How difficult is it to learn and study Swedish?
There isn’t really a “most difficult” or “easiest” language to learn. The degree of difficulty changes depending on what your previous language skills are. A Norwegian studying Swedish will have an easy time learning it since Norwegian and Swedish are so closely related in the language tree. Most of the time they can even speak their own language and still understand each other perfectly.
No, studying Swedish can’t be said to be more difficult than any other language. But there are some parts of it that are harder to grasp if you don’t have any previous experience with it, or if your native isn’t in the same language tree/related to Swedish in any way, shape, or form.
Why is Swedish hard to learn?
We’ve identified 3 reasons why people might find it hard to learn and study Swedish: phonetics, long words, and word order.
A lot of people learning Swedish in sfi, Swedish for immigrants, find the phonetics of the Swedish language the hardest to grasp, in other words, the pronunciation of words. This is because Swedish use a lot of vowels och pronounce the words exactly as it sounds. Another characteristic challenge within Swedish phonetics is that there isn’t really a set pronunciation standard. Both vowels and consonant might be pronounced very differently depending on what accent or sociolects is used. For a person learning Swedish in sfi, this might almost be incomprehensible.
A great example of the complexity of Swedish phonetics is the word: “Bråk”. It could mean two things:
- “Bråk” as in “fraction”
- “Bråk” as in “fight”
They are spelt and pronounced the same, where the only way to figure out the correct one is by context.
2. Long words
In a lot of languages, for example, French och Spanish, they don’t have as long words as we do in Swedish. Words that never seem to end are for example “finansdepartementet” (finance ministries) or “försäkringskassan” (social security office). If there are two meanings in one word you usually separate them with prepositions in another language, such as “de” and “à” in French. In Swedish we put together two different words to describe one, which can cause headaches for people not native to Swedish.
3. Word order
The Swedish word order is, to say the least, hard to grasp for the untrained ear. The Swedish language insists on putting the verb in the second place when we create a declarative sentence. By this point, it’s almost more of a rule than an exception when a non-native speaker makes this mistake. Swedish also has a habit of piling up consonants on top of each other and words following each other. A person not accustomed to this will find it next to impossible to pronounce the sentence and even wonder if the book is correct or not.
The Swedish grammar
A big plus of the Swedish language is that the grammar is somewhat easy to learn. If you’ve already learned English or have some basic knowledge of it, learning the Swedish grammar won’t be as difficult.
Learn Swedish at Hermods sfi
Learning the language of the country you live in is a necessity to be able to smoothly integrate and interact with society and find work. At Hermods sfi courses you will learn all the Swedish language basics where we’ll help you overcome all challenges of why Swedish is so hard to learn.
Contact the sfi department in your municipality and tell them you want to study at Hermods to enrol in our sfi courses to learn Swedish, about the Swedish society, and what you need to do in order to find work in Sweden.