a noun or noun phrase. Its semantic role is to change information given by the noun. Traditionally, adjectives were considered one of the main part of speech, par ...
s are inflected in two declensions – indefinite and definite – and they must match the noun they modify in gender and number. The indefinite neuter and plural forms of an adjective are usually created by adding a suffix (''-t'' or ''-a'') to the common form of the adjective, e. g., ''en grön stol'' (a green chair), ''ett grönt hus'' (a green house), and ''gröna stolar'' ("green chairs"). The definite form of an adjective is identical to the indefinite plural form, e. g., ''den gröna stolen'' ("the green chair"), ''det gröna huset'' ("the green house"), and ''de gröna stolarna'' ("the green chairs"). Swedish
pronoun In linguistics and grammar, a pronoun (list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ) is a word or a group of words that one may substitute for a noun or noun phrase. Pronouns have traditionally been regarded as one of the part of speech, parts o ...
s are similar to those of English. Besides the two natural genders ''han'' and ''hon'' ("he" and "she"), there are also the two
grammatical gender In linguistics, grammatical gender system is a specific form of noun class system, where nouns are assigned with gender categories that are often not related to their real-world qualities. In languages with grammatical gender, most or all nouns ...
s ''den'' and ''det'', usually termed common and neuter. In recent years, a
gender-neutral Gender neutrality (adjective form: gender-neutral), also known as gender-neutralism or the gender neutrality movement, is the idea that policies, Gender-neutral language, language, and other social institutions (social structures or gender roles) ...
pronoun ''hen'' has been introduced, particularly in literary Swedish. Unlike the nouns, pronouns have an additional
object Object may refer to: General meanings * Object (philosophy) An object is a philosophy, philosophical term often used in contrast to the term ''Subject (philosophy), subject''. A subject is an observer and an object is a thing observed. For mo ...
form, derived from the old
dative In grammar, the dative case (list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated , or sometimes when it is a core argument) is a grammatical case used in some languages to indicate the recipient or beneficiary of an action, as in "Maria Jacobo potum dedit ...
form. ''Hon'', for example, has the following nominative, possessive, and object forms: :''hon'' – ''hennes'' – ''henne'' Swedish also uses third-person possessive
reflexive pronoun A reflexive pronoun is a pronoun that refers to another noun or pronoun (its antecedent) within the same sentence. In the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language of the Indo-European language ...
s that refer to the subject in a clause, a trait that is restricted to North Germanic languages: :''Anna gav Maria sin bok.''; "Anna gave Maria her nna'sbook." (reflexive) :''Anna gav Maria hennes bok.''; "Anna gave Maria her aria'sbook." (not reflexive) Swedish used to have a
genitive In grammar, the genitive case (list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ) is the grammatical case that marks a word, usually a noun, as modifying another word, also usually a noun—thus indicating an attributive noun, attributive relationshi ...
that was placed at the end of the head of a noun phrase. In modern Swedish, it has become an
enclitic In morphology and syntax In linguistics, syntax () is the study of how words and morphemes combine to form larger units such as phrases and sentence (linguistics), sentences. Central concerns of syntax include word order, grammatical relation ...
''-s'', which attaches to the end of the noun phrase, rather than the noun itself. :''hästen''; "the horse" – ''hästens'' "the horse's" :''hästen på den blommande ängens svarta man''; "the horse in the flowering meadow's black mane" In formal written language, it used to be considered correct to place the genitive ''-s'' after the head of the noun phrase (''hästen''), though this is today considered dated, and different grammatical constructions are often used. Verbs are conjugated according to tense. One group of verbs (the ones ending in ''-er'' in present tense) has a special imperative form (generally the verb
stem Stem or STEM may refer to: Plant structures * Plant stem, a plant's aboveground axis, made of vascular tissue, off which leaves and flowers hang * Stipe (botany), a stalk to support some other structure * Stipe (mycology), the stem of a mushro ...
), but with most verbs the imperative is identical to the
infinitive Infinitive (list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ) is a linguistics term for certain verb forms existing in many languages, most often used as non-finite verbs. As with many linguistic concepts, there is not a single definition applicable to ...
form. Perfect and
