https://www.duolingo.com/calebsymmonds

Is there a reason to learn Swedish?

calebsymmonds
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Swedish has been one of the most fun languages to learn, but I've hit kind of a roadblock that's keeping me from really progressing any further. Is there a point to it? I mean, Sweden has more English speakers than any non-English countries I can think of, so it's not like they're in dire need for interpreters or translators. Of course, there's always knowing the language if I wanted to travel or listen to their media, but is there any other way I can really utilize the Swedish that I learn?

2 years ago

32 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Ezkertia
Ezkertia
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I don't mean to be unkind, but isn't it kind of silly to ask whether there's any other use for Swedish besides communicating with Swedish speakers and consuming Swedish-language media?

I'm a linguist, and I can imagine a select group of people who would be motivated simply by the desire to find out how a particular language works and what that can tell us about the human language faculty. But for most people, that's not enough to make them put in the time and effort to learn a language.

I can imagine economic, religious, or anthropological motivations for language learning; I can imagine people doing it out of curiosity or for personal fulfillment. But I think all of those motivations hinge on a desire to communicate, actively or passively, with speakers of the target language, and most of them involve developing a deeper understanding of the speakers and their culture (for selfish or unselfish reasons, or a mixture of the two). For me personally, I have Swedish ancestors and an almost-unbroken line of Swedish-American forefathers who have learned the language (my dad is the only broken link in the chain). Maybe it sounds silly to say so, but I feel almost patriotic when I see or hear Swedish. It's not my best foreign language, but it's definitely the one I'm most fond of.

I don't think you have to feel that kind of personal connection in order to learn a language; I personally think it's sufficient to enjoy learning the language. If it's important to you, you'll discover ways through which it enriches your life. If not, I would move on to a pursuit that's going to be more fulfilling to you personally.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/calebsymmonds
calebsymmonds
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I get what you're saying. Personally, I started Swedish because I saw it was offered and thought, "Lol why not?" The thing is, though, I have no set goals to travel around Sweden, but I still don't want to learn all the Swedish and never use it.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ezkertia
Ezkertia
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I know what you mean. I took a year of German in college and didn't really know if I would ever use it, but I periodically encounter German text and am able to muddle my way through it, and I've had a few major opportunities to use the language. The most surprising of these happened when I was traveling to Malta for a conference. I was supposed to switch flights in Amsterdam, but Eyjafjallajökull was erupting at the time, and while my flight was en route, the Netherlands closed their airspace. We had to land in Frankfurt, and due to the way my flights were booked, it made sense for me to stay in Germany for a few days. Even though a lot of people spoke English, the little German I knew proved to be very helpful. So you never know, you might accidentally find yourself in Sweden one day :)

Every so often I randomly meet Swedes and get a chance to practice. (Large cities and national parks are good places to run into Swedes.) I also enjoy watching Swedish films and I occasionally listen to Swedish radio broadcasts. The average American won't get as many opportunities to use Swedish as they would Spanish, but they do happen and you can create your own. Lycka till!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Knoxienne
Knoxienne
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Excellent. Well said.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/hattieeee

Because of all the reasons mentioned and it looks fabulous in your CV :D

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lydiaoxenstierna

Although so many Swedes speak English, they'll probably be pleased to talk to you in Swedish and it's probably more comfortable for them.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Malou-chan

Totaly agree.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ppelk
ppelkPlus
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For what it's worth, it's the most useful Scandinavian language to learn. Knowing Swedish helps you decipher written Norwegian and Danish to large extent. Swedish is also commonly understood in Finland, and is the majority language in many places in southern and western Finnish coasts.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/calebsymmonds
calebsymmonds
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Great information! Thanks for sharing!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Emmeline856

Because its a 2.5 languages for 1 deal (Swedish, Norwegian, and written Danish (which is the 0.5)), and free stuff is awesome. You essentially open up a new part of your personality as well - you have twice as much material to read, watch or see. Even more so if you are learning multiple languages, which Swedish kind of is.

Also, because if you have any inkling to travel there, you open up a number of countries' possibilities. Sticking to the touristy areas of Sweden (or any Swedish-speaking part of Finland, or stretching it, Norway too) would ensure you just get a sanitised view of how the country is - instead of what the real country is like.

