Swedish is a fascinating and expressive language. It is also a melodic language, admittedly difficult to pronounce like a native because of its characteristic sing-song rhythm, but otherwise not more complicated to learn than English. Most Swedes born after World War II do speak or understand English –many of them very well, actually –and you will probably be able to have a memorable and enjoyable stay in Sweden without any deeper knowledge of Swedish. But you will find that just a few words of Swedish will work as a wonderful door-key to the Swedes, who have a reputation of being rather reserved to strangers. Addressing someone in his or her native language is a matter of respect, a way of showing that you play by their rules, so to speak. To learn a language means to learn to understand the culture where it is spoken and the people who speak it. In a way, to learn a language opens up a new world.

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