Interview with a Swedish learner – James

Learning Swedish – interview with a learner

James is a radiographer working in an NHS hospital in the UK. He was raised in Southport, Lancashire, but currently lives in Grimsby, Lincolnshire, UK, but he is hoping on finding work in Sweden in the not-too-distant future. James likes to ride his bicycles a lot and successfully completed Vätternrundan, a 180 mile ride around Lake Vättern, in Sweden in 2015.

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What led you to want to learn Swedish?

I’ve always been interested in Nordic history and culture, the cause of which was probably being exposed to a 1980s adventure game I used to play on my computer as a boy called Valhalla. More recently, I had been looking at job adverts for jobs in my profession across Norway, Sweden and Denmark, and wishing I could apply for them. But after separate trips to Sweden, Norway and Finland, and enjoying experiencing life as a tourist in those countries, in 2014 I thought I’d bite the bullet and give learning a language a go. I plumped for Sweden as I felt the size of the country would be good.

When and how did you start learning Swedish?

I started using the Babbel app on my iPad, in May 2014, and shortly after started taking lessons from Anneli over Skype.

How much do you currently use the Swedish language, and why?

I try to use it when I can. The chances to use Swedish in the UK are limited but there’s a few groups across the country that arrange meetings through the meetup.com website, in London, Manchester and Glasgow. Other than that, if I visit Sweden I try to use my language skills there, but this is made more difficult by the natives’ excellent English skills and their eagerness to use them in conversation with an Englishman!

What have been the challenges for you in learning Swedish?

Trying to fit my lessons and homework around my job and other interests.

What is your proudest moment as a Swedish speaker?

When arriving on a campsite in June 2015, I did manage to hold a good conversation with the management telling them my name and that I had booked a pitch for a few nights. I think they may have been confused by my arriving in a right hand drive car!

Can you recommend any Swedish books that are good for learning Swedish?

Swedish: An Essential Grammar, by Philip Holmes and Ian Hinchliffe, is an excellent grammar book for those starting out in Swedish.

Can you recommend any online / media resources for learning Swedish?

The aforementioned Babbel app, which you can use on iOS and Android, plus their version for desktop computers, is excellent but you have to pay a monthly subscription to use it. You could consider switching your phone’s language setting to Swedish, although it may be a good idea to memorise how to switch the language back to English should you need to. Swedish TV shows seem to be quite in demand on UK television these days with Wallander and The Bridge being shown on the BBC and there’s plenty of DVDs of Swedish TV shows available too, with English subtitling of course, plus you could consider watching English language films with Swedish subtitling. Listen to Swedish records, from the likes of Melissa Horn and Linnea Henriksson, and have a look at the lyrics booklet with the album.

Do you have any other advice for future, budding Swedish learners?

Learn little and often, maybe try and think about what you’re doing in Swedish rather than English, maybe keep a written diary in Swedish and write about your days.

 

Interview with a Swedish learner – Elena

Learn Swedish – interview with a learner

Elena has been living in Stockholm since January 2013. She worked in a Swedish telecom company in Russia and almost 3 years ago she was invited to work in Stockholm. It changed her life! She fell in love in Stockholm, with a swedish guy.
IMG_2484Elena’s first impressions of Stockholm was not so nice: darkness, cold, windy, introverted people, crazy salary day… But with each passing day and month, the city and the people in it slowly started to appear in a new way: the Swedes catching the rays of the sun on a bench in the park, colleagues who do not dare to take the last cookie during the fika, amazing Swedish Design and musicality, old family traditions and at the same time absolute freedom of expression. This may sound standard, Elena points out, but the studying the language help her to explore the country on a deeper level and feel at home.

What led you to want to learn Swedish?
I’d like to know the Swedish language to understand local culture, to use it for my job, to communicate with my husband’s family.

When and how did you start learning Swedish?
I started my journey with the Swedish language in the autumn of 2013. My first courses were with a Russian teacher. Now I am doing Skype lessons with Anneli.

How much do you currently use the Swedish language, and why?
I use Swedish language when I communicate with my husband’s family in Sweden and during informal meetings with my work collegues.

What have been the challenges for you in learning Swedish?
It is difficult for me to remember new words, to use partikelverb (phrasal verbs), the articles en and ett.

What is your proudest moment as a Swedish speaker?
I am proud to have an opportunity to communicate with my husband’s family. And my collegues were surprised when I suddenly answered them in Swedish!

Can you recommend any Swedish books that are good for learning Swedish?
Avancera ord, Se upp, Svensk grammatik med drillövningar och facit, books by Liza Marklund.

Can you recommend any online/media resources for learning Swedish?
Anki, Duolingo

Do you have any other advice for future, budding Swedish learners?
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes!

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The Bridge, Nordicana and Scandimania

I think there is a current obsession about everything Scandi this weekend! Last night saw the finale of series 2 of The Bridge – the Swedish/Danish crime drama set in Malmö and Copenhagen. The series has attracted a considerable amount of praise in media, with many journalists and reviewers comparing it to The Wire and other high quality tv series (spoiler alert via the links below!).

http://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2014/jan/31/the-bridge-kim-bodnia-darkness-misery

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2550066/Terrorists-dressed-animal-heads-modern-plague-sex-mad-Swedish-detective-The-Bridge-just-cop-Jim-Shelley.html

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This weekend has also been the weekend of the Nordicana festival in London, and this evening Channel 4 showed a programme called Scandimania.

It’s fascinating to see the interest in Nordic culture abroad, and I really hope it also means more people are getting interesting in learning the Swedish language. In which case I’m here to help! 🙂