Facts about the Swedish language
Swedish (Svenska) is the national language of Sweden and one of two national languages of Finland. It is a descendant of Old Norse, the common language of the Germanic peoples living in Scandinavia during the Viking Era (AD 800-1066). Standard Swedish is the national language that evolved in the 1800s and was well established by the beginning of the 20th century. Swedish is noted for its musical quality: spoken Swedish has a tone or pitch accent. The alphabet consists of 29 letters, the regular 26 of the English alphabet, plus å, ä and ö at the end.
Why Learn Swedish?
• Because you have a spirit of adventure. Sweden is a wonderful travel destination for those who love clean air, spectacular landscapes, and outdoor activities. As the biggest country of Northern Europe, there’s a lot to explore, from Stockholm in the south to Lapland in the north. And there’s no better way to get the most out of your travels than feeling comfortable with the language and culture.
• Because you want to connect. Learning Swedish connects you to nine million people in Sweden and Finland. When you learn Swedish, you’ll find that you can understand some Danish and Norwegian, too.
• Because you’d like to understand your past. Maybe you have family or friends of Swedish heritage. Learning about Swedish language and culture will give you a deep appreciation for your Scandinavian ancestors and famous Swedes like Anders Celsius (inventor of the temperature scale) or Viktor Hasselblad (inventor of the single lens reflex camera).
• Because you like having fun! Did you know that Sweden is the third-largest music-producing nation in the world? Perhaps you love musik as much as ABBA, Ace of Base, or the Hives. Authentic Swedish activities mixed with camping favorites like canoeing and swimming guarantee that every minute of your experience will be a treasured memory in the making.
Music and Dance Styles
Traditional Swedish folk music primarily consists of ballads and kulning. Kulning was originally a cow-herding call sung mostly by women. The ballads consist mostly of written stories turned into song. The traditional instruments used in Swedish folk music are fiddle, accordion, and harmonica.
Sami music originates from the Sami people, an indigenous group native to Sweden. This is typically found in Northern Sweden, and is highly spiritual. The use of the troll drum is the predominant instrument used in this kind of music, and serves as a way to contact the spiritual world.
Swedes are famous for developing their artistic skills. Textile arts and folk painting are very popular.
While Sweden celebrates most protestant Christian holidays, such as Christmas and Easter, they also celebrate many holidays that are traditional to Sweden’s history. Perhaps the most important holiday is Midsummer, where Swedes celebrate the summer solstice. At Sjölunden, we often celebrate Lucia Dagen (Saint Lucia Day), Alla Helgonsdag (All Saints Day), Nobel Dagen (Nobel Day), and Våffeldagen (Waffle Day).