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The free, fun tool for learning Swedish online

Learning Swedish on your own is easier than ever!

The free, fun tool for learning Swedish online
Photo: rawpixel/unsplash

Beginning a new life in Sweden, or in any new country is exciting, daunting, overwhelming but formidable all at once.

Perhaps one of the most daunting aspects is the language barrier. Of course, the only way to overcome this is to learn it! But how?

Informationsverige.se, a website that provides a tonne of info on Sweden for newcomers, has launched a new toolkit that makes it easier than ever to learn Swedish on your own.

Here are seven reasons to start learning Swedish online with Informationsverige.se’s new toolkit, Learn Swedish (Lära svenska)!

1. It’s totally free!

When you move to Sweden, you’re probably going to have a range of costs to think about – an ID card, a new phone contract, broadband, not to mention rent…there’s a whole lot of admin and it’s going to cost you money.

Learning Swedish with Informationsverige.se is completely free. Gaining a vital skill at no cost? Priceless. The real question here is why wouldn’t you use it?!

2. It’s available in multiple languages

The Informationsverige.se website itself – a top resource for immigrants of any kind – is available in a number of languages, from French to Arabic to Dari.

And that applies to the new Learn Swedish section, too! Access the course, glossaries, and information on meetups to practice with others.

Click here to visit Informationsverige.se

As it is, the site is pretty easy to navigate but understandably, having it in your native language just makes it that much simpler.

Convert the site into your native language and explore the other sections of the site too, like how things work in Sweden.

Take a look at what else the site has to offer here.

3. It’s simple and accessible

Whether you’re a complete beginner or if you’ve got those few handy phrases down, the free Learn Swedish training course will help you on your way to becoming fluent. The entire course is easily navigated so you can focus on language, not confusing controls.

Start with the first section – Hej Svenska 1 – where you will learn words for time, family, food, clothing, and other essentials. Hej Svenska 1 doesn’t require an ability to read, which makes it all the more accessible, whether you’re a newly-arrived asylum seeker or a researcher who’s been here for years without the time to learn the language. Learning to read Swedish is part of the curriculum, not a prerequisite.

4. Fun videos galore!

We all know textbook learning can get, well, a bit boring.

We say, enough with textbooks, let’s watch videos instead!

Maybe start with learning the alphabet, then perhaps master numbers, or maybe you already know all this and want to learn how to fill in a form. Either way, whatever you want to learn, there’s a video for it, with Swedes showing you an example of how it’s done.

5. It has all the important words in one place

The Lära svenska section of Informationsverige.se’s website features a glossary of Swedish words, in multiple languages, as we already mentioned. But it’s not just any old glossary, it’s a list of words used by Arbetsförmedlingen, the Swedish Public Employment Service. Because it will be a lot easier to get a job and get all your ducks in a row if you know what it means to “klargöra dina arbetsförutsättningar”.

Consult the glossary for all the important words and make looking through it a habit before any important meetings!

6. You can practice with others

As the saying goes, practice makes perfect. And if you’ve ever learnt a new skill, you’ll know this to be true.

While it can be helpful practicing with other learners, it doesn’t beat practicing with someone who’s fluent.

Welcome! is an app that helps newcomers integrate into their new environment by connecting natives with newcomers, giving newcomers the perfect opportunity to practice their new skills.

Learn more about life in Sweden with Informationsverige.se

Alternatively, local municipalities can help you find a language buddy, to get that all important language practice with a local.

Or, if you’re a parent, check out Svenska Med Baby. Through this, you can meet other parents and, of course, practice your Swedish!

Whatever your situation, Lära svenska at Informationsverige.se puts all the information in one place.

7. There’s more where that came from

Once you've reached the end of the course, you can carry on learning with Lingio, a website and app that makes learning Swedish fun by combining language learning and games. Learn Swedish from English, Arabic, Persian, Dari, Somalian or Tigrinya. You can practice spelling and sentence building, listen to pre-recorded words, dialogues and practice pronunciation. There is also a follow-on course, Hej Svenska 2, with slightly more advanced language and grammar.

As mentioned, the folks at Informationsverige.se are constantly developing new tools to ease your integration into Sweden. For instance, they present easy access to Arbetsförmedlingen’s resource jobskills.se, which helps prepare you for working in Sweden. Informationsverige.se also has a new section on parenting in Sweden.

The site aims to be a valuable resource for immigrants, so they’re always developing new things – so make sure to check back regularly for updates. 

