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Did you know about Swedish?
- Swedish is the mother tongue of 9 million people and is an official language in Sweden and Finland.
- Swedish (svenska in Swedish) belongs to the Germanic language group, including North Germanic, like Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic and Faroese. It shares many features with English and German. For example, take the word apa, which is German Vater, English father, Swedish fa(de)r, or the word ice, which is German Eis, English ice, Swedish ice. Since the centuries that followed the Norman-French invasion of 1066 significantly reshaped English, and the country's insularity also isolated the language from its Germanic brethren, Swedish and German share several common features. This was further reinforced by centuries of Hanseatic trade links, which brought words and prefixes of German origin into Swedish. Not only do the two languages share common origins and forms, but anyone who has already mastered German to some extent does not need to learn Swedish grammar from scratch because of the similarities.
- Runes. The earliest written records of the Scandinavian languages are found on gravestones and menhirs with runic inscriptions. The status of the language was then described in the 16-character runic alphabet. At this time, the Scandinavian languages were only separated at the level of dialects. The development of Swedish (and the other Nordic languages) was greatly influenced by the introduction of Christianity in 1050 and by the introduction of Latin, after which the runic alphabet was replaced by Latin.
- Namesakes. Although Swedish has many similarities with both German and English, E/3 also uses four pronouns. Persons are referred to by their natural gender (han or hon). The pronoun denominative gender, which includes both the masculine and feminine gender, is used to refer to other nouns rather than persons. So we can refer to persons with the pronouns han and hon, and to other nouns (with natural gender) with the pronouns den and det.
- The language of Sweden and other Scandinavian countries. In Finland, Swedish is the second official language and is closely related to Norwegian, so speakers of the two languages can understand each other even without a second language. A Swedish learner can understand written Danish perfectly well, but oral Danish can be difficult to understand because of the different pronunciation. As the southern Swedish province of Skåne was for a long time under Danish rule, the dialect there is more similar to Danish than to Swedish. This phenomenon has been exacerbated by Sweden's geographical size and isolation due to extreme climatic conditions.
- Swedes and the English language. In Sweden, as in the Nordic countries, television broadcasts films in their original language, often English, with subtitles in the language of the country. Children start learning English at an early age. Anyone from the man in the street to the man in the street can answer questions in English with excellent English.
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