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Advice about Swedish!

What are the chances of becomming fluent?

paullinbourne
post 17.Mar.2013, 01:20 PM
Post #1
Joined: 5.Apr.2011

Ok i am praying someone here will give me a little bit of hope. I am not sure maybe this post will be deleted but i really need advice and a little bit of a thing called positivity!!!!!!!!! Its a little long but i hope you can help! Any advice is good advice!!!!!

Ok so i have been here for sometime now and always struggled with my Swedish, but still found jobs but of course not the ones i would pick but just for the money...which i am so greatful for. Ever since i came to Göteborg to live with my Swedish partner it feels like everything i apply for or try to do just unfolds so many problems. But now i am going to really try and take a grip on my Swedish. I just wanted to know how far people here have come as a native English speaker? I am originally from London and i hear all different stories. But if you research online it is so negative...

"Run while you have the chance" "its impossible" "even with Swedish it doesnt help"

I just actually wanted to know is it even possible to come close to being fluent in Swedish. Of course you can go to SFI and SAS and i will start talking Swedish at home. But i want to be in the "real-world". The thing is right now i am so low about this whole studying thing from what i have read it makes me just want to move back to London...but is that just the easy option!? I try just to hang out with Swedish people hopping i will pick-up easier and that kind of thing. My friend is from Macedonia been here the same amount of time as me and she says she is 90% fluent, and has to levels of SAS more to do. Thats great but what if your an English speaker is it possible for us to learn a second language...do we have it in us to get to the same level as a swede? I here some stories that it has take some people 6 months and other people 5 years. If not then of course the option would be to move to England but my partner has ties here and also the money and rent is so expensive i dont think i would like to bring anyone to the UK!!! Sorry it was a long post but i really could do with expat help and advice!!!!!!!!! Thanks Paul smile.gif
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PDX
post 17.Mar.2013, 01:54 PM
Post #2
Location: Stockholm
Joined: 2.Aug.2011

Swedish is 2nd or 3rd easiest language to learn for an English speaker. To become fluent (spoken only, not written) should take around 23-24 weeks of full time learning. If you are struggling still after this time, you must change the method of your learning, SFI-style classes are probably the least effective form of language study.

Source: http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Wikibooks:Lan...nglish_Speakers

~~~PDX~~~
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paullinbourne
post 17.Mar.2013, 01:59 PM
Post #3
Joined: 5.Apr.2011

Oh i have read that somewhere before, but it just seems not right. Because there are so many English speakers here who do not talk Swedish?!

I mean i can see that sometimes it is very similar but other times NOT AT ALL. Of course i think the big part would be to talk Swedish at home.
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Johno
post 17.Mar.2013, 02:09 PM
Post #4
Joined: 23.Jul.2008

Some idle thoughts. Do you properly grasp English grammar and have you learnt some of any other language ? Both will help to give you an idea of how it goes. Swedish really is one of the languages closest to English in rules and some of the words. Also despite how it seems at the start, the pronounciation is not so difficult, at least in that most of the sounds are like English sounds, and the rules of converting written to spoken language are much more regular than English. Are you any good at mimicking other peoples accents and way of speaking ? To really get the hang of it you need to get to adapt to the Swedish rhythm of speaking. Hanging out with Swedes only helps if they are sympathetic enough to speak slowly and explain some things.

There is no disguising the need for learning an awful lot. The lists of the most common 100 and 1000 words in Swedish will tell you that you need to get up to knowing many thousands of words to communicate properly. You need to sit down with lists and learn them, and get a Swede to read them out to you so you know how they sound. And say them back. Anyway, if you are struggling, set yourself simple goals like understanding the cartoons in the paper and the everyday stuff around you. You must surely in fact know rather more than you let yourself think if you have been around and worked for a while. There is no easy way. You have to be determined and work hard and stick with it.
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PDX
post 17.Mar.2013, 02:16 PM
Post #5
Location: Stockholm
Joined: 2.Aug.2011

QUOTE (paullinbourne @ 17.Mar.2013, 02:59 PM) *
Oh i have read that somewhere before, but it just seems not right. Because there are so many English speakers here who do not talk Swedish?!I mean i can see that sometimes ... (show full quote)

There are plenty of lazy English speaking expats around, nothing new in that rolleyes.gif

Talking more at home would certainly be useful but will only go so far as to help you learn common words and phrases. You will not get a deeper understanding of the language (grammar, structure, history, idiomatic use etc) without a proper teacher.

