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Swedish
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Native Name
Svenska

Official Language: Sweden, Aland Ahvenanmag/Finland, Officially Recognized Language: Finland

Background
It belongs to the Indo-European family, Germanic group, Scandinavian subgroup and is spoken by 9 million people. Swedish is closely related to the other Scandinavian languages and somewhat less close to German, Dutch and English. Historically it is closer to Danish, but the years of Swedish hegemony over Norway (l8l4-1905) brought the two languages closer together. During the Middle Ages Swedish borrowed many words from German, while the 18th century witnessed a large infusion of words from the French. In the 19th and 20th centuries English has become by far the largest source of foreign borrowings. The English words "smorgasbord" and "tungsten" are of Swedish origin. The former is a combination of "smörgås" (sandwich) and "bord" (table), the latter is a combination of "tung" (heavy) and "sten" (stone). There are at least four Swedish dialects with the same "high" status, but the one spoken in Svealand is considered to be "proper" Swedish.

Reprinted from www.unhchr.ch/udhr/