present The present (or here'' and ''now) is the time Time is the continued sequence of existence and event (philosophy), events that occurs in an apparently irreversible process, irreversible succession from the past, through the present, into ...
participle In linguistics, a participle () (from Latin ' a "sharing, partaking") is a nonfinite verb, nonfinite verb form that has some of the characteristics and functions of both verbs and adjectives. More narrowly, ''participle'' has been defined as "a wo ...
s as adjectival verbs are very common: :Perfect participle: ''en stekt fisk''; "a fried fish" (steka = to fry) :Present participle: ''en stinkande fisk''; "a stinking fish" (stinka = to stink) In contrast to English and many other languages, Swedish does not use the perfect participle to form the present perfect and past perfect. Rather, the
auxiliary verb An auxiliary verb (list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ) is a verb that adds functional or grammatical meaning to the clause (linguistics), clause in which it occurs, so as to express grammatical tense, tense, Grammatical aspect, aspect, L ...
''har'' ("have"), ''hade'' ("had") is followed by a special form, called the
supine In grammar In linguistics, the grammar of a natural language is its set of structure, structural constraints on speakers' or writers' composition of clause (linguistics), clauses, phrases, and words. The term can also refer to the study of ...
, used solely for this purpose (although often identical to the neuter form of the perfect participle): :Perfect participle: ''målad'', "painted" – supine ''målat'', present perfect ''har målat''; "have painted" :Perfect participle: ''stekt'', "fried" – supine ''stekt'', present perfect ''har stekt''; "have fried" :Perfect participle: ''skriven'', "written" – supine ''skrivit'', present perfect ''har skrivit''; "have written" When building the compound passive voice using the verb ''att bli'', the past participle is used: :''den blir målad''; "it's being painted" :''den blev målad''; "it was painted" There exists also an inflected passive voice formed by adding ''-s'', replacing the final ''r'' in the present tense: :''den målas''; "it's being painted" :''den målades''; "it was painted" In a subordinate
clause In language, a clause is a Constituent (linguistics), constituent that comprises a semantic predicand (expressed or not) and a semantic Predicate (grammar), predicate. A typical clause consists of a subject (grammar), subject and a syntactic Pred ...
, the auxiliary ''har'' is optional and often omitted, particularly in written Swedish. :''Jag ser att han (har) stekt fisken''; "I see that he has fried the fish"
Subjunctive mood The subjunctive (also known as conjunctive in some languages) is a grammatical mood, a feature of the utterance that indicates the speaker's attitude towards it. Subjunctive forms of verb A verb () is a word (part of speech) that in syntax gen ...
is occasionally used for some verbs, but its use is in sharp decline and few speakers perceive the handful of commonly used verbs (as for instance: ''vore, månne'') as separate conjugations, most of them remaining only as set of idiomatic expressions. Where other languages may use grammatical cases, Swedish uses numerous
preposition Prepositions and postpositions, together called adpositions (or broadly, in traditional grammar, simply prepositions), are a part of speech, class of words used to express spatial or temporal relations (''in'', ''under'', ''towards'', ''before'') ...
s, similar to those found in English. As in modern German, prepositions formerly determined case in Swedish, but this feature can only be found in certain idiomatic expressions like ''till fots'' ("on foot", genitive). As Swedish is a Germanic language, the
syntax In linguistics, syntax () is the study of how words and morphemes combine to form larger units such as phrases and sentence (linguistics), sentences. Central concerns of syntax include word order, grammatical relations, hierarchical sentence st ...
shows similarities to both English and German. Like English, Swedish has a subject–verb–object basic word order, but like German it utilizes verb-second word order in main clauses, for instance after
adverbs An adverb is a word or an expression that generally modifier (grammar), modifies a verb, adjective, another adverb, determiner, clause, preposition, or Sentence (linguistics), sentence. Adverbs typically express manner, place, time, frequency, degre ...
and adverbial phrases, and dependent clauses. (Adverbial phrases denoting time are usually placed at the beginning of a main clause that is at the head of a sentence.)
Prepositional phrase An adpositional phrase, in linguistics, is a syntactic category that includes ''prepositional phrases'', ''postpositional phrases'', and ''circumpositional phrases''. Adpositional phrases contain an adposition (preposition, postposition, or circ ...
s are placed in a place–manner–time order, as in English (but not German). Adjectives precede the noun they modify. Verb-second (inverted) word order is also used for questions.


