What Is the Origin of the Swedish Language?

When traveling through Sweden, you might find yourself captivated by the distinctive sing-song quality of the Swedish language, which has a strong history.

The earliest roots of the Swedish language, or "Svenska," can be found a family of languages called the Indo-European languages.

Germanic Roots

Swedish comes from a Germanic branch of the Indo-European language families. German, English and Dutch also come from this branch.

Viking Connection

Swedish, Danish, Icelandic and Norwegian are modern dialects of Old Norse, a Germanic Viking warrior language.

Written Swedish

Written Swedish began with an ancient 24-letter alphabet of unknown origins called runes. Runes first appeared around 200 A.D., and was in use until around 1200.

Other Influences

Spoken and written Swedish was influenced by Latin and Greek in the early 13th century, and German in the late 13th and early 14th century.

New Swedish

New Swedish came about with the printing of a Swedish translation of the Bible, ordered by the monarch Gustav Vasa in 1526. The linguistics of this Bible became the standard for contemporary written and spoken Swedish.

Jessica Martinez is a freelance writer from Clayton, North Carolina. As a homeschooling mom, she enjoys writing about education, child development and family issues. Martinez also enjoys researching and writing about subjects she loves: history, art, interior design, gardening and travel.