This article was produced by The Local's Creative Studio and sponsored by the Country Administrative Boards of Sweden (Länsstyrelserna)

For members

LEARNING SWEDISH

Eight Swedish words I now use in English

One of the consequences of learning a foreign language is that some words end up slipping into your everyday English. Becky Waterton explains why she uses these Swedish words more often than their English equivalents.

Eight Swedish words I now use in English

People often say that the moment you know you speak a language fluently is when you begin dreaming in it.

What they don’t tell you is that the next marker of your fluency comes when you start substituting words in your native language with words from the foreign language. Here are a few Swedish words I’ve started using more and more when I speak English.

Mys

Equivalent to the English word “cosy” or the Danish “hygge”, I find myself using the Swedish word mys (noun) or mysigt (adjective) often in English, even making up my own compound Swedish-English words using mys.

One example is mysväder, literally “cosy weather”, which can roughly translate as the kind of weather where it’s socially acceptable to lie on your sofa with a hot chocolate under a blanket and watch TV (so perfect autumn weather, essentially). The perfect clothing for mys-weather is mys-clothes, like tracksuit bottoms or pyjamas, a soft wooly jumper and a pair of warm socks.

I’ve found myself on more than one occasion saying “oh the weather today is really mys-weather, isn’t it?”, indicating to whoever I’m talking to that I plan on going into hibernation as soon as I get home. If a friend asked me to join them for a day trip somewhere or a fika at a nice cafe, I might say “oh, that sounds mysigt!”, roughly in the same way an English speaker could say “yes, that sounds nice!”. Mys just feels less generic than “nice”, when used in this way.

Swish

Maybe a bit of a cheat in this list of supposedly Swedish words, I regularly use the verb swisha in English if I pick up the bill in a restaurant for a friend. “Oh, it’s okay, you can just swish me,” I say, telling the friend to use payment service Swish to pay me back.

In the same vein, I might tell my husband “I’ve sent you a swishförfrågan (Swish request) for the dagisavgift (preschool fee) this month”, as a not-so-subtle hint for him to log in to the app and send over his half of the payment.

Typ

Typ is a bit of a filler word in Swedish, used in the same way as “like” in English. Not in the sense of liking something, but in the sense of filling a gap in speech or indicating you’re not sure of something. So instead of saying “it costs, like, 30 kronor,” you might say “det kostar typ 30 kronor”.

I use typ so unconsciously in Swedish that it’s started creeping into my English when I fill a gap in speech while I think, in sentences like “I think that was… typ… four days ago?”, or if I’m not sure of the exact amount of something, like if someone asks me how I baked a cake, I might say “and then I added 200g of flour… typ.” 

Macka

This maybe says more about my lifestyle than anything else, but I use the Swedish word macka (bread with topping) every single day, usually when I ask my daughter what she wants for breakfast.

Swedes love to eat bread with toppings for breakfast, referred to as a macka, occasionally a rostmacka if toasted. Unlike toast, which is usually only eaten with butter, a macka can be hot or cold, and topped with anything from ham to salami, hummus or cheese. The words “do you want macka or porridge?” and “what do you want on your macka?” are uttered every morning, without fail, in our household.

Snippa

Another Swedish word linked to child-rearing, the word snippa is an informal, not-rude Swedish word for female genitalia. The male variant would be snopp, similar to the English word “willy”.

I haven’t been able to find an informal English version of snippa which is child-friendly and easy for my daughter to pronounce, so I usually use the Swedish word if I’m telling my toddler daughter to wait after a visit to the toilet and wipe her snippa.

Sugen

Sugen is a great Swedish word similar to “hungry”, but more in the sense of “snacky” – you’re not really hungry, but you fancy eating something small and most likely unhealthy, like a biscuit or some crisps.

It’s the kind of word you would say if your partner caught you gazing into the kitchen cupboards a few hours after lunch looking despondent. “Are you hungry?”, they might ask, only for you to respond “nah, not really, I’m just a bit sugen.”

Mellis

It’s similar to the word mellis, another Swedish word which has crept into my English. Mellis is short for mellanmål, literally “between-meal”, but more often used as a small snack to tide you over to the next meal, like an apple or a macka.

VAB

Finally, an essential word for all parents in Sweden, VAB. VAB stands for vård av barn, and is the term for taking time off work to look after a sick child. Usually used in talking to your boss, you might say “my child has a fever so I’m going to have to vab today”, or negotiate with your partner “if I vab this time, can you vab next time?”

It’s just so much easier than saying “I’m going to have to take paid time off work to look after my sick child”.

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