Vocabulary

The
vocabulary A vocabulary is a set of familiar words within a person's language. A vocabulary, usually developed with age, serves as a useful and fundamental tool for communication and learning, acquiring knowledge. Acquiring an extensive vocabulary is one ...
of Swedish is mainly Germanic, either through common Germanic heritage or through loans from German, Middle Low German, and to some extent, English. Examples of Germanic words in Swedish are ''mus'' ("mouse"), ''kung'' ("king"), and ''gås'' ("goose"). A significant part of the religious and scientific vocabulary is of
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around present-day Rome, but through ...
or
Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group. *Greek language, a branch of the Indo-European language family. **Proto-Greek language, the assumed last common ancestor ...
origin, often borrowed from French and, lately, English. Some 1–200 words are also borrowed from
Scandoromani Scandoromani is a North Germanic languages, North Germanic based Para-Romani. It is spoken by the Norwegian and Swedish Travellers, Scandinavian Romanisæl Travellers, a Romani people, Romani minority community, in Norway (c. 100–150 elderly s ...
or Romani, often as slang varieties; a commonly used word from Romani is '' tjej'' ("girl"). A large number of French words were imported into Sweden around the 18th century. These words have been transcribed to the Swedish spelling system and are therefore pronounced recognizably to a French-speaker. Most of them are distinguished by a "French accent", characterized by emphasis on the last syllable. For example, ''nivå'' (fr. ''niveau'', "level"), ''fåtölj'' (fr. ''fauteuil'', "armchair") and ''affär'' ("shop; affair"), etc. Cross-borrowing from other Germanic languages has also been common, at first from Middle Low German, the
lingua franca A lingua franca (; ; for plurals see ), also known as a bridge language, common language, trade language, auxiliary language, vehicular language, or link language, is a Natural language, language systematically used to make communication possib ...
of the
Hanseatic league The Hanseatic League (; gml, Hanse, , ; german: label=German language, Modern German, Deutsche Hanse) was a Middle Ages, medieval commercial and defensive confederation of merchant guilds and market towns in Central Europe, Central and Norther ...
and later from
Standard German Standard High German (SHG), less precisely Standard German or High German (not to be confused with High German dialects, more precisely Upper German dialects) (german: Standardhochdeutsch, , or, in Switzerland, ), is the standardized variety ...
. Some compounds are translations of the elements (
calque In linguistics, a calque () or loan translation is a word or phrase borrowed from another language by literal translation, literal word-for-word or root-for-root translation. When used as a verb, "to calque" means to borrow a word or phrase from ...
s) of German original compounds into Swedish, like ' from German ' ("cotton"; literally, ''tree-wool''). As with many Germanic languages, new words can be formed by compounding, e. g., nouns like ' ("nail polish remover") or verbs like ' ("to eavesdrop"). Compound nouns take their
gender Gender is the range of characteristics pertaining to femininity and masculinity and differentiating between them. Depending on the context, this may include sex-based social structures (i.e. gender roles) and gender identity. Most cultures us ...
from the
head A head is the part of an organism which usually includes the ears, brain, forehead, cheeks, chin, eyes, nose, and mouth, each of which aid in various sensory functions such as visual perception, sight, hearing, olfaction, smell, and taste. Some ...
, which in Swedish is always the last morpheme. New words can also be coined by derivation from other established words, such as the verbification of
noun A noun () is a word that generally functions as the name of a specific object or set of objects, such as living creatures, places, actions, qualities, states of existence, or ideas.Example nouns for: * Organism, Living creatures (including people ...
s by the adding of the
suffix In linguistics, a suffix is an affix which is placed after the Stem (linguistics), stem of a word. Common examples are case endings, which indicate the grammatical case of nouns, adjectives, and verb endings, which form the Grammatical conjugation ...
''-a'', as in ' ("car") and ' ("travel (recreationally) by car"). The opposite, making nouns of verbs, is also possible, as in ' ("way of thinking; concept") from ' ("to think").


