165 px Vendela Blomström Foto: Felicia Blomström
Vendela Blomström. Foto: Felicia Blomström

Sweden consistently ranks at the top (or thereabouts) of the countries with the world’s best non-native English speakers – and it’s easy to see why. Signs in Sweden are frequently written in both Swedish and English, TV shows and movies are never dubbed, and even when they speak Swedish, the Swedes pepper their sentences with English.

Consequently, it’s not uncommon to hear of foreigners living in Sweden for many years without learning Swedish. But while it might be easy to ‘get by’ in English, the perks of learning the local language far outweigh the challenges, says Stockholm University’s Vendela Blomström.

“You can get by without speaking Swedish because most Swedish people speak English,” says Blomström, who teaches Swedish to international students. “But I think it’s necessary to learn Swedish to really get to know the Swedish people, to learn about the culture and to understand what’s happening around you.”

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Niclas Abrahamsson. Foto: Anna Persson
Niclas Abrahamsson. Foto: Anna Persson

Most language learners will agree that mastering the pronunciation is often much harder than learning the grammar. And mustering the courage to practise your pronunciation can be even harder still.

“Pronunciation is connected to your identity. Learning grammar isn’t threatening your identity in the same way as the way you sound,” explains Niclas Abrahamsson, director of Stockholm University’s Centre for Research on Bilingualism.

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Read the full article on thelocal.se: Do you really need to learn Swedish in Sweden?

Text: Sophie Miskiw, The Local.