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Whether Swedish is hard to learn or not usually depends on a few factors. For example, if you’re an English native it should take you less time than, say, someone whose native language is Mandarin. 

And of course, the ultimate way to learn Swedish is to live in Sweden – which comes with a bunch of other perks too like, well, being in Sweden!

That said, while Swedish isn’t hard to learn for everybody, it’s still important to note that it can take longer to be fluent in it. Every language has its challenges when you have to learn it. This is why you should read on to find out more about what makes Swedish an easier language to learn.

woman in language class wondering if Swedish is hard to learn

Is Swedish hard to learn?

Swedish is placed in category 1 by the Foreign Service Institute. This means that it’s easier for both natives and non-Swedish people to learn it. As a result, Swedish isn’t hard to learn when you put your mind to it.

There are a number of reasons that make Swedish easier to learn even though it has a reputation for being a hard language to learn. For instance, Swedish uses Latin letters, just like English albeit with some extras thrown in like ​​Å, Ä, and Ö. This can make it easier for English speakers and those whose native language also uses the Latin alphabet as, basically, the characters are one less thing to learn.

Swedish grammar is also relatively easier for English speakers to understand so long as you accept that there are different rules. Swedish has more cognates and loanwords than any other Nordic language. However, both Swedish and English are strongly rooted in the Germanic language, even though there are cases when words have completely different meanings.

Related: What Language Do Swedish People Speak? (Not Just the Obvious One!)

Is Swedish hard to learn for English speakers?

The good news is that when you’re already an English speaker, it’s easier to learn Swedish, especially as the grammatical rules are relatively similar. For instance, the rules for article and noun use are not so different in Swedish compared to English.

Once you understand the basics of Swedish, then you can enjoy the educational experience as an English speaker. 

man learning Swedish and finding it's not that hard

For example, one of the main differences between Swedish and English used to be the use of genders. English only acknowledges two genders in its vocabulary, but Swedish traditionally had more.

In fact, there used to be three genders identified by Swedish dialects for noun use. Over time, these were condensed to only two genders. This means that English and Swedish have more similarities now when compared to the other Nordic languages.

This makes the language aspect a great reason to move to Sweden, especially if you’re trying to choose between different Scandinavian countries that may have harder languages to learn!

Related: 34 Beautiful Swedish Words and Sayings (You Need to Learn)

Is Swedish or German harder to learn?

If you’re an English speaker, it’s much easier for you to learn how to speak in Swedish compared to German. The main two reasons are that German consists of three genders and has four cases. This can be very difficult to keep up with when you consider that Swedish has only two genders and no cases.

Unlike Swedish, German is extensively rich in lexicon use. As a result, you can say the same thing in more ways than you can imagine. The choices of the words that you use when speaking German are mainly influenced by context and stylistic criteria more than what the word means.

Swedish is also easier because it’s (more or less) spoken as it’s written. This is different from German, which has an array of unspoken words due to vehicular language that changes words all the time. In an informal conversation, you’ll likely understand some German after taking some time to learn it, but you’ll realize that it isn’t spoken as it is written.

Since German consists of three genders, there are different rules for words that are dependent on the gender in use. So, the word structure depends on the gender of the noun used, unlike in Swedish where gender isn’t an issue. As a result, German forces you to not only learn the gender, but to also know, say, its plural form for each word that you learn.

You may also be interested in: 19 Typical Traits of Swedish People (Stereotype or Truth?)

Is Swedish or French harder to learn?

The Foreign Service Institute ranks both French and Swedish among the languages that are easier to learn. However, when you have to compare the two, you’ll notice that French is slightly more difficult to learn than Swedish. The main reason is that it has more grammatical rules than Swedish does.

You’d be surprised to learn that languages such as French and the Nordic languages have influenced many English words. If you’re an English speaker, it makes it easier to learn these languages. The French lexicon on its own is likely responsible for the contribution of at least a third of the English language.

man learning to speak Swedish online

At the same time, when compared with Swedish, French is harder to learn because it has complex grammar. It also has linguistic nuances that you won’t find in English or Swedish. The pronunciation of words is also a challenge because some words have silent letters or nasal sounds. This is in comparison to learning Swedish where the pronunciation isn’t so different from English.