~~~PDX~~~
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intrepidfox
post 17.Mar.2013, 02:51 PM
Post #6
Location: Gothenburg
Joined: 18.Jul.2012

QUOTE (PDX @ 17.Mar.2013, 02:16 PM) *
There are plenty of lazy English speaking expats around, nothing new in that rolleyes.gif

That is true but very often the English speakers are spoiled and do not have to communicate in Swedish. Personally i have lost the use of the English language as in the last 20 or more years i have only spoken Swedish in this country.

To the OP don´t give up as you will learn sooner or later.
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Migga
post 17.Mar.2013, 03:10 PM
Post #7
Joined: 26.Jul.2011

QUOTE (paullinbourne @ 17.Mar.2013, 01:59 PM) *
Because there are so many English speakers here who do not talk Swedish?!

When you say "here" what do you mean? In Sweden or here on this forum? If you mean this forum then my advice is that you shouldn`t use this place as a source. If you want to get out in the real world then do so. You are the only one stopping you. It`s the best way of improving your swedish skills and become fluent. Join some social groups, enter a sports club, attend events, host dinners for your partners swedish ties or just get out there.
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cdiamond
post 17.Mar.2013, 08:28 PM
Post #8
Joined: 17.Mar.2013

I am moving to Stockholm from the UK in the summer and the more I read about the array of Swedish language courses the more confusing it gets!

Between SFI, Swedish for Academics/Graduates, SAS etc I am not sure what course I should take and any advice would be great!

Ideally, I'd like to be able to study in Swedish at university eventually, or reach Svenska B standard (as I understand the minimum required for university studies?), maybe even do my teacher training at a Swedish university...in Swedish...a daunting prospect at this stage, but I've heard from friends it is do-able with time and effort.

I've been taken some Swedish conversational classes while finishing my bachelors, nothing too strenuous though.

Initially I thought signing up for SFI and working my way up from there would be my best (and cheapest) option, but I am I correct in thinking it only goes up to a certain level and then you must start courses in Swedish as a second language (SAS)?

Secondly, is SFA(Swedish for graduates) simply an accelerated form of SFI i.e. same classes, same materials, same qualification etc? I've been looking at studying SFA or Swedish for Educationalists, but I think these require a minimum of SFI C perhaps?

So apologies if this post is pretty incoherent, I'm basically looking for what route you would take as a newcomer to Sweden, who has intentions of eventually qualifying as a teacher/working in Sweden?
Thanks!
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Svensksmith
post 17.Mar.2013, 10:16 PM
Post #9
Joined: 28.Jul.2011

Question for the OP: what is your mother tongue?
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cdiamond
post 18.Mar.2013, 12:40 AM
Post #10
Joined: 17.Mar.2013

Another question for OP: What sort of jobs did you manage to pick up with limited Swedish? I'm assuming you were a native English speaker, right? Similarly, I'm arriving with my limited Swedish and trying to rely on my native English to land something in terms of work for this summer/autumn and was wondering where to start. My experience is in retail, so hoping to pick up some work in a clothes store in Stockholm

And if you're looking for a bit of a success story to spur you on: A friend moved to Sweden from Italy initially to study English literature. After 3 years of that, and learning Swedish on the side, he was accepted on to a Swedish teacher training programme, and is obviously deemed to be 'real-world' fluent enough to teach Swedes! He has no particular flair for languages, just a hard worker who put in the time and effort, but no doubting its a challenge!
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Kaipa
post 18.Mar.2013, 10:18 AM
Post #11
Joined: 16.Mar.2011

From your original post it would seem that by "fluent" you mean able to use the language effectively in a multiplicity of areas and speak with few to no errors, have a wide range of grammatical structures and vocab and have good pronunciation. The link that suggests that all this is possible with 23-25 weeks is clearly inaccurate. If it was achievable within this time frame then there would presumably be a methodology out there that could do this and someone would be making a huge amount of money.

