Will Swedish become Swenglish?

I read an interesting article today on the future of the Swedish language, title ‘Is it cool to speak Swedish?‘ it asks several young Swedes and various linguistic academics if English has encroached too much on the Swedish language.

I know the French have had this debate many times in the past but I really dont think Sweden has too much to worry about. I think the Swedes are very proud of their language but also love the opportunity to practice their English. (Well unless its the tax office or some area of Swedish officialdom of course.)

The English language is revered here, it immediately cuts through the class system (yes despite its egalitarian stance there is a classist system here, ever been to Stureplan?) it does actually command a bit of respect. It can be used to great effect. I remember recently being in a queue and an Östermalm woman pushing right in front of me, (for Östermalm read Knightsbridge, London). I could have politely spoken to her in Swedish but I put on my best English accent, looked down my nose and reminded her that this was a queue and that I was there before her. The look was priceless but she immediately went to the back of the queue. I am not sure my Swedish would have had the same response.

I dont think Swedish is under threat but I do wish they would dub more films and tv with an audio soundtrack. All non Swedish films are just subtitled in Swedish which is a shame as I think that would help strengthen the Swedish language especially with the young.

I do think its cool to speak Swedish. At the trade fair last week I was able to speak a bit of Swedish with a few Swedish people and even speak Swedish to Norwegians, it gives me such a buzz.

Todays Swedish Word of the day is tvåspråkig-bi-lingual


One Response

  1. One of the reasons why Swedes speak such good English is that they’re exposed to it in non-dubbed films and TV programs. I wish British TV would show more subtitled foreign films – I may have taken my schoolboy French more seriously if I had encountered it outside of the classroom.

    When are you going to write a blog entry in Swedish ? If your Swedish is good enough to tick off a queue jumper then a short blog entry should be no trouble :).

    Seriously, it would improve your self-confidence in Swedish no end of good and help to pull it further out of the classroom and into other aspects of your life.

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