There are also more so-called “false friends” in the French language when compared to Swedish. While not a major issue – and, in fact, can be a great way to make a new friend when you mess up a word (and I speak from first hand experience here), it is an extra point in favor of the fact that Swedish is, overall, easier to learn than French.

Is Swedish or Norwegian easier to learn?

If you wish to learn a new Nordic language, Norwegian is the easiest to start with because it doesn’t require any verb conjugation. Even though most Nordic languages are mutually intelligible, they don’t have the same difficulty level. There are, however, some similarities, such as the pronunciation of Swedish and Norwegian words.

These two languages resemble each other the most when compared to other Nordic languages. As much as there are similarities, there are also differences that make one language slightly more difficult than the other. The most common thing about them is that they look and sound the same.

Occasionally, you’ll find words that don’t look the same, but you’ll find that they’re pronounced the same. Even in the case of different words used, it’s still much easier for someone who speaks either of these languages to understand. The similarities between these two show you that they have the same origin.

But, it’s still important for you to note the differences between the two languages. The biggest one is the fact that the last two vowels in their alphabets differ. As a result, some words aren’t spelled the same.

Additionally, Swedish has incorporated a gender-neutral pronoun. The Norwegian language still relies on traditional gender pronouns. Despite this, and although they’re relatively similar languages, Norwegian is the easiest of the two to learn.

How long does it take to learn Swedish?

The Foreign Service Institute suggests that you need a total of 750 hours if you wish to become fluent in Swedish. This can be achieved in a year if you commit to an average of 15 hours a week. How long it takes you to learn Swedish is dependent on the amount of time that you want to invest.

Another important thing to note is that the FSI has categorized languages for English native speakers. These suggested hours can be different for someone who isn’t a native English speaker. So, it may be fewer hours for some people compared to others.

two women learning Swedish together

It’s essential for you to dedicate your time and effort if you wish to learn Swedish fast. While it’s not a difficult language to learn, you should have other tactics to speed up the process. For example, you can listen to Swedish music and read Swedish books.

There are various resources that are at your disposal to learn Swedish faster. It’s crucial for you to immerse yourself in Swedish culture to fully grasp the basics of the language.

Can I learn Swedish in 3 months?

You can learn to understand some Swedish in 3 months to help you navigate basic things in the country, although you won’t be fluent. It’s estimated that it takes up to 200 hours to reach A2 speaking level and 400 hours in total to reach B1, which is when conversations become easier.

Like any language, it takes a lot of commitment and dedication to master Swedish in a short space of time.

There are some Swedish words that you’ll pick up on sooner than others and, if we’re being honest, you don’t even need to be fluent for people to understand you (and to appreciate your effort in trying to learn their language). 

But how fast you learn Swedish depends on how far you want to go with it and how much you can commit. It goes without saying that if you live in Sweden and take intensive classes, or even if you take some evening classes in your home country and, say, watch some movies in Swedish, you’ll pick it up much faster than if you simply do the occasional game on an app like DuoLingo.

Related: Life in Sweden: 25 Points on What It’s Actually Like (to Know Before Moving)

Is Swedish worth learning?

Yes, Swedish is worth learning. The main reason why it’s worth your time to learn Swedish is that it makes it easier for you to integrate with the Swedes, which is especially useful if you plan to live there. This, in turn, will help you to feel like you belong much quicker than you would otherwise.

It’s practical and useful for you if you wish to live in more than one Scandinavian country. It goes without saying that if you live in Sweden as an English native, it helps to learn Swedish to make life easier to navigate. This is despite the fact that many Swedish people do speak English very well.

When you learn Swedish you can even take advantage of future job prospects. Stockholm has multitudes of job opportunities. It should help you find a prominent position easier when you know how to speak Swedish.

In addition, since it’s the easiest and most intelligible of the Scandinavian languages, it’s easier to learn Swedish if you wish to also decipher other Nordic languages such as Norwegian or Danish. 

Learning Swedish will always be worth it when you’re an English speaker. It’s essential to learn the rules and to understand them. As with any other language, make specific goals that will be realistic to achieve.