English, Svenska or “Svengelska”?

Svenska is the Swedish word for “Swedish”. So far so good. But what is this language like?

The sound and melody of the Swedish language was somehow strange for me – before I learned it. It was like all these nordic languages a mix of tortured vowels and konsonants. Actually I could not say if a person speaks Swedish, Norwegian, Danish or even Finish. It was just a miracle for me.


The difficulty to learn a new language

Swedish might be the easiest of all Scandinavian languages. The Swedish king ruled once in whole Scandinavia and even parts in Russia and Germany were occupied.

Swedish, as a north germanic language belongs to the same family as Danish, Norwegian, German, English, Dutch… . Therefore we can find many similarities between all these languages. In my opiniond can we find a minor influence of English if we compare it with the impact of the German language for example.


“å” is “o”

That makes it easier for Germans and Dutch people to learn Swedish but it is still a foreign language. It has three special character: the “å” (like “o” in English), the “ä” (like “ie” in “friends”) and the “ö” (I have no idea how to describe it…). The last two characters exist also in German but the “å” is quite unique.


A try to explain my shrinking English skills…

I noted that I started to think in Swedish. I’m even writing with a Swedish word-order (sometimes) which is wrong in English. The verb comes almost always at the second place, like in German.

An example:

English: Yesterday, I met some friends… .

Swedisch: Igor (Yesterday)  träffade (met) jag (I)  vänner (friends)

The funny thing is: The Swedish word-order should be easy for Germans because it’s almost the same in German. But people who learned English make surprisingly the same misstakes like people who spoke only English and have never learned German!

Some people are also mixing English and Swedish. “Svengelska” is the right expression for that (“Engelska” =  English and “Svenska” for Swedish). But I think only teenager and foreigners are mixing bot languages.


More headache with learning Swedish

Another really difficult thing is the definite and (un)definite article (the car/a car). In many languages it is only important if it is female or male (English, French, Arabic). In German and Russian e.g. we need female (f), male (m), neutrum (n)which makes it harder to study these languages. The Swedish system ignores it absolutely. They use only “en” or “ett”. And when you start to learn Swedish you cannot know if it is an “en”-word or an “ett”-word. And: the definite article become a part of the word!

English:                                      German:

a car/girl/man                   ein Auto(n)/eine Frau (woman, female)/ein Mann (a man)

the car/girl/…                    das Auto/die Frau/der Mann


en bil (a car)/ ett barn (a child)                        bilen (the car) / barnet (the child)

What the…??? Yes!!! It becomes a suffix! I have to say: This is really strange! And difficult by the way, especially the question if it is “en” or “ett”…

By the way: “ett” means also “one”…




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