The truth is that producing ( and being able to comprehend) spoken Swedish at this level will take many years of both practise and study. As many posters have said though practise is the key. You need to be able to get yourself in a position where you can try and speak Swedish as much as possible daily, couple this with listening and it is possible to achieve a high level of language competency. Fluency may however not be achievable. Very few adult achieve fluency simply because language learning does always continue over the period of time you are learning. For many a stage of "fossilization" occurs when you require an effective level of communication equal to your needs and at this point the language may not evolve.
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PDX
post 18.Mar.2013, 10:54 AM
Post #12
Location: Stockholm
Joined: 2.Aug.2011

QUOTE (Kaipa @ 18.Mar.2013, 11:18 AM) *
From your original post it would seem that by "fluent" you mean able to use the language effectively in a multiplicity of areas and speak with few to no errors, have ... (show full quote)

The information provided in the link is based on tens of years and tens of thousands of participants in the courses designed by the Foreign Service Institute. Read again on the details of how this works and what kind of people participated in the courses (adults 30-40 years of age, speaking multiple languages already, highly motivated and ambitious).

The course material is free of charge.

~~~PDX~~~
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Kaipa
post 18.Mar.2013, 12:44 PM
Post #13
Joined: 16.Mar.2011

PDX. I have read the link and it is very impressive; however, the FSI is simply the US training branch for diplomats etc.It's interpretation of "proficiency" suggest " manageability" for its particular personnel and their given needs which perhaps isn't quite what the original poster means when he asked about "fluency. The FSI publication effectively is a bit of back slapping for itself in the same way that commercial language schools claim they can teach such and such a language in 2 weeks or your money back. I am only bringing this point up so that the original poster can have a realistic approach to learning Swedish to the level he says he wants and not to feel demotivated because he hasn't acquired it after 6 months.
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tuborgian
post 18.Mar.2013, 01:46 PM
Post #14
Joined: 1.Jul.2011

A lot depends on how dedicated you are and how much time you can devote to language learning.

This blog states very clearly the key to becoming fluent is to give up english and put in the hours of effort needed.

http://www.fluentin3months.com/possible/

I find it very hard to give english, so have come to accept that my swedish can cope with understanding and basic conversation so as not to force unwilling swedes to speak in english (they do exist - mother in law for one), but I will never be fluent enough to conduct my relationship or social life in swedish. I am happy at this level.

As a previous poster said, fossilation will occur so that your level will plateau with your motivation.

If you want to become fluent you will. I know many english speakers who are fluent in sweden. After many years of living here with swedish partners and kids and jobs it will happen. You just have to keep putting in the hours of study/practice. (Isn't some english guy who is a tv presenter on finnish tv? If an english speaker can get to that level in finnish, it is certainly possible in swedish.)
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PDX
post 18.Mar.2013, 04:29 PM
Post #15
Location: Stockholm
Joined: 2.Aug.2011

QUOTE (tuborgian @ 18.Mar.2013, 02:46 PM) *
If you want to become fluent you will. I know many english speakers who are fluent in sweden. After many years of living here with swedish partners and kids and jobs it will h ... (show full quote)

The english guy who made a career in Finland in theater and TV does indeed speak Finnish fluently:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_Hardwick

Learning Finnish for an English speaker is indeed a totally different kind of project than learning Swedish rolleyes.gif

~~~PDX~~~
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