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Språkkrönika: This beats the swede out of the English

A recently sniffed this myth was Walter Naeslund, ceo of the advertising agency Honesty. In Summary, he wrote – in English, of course – that it has become time to make English the first language in Sweden: ”English is also a richer language with more words, which should mean that our communicative abilities improve if we use English instead of Swedish.”

of claims are usually able to be boiled down to the fact that there are English dictionaries that are thicker than the Swedish Academy glossary, SAOL, and that the word verbosity, thus, would be proven. But in SAOL is only a small part of the Swedish vocabulary. And if we agree that the definition of a word – it is not self-evident – are letters that stand between the two spaces, it is likely that English will lose. The English word " all assemblies operate almost as doping because they provide more dictionary words. For example, you find an English teacher in a dictionary but not English teacher.

Therefore, it is perhaps a relief for Walter Naeslund that there is no link between vocabulary size and language expression. English has, for example, no exact equivalent to the word just in time – but the same meaning can be expressed in other ways.

Many swedes are good at English. But to check out on Netflix without having to read textremsorna is not the same as speaking fluent English. A mother tongue implies a deeper knowledge than that. They would be lost on a language shift.

who will decide on a transition. When the state in the past wanted to control which language the population speaks, it has to end in sheer persecution – that the attempts to eradicate minority languages meänkieli and sami.

What should Sweden do with those who do not want to change the language? Enclose them in a sanctuary? Or hope that those last stubborn svenskvurmarna can get asylum on the Åland islands?

It is excellent to Walter Naeslund and many other swedes speak good English. But it is not an argument for relegating English to the extinct languages in the graveyard.

Read more questions about the language

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