My New Language: Swedish in 6 Months!


Attention: If you want to learn or improve your Swedish, please try my Interlinear Swedish bilingual book. This book is a Swedish book by Selma Lagerlöf translated in the innovative Interlinear format, where the translation is provided below each word. Such format lets you read and improve your Swedish easily regardless of your level.

So I’m going to be learning Swedish. That is because I am going to Stockholm, Sweden for the summer of 2012 (it’s almost confirmed). Moreover, I was always interested in Scandinavian languages and after having read why Norwegian is the easiest language for English speakers to learn, I knew I wanted to learn one.

In that article, Mithridates states:

[W]hy [learn] Norwegian and not the two other Scandinavian languages?Swedish is spoken by more people for example. Well, if you have some reason to learn Swedish instead of Norwegian, go for that. They are both quite easy. Swedish has a bit more complexity in the plural and a vowel sound that is quite particular, but in general it is quite easy too.

And that’s what I’m going to do, I’m going to go with Swedish. My choice in choosing Swedish was influenced by logistics too: although I could have chosen to go almost anywhere in Europe, the opportunity to go to Stockholm was particularly attractive. Moreover, I do actually think Swedish is cooler than Norwegian (sorry Norwegians): there are way more speakers of Swedish than of Norwegian, it has only one major written dialect as opposed to Norwegian, that has two, and then I find Swedish history more eventful than that of Norway (no offense, Norway). Scandinavian history, actually, is one of my weak spots now but I intend to cover that not least by listening to outstandingly awesome audio courses about Scandinavia.

I intend to reach at least level B2 in Swedish although I would like to aim at C1. I know it is definitely achievable because I have 6 months (okay, I’m not going to learn much else this month because I’m going to be super busy, so 5) because Swedish is similar to other languages I know and because I have plenty of experience learning languages now.

How I’m going to learn it?

Right, so here’s how I’m going to do it: I will be learning Swedish here at home for 3 (okay, two, because no time in March) months and then I’m going to do 3 more months in Stockholm, Sweden. By the time I get to Stockholm, I intend to already be conversational. Here’s the breakdown of what I have in mind so far:

  • Colloquial Swedish – I already have the book and the audio (and I have already done the first 4 chapters); I’m going to go through it and listen to the dialogues but I will not do the exercises because they are boring, I also intend to listen to the audio with the dialogues many times separately afterwards
  • A book in Swedish with audio – I already have a book along with an audiobook in Swedish with that book in English too. It is a translation, a pretty well-known book (you could guess the book but I will give you the title in a later post). I have already started reading it and I’ve done one 5 minute segment in Swedish, which I found not too hard to do.
  • A grammar book – I have a grammar book to look stuff up although I do not intend to use it much, perhaps only to look up particular points
  • Music (perhaps): I am not a big fan of learning through music but I have some good songs from the Swedish band Movits!, I intend to translate the songs and listen to them, perhaps learning the lyrics, although this is not my main method
  • Swedish Radio (perhaps) – I have an app in my iPod where I can listen to Swedish radio through wi-fi. I have tried it and all I can pick up is separate words but perhaps I will do more of it.

So that is my plan. Actually, the two first things are the most important ones and then I’ll just go along with what works. That is how I attempt to learn the language before I move in to Stockholm.

Then in Stockholm I intend on continuing some of the same things but then I will also try to practice the language a lot more. Here are some ideas of what I want to do: get a language exchange partner or two, find somebody I can talk to on a regular basis, talk with everybody on streets and order everything in Swedish, read Swedish internet pages (perhaps).

So that is my plan. I also intend to blog about it. I will be giving you more details as we go on.

The language itself: Swedish doesn’t look hard at all so far!

I have already started learning Swedish. I have started reading Colloquial Swedish and also I have a book I’m reading with audio (I’ve already done one 5 minute segment). So far, it’s been going pretty easily. The words are often familiar, the sentence structure poses no problems at all (I think my knowledge of English and German (albeit the latter is limited) helps with those) and the pronunciation is doable.

My biggest concern so far is with word stress and sentence stress. It seems important words are stressed in sentences while non-important ones are almost skipped and it is definitely taking me time to get used to it. Moreover, I am a bit worried about not being to speak it naturally because even though pronunciation of particular words does not pose problems, pronouncing sentences does not sound natural. Well, it is jut the beginning though, so I hope that this will pass.

So, that’s the idea. What do you have to say? Any tips in learning Swedish? Do you think I can make it in the time-frame? Share in the comments!

Attention: If you want to learn or improve your Swedish, please try my Interlinear Swedish bilingual book. This book is a Swedish book by Selma Lagerlöf translated in the innovative Interlinear format, where the translation is provided below each word. Such format lets you read and improve your Swedish easily regardless of your level.

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  1. Rickard

    Best of luck with your language mission.

    Being a Swede I’m more than happy to help you with your mission so if you’re interested just let me know (I’m assuming my email will be submitted with this comment).

    Lycka till!

  2. ·

    Awesome, I might just do that in the future! Thanks.

  3. Fluorescence

    Sounds like a great plan! I have the Colloquial book too – what I do is listen to the audio 3 or 4 times through, and then try to speak at the same time as the audio. That way you can immediately tell if your pronunciation or intonation is off (and is SO HELPFUL for finding where the stresses in the sentences are!). So that’s my tip.

    Also, Movits! are amazing. Learn to sing/rap along with them. It’s well worth it XD

  4. ·

    Good tips, thanks!

    I don’t think I’ll be learning to rap, though, that’s not quite on the top of my priorities list. ;)

  5. Erica

    Swedish Radio always has Klartext for listening to easier Swedish news, etc for free and has easier news articles for those learning.  Melody is very important in the Swedish Language.  Lycka tlil!

  6. Michelle

    I loooove Swedish! If you’re in the UK, keep checking BBC as they occasionally play Wallander with English subs on one of their channels, I think it might have been BBC3, not sure. A good book I read when I started learning was “i taket lyser stjärnorna” by Johanna Thydell. It’s aimed at teens so not too heavy going. is a talk radio which is nice to have on when you’re doing mindless stuff, dare I say housework?! Hugo Swedish in 3 Months is a great book for the basics, I found. Usually found on Amazon UK or ebay UK too… Have fun!

  7. Bilal Moubayed

    Are you a logistician by profession? 

  8. ·


    (And sorry for the late answer.)

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