Fostering Multiliteracy in the Diverse Classroom

Introduction Hebrew Spanish French Chinese Braille Greek Swedish Tips Conclusion


Swedish is a North Germanic language (also called Scandinavian languages) spoken predominantly in Sweden and in parts of Finland, especially along the coast and on the Åland islands, by more than nine million people. It is mutually intelligible with two of the other Scandinavian languages, Danish and Norwegian and to some extent Icelandic. Along with the other North Germanic languages, Swedish is a descendant of Old Norse, the common Scandinavian language of the Viking Era.

Standard Swedish is the national language that evolved from the Central Swedish dialects in the 19th century and was well-established by the beginning of the 20th century. While distinct regional varieties descended from the older rural dialects still exist, the spoken and written language is uniform and standardized, with a 99% literacy rate among adults. Some dialects differ considerably from the standard language in grammar and vocabulary and are not always mutually intelligible with Standard Swedish. These dialects are confined to rural areas and are spoken primarily by small numbers of people with low social mobility. Though not facing imminent extinction, such dialects have been in decline during the past century, despite the fact that they are well researched and their use is often encouraged by local authorities.

Like in other modern Germanic languages, the standard word order is Subject Verb Object, though this can often be changed to stress certain words of phrases. Swedish morphology is similar to English, i.e. that words have comparatively few inflections; there are two genders, two cases, and a distinction between plural and singular. Adjectives are compared as in English, and is also inflected according to gender, number and definetness. The definiteness of nouns is marked primarily through suffixes (endings), complemented with separate definite and indefinite articles. The prosody features both stress and in most dialects tonal qualities. The language has a comparatively large vowel inventory. Swedish is also notable for the voiceless dorso-palatal velar fricative, a highly variable consonant phoneme.


Swedish Fairy Tales: Bilingual


Swedish pancake and waffle mix; Picture taken at a world market in Homewood, AL.



This cassette and book is good for children who wish to learn Swedish in melody. [songs].


Swiss sugar found in a world market in Homewood, AL.

Information about the Swedish Language:

Spoken in:Sweden and Finland 
Region:Northern Europe
Total speakers:9.3 million 
Language family:Indo-European
  North Germanic
   East Scandinavian
Official status
Official language of:Sweden de facto,
Finland (with Finnish)
European Union
(with other EU official languages)
Regulated by:Swedish Language Council (in Sweden)
Svenska språkbyrån (in Finland)