Swedish is the most popular of the Scandinavian languages, with 9.2 million people speaking it. If you have picked up Norwegian or Danish, you will usually find Swedish extremely easy to learn (and vice versa), as the three languages are often mutually intelligible.
It is the main Old Norse descendants, which was the common Germanic language throughout the Viking period.
As expected, Sweden is a country where Swedish is an official language. It may be surprising to hear that Swedish is also an official language in parts of Finland. Both Swedish and Finnish have equal standing legally when talking to embassies or governmental institutes.
It is also a native language of Estonia. However, there are people around the world speaking Swedish as a first language, especially around the Scandinavian countries. This has been made possible in recent years due to better immigration and travel possibilities.
Swedish is also an official language in the European Union and in the Nordic Council. Being part of the Nordic Council is important. Individuals who contact government or official buildings will be able to use Swedish without paying for a translator or interpreter.
Swedish is part of the Indo-European language, similarly to Danish. It is further classified as part of the East Scandinavian Germanic language family.
It can also be considered as part of the Old Norse family.
The majority of Swedes will speak Standard Swedish, which is now the national language of the country. The dialect has formed from a number of Central Swedish dialects coming together. There are still some smaller rural dialects around, but the spoken and written forms are standardized for the most part. This certainly makes learning Swedish easier.
Finnish Swedish is another form that is commonly used along the border. Danish and Norwegian dialects are also relatively common, but all the different country dialects are intelligible.
Some Gotland, Dalarna, and Norrbotten dialects are among the hardest to understand by other Swedes, however, these dialects aren’t as common anymore as they used to be.
The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) classifies Swedish as a Category I language. This means that it is considered one of the easiest languages for English speaking people to learn. However, this consideration will depend on your ability to pick up languages. The FSI looks at its students, who tend to find languages relatively easy to learn and have an average age of 40 years.
That being said, the FSI believes it takes between 575 and 600 hours (23 and 24 weeks) of study to become proficient in the Swedish language.