Writing system

The
Swedish alphabet The Swedish alphabet ( sv, Svenska alfabetet) is a basic element of the Latin writing system used for the Swedish language. The 29 letters of this alphabet are the modern 26-letter ISO basic Latin alphabet, basic Latin alphabet (A through Z) plu ...
is a 29-letter
alphabet An alphabet is a standardized set of basic written graphemes (called letter (alphabet), letters) that represent the phonemes of certain spoken languages. Not all writing systems represent language in this way; in a syllabary, each character ...
, using the 26-letter
ISO basic Latin alphabet The ISO basic Latin alphabet is an international standard (beginning with ISO/IEC 646) for a Latin-script alphabet that consists of two sets (Letter case, uppercase and lowercase) of 26 letters, codified in various national and international sta ...
plus the three additional letters '' Å''/''å'', '' Ä''/''ä'', and '' Ö''/''ö'' constructed in the 16th century by writing "o" and "e" on top of an "a", and an "e" on top of an "o". Though these combinations are historically modified versions of A and O according to the English range of usage for the term
diacritic A diacritic (also diacritical mark, diacritical point, diacritical sign, or accent) is a glyph added to a letter (alphabet), letter or to a basic glyph. The term derives from the Ancient Greek (, "distinguishing"), from (, "to distinguish"). T ...
, these three characters are not considered to be diacritics within the Swedish application, but rather separate letters, and are independent letters following ''z''. Before the release of the 13th edition of '' Svenska Akademiens ordlista'' in April 2006, ''w'' was treated as merely a variant of ''v'' used only in names (such as "Wallenberg") and foreign words ("bowling"), and so was both sorted and pronounced as a ''v''. Other
diacritic A diacritic (also diacritical mark, diacritical point, diacritical sign, or accent) is a glyph added to a letter (alphabet), letter or to a basic glyph. The term derives from the Ancient Greek (, "distinguishing"), from (, "to distinguish"). T ...
s (to use the broader English term usage referenced here) are unusual in Swedish; é is sometimes used to indicate that the stress falls on a terminal syllable containing ''e'', especially when the stress changes the meaning (''ide'' vs. ''idé'', "winter lair" vs. "idea") as well as in some names, like ''Kastrén''; occasionally other
acute accent The acute accent (), , is a diacritic used in many modern written languages with alphabets based on the Latin alphabet, Latin, Cyrillic script, Cyrillic, and Greek alphabet, Greek scripts. For the most commonly encountered uses of the accent ...
s and, less often,
grave accent The grave accent () ( or ) is a diacritical mark used to varying degrees in French, Dutch, Portuguese, Italian and many other western European languages, as well as for a few unusual uses in English. It is also used in other languages us ...
s can be seen in names and some foreign words. The letter à is used to refer to unit cost (a loan from the French), equivalent to the
at sign The at sign, , is normally read aloud as "at"; it is also commonly called the at symbol, commercial at, or address sign. It is used as an accounting Accounting, also known as accountancy, is the measurement, processing, and communication ...
(@) in English. The German '' ü'' is treated as a variant of '' y'' and sometimes retained in foreign names and words, e. g., ''müsli'' ("muesli/granola"). A proper diaeresis may very exceptionally be seen in elaborated style (for instance: "Aïda"). The German convention of writing ''ä'' and ''ö'' as ''ae'' and ''oe'' if the characters are unavailable is an unusual convention for speakers of modern Swedish. Despite the availability of all these characters in the Swedish national top-level Internet domain and other such domains, Swedish sites are frequently labelled using ''a'' and ''o'', based on visual similarity, though Swedish domains could be registered using the characters å, ä, and ö from 2003. In Swedish
orthography An orthography is a set of convention (norm), conventions for writing a language, including norms of spelling, hyphenation, capitalization, word, word breaks, Emphasis (typography), emphasis, and punctuation. Most transnational languages in the ...
, the colon is used in a similar manner as in English, with some exceptions: the colon is used for some abbreviations, such as ''3:e'' for ''tredje'' ("third") and ''S:t'' for ''Sankt'' ("Saint"), and for all types of endings that can be added to numbers, letters and abbreviations, such as ''a:et'' ("the a") and ''CD:n'' ("the CD"), or the genitive form ''USA:s'' ("USA's").


