Saturday, June 18, 2011


I've lived in Sweden now for more than 7 years - which is quite a long time eh. I am not the worlds best in the Swedish language, in fact I think to Swedes I sound a bit like this:

But I have been to school and hold certificates in SFI (Swedish For Immigrants) and level one and two in Swedish as a 2nd language. In fact, apart from the odd phone call from my parents, I don't speak English ever. So I can't be so bad, it feels natural for me to speak it, sometimes more natural than English.

So today one of my pet peeves cropped up again. Something I hate although I know I really shouldn't - when I go into a store or cafe or something like that, order something in Swedish and get a reply in English. Then I reply again, in Swedish (I always assume to clearly state this is the language I am capable of and wish to speak) only to get another reply in English.

I hate it!

Why do they do this? Well I have a bunch of theories, and I know it shouldn't bug me. It's usually always other immigrants so my first assumption is that maybe they don't speak Swedish. Then the guy behind me comes in and orders in Swedish and gets a reply in Swedish. Or maybe my accent is difficult for people from some countries, or maybe they just wish to be nice?

It's irritating though!


  1. Jag är ganska säker på att de bara försöker vara snälla/artiga... Men gör inte folk ofta så när de pratar med dig? Du är ju som du säger bra på svenska men din dialekt avslöjar ju dig.. :P

  2. å precis, det är nog dialekten och sen de ville bara vara snäll, eller ova deras egen engelska kanske. Det stör mig bara när jag forsätter på svenska och de på engelska! Det var första gången att det hant i länge idag faktist, tack o lov.

  3. I used to experience this same problem during my first eight months of living in Germany. It can prove itself to be quite frustrating. Being however upon the other side of the language table, speaking english to foreigners is usually done out of courtesy. One hears an accent and automatically assumes that a broken sentence will follow, so one switches to english to make conversing simpler for all parties.(Whether it is actually necessary or not is another question)


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