• Sweden edition
 
Swedish students excel at English: study

Swedish students excel at English: study

Published: 21 Jun 2012 11:53 GMT+02:00
Updated: 21 Jun 2012 11:53 GMT+02:00

The results, presented on Thursday by the Swedish National Agency for Education (Skolverket), show that Swedish students are very advanced in the English language.

A total of 66 percent of 15-year-olds reached the highest required level in reading comprehension, while 77 percent did the same for listening comprehension.

However, Swedish students didn't perform as well when it came to writing in English. While only 28 percent reached the highest score level in written English, a large number of Swedish students reached the next to highest level.

While the study included students from 14 countries, only students from Sweden and France were tested in Spanish, with Swedish pupils posting much weaker results.

24 percent of Swedish students didn’t reach what is required of beginner level Spanish in reading comprehension.

For listening comprehension the result was 37 percent and for written Spanish 45 percent. The French students were somewhat better at Spanish than the Swedes, the study found.

According to the education agency, the discrepancy between students’ abilities in English and Spanish can have several explanations. English is a higher status language and is also perceived as more useful.

In addition, students are more likely to come in contact with English in their spare time, according to the agency.

Swedes are exposed to the language at a younger age, and English classes are obligatory in Swedish schools.

The countries that took part in the study were Sweden, Belgium, Poland, Bulgaria, Croatia, Britain, Estonia, France, Greece, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain.

A total of 53,000 students were tested, of which 3,000 were Swedish. All countries took part with the two foreign languages studied by the largest number of students.

The children’s language skills were measures after the common reference for language skills in Europe and the student’s abilities were graded into five levels of proficiency.

TT/The Local/rm

twitter.com/thelocalsweden

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

12:43 June 21, 2012 by Shibumi
Wow... they needed a study to come up with this?

French kids suck at English because all TV and movies are dubbed into French. They are better at Spanish because, like French, it is also a romance language and as such, Spanish is basically mis-pronounced French with added "a"s and "o"s on the end of words.

Swedish kids rock at English because only children's movies are dubbed and they are exposed to a lot of English from a young age.
13:57 June 21, 2012 by Frobobbles
It is astonishing that the Swedish kids are so good in Spanish!
14:24 June 21, 2012 by skogsbo
The question to ask is why are they still teaching Spanish, would it not be better to teach German as a 3rd language, or any of the Asian languages. Spanish provides a balance between different bases of language, but is of little long term use.
15:28 June 21, 2012 by riose
@skogsbo

When you have children you can teach them Korean.

North Korea is a virgin market.
16:16 June 21, 2012 by sergisr
Even in its country Spanish is considered a low status language. Here in Barcelona you can guess the sociocultural level of people according to the language they speak mainly, Catalan or Spanish.
17:09 June 21, 2012 by Ron Pavellas
As a native English speaker, I am ever grateful to the many Swedes I have met who are so excellent in English. I have lived here for ten years and do not feel alien, despite my extreme deficiency in the Swedish language.
18:29 June 21, 2012 by Tarc the Mexan
#6: you've lived in Sweden for ten years and still can't speak the language properly?

What the hell is wrong with you?
19:30 June 21, 2012 by towns
Yep, I lived as an ex-pat in several European countries so far and Swedes are definitely the best in English (of at least the countries I've been to). In general, knowledge of vocabulary and pronunciation is top notch!

Also, I endorse Shibumi's comment. Sub-titles work MUCH better than dubs when it comes to being competent in English. I've noticed this from being in Italy and the Czech Republic (were dubbing is the norm) vs. Sweden and Finland where subtitles are preferred.
21:40 June 21, 2012 by thomasson44
In most countries where movies are not dubbed, children have the possibility to be more acquainted with the English language and improve their skills. In the Netherlands and Belgium, all movies are sub-titled. At the time my children were very young, I had experimented by letting them watch children programs at the BBC and Sky TV (was available on our cable). To my astonishment they had learned the language just by watching.
22:22 June 21, 2012 by dizzymoe33
That is how my German mother learned to speak English was by watching TV. Overall English is easy to learn the only thing that is difficult is when you use a word that has two different meanings that can be confusing.
10:27 June 22, 2012 by Marc the Texan
English will soon be the national language of Sweden. Swedes brought it on themselves and they seem to have few worries about it. Give it a couple more generations and the children of Sweden will not know how to, nor want to speak Swedish. I've already seen huge changes in my exposure to Sweden, which has only been about 12 years.
12:24 June 22, 2012 by Greysuede
It's a great shame that Swedish kids aren't taught good German, Spanish and Chinese !

English language is a widespread propaganda to glorify the violence, pornography, drugs and all sort of english lawlifeness !
12:33 June 22, 2012 by calebian22
LOL, Tarc. No frigging kidding. Ten years is a long time to still be so deficient. Apparently I speak like Tony Irving, something I am furiously working on too change, but at least people understand me after 3.5 years.
12:35 June 22, 2012 by HelmiVainikka
#10 Actually thats more or less how it worked for me as well.

When I was in 4th grade maaaaaaany many years back we got a satellite dish on the roof of our house and with it, came a flood of english speaking channels.

I found them fascinating and watched those more than anything else, worked like a charm.

Countries should remove dubs completely and simply subtitle-on-demand the content and within 1-2 generations all of Europe would be excellent at English.

