Hej (Hi) is the most common verbal greeting. Actually, it is pretty much the only one you will hear. Nonetheless, the formal God morgon (Good morning), God dag (Good day), and God kväll (Good evening) can also be used in business scenarios.
Greeting is usually done by shaking hands while maintaining direct eye contact. It is common to shake each person’s hands when arriving and when leaving. Among friends though, a simple ‘Hej’ will suffice.
Swedes are direct communicators and as such they tend to be quite straightforward and frank. However, respect is key, and politeness is taken into high regard. Swedish people try to take a diplomatic approach to conflict, and there is a tendency to avoid it. Public displays of emotion in public, such as anger, are discouraged and modesty is quite important, so it is not common to hear Swedish people boasting about their salary. Interrupting someone while they are speaking is also quite unusual among Swedes. Usually everyone waits for their turn to speak.
Personal Space and Touching
Swedish people value their personal space, therefore keeping a distance of over an arm’s length during conversation is the norm, even among friends and family. Light touching among friends and family is acceptable but not very common.
Eye Contact and Gestures
Maintaining eye contact is very important, and avoiding it is seen as a sign of lost interest. As mentioned earlier, public displays of emotion are not exactly accepted or celebrated, and the same seems to be true for body language, as gestures are not very common in general.
Swedish Culture Reference Guide
Swedish Population in the United States
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Also known as rikssvenska (national Swedish), it derives from the dialects spoken in and around Stockholm, the Swedish capital city. Standard Swedish has some regional varieties, that are influenced by geographical dialects as well. As the Standard dialect, it is understood by virtually all language speakers, both in Sweden and Finland, where it is an official language, it is also the dialect taught to students of the language.
Dialect of the Norrland region in the north of Sweden. In this region, several sub-dialects can be found, especially because there are many small villages and towns throughout the region. The Norrland dialect and its several sub-dialects have in common the differences they possess from Standard Swedish. An example of these differences is the drop of the suffix -er in the present tense of some verbs. For instance, han springer (he runs) in Standard Swedish, becomes han spring. This dialect also compounds certain adjectives and nouns. For example, the word långehåre in the Norrland dialect, was originally det långa håret (the long hair) in Standard Swedish.
Svealand, like Norrland, is both a region in Central Sweden and the name given to the dialect spoken there. The Svealand dialect is then divided into sub-dialects: East Central Swedish, Middle Central Swedish, and the dialects of Dalarna. Unlike in most Swedish dialects, diphthongs are not found in any of the Svealand’s dialects.
Also known as Gutnish, this dialect is spoken in the island of Gotland, Sweden’s largest island. The dialect derives from Old Gutnish, and not from Old Norse, like all other Swedish dialects. Gutnish is mainly spoken in southern Gotland and in Fårö, another island belonging to the Gotland Province. The most remarkable difference between Gutnish and Standard Swedish is the preservation of Old Norse diphthongs like ai. For example, in the word stain (stone), sten in Standard Swedish. Additionally, the dialect features a triphthong that does not exist in any other Norse language, iau, used for example in the word skiaute/skiauta (shoot), skjuta in Standard Swedish. It is still uncertain whether it is a dialect of Swedish or an independent language.
Dialect of the central southern region of Sweden, namely Västergötland, Dalsland, Östergötland and the north of Halland and Småland. This dialect differs from Standard Swedish in vowel reduction: i becomes e and y becomes o. For example, flicka (girl) in Standard Swedish becomes flecka, and stygg (naughty) becomes stögg. Additionally, some plural endings differ from Standard Swedish. It is the case of husen (houses) in standard form, that becomes husa in Götaland, or flicker (girl), that becomes flecker.
South Swedish or Scanian
This dialect is spoken in Scania County, at the southernmost tip of Sweden. Due to the proximity of the area to Denmark, it is highly influenced by Danish in pronunciation and vocabulary. An example of this is the word elling (duckling) in South Swedish that is most similar to the Danish word æling than to the Swedish version andunge. What also sets this dialect apart is its jarring r sound and the changes of p, t, and k to b, d, and g, respectively: köpa (buy) becomes köba, prata (talk) becomes prada, and peka (point) becomes prega.
East Swedish or Finland Swedish
Swedish is one of the official languages of Finland, alongside Finnish. Finland Swedish is obviously influenced by the Finnish language and it has its own phonological and lexical rules, as the sentences order may change. Some Finnish loanwords have been adopted into the dialect and the vocabulary also differs from that of Standard Swedish.10 Additionally, there is a lack of intonation and melody, that is present in Swedish’s tonal characteristics.
Swedish is the official language of Sweden and one of the official languages of Finland, alongside Finnish. It is also the only official language of the autonomous Finnish province of Åland, where most of the population speaks Swedish. The language is spoken by 13 million people worldwide, but only 9 million people are native speakers of the language. While most Swedish speakers are found in Sweden, significant numbers of people speak the language in Estonia, the UK, the United States, Canada, Argentina, and Brazil.
Countries Where Swedish is the Official Language
The first mass wave of Swedish immigrants arrived in the United States in the 19th century. Swedish population was growing in number, and land was becoming scarce. Between 1861 and 1881 around 150,000 Swedes left the country and set sail to the U. S., making their way to the Midwest where they settled.
As of 2013, the United States Census Bureau estimates that over 3.9 million Americans claim Swedish ancestry. The number of Swedish speakers in the country, however, is shortly under 56,000.
Leading states with the highest Swedish speaking population:
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