Dialects

According to a traditional division of Swedish
dialect The term dialect (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) arou ...
s, there are six main groups of dialects: * Norrland dialects *
Finland Swedish Finland Swedish or Fenno-Swedish ( sv, finlandssvenska; fi, suomenruotsi) is a general term for the Variety (linguistics), variety of the Swedish language and a closely related group of Swedish dialects spoken in Finland by the Swedish-speaking ...
* Svealand dialects * Gotland dialects * Götaland dialects * South Swedish dialects The traditional definition of a Swedish
dialect The term dialect (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) arou ...
has been a local variant that has not been heavily influenced by the standard language and that can trace a separate development all the way back to
Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian, is a stage of development of North Germanic languages, North Germanic dialects before their final divergence into separate Nordic languages. Old Norse was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia and t ...
. Many of the genuine rural dialects, such as those of Orsa in
Dalarna Dalarna () is a ''Provinces of Sweden, landskap'' (historical province) in central Sweden. English exonyms for it are Dalecarlia () and the Dales. Dalarna adjoins Härjedalen, Hälsingland, Gästrikland, Västmanland and Värmland. It is also ...
or Närpes in Österbotten, have very distinct phonetic and grammatical features, such as plural forms of verbs or archaic
case Case or CASE may refer to: Containers * Case (goods) A case of some merchandise is a collection of items packaged together. A case is not a strict unit of measure. For consumer foodstuff such as canned goods, soft drink, soda, cereal, and suc ...
inflections. These dialects can be near-incomprehensible to a majority of Swedes, and most of their speakers are also fluent in Standard Swedish. The different dialects are often so localized that they are limited to individual
parish A parish is a territorial entity in many Christian denominations, constituting a division within a diocese In Ecclesiastical polity, church governance, a diocese or bishopric is the ecclesiastical district under the jurisdiction of a bisho ...
es and are referred to by Swedish linguists as ''sockenmål'' (lit., "parish speech"). They are generally separated into six major groups, with common characteristics of prosody, grammar and vocabulary. One or several examples from each group are given here. Though each example is intended to be also representative of the nearby dialects, the actual number of dialects is several hundred if each individual community is considered separately. This type of classification, however, is based on a somewhat romanticized
nationalist Nationalism is an idea and movement that holds that the nation should be congruent with the State (polity), state. As a movement, nationalism tends to promote the interests of a particular nation (as in a in-group and out-group, group of peo ...
view of ethnicity and language. The idea that only rural variants of Swedish should be considered "genuine" is not generally accepted by modern scholars. No dialects, no matter how remote or obscure, remained unchanged or undisturbed by a minimum of influences from surrounding dialects or the standard language, especially not from the late 19th century onwards with the advent of
mass media Mass media refers to a diverse array of media (communication), media technology, technologies that reach a large audience via mass communication. The technologies through which this communication takes place include a variety of outlets. Bro ...
and advanced forms of transport. The differences are today more accurately described by a scale that runs from "standard language" to "rural dialect" where the speech even of the same person may vary from one extreme to the other depending on the situation. All Swedish dialects with the exception of the highly diverging forms of speech in
Dalarna Dalarna () is a ''Provinces of Sweden, landskap'' (historical province) in central Sweden. English exonyms for it are Dalecarlia () and the Dales. Dalarna adjoins Härjedalen, Hälsingland, Gästrikland, Västmanland and Värmland. It is also ...
,
Norrbotten Norrbotten (), known in English as North Bothnia, is a Provinces of Sweden, Swedish province (''landskap'') in northernmost Sweden. It borders south to Västerbotten, west to Lapland (Sweden), Swedish Lapland, and east to Finland. Administrat ...
and, to some extent,
Gotland Gotland (, ; ''Gutland'' in Gutnish), also historically spelled Gottland or Gothland (), is Sweden's largest island. It is also a Provinces of Sweden, province, Counties of Sweden, county, Municipalities of Sweden, municipality, and List of dio ...
can be considered to be part of a common, mutually intelligible
dialect continuum A dialect continuum or dialect chain is a series of language varieties spoken across some geographical area such that neighboring varieties are mutually intelligible, but the differences accumulate over distance so that widely separated vari ...
. This continuum may also include Norwegian and some Danish dialects. The samples linked below have been taken from SweDia, a research project on Swedish modern dialects available for download (though with information in Swedish only), with many more samples from 100 different dialects with recordings from four different speakers: older female, older male, younger female and younger male. The dialect groups are those traditionally used by dialectologists. # Överkalix,
Norrbotten Norrbotten (), known in English as North Bothnia, is a Provinces of Sweden, Swedish province (''landskap'') in northernmost Sweden. It borders south to Västerbotten, west to Lapland (Sweden), Swedish Lapland, and east to Finland. Administrat ...

