This is my fourth day of learning Swedish, and I must say that it is a beautiful language. One thing I find easy about Swedish is it's grammar (Swedish grammar is very similar to English grammar.) What I find hard about Swedish is it's tonal accent. Many people have asked me things such as "Why learn Swedish? All swedes speak English." While it is true that many Swedes speak English, my reason for learning Swedish is that I love the language. The sound of Swedish is very interesting to me, and I have wanted to learn it for years. I believe loving a language is a good enough reason to learn it.
All Swedes may speak English, but I personally think it's a matter of courtesy to learn the language of a country if, like myself, you intend to spend a lot of time there. Having lived in Sweden for a few months at a time I found that although I could "get by" with English, I wanted to integrate - hence why I'm learning now, even though I don't really "need to" at the moment. And in my opinion you have every right to learn a language simply because you want to, don't let anyone lessen the value of doing something you enjoy! :-)
Ha - interesting article on that particular topic:
Ha! It makes sense they would think it was Norwegian sounding. Honestly, I knew he wasn't speaking Swedish but what I liked about it was everyone knew how to imitate a French, German, Italian, Russian, accent really growing up but when imitating a Swedish sound they went straight for the Chef. Have you seen this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INOL2zVv7mw
My circumstances have led me to meet more and more Swedes over the last couple of years, and I'm very likely to go there a couple of times a year for the foreseeable future.
One thing is that while I would agree that every Swede I've ever met does speak English, about 1/10 of them aren't particularly happy with it and will stay quite in conversations or fall back to Swedish to discuss something a bit more complicated before attempting it in English. There is plenty of room to meet them halfway.
I can't even begin to say how annoying it is to be asked this. My second language is Welsh and because it's spoken by so few (around 20% of the population of Wales) I get asked why I bothered learning it. I get asked the same now about Swedish. I put it down to the privilege of the monoglot English speaker and the ignorance that's allowed to flourish as a result. "Why not learn Chinese? Why not learn Spanish so you can go on holiday to Spain?". Well maybe I will learn those sometime, but I don't base my choices on which language is more globally prevalent and actually... I prefer holidaying in Sweden <3
I live in Halmstad, Halland at the moment, so I am literally surrounded by the language. I used other tools to learn some Swedish, but I absolutely love Duolingo after what I was able to achieve with Spanish, so I waited very impatiently for this course to come out. And yes, almost all Swedes speak English, but I feel deeply that every language is a reflection of people that are speaking it, therefore, to truly understand the Swedish people, you have to know at least some of their language.
While I agree with what you're saying about warranted reasons for learning languages, I find all this talk of foreigners supposedly not needing Swedish in Sweden to be a bit oversold. Truth is that if you learn Swedish before you visit Sweden you will have much better chances of meeting and hanging out with the locals. This is even more true for non-native English speakers, because, as an effect of americanization, many Swedes are opportunistically drawn to people who can help them improve their English. As an example, I can still vividly recall my university dorm in Lund, a kind of segregated, filthy microcosm where Chinese, Spanish and Swedes shared kitchen but never really interacted, except when deemed absolutely necessary.
People from smaller countries often complain that their language is useless. I strongly disagree. If you want to even consider getting employment in a small country, it is usually required to know the local language. Sure people from Sweden, Norway, Finland, the Netherlands, etc. can speak English well, but business is always preferred in the local language. If I learn Swedish, Norwegian, German, French and Dutch, that's over 200 million people and at least a dozen countries where I'm able to communicate with locals in their own language.
I tried every language when Duolingo had only 5 languages available, to come to the conclusion that Italian is the language that I love the most and want to learn, and from then on I learned Italian but also tried every language that came out. I wasn't hot about Swedish at all even when it came out, but I tried it and now it's my 3rd day of learning Swedish and I gotta say I think I fell in love with Swedish as well.
It's not like I can't focus on one, it's just that I have to try every new language. So now I'm also waiting for Esperanto I hope it will turn out well, and not like it turned out with Danish, that I was hot about it but when it came out, I realized it is not the one for me.
I'm going on student exchange to Sweden shortly. And while I've been told I won't need to bother because everyone speaks English and I won't get much of a chance to speak Swedish.... I still want to learn as much as I can. It's a fun language, and I'd like to be able to speak at least a few things while I'm there - hopefully come back with basic conversational!
People seldom get why I want to "waste" my time learning another language. Swedish in particular, because my reasons for learning Swedish are a bit unorthodox. I fell in love with the Swedish royal family and ever since then I have I loved watching King Carl Gustaf's speeches and just Swedish television in general, however, I can never understand what they are saying and very seldom does YouTube have subtitles. It is a gorgeous language to listen to even if I don't understand it, and I imagine (when I am fluent enough) it will be fantastic to speak. The culture is so interesting and I hope to retire to Sweden one day. My goal for now is to be able to watch Crown Princess Victoria's wedding and be able to understand most of what they are saying.
