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Swedish Classification

Swedish is an Indo-European language belonging to the North Germanic branch of the Germanic languages. Together with Danish it belongs to the East Scandinavian languages, separating it from the West Scandinavian languages, consisting of Faroese, Icelandic and Norwegian. More recent analysis divide the North Germanic languages into the Insular Scandinavian and Continental Scandinavian languages, grouping Norwegian with Danish and Swedish based on mutual intelligibility and the fact that Norwegian has been heavily influenced by East Scandinavian (particular Danish) during the last millennium and has diverged considerably from both Faroese and Icelandic.

By many general criteria of mutual intelligibility, the Continental Scandinavian languages could very well be considered to be dialects of a common Scandinavian language. However, due to several hundred years of sometimes quite intense rivalry between Denmark and Sweden, including a long string of wars in the 16th and 17th centuries, and the nationalist ideas that emerged during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the languages have separate orthographies, dictionaries, grammars, and regulatory bodies. Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish are thus from a linguistic perspective more accurately described as a dialect continuum of Scandinavian (North Germanic), and some of the dialects, such as those on the border between Norway and Sweden — especially parts of Bohuslän, Dalsland, western Värmland, western Dalarna, Härjedalen and Jämtland — take up a middle ground between the national standard languages.

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