How to Learn Swedish

By OptiLingo

Learning a foreign language can be a daunting prospect for a number of reasons, starting with the conundrum of which one to select. Thanks to its historic (and still growing) popularity among expats and design pros, Sweden is fast becoming the next go-to destination, which means learning the language is the next crucial step. While Swedish may not be the first language to come to mind when you think of must-know languages to add to your repertoire, there are countless benefits to picking up this beautiful–and deceptively easy to learn–lingo.


1. Swedish Really IS That Easy to Learn

We usually think of romance languages as the standard secondary languages for native English speakers, but think again. Forget what you were told in high school, the origins of Anglo-English and Swedish are more closely related than you may think. And while many, if not most, languages are typically a challenge for native English speakers, Swedish is pleasantly exempt. When it comes to vocabulary, syntax, grammar, and general structure, English and Swedish are a stone’s throw away from each other, which means your grasp of the language is already well underway, and for reasons you didn’t even know!

Because English and Swedish share Germanic roots, there are thousands of similar pronunciations and word meanings (also known as cognates) that ensure a much faster understanding of Swedish than with other languages. And once you’ve tuned your ears and tongue to those tricky Swedish vowels such as å, ä and ö, you’ll feel right at home, whether it’s in the country itself or its most famous export IKEA.


2. Learning Swedish Will Help You Understand All Scandinavian Languages

The most widely spoken of Scandinavian languages, Swedish is spoken by more than 10 million native speakers both in Sweden and in Finland. Which means learning Swedish will make it infinitely easier to pick up additional Scandinavian languages such as Norwegian and Danish down the road if you choose.

Just as romance languages such as French, Italian, and Spanish are all closely connected and share many of the same vocabulary, pronunciations, and sentencing structures, Swedish acts as a connector for other Scandinavian languages. Once you’ve got the Swedish language down, you’ll be able to pick up is sister languages in record time, and get to know neighboring countries.


3. Sweden Is An Expat Haven

Let’s face it, the Scandinavians have it good in terms of education, healthcare, and overall quality of life. (And let’s not forget those impossibly perfect design aesthetics.) Refined in their tastes and socially progressive, Sweden ranks as one of the most top rated places to live year after year. It stands to reason, therefore, that learning the language may just come in handy should you look to relocate in the near future. Whether you’re a fan of Sweden’s sweeping fjords or stylish cities, looking to attend school or pursue a new career, or maybe looking for love abroad, knowing the language is the first step to curating your own Scandinavian existence.

Knowing a second language is an immediate plus on a job or educational interview, and if you find yourself seriously considering Sweden as a future destination, you’ll definitely be ahead of the game if you’re able to write and converse in the nation’s mother tongue.


4. Swedish Film And Television Makes For Top Rate Entertainment

Learning a language used to be relegated to the classroom or those clunky cassette tape lessons, but not in this day and age. Thanks to the globe-spanning variety of films and television series on offer from Netflix, learning a new language has never been easier–or more fun. With binge-worthy crime dramas such as Wallander and The Bridge, you can brush up on your language skills while enjoying a different cultural style and perspective.

Part of the fun of learning a new language is getting to be in on all the pop cultural staples, from music to fashion to viewing options. Whether it’s the classics of legendary Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman or the latest spine chiller thriller, the Swedish catalogue is definitely worth exploring.


5. Speaking Swedish Will Help You Immerse Yourself In The Culture

Most of us have traveled somewhere outside of our native language at least once, and it can feel a bit like being left out of a party you want in on. Every country has its way of life and “members only” know-hows, from food to night life and even destinations not on the tourist map, and you definitely don’t want to miss out. Traveling to a foreign country is a vastly different experience if you know the language, and Sweden is definitely a country worth getting to know beyond guided tours and package deals.

Language barriers often prevent us from forging a meaningful connection with places and their inhabitants, which is why the question of “why learn Swedish language?” is essentially a no-brainer. While such Swedish icons as The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and ABBA won’t necessarily be off-limits if you don’t speak the local tongue, you’ll definitely find yourself missing out on the awesome nuances of day to day life if you don’t.


Bonus: Who Doesn’t Want To Finally Discern The Meanings Of That Puzzling IKEA Furniture?

If you decide to embrace the Swedish language for no other reason, make it the cool points you’ll no doubt earn on your next trip to IKEA. Impress friends and romantic interests with your instant translation services and wow them with the knowledge that despite all appearances (or sounds), those funny and nearly impossible to pronounce names for all those self-assembled bookshelves, tables, and chairs do in fact make sense.

Fore example, did you know that IKEA names its aforementioned bookshelves and storage units for actual Swedish locations, such as Finnby? Or that curtain rods are named for geometrical terms, like Kvartal, which is a quarter unit measurement in Swedish? The prospect of why learn Swedish language will make all the more sense when you find yourself deemed the IKEA all-star amongst your peers. And that’s definitely something worth bragging about.

So what are you waiting for? Time to break out the lingonberries and Knäckebröd (that’s crispbread for English speakers) and get to practicing one of the world’s loveliest languages still spoken today. The next time anyone asks why learn Swedish language, you’ll no doubt have your reasons ready.