"My reason for learning Swedish is that I love the language" - maybe this has already been said, but in my experience that's one of the best reasons to learn. At the very least, you will probably get more out of a language if you learn for that reason. Between the languages that I've learned because I love them, and the languages I learn simply because I "want" to learn them (subtle but important difference), I find I not only get more satisfaction from the languages I "love", but I make much faster and greater progress.
You are right (imo), it is more than a good enough reason to learn it!
I want to move there after I complete med school to work as a doctor/surgeon, and since I already have C2 English knowledge (CPE certificate), also knowing the native language couldn't hurt. Hopefully EU will still be a thing by the time I graduate, because the economic situation in Croatia is bad. My only gripe is that I fear the weather will be rainy and with no sun most of the year, so I hope I won't get depressed :/
I get that comment all the time. All through high school i heard it every other day about German -__- Now I hear it about learning Gaelic and Swedish, though for both of those I have very good reasons that shut people up :D (About Gaelic, I'm heavily Irish, Swedish, my boyfriend is very likely to get a job there in the next 2-3 years)
Why not learn Swedish?
But seriously, I'm learning Swedish because I've kinda got a goal to get different levels with the langauges in the Germanic branch. I'm already a native English speaker so that's one down.
Oh yes. I find myself wishing it was more Germanic especially since it's said that Faroese is one of English's closest cousins (more so Old English rather than Modern) and it itself is very similar to Icelandic and I plan on doing both these langauges to A2 if possible. Learning these langauges are making English seem more and more boring to me, lol.
Yes, when I try reading the older dialects of English I find myself relying more on my knowledge of German to interpret it than my knowledge of English xD I appreciate a language's organic way of developing, but I do rather wish that English as a purely Germanic language had survived, it would be so cool :D
Well, more likely English would have evolved from the original Anglo-Saxon dialect and would have retained qualities from that, purging Modern English of it's non-Germanic components is not an accurate representation of how English might have been, but nonetheless it is an interesting read!!:D http://www.omniglot.com/writing/oldenglish.htm
This is the first language I've tried to learn, and it's amazing the kind of connections you make. Hund is dog? Lemon is citron? And even those quirky phrases and words that people sometimes drop... Smorgasbord? What do you mean it doesn't make sense that there's a sandwich table of books at the library? Heheh. Anyway, I completely agree with you. I tell someone, "Hey! I'm learning Swedish," and they give me this dubious look like, "Why don't you learn Spanish or Chinese, or something useful?" I would explain to them how much I love Swedish culture and how the language sounds, but it gets a little tiring telling everyone WHY I want to learn the language. I just want to! Actually, now that I think about it, I'm probably going to redirect anyone who's curious about why I want to learn Swedish to this page.
Exactly why I chose to learn. i care little about the practicality of languages. Languages are incredible, and I want to learn the ones most important to me, not to others. I chose German because of my German heritage, and because I appreciate the culture and history. I chose Swedish as well because it's a beautiful language and the culture is honorable to me.
Why swedish? Because.... reasons! :D I get asked that often, as, being Brazilian, Sweden sounds like such a distant country... and yet I'm curious about foreign countries, and languages, Scandinavia in general and Sweden in special, and I have Swedish friends as well; so why not?
I get the same question, and like you (and apparently everyone else!), I'm baffled by it. Why Swedish? Because it seemed fun. Because I'm out of school and don't want to atrophy my brain. Because I may some day flee the US and need a new country (that one's mostly a joke answer :-P). Because I have Norwegian friends and Norwegian wasn't an option yet. Because French was frustrating me with the whole "only pronounce half of the word" thing. Because I've started learning about life in Sweden and have become fascinated with the place. Because languages shape how we think about things. Because... well, why not? It's certainly a better use of my time than sitting around playing video games!
A lot of my family is from Scandinavia, Germany, Poland or Ireland. I would love to learn them all, as well as a couple of languages that are not in my ancestry (like Russian, which is in my husband's ancestry, and Icelandic, which I am told is the closest to old Norse, and I feel like that would be fascinating). Swedish is first on my list because my most recent ancestors are from Sweden and I was able to find it on sale for Rosetta Stone, which I am using along with duolingo! :) I haven't decided in German or Irish will be my next choice yet :P
I have an interest in Germanic languages in general. I find Swedish very nice & interesting.
I get this too, it's not like if I learned Spanish people would be like " oh well that's interesting, why do you want to learn Spanish? ". Any language is worth your time if you love learning it.