Top 8 reasons NOT to learn Swedish while living in Sweden

After 5 years in Sweden, I’ve concluded that avoiding learning Swedish is the best tactic for survival.


1. Time management:

Who has time to learn three extra vowels while building maypoles, planning your extended summer holidays, avoiding eye contact with your neighbors and taking depressive naps?

The Swedish language contains three extra vowels- å, ä, ö.

Although audible to Swedish ears, they tend to blend into one indistinguishable guttural sound for the non-Swedes.This makes understanding street names over the phone impossible while getting directions and requires one to use google maps or as they say in Sweden “ always being lost.”

2. Necessity:

One can get by speaking English in Sweden indefinitely as most Swedes speak English.
Swedes love to impress you with their English language skills negating you the opportunity to sharpen your Swedish skills.
Paradoxically, they will eventually wonder why you do not speak Swedish.

3. Invitations:

Learning Swedish only endears you to your neighbors resulting in invitations to Midsummer parties.
This holiday tradition includes the consumption of toxic tasting alcohol, drunken folk dancing, black out situations, engaging in and or witnessing bestiality, pillaging and or setting of fire to your neighbor’s homes, wrestling and short term BFF drunken bonding etc.

4. Swenglish:

Learning Swedish causes one to awkwardly blend Swedish and English resulting in Swenglish statements like
“ I’m hungry on ice cream.” 

“I will learn you!”

5. Time out!:

When set upon by a Viking Berserker due to such cultural infractions as biking on the wrong side of the road or mistakenly taking someone’s rigidly scheduled laundry time, one can simply Jedi mind trick them with the magical,

“Sorry, I don’t understand Swedish.”

This incantation offers a pause, stopping the charging Swede, allowing them to return to their calm, rational and Vulcan-like state.

It also gives opportunity to educate or learn a barbarian or Romualan some Swedish.


6. Swedish TV:

Research shows that understanding Swedish leads directly to watching Swedish TV programs like The Melody Festival/ Melodifestivalen
By understanding Swedish you forfeit your airtight excuse to pass on invitations to Melody Festival cozy nights. During this cultural phenomenon participants spend endless consecutive Saturdays rooting for their favorite contestant while eating Lördag godis (Saturday candy in English) and snacks.

The winning finalist goes on to represent Sweden in Eurovision Song Contest.

The viewers live with the fact they will never get those hours back and may re-experience them when their life passes before them at the moment of their death. 

7. Singing:

Singing occurs at most traditional Swedish holidays and events, especially crayfish parties. During this etiquette and tradition requires one to sing a song before drinking a shot of aquavit. Not knowing Swedish give ones theout allowing one instead to sway to and fro with the melody smiling ( allowed during summer) and politely keeping ones mouth shut.

A win/win  for the non-Swede as you are not required sing nor are you expected to drink the toxic concoction known as aquavit, a liquor tasting like old socks, mud and sewer water.


8. More time for personal development:

Learning Swedish leads to social contact and even friendship with Swedes leaving one vulnerable to their request in helping them move.

The ever-fugal Swedes collect free banana boxes from the market instead of purchasing moving boxes then enlist their friends and commandeer their vehicles for endless weekends of low budget moving.

Living in an English speaking bubble while living in Sweden in the end saves you precious time  which one can use to brush up on your Spanish for your sun holiday on the Island of Majorca.

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