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Swedish Language Facts

If you’re thinking about learning Swedish it’s always good to know a little about the origins and history of the language you are learning. Here, Cactus Language offers up our most interesting Swedish language facts:

  • Swedish
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5 Interesting Swedish Language Facts

1. Swedish is a North Germanic language derived from Old Norse

Swedish differentiated itself from Danish in the Middle Ages. Swedish has been heavily influenced by other Germanic languages, especially Danish, throughout its history. In the 18th century, Swedish also borrowed a large number of words from French. While Swedish has many dialects, Standard Swedish became the standardised form of Swedish spoken nationally in Sweden during the 19th and 20th century.

2. There are around 9 million native Swedish speakers across the world

Swedish is mainly spoken in Sweden, where it is an official language, and in some coastal parts of Finland. In addition to this, it is estimated that around 40,000 students are learning Swedish as a second language outside Sweden and Finland.

3. Several Swedish words made it into the English language

Examples of Swedish loanwords include gravlax (a Nordic dish served as a starter), moped (formed of motor” and “pedal”, this word refers to a small motorcycle), ombudsman (a public advocate), orienteering (sports using navigational skills), rutabaga (a root vegetable), tungsten (translating directly as “heavy stone”, it refers to a chemical element).

4. The longest Swedish word contains 28 letters

According to the Swedish Academy, Swedish’s longest word is realisationsvinstbeskattning. It stands for “capital gains tax”.

5. Swedish shares similarities with Danish and Norwegian

Swedish share a common history and is mutually intelligible with Danish and Norwegian. It is often said that by learning Swedish, one is actually learning three languages.

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Frequently asked questions

What will I learn?

Our Course Outlines give an overview of the content and learning framework of Cactus courses. Includes themes, grammar and vocabulary you can typically expect to cover. These are intended as a guide only. Language teachers may at times adapt the course content to suit the specific level, aims and interests of the class.

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Are you unsure where to start or progress to? Then take our level test and read our level descriptions for guidance.

Do I receive a qualification or certificate?

At the end of your course you receive a certificate of participation. You will be able to be download it from your MyCactus account. This confirms the language and level of course you have taken. Our course levels are based on two internationally recognised systems. You will have a universally accepted reference for your studies. (Important: Please note that you must complete the end of course questionnaire sent to you to be able to get your certificate! You will receive the course questionnaire by e-mail at the end of your course.)

Do I need a course book?

You will need a course book to attend your course. Course books are not included in the course fees. We recommend that you buy your own course book separately before your course starts. We will let you know which course book you will require and advise where you can purchase this. Please note that a course book often covers more than one level. So if you progress to the next course, you may not necessarily need to buy a new book. Again, we will advise you of this at the time. The course book is chosen by our teachers and academic team. This is based on which book is most suitable for the level of the class whilst offering the most communicative approach.

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