younger female
# Burträsk, Västerbotten
older female
# Aspås,
Jämtland Jämtland (; no, Jemtland or , ; Jamtlandic, Jamtish: ''Jamtlann''; la, Iemptia) is a historical provinces of Sweden, province () in the centre of Sweden in northern Europe. It borders Härjedalen and Medelpad to the south, Ångermanland to t ...

younger female
# Färila, Hälsingland
older male
# Älvdalen,
Dalarna Dalarna () is a ''Provinces of Sweden, landskap'' (historical province) in central Sweden. English exonyms for it are Dalecarlia () and the Dales. Dalarna adjoins Härjedalen, Hälsingland, Gästrikland, Västmanland and Värmland. It is also ...

older female
traditionally considered a dialect, but now often recognized as
Elfdalian Elfdalian or Övdalian ( or , pronounced in Elfdalian, or in Swedish) is a North Germanic The North Germanic languages make up one of the three branches of the Germanic languages The Germanic languages are a branch of the Indo-Eur ...
, a separate language #
Gräsö Gräsö is an island in Östhammar Municipality, off the coast of Uppland Uppland () is a historical Provinces of Sweden, province or ' on the eastern coast of Sweden, just north of Stockholm, the capital. It borders Södermanland, Västmanlan ...
,
Uppland Uppland () is a historical Provinces of Sweden, province or ' on the eastern coast of Sweden, just north of Stockholm, the capital. It borders Södermanland, Västmanland and Gästrikland. It is also bounded by lake Mälaren and the Baltic sea, ...

older male
#
Sorunda Sorunda is a Urban areas in Sweden, locality situated in Nynäshamn Municipality, Stockholm County, Sweden with 1,307 inhabitants in 2010. It is the hometown of Ulla Akselson, Moa Martinson, Moa Martinsson, and Harry Martinson, Harry Martinsson. ...
, Södermanland
younger male
# Köla,
Värmland Värmland () also known as Wermeland, is a '' landskap'' (historical province) in west-central Sweden Sweden, formally the Kingdom of Sweden,The United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names states that the country's formal ...
br>younger female
# Viby, Närke
older male
# Sproge,
Gotland Gotland (, ; ''Gutland'' in Gutnish), also historically spelled Gottland or Gothland (), is Sweden's largest island. It is also a Provinces of Sweden, province, Counties of Sweden, county, Municipalities of Sweden, municipality, and List of dio ...

