• Sweden's news in English
 

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

Related links:

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..
Today's headlines
Crackdown on illegal streaming in Sweden
Popcorn remains legal in Sweden but a site with a similar name isn't. Photo: TT

Crackdown on illegal streaming in Sweden

Users of illegal movie and television series streaming sites in Sweden including Popcorn Time are set to be tracked by a Danish lawfirm representing "major Hollywood companies" and could face fines of around 2000 SEK ($231). READ  

Analysis
Rocky six months for new Swedish PM Löfven
Swedish PM Stefan Löfven on a visit to the US. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Rocky six months for new Swedish PM Löfven

The Swedish centre-left coalition government's first six months in power since last year's general election have not been the whopping success that Prime Minister Stefan Löfven had been hoping for. READ  

Swedish pilots fail to reach deal with SAS
Negotiations between Swedish pilots' unions and SAS are ongoing. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Swedish pilots fail to reach deal with SAS

A deal between Swedish pilots and Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) is being automatically extended a week at a time after the agreement ended at midnight on Tuesday. READ  

Presented by ConnectSweden
CEO: Bromma 'essential' for Skanska's success
Pierre Olofsson, CEO of Skanska Sweden. Photo: Skanska

CEO: Bromma 'essential' for Skanska's success

The future of Bromma Airport has sparked a torrent of political debate, with supporters arguing it’s essential for Sweden's connectivity. But it’s more than that, says Skanska Sweden’s CEO Pierre Olofsson. It’s also critical for work-life balance. READ  

Thousands lose global TV channels in Telia row
Several channels are affected. Photo: Telia

Thousands lose global TV channels in Telia row

Up to 700,000 households that subscribe to Nordic telecoms giant Telia’s television packages have seen several channels – including Eurosport – disappear due to a dispute with broadcaster SBS. READ  

April Fools' Day
Sweden's silliest April Fool jokes for 2015
Could Swedish supermarket shelves look like this? Photo: TT

Sweden's silliest April Fool jokes for 2015

Alcohol is set to be sold in a Swedish supermarket, buses are introducing 'selfie zones' and Malmö football club's new grass contains cannabis, if you believe the country's newspapers. Here's The Local's round-up of this year's April Fool gags. READ  

The Local List
Six super Swedish family Easter traditions
Easter witches in Sweden. Photo: Lena Granefelt/Image Bank Sweden

Six super Swedish family Easter traditions

The clocks have gone forward and the supermarket aisles are piled high with chocolate delights. It must be time for Easter. But what do secular Swedes do slightly differently to other nations when it comes to celebrating the festival? READ  

April Fools' Day
April Fools' Day: The Local's 2015 gags
We had many readers fooled that a town in southern Sweden said "no" in a Scottish way. Photo: Shutterstock

April Fools' Day: The Local's 2015 gags

No, you weren’t going crazy when you scrolled through The Local this morning. Today, our network of sites across Europe temporarily lost its marbles for April Fool’s Day. So, now the clock has struck 12pm, it’s time to fess up and reveal which of our own stories were red herrings. READ  

Presented by ConnectSweden
ConnectSweden: Examining Sweden's place in the world

ConnectSweden: Examining Sweden's place in the world

Read The Local's ConnectSweden ambassador series, in which we interview prominent figures in Sweden's business, diplomatic, and cultural spheres to learn more about Sweden's place in the world, both literally and figuratively, and how international air connectivity affects perceptions of the country abroad. READ  

April Fool's Day
The Swedish Viking town using a Scottish sound
Åkeby is situated in south east Sweden. Photo: Shutterstock

The Swedish Viking town using a Scottish sound

The way Swedes say 'no' is slightly different in one isolated town in the south of the country, where many Vikings settled in the 10th century after returning from Scotland. The Local's Maddy Savage has been to Åkeby in Kalmar to investigate why a strange, Scottish-sounding phrase has stuck around for centuries. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Beaver bite at Swedish bus stop
Sponsored Article
ConnectSweden: Examining Sweden's place in the world
Gallery
Property of the week: Åreda
Sponsored Article
Why Stockholm is the 'Boston of Europe'
National
How this Syrian travelled to Sweden
Blog updates

27 March

Celebrating Three Great English Exports In 2015 (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Deputy Head of Mission Aidan Liddle joins us for another guest blog today. In 2015, England..." READ »

 

27 March

Editor’s blog, March 27th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Europe remains in shock following the Germanwings plane crash in the Alps that killed 150..." READ »

 
 
 
Was Swedish TV host too harsh on nationalist leader Åkesson?
Sponsored Article
'Sweden must embrace openness and diversity'
National
Travelling over Easter? Don't miss our guide to rail disruption
Scandinavian airlines change cockpit rules after Greenwings crash
National
Sweden remembers Nobel laureate Tomas Tranströmer
Politics
Why petrol prices are going up
Gallery
People-watching: March 28th
What's on in Sweden: March 26th - April 2nd
Stieg Larsson's partner blasts Millennium trilogy sequel
Society
How to never miss your favourite weekly features on The Local
Gallery
People-watching: March 25th
National
Which words are changing in Sweden's latest dictionary?
National
Is this house 'un-Swedish'?
National
Sweden pays tribute to victims of Germanwings Alps crash
National
Neo-Nazi activity rising in Sweden
National
How to make Swedish Waffles
Gallery
Property of the week: Torslanda - Hjuvik
National
Stray dog Arthur moves in with Swedish owners
Sponsored Article
Ten tips for succeeding as a start-up in Sweden
National
Sweden triples maximum limit at asylum centres
Gallery
People-watching: March 21st
National
Why elderly Swedes are among the world's happiest people
National
TIMELINE: Gothenburg shootings
National
Can Sweden's feminist party score success in neighbouring Norway?
National
Why Brits can't get enough of Sweden
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's solar eclipse
National
What's on in Sweden this week
Royal wedding countdown begins
National
Viking ring reveals Islamic ties
National
TIMELINE: Julian Assange sex allegations in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: March 18th
National
One in three Russian diplomats are spies, says Sweden's Security Service
National
Hitchcock opera set to hit Gothenburg stage
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Northern Lights on show across Sweden
Technology
Why Swedish pop star Robyn is pushing for more girls in tech
Gallery
Property of the week: Umeå
National
Introducing Sweden's Eurovision 2015 entry Måns Zelmerlöw
Gallery
People-watching: March 13th - 15th
National
Why have Swedish prosecutors made a U-turn in Julian Assange case?
Sponsored Article
How Sweden and India can work together
Politics
Who's the new young leader of the Christian Democrats?
Travel
Why are Swedes so obsessed with Mallorca?
Gallery
Princess Estelle celebrates her mother's name day in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Expert US tax preparation for Americans in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Stockholm job fair helps immigrant entrepreneurs
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

3,442
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se