Plus - who said more knowledge is a bad thing? I know I smile when I see written instructions in mutli-lingual instruction books for things you buy - you go to the Swedish section and you can understand some of what is written. (As a joking-aside - you can then decipher IKEA instructions in their native tongue, and finally figure out how to build the stuff without having half the pieces missing, or left over)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TheEeveeLord

Because it would still be fun to go to Sweden and speak in Swedish.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mereade
Mereade
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Well, travelling is great and their media includes lots of awesome things (I suppose by far not all of their writers get translated, there are musicians using the langauge etc.)but there are other ways too. I am looking at job offers from time to time and Swedish is on the list of languages in demand. Of course you need to know English and there are more offers for German learners (but there is more competition for those), but there are offers requiring combinations like English+Swedish, English+Dutch, English+Portuguese, so it is not as useless as some people make it appear, since there are employers willing to pay you for using it. Anything else, since you basically ruled out most uses? :-D Yeah, you can always feel like a viking, when speaking it :-D (that's one of the main reasons why I would love to learn it)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MarcinM85
MarcinM85
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I think the language Vikings spoke resembled more Icelandic than Swedish. Swedish has changed a lot since that time. It's a beautiful language though.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mereade
Mereade
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I know. But Swedish is still much closer to it than any of my languages. And there is still some resemblance to back up my fun fantasy.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/calebsymmonds
calebsymmonds
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So you're saying that there ARE jobs that are looking specifically for Swedish speakers?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mereade
Mereade
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Yes. Swedish is one of the less but still demanded second foreign languages for various jobs where you need to communicate with the customers or business partners. Of course there are nearly no Swedish only requiring jobs outside Sweden (perhaps none at all) but there are employers who require English+ Swedish or which will consider Swedish on top of a larger language a huge asset.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/RumenM
RumenM
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Yeah this is true speaking English + any Scandinavian language is a big advantage if you are looking for employment in Scandinavia as a foreigner. Just have a look at the job offers you need to speak fluent English then undertake a course in the native language.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/elina_ester

I'm from Finland so Swedish is a mandatory subject in school. I started learning it a little, cause I thought that maybe it's gonna help me later in school. I'm from the western coast of Finland where a lot of people speak Swedish as their mothertongue so it might be helpful here (even though Finnish people speak good English too). So if someone doesn't know English, for example old people, you can try Swedish! Also signs etc are often written in Finnish and Swedish. Sadly it's not possible to learn Finnish in duolingo yet but if you travel to Finland, English and Swedish will do perfectly fine. Even just English really. Western and southern coast of Finland has in my opinion the most interesting cities in Finland, so if you're interested I recommend Turku and Helsinki. When it comes to Sweden, I don't have a lot of experience, but I can tell that Sweden is a beautiful and an interesting country so if you have any kind of interest in travelling there I highly recommend that you do. The nature is beautiful, it's full of long history and it's just great. And as Finns, Swedes speak good English too but it's always nice to know something when you're travelling somewhere.

I don't know if this helps at all but I hope it does

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/calebsymmonds
calebsymmonds
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This helps a lot! Thank you!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tsyesika

I just want to share my experiences of living here for almost exactly a year now. Obviously living is different from traveling but some of what I will share will apply to both. Whilst Sweden does very well compared to a lot of countries in regard to English ability, I still fairly routinely come across people who can't speak english and where I need to to rely on my Swedish, this has even happened at Ica Maxi in Stockholm.

When I visited a friend (before I moved here) last year, on new years eve, I unfortunately got burnt while making toffee (long story) and had to visit the local hospital, the hospital is in Haninge so whilst small, it is in Stockholm. The doctor had workable english but it was a bit of a struggle (he was maybe around 50 years old), the nurse however was unable to speak english at all, my friend (a native swede) had to translate for me.

I have also run into this problem when speaking to someone at radiotjänst when I first spoke to them to get my TV licence. I asked the woman and she said no and I just had to muddle through with what I knew, I guess If i didn't know any I would have just had to hang up and call back.

For those times when I do ask to speak english ("talar du engelska?"), even when they seem pretty happy or ambivalent which we use, it still always feels awkward to do. If you're visiting, if you're wanting to travel around the country and especially if you wish to live here, the fact a larger proportion of the population than most other countries can speak english, is not a free pass not to learn Swedish, you still absolutely need it unless you stay very much in the touristy areas.

There are also plenty of translation jobs, every TV program, every movie, a lot of popular books, etc. are all translated into swedish. Anything from the EU parliament must be translated into Swedish. Most jobs (probably everything besides the tech sector) has swedish fluency as a requirement to getting a job. I work in the tech sector as a programmer and most job applications want to see you know it or be learning it even though they don't require fluency to hire you.