younger female
# Närpes, Ostrobothnia
younger female
# Dragsfjärd,
Southwest Finland Southwest Finland, calqued as Finland Proper ( fi, Varsinais-Suomi ; sv, Egentliga Finland), is a Regions of Finland, region in the southwest of Finland. It borders the regions of Satakunta, Pirkanmaa, Tavastia Proper, Tavastia Proper (Kanta-H ...

older male
# Borgå,
Eastern Uusimaa Eastern Uusimaa or, officially, Itä-Uusimaa ( fi, Itä-Uusimaa; sv, Östra Nyland; literally "Eastern New Land") was one of the 19 regions of Finland Finland ( fi, Suomi ; sv, Finland ), officially the Republic of Finland (; ), is a ...

younger male
# Orust,
Bohuslän Bohuslän (; da, Bohuslen; no, Båhuslen) is a Swedish province in Götaland Götaland (; also '' Geatland'', '' Gothia'', ''Gothland'', ''Gothenland'' or ''Gautland'') is one of three lands of Sweden and comprises ten provinces of Sweden ...

older male
# Floby, Västergötland
older female
# Rimforsa, Östergötland
older female
# Årstad- Heberg,
Halland Halland () is one of the traditional provinces of Sweden (''landskap''), on the western coast of Götaland, southern Sweden Sweden, formally the Kingdom of Sweden,The United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names states th ...

younger male
# Stenberga, Småland
younger female
# Jämshög,
Blekinge Blekinge (, old da, Bleking) is one of the traditional provinces of Sweden, Swedish provinces (), situated in the southern coast of the geographic region of Götaland, in southern Sweden. It borders Småland, Scania and the Baltic Sea. It is ...

older female
# Bara, Skåne
older male


Standard Swedish

Standard Swedish is the language used by virtually all Swedes and most
Swedish-speaking Finns The Swedish-speaking population of Finland (whose members are called by many names; fi, suomenruotsalainen) can be used as an attribute., group=Note—see #Terminology, below; sv, finlandssvenskar; fi, suomenruotsalaiset) is a linguistic mi ...
. It is called ''rikssvenska'' or ''standardsvenska'' ("Standard Swedish") in Sweden. In Finland, ''högsvenska'' ("High Swedish") is used for the Finnish variant of standard Swedish and ''rikssvenska'' refers to Swedish as spoken in Sweden in general. In a poll conducted in 2005 by the Swedish Retail Institute (
Handelns Utredningsinstitut
'), the attitudes of Swedes to the use of certain dialects by salesmen revealed that 54% believed that ''rikssvenska'' was the variety they would prefer to hear when speaking with salesmen over the phone, even though dialects such as ''gotländska'' or '' skånska'' were provided as alternatives in the poll.


Finland Swedish

Finland was a part of Sweden from the 13th century until the loss of the Finnish territories to
Russia Russia (, , ), or the Russian Federation, is a List of transcontinental countries, transcontinental country spanning Eastern Europe and North Asia, Northern Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by area, largest country in the ...
in 1809. Swedish was the sole administrative language until 1902 as well as the dominant language of culture and education until Finnish independence in 1917. The percentage of Swedish speakers in Finland has steadily decreased since then. The Swedish-speaking population is mainly concentrated in the coastal areas of Ostrobothnia,
Southwest Finland Southwest Finland, calqued as Finland Proper ( fi, Varsinais-Suomi ; sv, Egentliga Finland), is a Regions of Finland, region in the southwest of Finland. It borders the regions of Satakunta, Pirkanmaa, Tavastia Proper, Tavastia Proper (Kanta-H ...
and Nyland where the percentage of Finland Swedes partly is high, with Swedish being spoken by more than 90% of the population in several municipalities, and on Åland, where Swedish is spoken by a vast majority of the population and is the only official language. Swedish is an official language also in the rest of Finland, though, with the same official status as Finnish. The country's public broadcaster, Yle, provides two Swedish-language radio stations, Yle Vega and Yle X3M, as well a TV channel, Yle Fem.


