Language barriers in Sweden


Learning a new language is a part of the expat process. Let's find out how crucial it is to know the language in Sweden.

What is the official language in Sweden, and what are the other popular spoken languages?

Is it possible to live in Sweden and get by without speaking the language?

How do you manage to communicate with the locals if you don't speak the native/official language fluently?

What are some popular and useful phrases that expats absolutely need to know?

Can you share some tips about how to survive in Sweden on a daily basis without speaking the language?

Thank you for sharing your experience.



Unless you speak Swedish start your own company. Make your own work.

Or learn Swedish and good luck.

Fika is the most important thing. It is something that work happens around.

1.-Official language in Sweden is Swedish. Another popular languages are Persian (Syrian) and Spanish (Chilean).
2.- It is  impossible to live in Sweden and get by without speaking Swedish.
3.- You need to speak English. Most of Swedish people speak fluent English but they hate to speak it. "Recently arrived" (refugees) don't speak English and ignore the existence of the rest of the world outside their home country and Sweden.
4.- Ah Presyijz! (Inaudible sound effect similar to a car claxon).
5.- Can not survive without speaking Swedish unless you are in the IT business and you are highly skilled.

In fact, do not go try to live in Sweden without invitation (settled job).

Carlos.....I disagree.

I do not speak Swedish and am surviving. In fact   my partner and I own land here and he has started his own company.

Well... If you have money to buy a property and pay all your bills, for sure you don't need to speak the local language wherever you go. I guess Priscilla is interested in the possibilities  of finding a job without speaking Swedish. But Priscilla, if you are planning to move to Sweden because you are buying a property there, then better do as the Scandinavians do and buy a house in Portugal...unless you really love the cold and want to live 9 months a year in a freezer.


It is possible to find a job if you speak English. But jobs are hard to come by so a grasp of the Swedish language and a Swedish heritage are preferred.
After Swedish, English and German are the most common languages....followed by other Scandinavian tongues.
Whilst it is cold and dark here for some of the say 9 months is unfair.

I agree that Sweden is a very difficult place to move to. The job and housing market is struggling to help those born here let alone others.....regardless of situation.
Obviously it is better if a person comes to Sweden with usable knowledge and skills to support the struggling economy. Rather than arguably become an economic burden. Such is the problem of most modern countries.

Sweden is a harsh environment. The locals are unfriendly at best and the government will want to take more and more from those that work to support the socialist view that everyone should have the same amount of money in their bank accounts (one of the actual mandates of the current government).......
However. The country is beautiful and I can wander where I please with my family. My plan is to build my house and ignore the rest of the world. A very Swedish attitude.....regardless of whether I learn the language or not 😉

Meet swedish friends online and talk with them.

Hej Priscilla,
Depending on your profession and in which area you seek the job.
I wouldnt say that the life is not possible w/o knowing Swedish and I think they love the opportunity to speak English.
I am not quite long in Sweden and I think learning Swedish makes sense if you plan to live here permanent or for some longer period, otherwise, to invest in learning the language that is applicable only in this country, well, from my point of view is useless.
However, it is always the best to understand locals in order to better integrate to the society.
I think that both, Avatar lady and Carlos had some good and true points.
I know ppl that are not from IT sector and that live in Sweden for more than 5 y already without speaking Swedish, so yes, it is possible ;)
All the best!

We lived in Norrland for 5 or 6 years with only a smattering of Swedish. English got us by okay as we learned the lingo. Now based in France, we visit Sweden every year and spend as much time as possible there, cos it's beautiful. Working online as a journalist, I only really need English, though my Swedish has improved in recent years because I keep it up. However, if hoping to work in Sweden, I'd say Swedish language is both polite and essential.

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