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Top ten tips for taming the Swedish language

Published: 22 Jan 2013 17:19 GMT+01:00

Perhaps you’re an exchange student in Sweden, slowly realizing that the only Swedish culture you’re learning is the importance of a cinnamon bun with your coffee.

Or maybe you find yourself sitting in a Swedish for Foreigners (SFI) class staring listlessly out the window, mourning how the weekly tests do nothing for your heart rate.

Click here for our top ten tips to mastering Swedish

Or do you wish your Swedish was a smidgeon more advanced so you could expand your small talk to medium talk when buying a latte at your local café.

Or do you just need a motivational kick into the field to get into the game and interact with the locals...

Well, you’re not alone. And that’s why we've gathered what we consider to be the best tips to help you break through the barrier and speak better Swedish.

This list aims to provide useful tips for anyone from a beginner to someone who has almost mastered the language.

But be warned, some are not for the faint of heart.

Oliver Gee

Follow Oliver on Twitter here

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Your comments about this article

18:22 January 22, 2013 by Emerentia
Listen to audio books!
22:23 January 22, 2013 by virgoman
Don't waste your time clicking the link!
12:48 January 24, 2013 by ann2
Watch Swedish programs WITH SWEDISH TEXT -- on your remote look for "text", press it and enter 199 for SVT1, 299 for SVT2, and 899 for channel 4. Barnkanalen is 793, kunskapskanalen is 794 (or maybe those two are reversed). Reading along you understand a lot more than just by listening.
23:56 January 24, 2013 by kalbininkas
Don't waste your time learning Swedish because you will never have Swedish friends. You will never even have a conversation with a Swede. They hate foreigners. What they say about being able to get along with just English is true, but not because nearly all Swedes speak English, but because they exclude you and segregate you no matter how eagerly you try to befriend them.
01:39 January 25, 2013 by sunnchilde
@kalbininkas You're being too general. I'm sure that not every single Swede will shun every single foreigner. It may indeed be challenging to be "accepted" in what is largely a homogeneous culture, but one thing is for certain, if you do not at least TRY to acclimate, you will never be accepted.
09:26 January 26, 2013 by calebian22
The number 3 tip, why lie? I have found that shaming a Swede worked wonders when they switched to English. I always asked in Swedish, if my Swedish was so terrible that they had to speak English with me. Frankly it was horrible but that was not the point. I didn't need to practice my English. Not a single Swede ever continued in English for more than another sentence. Most immediately switched back to Swedish.
11:34 January 27, 2013 by mayhem
I found the tips funny and accurate! I don't understand why all haters of Sweden come here to leave their poisonous comments like ''kalbininkas''.. Why don't you stop reading about Sweden if you hate Swedish people so much my friend? I think you are insulting a whole nation just because you happened to have some bad experiences (obviously).. Please try not to be too general. I am a foreigner in Sweden too and I've been treated with nothing but respect so maybe if you are a bit kinder to Swedes you will be treated better too..

P.S: watching TV does wonders indeed! I highly recommend it!
20:38 January 27, 2013 by kalbininkas
@sunnchilde Didn't you read my comment? I said "no matter how eagerly you try".

@mayhem You are confusing cause and effect. You're claiming that the segregation Swedes shower me with is due to my dislike of them when in fact it is the reverse: my dislike of them is due to their segregation.

How much they dislike you depends on where you come from. If you come from a nice place like Germany, Holland, The States, Canada, Australia, Britain, or the rest of Scandinavia, you might be accepted a little bit eventually. But If you are Third World trash (which is what they call you when you're not around), then you will never be accepted, no matter what you do. (Can you imagine Princess Madeleine marrying a guy from, say, Pakistan?) I studied Swedish eagerly for over 3 years thinking that it was my poor command of the local language what made me unpalatable to the Swedes. Trust me, it wasn't that. I still don't even know anything about their traditions or holidays or anything that has to be conveyed through human relations. You need actual human interaction to learn those things.
13:05 January 29, 2013 by mayhem
Kalbininkas again you are being extremely general.. I don't think most Swedes call you 3rd world trash that is simply not the case, I see many of friends/family that I have in Sweden socializing with people from less privilleged countries and they treat them equally.. I have seen racism in other countries trust me and this here is not racism.. Swedes have a lot of flaws like everyone else but they can embrace other cultures.. Perhaps you have been unlucky with your peers? I am sorry for that but maybe -I insist- it is your own attitude because you have been disappointed in the past so it is a self-fulfilled prophecy.. I hope that changes for you but 1st you need to lighten up..
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