Franzi is mainly on her YouTube channel Franzi in Sweden. But since she can also write quite wonderfully funny, I once asked if she would do something here on Sweden and so
times. And lo and behold, she would! The result is an article about the Scandinavian languages. And Swedish, of course. And why Swedish is the best language in Scandinavia…
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Guest article | “I’ll never learn this!” I thought. Cursing, I sat in front of the form from the skatteverket, Sweden’s financial and residents’ registration office. Why exactly did we want to emigrate to Sweden again? Wasn’t life supposed to be nicer and easier for us? But now two A4 pages of Swedish official Chinese fluttered into my mailbox and I had no idea what they wanted from me.
Today I know that an “enskild näringsidkare” is a sole proprietor, that “moms” means sales tax and that “företag” means the company. But back then I didn’t know all that – and my translator app wasn’t so sure about everything either.
About 3 years later, however, I have to say that Swedish is the best language in Scandinavia!
For one thing, it’s actually quite easy to learn. There are many words that are similar in German, the grammar is much simpler, and although the pronunciation of “sk” still sometimes puts a knot in my tongue, I now feel at home in this language.
And secondly, I’ve found that with Swedish you can get by in all of Scandinavia!
“The Lord created mosquitoes mainly in the northern areas, so that the Fjell could not compete with paradise.”
That Swedish and Norwegian are similar is well known. Whereas, of course, they are basically independent languages, each with its own vocabulary. During our last trip through Norway, however, I was surprised to discover how much you can actually understand from a conversation in Norwegian if you know Swedish yourself. It depends somewhat on the dialect that the Norwegian speaks. And of course on the tempo. But all in all, Norwegian sounds to me something like Swiss German: with a little luck, you sometimes understand whole sentences, usually a few words, and every now and then you get the feeling that it sounds familiar, but subtitles would be nice. After all: reading Norwegian is “rätt så lätt” (pretty easy)!
In Denmark, even a cocoa gives you time for hygge and an explanation of the terms at the same time…
This may sound strange at first, but since I can speak Swedish, Danish sounds like Dutch to me. Here, too, the affinity between the languages is palpable, even though
I never understand a whole sentence when listening. The Danish pronunciation is just too special and somehow it all sounds so funny…. When I once heard the Danish weather forecast on the radio during a car ride, I just had to start laughing, because it sounded to me a bit like a drunken Swede reading out the temperatures.
Reading Danish texts, on the other hand, works just as well as reading Norwegian. At the airport in Copenhagen I thought for a second that there were spelling mistakes on the signs – but no, dear brain, we were there in Denmark! And so we, that is my brain and I, also found the “udgang” without any problems.
Something about “pankki” and banknotes? Is this about counterfeit money? No, don’t panic: for every 50 EUR of purchase value, you simply get 1 EUR credited.
For our trip to Finland, I had firmly resolved to learn a few words of Finnish. After recovering from the fact that “kissa”, the Swedish word for “pee”, means “cat” in Finnish, I tried to pronounce “olen kotoisin Saksasta ja asun Ruotsissa” which (hopefully) means “I come from Germany and live in Sweden”…
With my heart pounding, I entered a Finnish supermarket for the first time and actually had some worries that I would have no idea what food to buy – since I couldn’t read the labels.
But then the sky opened up above me and a glistening ray of sunlight illuminated for me the text on the milk packaging: “It’s all written in Swedish!”
Because what I didn’t know before: Swedish is the second official language in Finland. Even today, there are regions, for example around the city of Wasa, where Swedish-speaking Finns live and therefore, among other things, Swedish texts can always be found on the food.
So with a triumphant grin on my face I continued my shopping and decided for myself:
Swedish is simply the best language in Scandinavia!
At least if you crisscross Scandinavia like my family and I do….
In the summer of 2016, Franzi emigrated from northern Germany to Sweden. Since then, she prefers to stay in the endless forests or on the lonely coasts of Scandinavia. If you are interested in emigration, living in Sweden and traveling through Scandinavia, check out Franzi, you can find her on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook!
How about you? Do you speak any of the Scandinavian languages?
If yes: Which one and how do the others sound to you??? We are curious and look forward to your comments!
Text and photos: Franziska Gandert
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