In a recent survey, Swedes came out as having the best English in Europe (as a foreign language). They were in the number 1 position, together with Malta, who have English as an official language. Today, a national newspaper presented school results which showed that Swedish students score higher in English than they do in Swedish. In fact, Swedish results are in decline.
I guess this isn’t surprising when you think of how much English is used in daily life in Sweden. Very often, an English word is thrown into the conversation even if there is a perfectly good Swedish word to use. This, coupled with music and media, reflects the fact that English knowledge is on the up.
I think this is a good thing. The world is more and more globalized and today’s kids are tomorrow’s workers, and many of them will be operating in a world of languages other than Swedish. The most worrying part of this development is that Swedish results are down. Every year, small languages become extinct around the world – is this something we can expect of Swedish in centuries to come?