I hope I've given you a bit of an insight to the importance of Swedish, feel free to ask me any questions.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/calebsymmonds
calebsymmonds
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Wow! This is a lot of great information! How did you end up in Sweden?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tsyesika

I moved her as my partner is a swede :)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/RumenM
RumenM
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How many years of experience did the position require because apparently all the Scandinavian jobs are predominantly targeted towards foreign specialists with a lot of experience in their fields. For example I found some positions for candidates with 5-7 years of experience which is quite a lot I mean I guess they only look for highly qualified foreigners? Unfortunately I graduated 1 year ago and I am not eligible to apply for these unless I find some which are suitable for beginners but honestly I really fancy living in Sweden if I had the chance but seeing as my scope of work is in the medical sector I don't think I can just get by speaking English in my daily life/work.

Also I would like to ask you about how well you can understand the other Scandinavian languages if you have a basic to average understanding of Swedish. As other people have already mentioned you could get around easily in Finland and figure out some Norwegian and Danish sentences and I am curious to know if you have traveled around and what your experiences were in the other countries.

All in all I have a great desire to visit Sweden and as I have finished my course here I think I am one step closer to accomplishing this bucket list thing even if as a tourist :)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tsyesika

I currently work freelance for companies abroad however I have looked for work in Sweden and applied for some of the positions, typically they do want 5+ years on a lot of the jobs for developers but I found that to be roughly the same as what they ask for in the UK too. You should try applying before you hit the 5 year mark though, if you're good and can show that to them so long as you have a few years of experience, it's work a shot.

I'm not fluent in swedish, I'm like you a learner however. I have been to Tromsø in the north of Norway and Copenhagen in denmark. Norway I could get the gist if what was being said about half the time however, we needed to get a wheel rebalanced on our car and my partner who's a native swede spoke entirely to swedish to them and they replied in norwegian and both understood each other just fine. In denmark I understood nothing, nor did my partner. I could understand mostly things that were written down, signs and such but when speaking, I had to speak english.

So, Norwegian = can understand and converse pretty decently when just knowing swedish; Danish = Can read things but can't understand spoken danish (I don't know if they would be able to understand spoken swedish).

Sweden is a wonderful country, I can't recommend it enough. If you get a chance when you're visiting and you enjoy it maybe try and do some hiking and take advantage of allemansrätten. I also can recommend going to abisko in the winter, it's one of the most beautiful places I've seen in my life.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Psittacosis
Psittacosis
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I just went to Abisko a little more than a month ago. Gorgeous :).

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lars200
Lars200
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Jag skulle säga att det är egentligen bara om man jobbar på ett universitet eller högskola som man inte behöver kunna svenska.... Jo , förresten går det bra att jobba som tidningsbud också (vilket många utländska studenter gör), men det är inte en karriär som de flesta av oss drömmer om.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PaoloLim
PaoloLim
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For one, if I want to have bragging rights of learning a second (or third) language, I can do so through learning Swedish. I find Swedish (along with Norwegian) the easiest foreign languages to learn, at least on the writing side. If you want to study in a Swedish university (which are pretty respectable in quality), some courses will only accept you on the condition you learn the local language.

It is helpful in Finland too, even if only 6% of its population speaks it. Finnish is a difficult language to learn, not least because it is unrelated to English or even Swedish. When you travel to Finland, not all information is in English. But the presence of Swedish in Finland will give you an idea of what you are reading.

I thought German was easy but it has too many verb conjugation rules, idiomatic expressions, genders, etc. French is in a similar boat. But it's less intense with Swedish.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/beumarchais

My main excuse to learn it is because it's had an influence on English, and if one studies historical English there are Swedish words and manners of phrasing that it's useful to know.

In terms of actual practice, unless you're a giant fan of Ingmar Bergman films then I will confess I see little reason to learn it. As you mentioned, almost everyone in Sweden speaks English (my understanding is they teach it alongside Swedish in the schools.)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lindrhound
lindrhound
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If you should ever happen to find your self around a touristy part of the Mediterranean, you'll easily find Scandinavs to talk to (they go where the Brits go). And I've seen job ads in the past in Britain where they were looking for a scandinavian/english speaking person for callcenters and the likes. I can think of many languages that are less usefull than Swedish.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MickeytheGreat
MickeytheGreat
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Because Swedish is a beautiful language! I don't understand a word she says, but I always watch this girl's videos in Swedish because the language is just so pleasant to hear.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3TElaoQLXI

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Faye112262

Too many reasons, I guess. Each person has his own.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/VincentL66

Is anyone interested in a Dutch-Swedish Duolingo club? https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/29779584

6 days ago
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