It is not a hard language to begin with.
21:38 June 22, 2012 by glamelixir
Yes, they don't say "how much is the clock", "the clock is too late" or "I will learn you something" any more...
21:20 June 29, 2012 by Exolon
Yeah, as a native English speaker, I was always amazed at how comfortable Swedes are at speaking English.

Here in Ireland, most of us can barely speak our own language, so it's a bit embarrassing and humbling to meet so many Swedish people who are totally fluent at English and (of course) their own language.
20:31 July 1, 2012 by Tom Windsor
Well done Sweden! Other parts of Europe are clearly not as good at English. It would be good if Sweden were to take steps to promote and use the planned international language Esperanto.

Esperanto is even easier than English for Swedes to speak.
Today's headlines
Swedes insist EU prioritize environment

Swedes insist EU prioritize environment

An EU public opinion poll released on Friday revealed that Sweden is the only nation which thinks the environment should be a top priority for the union. READ  

Police turn blind eye to Swedish 'slave trade'
File photo: TT

Police turn blind eye to Swedish 'slave trade'

Police in Gothenburg have confirmed that sex trafficking in the city has developed into a full-blown slave trade - but that they lack the resources to do anything about it. READ  

Pirate Bay inmate claims religious persecution
Photo: TT/The Missionary Church of Kopimism

Pirate Bay inmate claims religious persecution

Peter Sunde has complained that his religious rights have been impinged after he was refused permission to meet a representative of a church inspired by the keyboard shortcuts for cut and paste. READ  

Stockholm 'bomb man' jailed and deported
Police at the scene of the threat in June. Photo: Bertil Ericson/TT

Stockholm 'bomb man' jailed and deported

The 43-year-old man who threatened Stockholm's Gamla Stan with a bomb in June was sentenced on Friday to two years in jail, followed by deportation. READ  

Swedish police: 'We're sweaty all the time'
Swedish cops are unhappy with the heat. Photo: Håkan Dahlström/Flickr

Swedish police: 'We're sweaty all the time'

Swedish weather agencies say the summer's warmest day is yet to come, but police in the north have decided that they can't take the heat - and filed a report about the own stifling police station. READ  

SAS resumes flights from Stockholm to Tel Aviv
File photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

SAS resumes flights from Stockholm to Tel Aviv

SAS Scandinavian Airlines has resumed flights from Stockholm to Tel Aviv after the airline completed a 'thorough security analysis' of the situation in Israel. READ  

Swedish man stabs woman and kills himself
A Stockholm police car. File photo: TT

Swedish man stabs woman and kills himself

A man and a woman, reported to be both 45-years-old, were found dead on Thursday in an apartment on Lidingö in Stockholm with police suspecting a murder and suicide. READ  

Police fear arson after Sweden mosque fire
Central Norrköping in eastern Sweden. Photo: Stefan Vilcans

Police fear arson after Sweden mosque fire

Swedish police suspect arson after buildings at a mosque in Norrköping in eastern Sweden burned down in the early hours of Friday morning. READ  

Opinion
'Moving wasn't a choice, Sweden called to me'

'Moving wasn't a choice, Sweden called to me'

Caught in an identity limbo and surrounded by often apathetic "love refugees", The Local's resident Swedophile Solveig Rundquist wonders if she's the only expat who moved to Sweden for the culture alone. READ  

Swedish inmates to receive digital tablets
Photo: Hasse Holmberg/TT

Swedish inmates to receive digital tablets

Sweden's Prison and Probation Services are beginning a project in which suspected criminals will be given surf tablets to look at evidence against them. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
Top ten Swedish taboos
Society
Seven-year-old Swede cycles to Berlin
Politics
'Gaza conflict needs help, not empty rhetoric'
Society
Swedes voted 'most beautiful' in the Nordics
Business & Money
Sweden demands EU clarity on Bitcoin tax
Blog updates

24 July

Sharing our Pride: Celebrating Love & the LGBT Community! (Stockholm in my American Heart) »

"It’s mid- July in Stockholm, and with much of the city on vacation, things can seem a little quiet – the streets, the bus, and the grocery store. One thing that has not paused for a summer break, though, is preparation for Stockholm’s Pride Festival, which will take place from July 28 to August 2...." READ »

 

22 July

Det (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! “Det” is a personal pronoun that can be used in many ways, and it might me confusing if you always translate “det” to English “it”. In this article I will do my best to guide you to how to use “det”. Det replacing a word, a phrase or a clause Let us begin with the less confusing..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Swedish organic sales enjoy 'amazing' growth
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
Society
What's On in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching July 23
National
Swedish cops elect not to shoot 'angry elks'
Business & Money
New alcohol retail rules threaten micro-breweries
Gallery
People-watching Båstad
Business & Money
Sweden falls to third in global innovation index
Society
Swedish ornithologists keep webcam watch
Photo: Andreas Nordström/Image Bank Sweden
Gallery
Top ten Swedish beach hot spots
Tech
Swedish Wiki vet sets new content record
Photo: Fastighetsbyrån
Lifestyle
In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week
Photo: Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching July 15-16
Photo: Ola Ericson/Image Bank Sweden
Society
What's On in Sweden
Photo: Lisa Mikulski
National
Hope springs eternal for expat pet shop owner
Gallery
Princess Estelle steals limelight at mum's birthday
National
Swedes risk infants' lives by covering up prams
National
Swede runs for office just using Bitcoin funds
Gallery
People-watching July 11-13
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

726
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se