Best way to start learning Swedish

Best way to start learning Swedish

New Swedish you! 

Would you like to start (or re-start) learning Swedish, but don’t know where to start? Are you wondering what the best way is to learn Swedish? Do you feel overwhelmed with all the different websites, books, apps, courses and online resources? If this is you, then read on. 

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the different ways of learning Swedish and the resources you may want to consider, so you can choose what works best for you. We also have a free Resource Checklist that you can download below, to set yourself up for success with your Swedish language learning. 

Self-studying vs lessons

The first thing you should think about is if you want to study on your own, or have lessons with a teacher.

Having lessons will make you learn faster, as you get feedback from your teacher and get more speaking practice. In other words, this is the best way to learn how to speak Swedish. You can do a course at a language school, or do a private lesson (with an online teacher for example).

But if you are on a tight budget, you can also self-study. Just make sure to get some speaking practice with an actual Swede at some point (in person or via Skype/Zoom). 

Courses

Another thing you may want to consider is to do a course. You may not get one-to-one time with a teacher, but you’ll benefit from the course that the teacher has put together. It’s almost like a combination of self-studying and having lessons! And the beauty about a course is that you can come back and do the course many times, to refresh your memory, as you’ll have access to a course for many years. 

Here are some courses that we have online that you could start doing straight away:

Swedish Verbs 101 Bootcamp – We’re opening our very popular Verbs 101 Bootcamp again 1 November 2020. Registration opens 18 October! Click here to learn more about how to develop some serious verb fitness during 5 intensive study weeks. 

Price: Early bird £249, Late bird £330

Speak Like a Swede: Accent Reduction and Pronunciation This is a comprehensive new course for reducing your accent and improving your pronunciation so you can sound more Swedish when you speak. It’s a new unique collaboration with Stefan Holmström, an opera singer and a voice trainer. 🙂 In this course, we’ll guide you deep into the mysteries of Swedish pronunciation. Not only will you improve your pronunciation so you can speak more clearly, but it will also help you to understand more when you listen to Swedes speaking. 

Price: £450 (GBP), 3 month payment plan available

Swedish Grammar Made Easy: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Swedish grammar This course is perfect if you feel a bit unsure of all the Swedish grammar rules, and perhaps feel you don’t have a firm grasp of what conjunctions, adverbs or infinitives are, or how Swedish word order works, for example. It explains all the 9 Swedish word categories in separate videos and there are downloadable cheat sheets for all the main grammar rules.  

Price: £79 (GBP)
 

Swedish Time Expressions Pro This is a so called spotlight course that focuses on one particular problem area that MANY people have: time expressions and time prepositions. Many people get these mixed up (like i and på) and this often causes confusion and doubt when you listen or speak. The course explains the time expressions according to categories in context, and you also work with Quizlet sets (flashcards) where you drill the expressions and prepositions in context.  

Price: £79 (GBP)

A nice way of learning is to combine these courses with some private lessons, so you can review some of the contents in the courses together with a teacher. 

4 important resources

There are many resources you can use, and today with all the technology available, more than ever can be found online. But there are 4 categories of resources that you should make sure you have access to. 

1. Guiding resources

These are course books that take you from one level to the next. They will have a combination of grammar, texts and vocab, and will allow you to practice reading comprehension,  vocab learning and grammar understanding, and probably also listening comprehension (if it has audio support). If you study with a teacher, they will usually guide you through the books and give feedback on pronunciation and discuss grammar with you. The course books often include writing exercises as well, which your teacher can give you feedback on. If you are studying on your own, you won’t get any feedback on speaking and writing, and it is crucial that you make sure to find ways to get this elsewhere.

The guiding resources we use with our students are: 

Rivstart series (A1+A2, B1+B2, B2+C1) – This series is great for going through the levels, but all the instructions are in Swedish, so you will need a teacher to take you through it (at least in the beginning). If you buy them, remember that you need to get both the text book and the exercise book for each level.

Teach Yourself Complete Swedish – We also use this book in some of our lessons. As it is a self study book and all the grammar explanations are in English, this is a great book if you are learning Swedish on your own. It is also a good complement to Rivstart (because of the English grammar explanations). 

2. Practice Resources

Make sure you choose a good practice resource that works for you. It could just be as simple as a book where you write new words down, but there are also many apps and online programmes that you might want to explore. Practising programmes like Duolingo, BabbelClozemaster, or flashcard apps like Quizlet, Memrise, Anki, to name a few. All of these are very good for practising, but will not work as a guiding resource on their own. We therefore recommend to combine these with some of the guiding resources above. If you want to get started straight away, we have a free Quizlet lesson for total beginners (100 items) that you can access here

3. Input resources

Anything online can be an input resource! Videos on Youtube, radio programmes, movies, newspapers online, blogs, Facebook groups, Instagram accounts, Pinterest, etc. Physical easy to read books and other similar things are of course also good input sources when you are learning Swedish.  

4. Reference resources

These are usually dictionaries, phrase books, grammar books, and so on. A few good ones that we often use are:

There you have it! Make sure you have resources from all 4 categories. We also have a handy Resource Checklist that you can download for free here, to keep your resources organised. 

You can do this! 🙂

And if you know someone else who would find this useful, make sure to share this article with them.  

Välkommen till vårt Resursbibliotek med gratis dokument och videos så du kan förbättra din svenska! / Welcome to our Resource Library with free downloads and videos to help you progress your Swedish!

1 thought on “Best way to start learning Swedish

  1. Lesson 37: Make yourself a cheat sheet. During the last lesson, I created myself a ‘cheat sheet’ full of basic conversational statements and questions. The devil is in the details. In many ways, I ended where I should have started. Many people dispense with grammar and jump right to basic conversation but I would have been too curious about the “why’s” to sit still. And it left the best for last conversation.

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