Do the Swedes speak English
Why do Scandinavians speak English so well?
Scandinavians sometimes seem to speak better English than some Britons themselves. But why do Danes, Norwegians and Swedes speak a relatively large number of foreign languages on average? Peter Hansen, Senior Production Specialist at The Translation People and a native of Denmark, gets to the bottom of this question.
The majority of Scandinavian children learn English from their third year of school. They are then around nine years old and will learn the English language by the time they graduate from school at 16 or 17. Those who go on to school afterwards, and maybe even go to university, learn English until they are in their early or mid-twenties.
The three main Scandinavian languages (Danish, Norwegian and Swedish) are spoken by relatively few people: in total there are fewer than 20 million in Denmark, Norway and Sweden, of which the Swedish language accounts for 10.2 million. That is why it is considered necessary in these countries to learn foreign languages in order to be able to communicate with the world.
Since very few foreign visitors speak any of the Scandinavian languages, this could be the reason why children in Scandinavia learn English at an early age. Another reason could also be that learning the English language is the basis for them to get in touch with people from all over the world.
Furthermore, English-language films, sitcoms, plays and documentaries are mostly broadcast in the original version in Scandinavia. So it is almost impossible to avoid the English language.
What has been learned in class can therefore be used in everyday life and helps the Scandinavians to improve their English skills. In the UK, just the opposite is the case: a large proportion of foreign films are dubbed, which contributes to the fact that the British have less exposure to foreign languages.
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