Swedish

The language

Swedish is an Indo-Germanic language that is very similar to the other two Scandinavian languages: Danish and Norwegian. It is mostly spoken in Sweden and Finland, where Swedish is an official language.

The dialects

There are several rural dialects though standard Swedish is spoken by most Swedes. Written Swedish is uniform and standardised throughout the country. The Swedish dialects can be categorised into three groups: northern Swedish, eastern Swedish and Svea, the basis for standard Swedish.

The script

Like Danish and Norwegian, Swedish uses the Latin alphabet, though there are additional vowels, which are å, ä and ö.

Translation

When translating from Swedish to English, the word count tends to increase by roughly 5-10%. In Swedish as in the other two Scandinavian languages the use of compound words is common; these compound words can only be translated into English by using several words. The length of the source text and the subject matter affect how much the word count increases.

Swedish culture

Many Swedish customs are linked to the country’s agrarian past. One example of this is Midsummer Eve, which takes place in June. It is traditional to make flower garlands and to put up a maypole for the traditional ring-dance. On the menu, there is pickled herring, boiled new potatoes with fresh dill, soured cream and chives, followed by a grilled dish such as salmon. For dessert, Swedes look forward to the first strawberries of summer with cream. Another symbol of Sweden’s past is the painted wooden horses from the province of Dalarna. Historically, they were carved by men working in the forest, to take home for their children. Later, these wooden horses were painted in bright colours and eventually became famous around the world.