All people in Sweden speaks English. Or…?

This is a common misconception, that all Swedes speak English so there is no point in learning the language if you speak English. While it is true that many Swedes can speak English, most learned English at school and do not regularly practice speaking it.

This comment comes from a native English speaker, who now lives in Sweden (found in The Local’s forum):

I don’t know where people keep getting this idea that all Swedes speak English as a matter of course during their days. Any Swede under the age of 60 learnt English while they were in school. 90% of them have never used it again since the day they walked out of the school gates. Most Swedes CAN speak some English, if they need to. Do they all walk around town speaking English ? No. Oddly enough, Sweden’s medium of communication is Swedish.

4 thoughts on “All people in Sweden speaks English. Or…?

  1. Hej!

    I can’t help but notice that in the first sentence you wrote “This is a common conception”
    My apologies if I’m wrong but did you actually mean ‘misconception’ ?

  2. Nearly everyone I have met here since I moved in 2011 speaks English to one degree or another. Certainly a lot better English than I speak Swedish. When I meet someone on a walk and they start in with Swedish I apologize for my poor Swedish and they immediately launch into English. Happens all the time.

    • Hej Dan, do you live in a bigger city? There is definitely a lot of people speaking good English in cities like Stockholm, Göteborg, Malmö and some of the other university cities (Uppsala, Lund, maybe even Linköping). If you are outside of these cities, things tend to be a little bit different. But of course their English will be better than your Swedish. After all, most Swedes have learnt English in school from the age of 9 and as you know everything on TV (apart from children’s programmes) is subtitled. Imagine how amazing your Swedish would be if you had learnt it every week from primary school and you heard it every day on TV growing up! 🙂

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