The reason I ask is that this is something that I have been wondering for quite a while. For the longest of time I had not really thought about how hard is Swedish for foreign speakers. A few years back, I was quite shocked when I read somewhere that Swedish is considered “quite easy”.
The argument was that in terms of structure Swedish and English is very similar and that English and Swedish share a lot of words. This is supposedly one reason why Swedes are generally considered the best non-native English speakers.
I think besides Dutch, it’s the easiest Language I have come across. However, I haven’t been learning it for too long. So there’s definitely aspects of the Language that I haven’t noticed yet. I feel like speaking Swedish with the right flow would be difficult. (You Swedes have a certain flow when speaking that I find hard to mimic.)
If I compare Swedish with Hebrew It makes Swedish seem like cake. But of course no Language is “easy” in my opinion. Also Swedish as you mentioned shares a lot word with English which speeds things up.
This website here considers it among the easier languages to learn for an English speaker.
I think standard Norwegian is easier than standard Swedish, but only a little. However, factoring in the vast number of resources Swedish has compared to Norwegian (there aren’t even ministories here), Swedish is probably going to be easier to learn (unless you’re living in Norway). Of course this isn’t taking into account some of those crazy Norwegian dialects. I’m not sure if Swedish has the equivalent honestly.
The only other languages that might be easier would be Frisian, Dutch, or Scots . Frisian has very few resources to learn from, at least in English, so I won’t count that. Scots has the debate on whether it is a language or dialect, so I won’t count that either. Dutch is close to English, but even though I heard it a decent amount growing up in the US (Danish too…though now I don’t hear either and haven’t in 20 years), I still think Dutch is harder than Swedish because, of the sounds Dutch and Swedish have that English doesn’t, Dutch’s are harder to pronounce. If you look closely, English actually has pretty close, or even dead-on approximates to all the Scandinavian vowels. Also, remembering word order in Dutch is more of an issue (until you’re used to it of course) than it is for Swedish.
I’ve heard nearly impeccable English out of many Scandinavians, but I’ve only ever heard one non-native English person who fooled me into thinking they were native. That guy was from Norway.
I am not that familiar with Swedish accents but from what I have heard the Scanian accent is quite thick. Then there is of course also Swedish spoken by the Swedish speaking population of Finland. Lots of Swedes say that our Swedish sounds weird, sadly I can’t remember why that is other than that it’s called “Muuminsvenska” since there was a Finnish production of the popular moomin books.
I remember my mother telling me that she had some trouble understanding people at first when she visited a friend in Gothenburg (which is not in Scania but borders it). Of course it wasn’t a matter of any huge difficulties. From what I am told Scanian accent is closer to Danish which makes sense since Scania is next to Denmark.
I mean as a Finnish person Swedish is obviously useful since it’s an official language.
But in all honesty if you have the motivation it shouldn’t be too difficult, if you have doubts and don’t truly want to learn it you will struggle.
Swedish people don’t speak English well because it’s closely related, they speak it because they have soo much exposure to it and get native content from a young age so it seeps in from a young age basically giving them native accents.
No gifts no talents just exposure and brilliance by the Swedish way of things.
I’ve never had a look at Swedish or Dutch, but have read about the similarities between them and English make it the closest/easiest for English speakers to learn.
That being said, I am extremely skeptical of that and have always suspected it was something linguists or anthropologists believed. I think the universe has already settled the question and the easiest language for English speakers to learn is Spanish.