Did you know that there are several languages spoken in Nordic countries? In fact, the official language of Sweden is Swedish, while Danish is the official language of Denmark. Finnish is the primary language in Finland, and Norwegian is the main language in Norway. Icelandic is also spoken in Iceland. While English is widely spoken throughout Nordic countries, it’s always good to be able to converse in the local language when traveling!
The Nordic countries are home to a number of different languages, including Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, and Icelandic. While English is also widely spoken in these countries, each has its own unique language that adds to the region’s rich cultural tapestry.
- Finnish is the official language of Finland and is spoken by the majority of the country’s 5.5 million residents. Finnish is a member of the Finnic branch of the Uralic language family, which also includes Estonian and a number of minority languages spoken in Finland.
- Swedish is the official language of Sweden and is spoken by around 9 million people in the country. Swedish is a descendant of Old Norse and is closely related to Norwegian and Danish.
- Norwegian is the official language of Norway and is spoken by around 5 million people. Norwegian is also a descendant of Old Norse and is very similar to Swedish and Danish.
- Danish is the official language of Denmark and is spoken by around 6 million people in the country. Danish is also a descendant of Old Norse and shares many similarities with Norwegian and Swedish.
- Icelandic is the official language of Iceland and is spoken by around 320,000 people in the country. Icelandic is the closest living relative of Old Norse and has remained largely unchanged since the Middle Ages.
Nordic countries are known for their many different languages. In fact, there are more than 5 different languages spoken in these Scandinavian countries. If you’re looking to learn one of these languages, you’re in luck! We’ve put together a list of the most commonly spoken languages in Nordic countries. Check it out and start learning today!
How history influenced Nordic language
Historically, many people living in the Nordic countries were able to understand each other. This shared linguistic ability has helped to bind the region together through shared literature and mutual understanding.
While Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden are today all independent states, that’s not always been the case. For many centuries, Norway was part of political unions with Denmark and Sweden, which heavily influenced the development of what we today call the Norwegian language.
Nordic language families
Most people know that Old Norse was used by the Vikings and spread across Northern Europe through raids, trades and exploration.
Old Norse has since developed into the modern North Germanic languages Icelandic, Faroese, Norwegian, Danish, and Swedish. Among those, Norwegian, Danish and Swedish retain considerable mutual intelligibility and are known as the Scandinavian languages.
But the story doesn’t end there. Finnish and the Sami languages are unrelated to the Scandinavian languages. Danish, Finnish and Swedish are also official languages of the European Union.