Sweden - Languages2015
By Anastacia Sampson
Swedish is the official language of Sweden (which was declared for the first time in 2009) and there are five recognized minority languages. There are diverse dialects of Swedish, to the point that they may be considered different languages.
Some of the dialects of Swedish include:
Westrobothnian - Piteå, Skellefteå, Umeå, Luleå and Kalix have traditional Westrobothnian speakers.
Jamtlandic - This dialect is spoken mainly in Jämtland.
Scanian - In the province of Scania this dialect is used.
Of the estimated 9 million people living in Sweden, most speak Swedish as their first language and nearly everyone living there can speak Swedish.
There are many other languages in Sweden, yet the government has made special note of some minority languages that have been spoken in this country.
The five listed minority languages include:
Spoken by over 200 000 people as about 5% of the Swedish population consists of ethnic Finish inhabitants. It is highly used in the Norrbotten area as many settled Finnish people reside there.
This is spoken by between 40 000 and 70 000 people, namely the Tornedalian people (descendants of Scandinavian and Fennoscandian Finnic Kvens as well as Finns who settled in northern Sweden and Thorne Valley area). It is a language that may be considered as a dialect of Finish. It is mainly spoken and used in Thorne Valley.
This language is spoken by about 9000 people and is a language of the Sami/Lapps people (indigenous people of northern Scandinavia). There are three different Sami languages spoken and used in Sweden. This language is similar to Finish and Meänkieli. It is an Uralic language (Uralic languages include Finnish, Estonian and Hungarian), and it has adapted Germanic loanwords. Sami is used more in the municipalities of Arjeplog, Gällivare, Jokkmokk and Kiruna, and the close surrounding areas.
About 9500 people speak Romani, a language of the Roma people (nomadic ethnic group indigenous to North India). This language is consequently related to languages spoken in northern India. There is not any concentrated area in Sweden where this language is known to be used largely.
Spoken by about 4000 people and used by the Jewish people (18 000 estimated to be living in Sweden). It is a Germanic language with Hebrew and Slavic influences.
The above mentioned minority languages were declared in 1999 by the Minority Language Committee of Sweden.
Swedish Sign Language is used by an estimated 8000 deaf people in Sweden.
English is a main language in Sweden as it is a compulsory subject in schools and has been since the late 1940s. Although English is widely used it is not a national language (there is debate whether it should be considered to be foreign or a second language). English is considered important due to increased global travel, influence of Anglo-American culture, and broadcasted British and American television shows and films having sub titles rather than having been dubbed.
Despite other languages been used by a minor number of people, such as Bulgarian, Greek, Italian, Dutch, Serbo-Croatian and Turkish;these languages do not have a long history of traceable use and are therefore not eligible to be listed as a minority language at this time.