Swedish 101

Swedish is an Indo-European language belonging to the North Germanic branch of the Germanic languages. Together with Danish it belongs to the East Scandinavian group, separating it from the West Scandinavian group consisting of Faroese, Icelandic and Norwegian. More recent analyses divide the North Germanic languages into an Insular Scandinavian and Mainland Scandinavian languages, grouping Norwegian with Danish and Swedish based on mutual intelligibility and the fact that Norwegian has been heavily influenced in particular by Danish during the last millennium and has diverged from Faroese and Icelandic.

By generally accepted criteria of mutual intelligibility, the Mainland Scandinavian languages could very well be considered to be dialects of a common Scandinavian language. Due to several hundred years of sometimes quite intense rivalry between Denmark and Sweden, including a long string of wars in the 16th and 17th centuries, and the nationalist ideas that emerged during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the languages have separate orthographies, dictionaries, grammars, and regulatory bodies. Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish are thus from a linguistic perspective more accurately described as a dialect continuum of Scandinavian, and some of these on the border between Norway and Sweden, such as those of western Värmland, take up a middle ground between the national standard languages.

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