“To learn a language is to have one more window from which to look at the world,” one wise Chinese proverb tells us.
I decided to open a Swedish window for myself and started learning the Swedish language. In general, the language learning experience can be seen either as another learning routine, or as a fun experience – which it actually is.
From the very beginning, I started learning the language without setting up any routine. Nowadays we carry our smartphones everywhere; I tricked mine and changed its menu into Swedish. I found surprising how easy it was to understand the meaning of certain words. I implemented Swedish language in my art and music therapy as well; I listened to Swedish music and watched films only with Swedish subtitles. Soon enough I became familiar with the melody and dynamics of the language. Next step was translating the lyrics and paying more attention to the sentence structure.
After all of this had been done, the language sounded familiar and I had developed emotional and intellectual bonds with it. My motivation grew with every new word and I went online for getting some more.
Sweden has many immigrants from many countries, and as a result, the country facilitates language learning platforms and gives easy access to everyone who is willing to learn. Are you busy with your studies, work, or family? It is not a language-learning barrier. There is no urgency when it comes to enrolling in the language course. The results which I got from simply googling “learn Swedish” were beyond surprising.
Whole new experiences open up at http://sfi.halmstad.se/, for instance. On this page you can find digital exercises in different fields. You can, read, listen and write at the same time.
On Lexin you can watch short videos about different occasions, listen to how Swedish people use useful vocabulary, and also practice your pronunciation. Is it difficult to understand certain words? A broadly used and approved dictionary can be found here. Is English not your first language? – Neither is that a problem. The best part of this dictionary is amazing variety of support for foreign languages.
However, if you speak any Germanic language, try to use your native tongue first to access Swedish. Since both languages are from the same langue family, Swedish grammar and vocabulary will quickly become more familiar.
After reaching a certain level, I started translating Swedish into Swedish and searched for synonyms. Even when you cannot go online, you can access various pocket dictionaries with your smartphone. Very useful application for android owners is bug free, offline dictionary Folkets Ordbok.The equivalent to this app for Apple owners is Lexikon.
The first thing you notice about Swedish is its melodic articulation. My final tip would be to embrace this melody and always dare to speak, work on pronunciation, and even to sing in Swedish.
If you are in Sweden and have reached the level which allows you to do basic shopping or just greet someone, avoid using any other language. Challenge yourself and practice with your Swedish friends. It will definitely please them and will give you even more motivation for opening this new window into the world.
NFGL student at Lund University