Recent trends indicate that Chinese is rapidly becoming a much more important secondary language in Scandanavian countries such as Sweden. In Sweden, the status of Chinese within the education system was upgraded recently reflecting the Swedish government’s belief in the importance of China in the future global economy. In Sweden, Chinese now holds the same status within the education system as other languages such as French. The Internet has played a role in this trend as geography becomes less of a relevant factor and business can be carried out remotely across large distances for relatively low costs. While other Scandinavian countries are also embracing Chinese, they are yet to launch as fervently into an educational campaign as Sweden has, but the message coming from the Swedish is clear: Chinese language skills will be a key factor in maintaining competitive economies in the future.
However, although the initial steps have been taken, the increase in Chinese teaching within Sweden will take time to implement. It may be up to a decade before the entire program is in full swing.
In other news related to Sweden and language, a recent news report covered the firing of an entire football team over the use of homophobic abuse against opposing team members. The IF Skorskogens club has dismissed the whole team after the event which led to a public backlash, particularly amongst Sweden’s gay community. Protest groups emphasized that the use of harmful language based on sexual preference is unacceptable in this day and age, especially in the high profile context of sport.
British-born banker Chris O’Neill is struggling to learn Swedish in the lead-up to his marriage to Swedish princess Madeline. O’Neill admitted in an interview that he is finding it difficult to get a solid grasp on the language. However, English is a required language in Swedish schools, so he won’t have any trouble communicating in the country. In fact, a recent survey discovered that out of all nationalities, Swedes have the best skills when it comes to speaking English as a second language.