The Swedish language is recognized as Sweden’s official language. Apart from the several dialects which can be heard in various parts of the country, there is a handful of formally recognized minority languages spoken in Sweden. These include: Finnish, Yiddish, Meänkieli, Sami, and Romani.

Nearly the entire population of Sweden speaks Swedish as a first language, and the rest as a second language. The Swedish language is a North Germanic language that resembles Norwegian and Danish, and it evolved around the 14th and 15th century from Old Norse. There are several dialects of Swedish spoken in different regions of the country, such as: Westrobothnian, spoken in the coastal areas of Westrobothnia and Norrbotten, Dalecarlian, spoken in the Älvdalen Municipality and northern parts of the Dalarna province, Modern Gutnish, spoken in Gotland and Fårö, Scanian, spoken in the province of Scania, and Jamtlandic, spoken mainly in Jämtland.

There are five minority languages which have been formally recognized in Sweden, including Finnish, Meänkieli, Sami, Romani and Yiddish. Finnish is spoken by about 470,000 speakers, majority of whom reside in Norrbotten. The Finnish language has been spoken by many generations of ethnic Finns in Sweden, due to Finland having been part of the Swedish kingdom for centuries. Meänkieli is a Finnic language which is closely related to Finnish and often treated as a dialect of Finnish, spoken as a first language by about 40,000 to 70,000 speakers in Sweden’s Torne Valley region. The Sami languages are a group of Uralic languages spoken by the Sami people of northern Scandinavia, spoken by about 9,000 of the Sami people living in Sweden, the majority of which can be found in the municipalities of Kiruna, Arjeplog, Gällivare and Jokkmokk. The Romani language is a language spoken by a nomadic group of the Romani people whose origins are traced to northern India. The Romani language is closely related to the languages spoken in northern India, and is classified as an Indo-Aryan language. As the Romani people have a nomadic lifestyle, there is no particular area of Sweden with a large concentration of Romani-speaking residents. However, the language has been given significant importance in the country, with the government promoting plans to preserve the Romani language in Sweden. Yiddish is a Germanic language spoken by the Ashkenazic Jews, who immigrated to the country after the 18th century and introduced the Yiddish language in Sweden. Much like Romani, the Swedish government gives attention to the preservation of the Yiddish language in the country as well. With this purpose, the Society of Yiddish and Yiddish Culture in Sweden has been established as to promote the use of the Yiddish language in the country.

Immigrants to Sweden speak their native languages in the country. Thus, Bulgarian, Greek, Italian, Spanish and Turkish are among the languages which can be heard among the immigrant settlers in Sweden. Sweden generally attracts a large number of workers, especially from the southern parts of Europe.

Most widely spoken foreign languages in Sweden include German and English. German was the most important foreign language in Sweden before the Second World War, after which English replaced it as the dominant foreign language spoken in Sweden. Other foreign languages spoken in Sweden include French, Spanish, Mandarin, Danish and Norwegian, all of which are either offered or planned to be introduced as additional languages in schools.


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