Immigrant variants

Rinkeby Swedish (after
Rinkeby Rinkeby () is a district A district is a type of administrative division that, in some countries, is managed by the local government. Across the world, areas known as "districts" vary greatly in size, spanning regions or county, counties, sev ...
, a suburb of northern Stockholm with a large immigrant population) is a common name among linguists for varieties of Swedish spoken by young people of foreign heritage in certain suburbs and urban districts in the major cities of Stockholm,
Gothenburg Gothenburg (; abbreviated Gbg; sv, Göteborg ) is the List of urban areas in Sweden by population, second-largest city in Sweden, fifth-largest in the Nordic countries, and Capital city, capital of the Västra Götaland County. It is situated ...
and
Malmö Malmö (, ; da, Malmø ) is the largest city in the Counties of Sweden, Swedish county (län) of Skåne County, Scania (Skåne). It is the List of urban areas in Sweden by population, third-largest city in Sweden, after Stockholm and Gothenbur ...
. These varieties could alternatively be classified as
sociolect In sociolinguistics, a sociolect is a form of language ( non-standard dialect, restricted register) or a set of lexical items used by a socioeconomic class, profession, an age group, or other social group. Sociolects involve both passive acqui ...
s, because the immigrant dialects share common traits independent of their geographical spread or the native country of the speakers. However, some studies have found distinctive features and led to terms such as Rosengård Swedish (after Rosengård in Malmö), a variant of Scanian. A survey made by the Swedish linguist Ulla-Britt Kotsinas showed that foreign learners had difficulties in guessing the origins of Rinkeby Swedish speakers in Stockholm. The greatest difficulty proved to be identifying the speech of a boy speaking Rinkeby Swedish whose parents were both Swedish; only 1.8% guessed his native language correctly. New linguistic practices in multilingual urban contexts in fiction and hip-hop culture and rap lyrics have been introduced that go beyond traditional socio-linguistic domains. See also Källström (Chapter 12) and Knudsen (Chapter 13).


Sample

Excerpt from '' Barfotabarn'' (1933), by Nils Ferlin (1898–1961):


See also

*
Languages of Sweden Swedish is the official language of Sweden Sweden, formally the Kingdom of Sweden,The United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names states that the country's formal name is the Kingdom of SwedenUNGEGN World Geographical Name ...
*
Languages of Finland The two main official languages of Finland are Finnish and Swedish. There are also several official minority language A minority language is a language spoken by a minority group, minority of the population of a territory. Such people are ter ...
* Swedish as a foreign language * Swenglish


Notes


References

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Nationalencyklopedin ''Nationalencyklopedin'' (; "The National Encyclopedia" in English), abbreviated NE, is a comprehensive contemporary Swedish language, Swedish-language encyclopedia, initiated by a favourable loan from the Government of Sweden of 17 million Swed ...

online edition
* * * * *


Further reading

* ''Swedish Essentials of Grammar'' Viberg, Åke; et al. (1991) Chicago: Passport Books. * ''Swedish: An Essential Grammar''. Holmes, Philip; Hinchliffe, Ian; (2000). London; New York: Routledge. . * ''Swedish: A Comprehensive Grammar Second Edition''. Holmes, Philip; Hinchliffe, Ian; (2003). London; New York: Routledge. . * ''Svenska utifrån. Schematic grammar-Swedish structures and everyday phrases'' Byrman, Gunilla; Holm, Britta; (1998) .


External links


Swadesh list of Swedish basic vocabulary words
(from Wiktionary'
Swadesh-list appendix


Dictionaries fro
Språkrådet – Institute for Language and Folklore



Online version
of ''
Svenska Akademiens ordbok A complete set of ''Svenska Akademiens ordbok'', as of late 2014. The majority of the volumes remain unbound in this set. ''Svenska Akademiens ordbok'' (), abbreviated SAOB, is a dictionary A dictionary is a listing of lexemes from the lex ...
'' {{Authority control Languages of Finland Languages of Estonia Languages of Sweden East Scandinavian languages North Germanic languages Scandinavian culture Stress-timed languages Subject–verb–object languages Verb-second languages