The Kingdom of Sweden is a country belonging to Europe, whose capital is Stockholm. It has a population of 10 million inhabitants (90º) and an area of 450,295 km 2 (55º). Its human development index is very high (7th) and its official currency is the Swedish crown. But what language is spoken in Sweden?
What language do they speak in Sweden?
Sweden has had an official language, Swedish, since July 1, 2009.
Also, since 1999 the country recognizes 5 minority languages: Finnish (201,000 speakers), Meänkieli (30,000), Sami (5,000), Romani (11,650) and Yiddish (750). This allows the linguistic communities, of said languages, to be able to receive basic education in their own language, as well as the right to be able to use it with government agencies.
One of the requirements to have been recognized as a minority language is having been present in the country for a long period of time (it is estimated that 100 years). That is the reason why, despite there being immigrant languages with a greater number of speakers (such as Arabic, among others), these have not been recognized as minority languages.
Recent migratory flows of Arabs to the country have caused Arabic to become the most widely spoken immigrant language, by 153,000 people. The most common other immigrant languages are: Serbo-Croatian (122,000), Spanish (110,000), Northern Kurdish (83,600), Polish (76,300), Persian (74,000), German (72,400), Tosk Albanian (54,500), Norwegian (54,300), Somali (53,200), Assyrian Neo-Aramaic (52,100), Turkish (45,200), Thai (30,400), Russian (28,900), Hungarian (24,200), Cantonese Chinese (20,300), Tigrinya (18,600), Romanian (18,500), Greek (14,000) and Estonian (13,000).
The most widely learned foreign languages are English (86%), German (26%), French (9%), Danish (6%), Spanish (5%) and Italian (2%). The country’s good level of English makes it common to study one or two additional languages in schools.
Swedish (svenska) is the most widely spoken language in Sweden, by 96% of the population. It is very similar to Danish and Norwegian, and speakers of both languages have a little difficulty understanding Swedish (Norwegian understand it better than Danes). The dialects spoken in Skåne (the region in the south of the country) are influenced by Danish, as this region was traditionally part of Denmark, and today it is still close to the Danish state.
Finnish (suomi) has been spoken in Sweden since the (then provincial) borders were drawn in the 13th century . It is currently the second most widely spoken language as a mother tongue, although the recent increase in Arab immigration puts this position in jeopardy. Unlike Danish and Norwegian, Finnish belongs to the Uralic language family, making it unintelligible with Swedish. Many of these Finns also speak Swedish as a second language. Like meänkieli, it can be used in and around the northern municipalities of Gällivare, Haparanda, Kiruna, Pajala, Övertorneå.
The romani language
Romani (Romani čhib) is the language of the Roma people. It has been present in Sweden since the 16th century, and is currently spoken by 11,650 people in the Swedish country. Unlike other languages, it does not have a geographical center of concentration, but are scattered throughout the country.
The yiddish language
Yiddish (ייִדיש) has been a common language of the Ashkenazi people (Jews of Central and Eastern Europe) since its inception. Sweden opened its doors to this community at the end of the 18th century. It is believed that all its speakers are adults, most of them elderly, so the language will eventually disappear in the country. Like the Roma, it is scattered throughout the territory.
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