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https://www.duolingo.com/ryanw013

If I go to Sweden, will Swedes speak to me in Swedish?

ryanw013
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I was watching a few videos on YouTube by some Swedish youtubers, and they claimed that if one goes to Sweden speaking Swedish with an accent, a Swede will respond to you in English, not Swedish. Is this true by any means?

2 years ago

13 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/devalanteriel
devalanteriel
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Facilitating a conversation is considered polite in Sweden, and hence a lot of Swedes will switch to English for that reason. Others will because they like to try out their own English. Either way, if you ask to please keep the conversation in Swedish because you want to practice, almost everybody will gladly oblige. I would say though that in a few settings you may want to use English anyway - for instance at a very busy café during lunchtime, when the waiting staff is really stressed.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sustained
sustained
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The vast majority of swedes that I have encountered seem to want to switch to English the moment that they realise you are not a native speaker. I don't know why this happens but this is my experience. Maybe they want to practice our language just like we want to practice theirs?

I found that the best thing to do when this happens is to say (in Swedish) that they can practice their English if they want but that you're learning their language and so you want to try to reply in Swedish anyway. It can be a bit difficult to do this if you are not a confident speaker, though.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/annika_a
annika_a
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Er... I'd be reluctant to say that they can practice their English if they want. Many Swedes are highly fluent in English (even if they might have an accent), and that might come off a bit rude or condescending, however nicely it was meant.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sustained
sustained
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Below a certain age, yep but the older generations aren't so great at English and the oldest generations don't know it at all.

But yeah, 99% of people who are around 40 or below seem to be (near-)fluent.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Terrokkarraa

I'm from northern Sweden and sometimes when I greet people from southern Sweden they start talking in English because they think I sound a bit English when I say "Hej". But I would say it's more common for people to ask you if you speak English than for them to just switch to English. A lot of people also feel insecure about their English and might be less likely to suggest speaking English unless you do. It really depends on who you're talking to.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/.luisito

Most will ask and then switch. I suggest you be hesitant and continue to speak Swedish so they can catch on and speak back in the language. Or you could state that you are learning the language and would prefer to use Swedish. I'm sure most Swedes would comply :)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/het_aapje
het_aapje
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I seems that it's usual there, if one does then you have a few phrases on your side "jag förstår inte", "du kan prata svenska med mig", "jag talar inte engelska" etc. :)

This happened to me once in France a few years ago and I'm sure most would comply if you explain that you're just practising :P

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tsyesika

I've found if I'm not making too many mistakes in swedish, they'll continue in swedish but if they notice I lack confidence or am struggling somehow they'll almost immediately switch to english. I tend to just end up speaking english to them if they switch (though I live here so i have plenty of other times to practice). My advice, be confident with what you say.

They'd probably be more than happy to oblige if you ask them to speak swedish if they do switch to engliish though.

Edit: I spoke to this with my partner who's a native swede lived in stockholm all her life, she says occasionally people start conversations in English with her (she just replies in swedish and they realize their mistake and switch) so don't feel bad if they do it to you, seems it happens to natives too!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rut962457
rut962457
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Ask them to help you learn Swedish and most of us will be happy to help you.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tjasonham
tjasonham
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The Swedes can be very intimidating haha, but if you want to continue speaking to someone in Swedish, just keep speaking to them in Swedish even if they are speaking to you in English ;)

When I was in Sweden it was maybe half-half. Many people were excited that I spoke Swedish despite sounding so awful lol!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Peztis
Peztis
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But this is not a typical "Swedish" problem, it is the same here in Spain. And when I say that I need to practice my Spanish I have sometimes gotten the reply that they need to practice their English.

But usually I try to speak Swedish with anyone who wants it.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ryanw013
ryanw013
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Thanks for being so nice in your answers! Much appreciated.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/devalanteriel
devalanteriel
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No sweat. Hope you do get to visit Sweden sometime. :)

2 years ago