Security guard Kalle Alm from the Swedish city of Västerås has unwittingly taken the Arabic internet by storm owing to a clip in which he speaks fluent Arabic to a shocked passerby.
In the clip, which has been watched by over a million of viewers, Kalle used an Arabic moniker Abu Kevin (which means "father of Kevin") and talked about his passion for Syrian TV shows, Swedish national broadcaster SVT reported.
"It's great that people appreciate learning other languages," a flattered Kalle Alm told Swedish national broadcaster SVT.
"They were all so happy, and now I'm happy too. They put their hands on their chest and said 'We like you," Alm said.
In 1994, Kalle married a woman from Syria, who suggested that he should try and learn a little Arabic to better understand her family. When they had children, the family decided to speak Arabic only, so that the children would have the chance to learn a second language at home.
Subsequently, Kalle installed a satellite-dish antenna to watch Arabic TV channels. Over the years, he became increasingly confident in the language, especially after visiting Syria several times.
"I was not shy. I went on talking even if it came out all wrong. I talked, and talked and talked. My wife was stubborn, and so was I. It became like a match I had to win. After a while, my friends even said I picked up an Arabic accent," Kalle recollected.
By Kalle's own admission, the new language skills proved very valuable for his personality and worldview, helping to build new bridges.
"I mastered the language; I got to know the people. I got a new family. One day my mother-in-law came to me and said she did not feel any difference between me and her sons. I am Swedish, but sometimes I do feel Arabic too. I'm not a stranger anymore.
Swedish Radio has had broadcasts in Arabic since 2013. In April 2017, Sweden arranged its first-ever Arabic book fair, epitomizing the growing importance of Arabic in everyday life.