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Photo: "English" by owensoft. License: CC BY 2.0.

Swedes dethroned as world's best in speaking English as a foreign language

Swedes are no longer considered to be the world's best in terms of their command of English as a second language, reports news agency TT, based on information from the EF Education First education company.

Denmark and Holland have unseated Sweden, which is now in third place.

"The result isn't so surprising," according to Claes Ceder, executive vice president of EF. "Sweden, Denmark, and Holland are small countries that have been dependent on foreign trade for a long time. Sweden realized early that a foreign language is needed to take part in international trade, first German and now English."

The ranking is based on language tests conducted in 62 countries among 750,000 adults between the ages of 18 and 62, however the tests do not evaluate a cross-section of the population, rather only adults who feel the need to improve their English language skills.

Ceder tells TT that a range of adults, from people who work for companies wishing to assess their employees' language skills, to individuals who want to test their English, have participated.

In Sweden, mid-level managers tend to possess better English skills than higher-level managers, according to Ceder.

"It's partly a generational issue. People who've risen to mid-level management today interact more often and more intensively with the rest of the world, so their English has to be better," he says.

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