In Swedish, with professions and similar things, you usually don't have an article (when saying someone is this or that).
He is a lawyer. = Han är advokat.
She is a Muslim. = Hon är muslim.
However, when you're using words like this more figuratively, you add the article.
He is a clown. = Han är clown. = It's his job.
He is a clown. = Han är en clown. = He behaves like clown
Also, if you add an adjective, the article appears again:
She is a good lawyer. = Hon är en bra advokat.
It is most definitely a loan word, though i am not sure from where to where. Because it is almost identical to the Russian word Лекарь, which is pronounced very close to "Lekarj". The most used Russian verb "to heal (someone)" and the only Russian word for medicine have the same root, which suggests to me either that the word is slavic in origin, or has been loaned into Russian a long time ago.
In Swedish, läka means 'heal', not as in heal someone but as in 'a wound heals'. Hellquist's etymological dictionary says the origin is disputed, either it's said to be something old Germanic, some say it has Celtic origin. There are also some speculations about Sanskrit words that it may be derived from. At least it seems to be agreed that it's Indoeuropean and not Finnougric.
These here https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%9B%D0%B5%D0%BA%D0%B0%D1%80%D1%8C https://ru.wiktionary.org/wiki/%D0%BB%D0%B5%D0%BA%D0%B0%D1%80%D1%8C basically confirm the "disputed origins" thing: the root of the word was known in old slavic and is still being used in many slavic languages, however it seems to be either of gothic (lekeis - doctor) or old germanic (lēka - medicine) origins.
I've got a question concerning the gender of "läkare" (and the other professions as well): I understand that it is used both for female and male doctors. In German there is "der Arzt" for male and "die Ärztin" for female doctors (although many anti-feminist would ignore that and use the former for both). Is such a distinction possible in Swedish? Or do swedish native speakers really imagine female and male doctors to the same percentage when hearing "läkare"? Tack så mycket!
Swedish chose the opposite path to German – we try to use the same form for everyone in a profession, regardless of gender. So there's only one word for läkare. There is also only one word for 'nurse', sjuksköterska, this is one of the very few words that have a traditionally feminine form, which is now used for all genders.
In some cases there still exist older, specifically feminine forms, like författarinna 'female author' and lärarinna 'female teacher'. (there never existed a female form like that for läkare) However, using these forms is in no way feminist in a Swedish context, instead, it is old-fashioned and possibly anti-feminist.
The -are ending is in principle gender neutral so there's no real problem with that one. There are some words ending with -man, which are seen as problematic to a certain degree. So while many people still say riksdagsman 'member of Parliament', the more correct way of phrasing it is riksdagsledamot (gender neutral).
Thanks Arnauti! Your answer helped a lot - it's always interesting to learn about such things... (and I still do not believe my french teacher who told me that there is nothing like inclusive language in France...). Really, learning a language is always like discovering a related, yet new world!
Thanks! I love the really detailed answers you and the other moderators provide! It really helps with knowing how words are used and what impression they might give. I also find the bits of historical information fascinating.
Duo seems to use both skådespelare and skådespelerska. Would you say both words are in common use still? I feel that actress is quite rapidly going out of favour in English and it's getting more common to hear about female actors.