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National language of Sweden and one of two national languages of Finland, spoken by about nine million people. It belongs to the East Scandinavian group of the Germanic languages and is closely related to Norwegian and Danish. Its history from the Common Scandinavian period (600–1050) until c. 1225 is known chiefly from inscriptions in runic writing. Modern Swedish is usually dated from 1526, when a translation of the New Testament was first printed. The standard language began to emerge in the 17th century, based largely on the Svea dialects spoken in Stockholm. Swedish, like Norwegian, has two tonal word accents.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Swedish language, visit Britannica.com.
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