Travel Update




Ja, Nei, Takk … here’s how to talk to the locals!

When you travel through the different countries in Scandinavia, you’ll switch between cultures and languages along the way. What’s good to know is that you’re unlikely to need a phrasebook to get around. But it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about the language of each country, so read on.

What language is spoken in each destination?

Each Scandinavian country has its own language. They speak Swedish in Sweden, Danish in Denmark and Norwegian in Norway. These are all Nordic languages, along with Icelandic and Faroese.

In Finland, they speak Finnish, and in Estonia, Estonian. These are part of the Uralic language branch, so you’ll see they look slightly different.

Thankfully, English proficiency is very high throughout the Scandinavian countries. As long as you speak English, you’ll be able to communicate during your travels.

So, don’t worry if you don't have time to pick up the basic phrases before your trip. But locals will always appreciate it if you know a few basic phrases.

Basic phrases to try during your travels

Here’s a handy guide for each distinct language:

  Swedish Danish Norwegian Finnish Estonian
Yes Ja Ja Ja Kyllä (or juu) Jah
No Nej Ingen Nei Ei Ei
Thank You Tack Tak Takk Kiitos Aitäh
Please Snälla du Vær venlig Vennligst Ole kiltti Palun
Excuse-me Ursäkta mig Undskyld mig Unnskyld meg Anteeksi Vabandage mind
Hello Hej Hej Hei Hei Tere
Goodbye Hejdå Farvel Ha det Hyvästi Hüvasti

What language do the indigenous people speak?

In the north of Norway, Sweden and Finland, there is a cultural region called Sápmi where Sámi people live. It also stretches into Russia. The Sámi are the indigenous people in Northern Europe and they have their own languages (with many dialects).

Sámi has equal status with Norwegian in Norway and is a recognised language in Sweden and Finland as well.

Again, you’re likely to get by with English. That said, it is good to be aware of this distinct culture and language if you want to travel to the north of the region.

Contact our travel consultants if you want to know more about travelling in Scandinavia.

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