Swedish language, the official language of Sweden and, with Finnish, one of the two national languages of Finland. Swedish belongs to the East Scandinavian group of North Germanic languages. Until World War II, it was also spoken in parts of Estonia and Latvia. Swedish was spoken by about eight million Swedes in the early 21st century. It is closely related to Norwegian and Danish.
Swedish is a northern Germanic language, Swedish sign language has the same status as the minority languages in the law, and deaf or hearing-impaired children and their families have a right to learn the language.
Swedish has officially been the main language of Sweden since July 1, 2009, when a new language law was implemented. Besides protecting Swedish, the law also promotes and protects Sweden’s five national minority languages: Finnish, all Sami dialects, Torne Valley Finnish (Meänkieli), Romani and Yiddish.
The history of Swedish from the Common Scandinavian period (600–1050) until about 1225 is known chiefly from numerous runic inscriptions (see runic alphabet). Radical changes took place in the language, especially in the sound system, during the 14th and 15th centuries. Before the Swedish revolt of Gustav I Vasa in 1525, Danish influence on the Swedish language had been strong; the new government, however, made vigorous efforts to eliminate this effect, and Modern Swedish is usually dated from 1526
The written language was cultivated energetically as a symbol of national strength, and in 1786 King Gustav III established the Swedish Academy. The standard language began to emerge in the 17th century, formed principally on the Svea dialects spoken in Stockholm and around Lake Mälar but with some features from the Göta dialects. It spread at the expense of Danish by the conquest of southern and western provinces in the 17th century. After Sweden ceded Finland to Russia in 1809, the role of Swedish was gradually reduced in that country. Since independence (1917), however, Finland has accepted Swedish as a national language and has taught Swedish in its schools
1. The Swedish Language Council (Språkrådet) is the official regulator of Swedish in Sweden, but does not attempt to enforce control of the language. The Swedish Academy(established 1786) uses the dictionaries SvenskaAkademiensordlista (SAOL, currently in its 13th edition) and SvenskaAkademiensordbok
2. The Académiefrançaisedoes for Finland.
It has about 10 million speakers in the world.