Officially, Sweden doesn’t keep a record of the languages its inhabitants speak. That fact was infuriating to Mikael Parkvall, a linguist at Stockholm University, so he decided to find out for himself. What is the most popular non-Swedish language in Sweden?
After poring over various statistics and studies, Parkvall came to a conclusion: Arabic was very likely to now be the second most popular language in the Scandinavian country.
Parkvall’s study focused on native languages rather than second languages, which he says are a better judge of what languages are actually spoken in a country (while English is widely spoken in Sweden, relatively few are native speakers). According to Sveriges Radio, in 2012 there were 200,000 people in Sweden who spoke Finnish as their native language, while 155,000 spoke Arabic.