How long to learn Swedish

Many students ask how long it takes to learn Swedish. We have previously written a longer blog post about it, but we have now also worked out a little rough guideline to how many hours it usually takes to reach each language level. This is a very rough estimate, and can vary considerably between individuals, but it may at least give an idea of what to expect.

Let’s start by being honest and say that you will not be able to become fluent in Swedish in 1 or 2 weeks. Anyone claiming that it is possible, is simply lying. Language learning is a long process – a bit more like a marathon than a quick sprint. Be wary of claims that you can learn a language fluently in x days/months, there are no miracle methods. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

 

How long it takes to learn Swedish will depend on a number of factors. Some of them are individual learning pace in general, previous knowledge of grammar (those with much knowledge tend to progress faster), how much homework the learner is able to do between lessons (faster if more homework), and also if the learner has any particular areas that they find challenging.

The calculation below is based our students and how long people in general spend to reach each level. It takes into account whether the student is a slow, medium or fast learner, and also on how much time the learner spend doing homework and other things outside of the lessons. The more hours you spend learning outside of the tuition hours, the faster you will progress (and it will be cheaper for you too!).

The calculation is also roughly correlated to the guided learning hours according to Deutsche Welle for German, Cambridge English Language Assessment for English, and Alliance Française for French.

Swedish tuition hours for each level

The ‘slow’ number is in our opinion longer than most people need. It is quite common to be somewhere between fast and medium. Our fastest student reached level A1 after only 17 hours tuition on Skype! But some students have needed at least double the time. 

5 thoughts on “How long to learn Swedish

  1. I am a new visitor and really enjoying your posts. My family live near this area so I know the scenes well and your photos are just dehglitful. Guess I will be back again soon to see how the seasons progress.

  2. These numbers make sense. I have reached level A2 after several months of intensive self-studies, 8 months after starting passed B1 national exam and after 1.5 years I have passed exams for B2.1 while studying on average 2-3 hours a day and working in Swedish speaking environment. The fastest learning people in my courses have had similar tempo like me. By the way, I have not taken the most intensive courses, only those of average intensity (SFI, SVA1-4). I’m having exams for C1 level next spring after 2 years since I have started learning the language.

  3. Yeah, because the only way to learn is in lessons. *rolleyes*

    You can literally learn Swedish in 6 months just by listening to it. It’s so similar to English as to be a bit of a joke to learn, even when compared with languages like Spanish or French.

    • Hej Phil! Thanks for your message. Of course having lessons is not the only way to learn a language, but even if you self-study you will need to get speaking practice at some point. It’s true that some Swedish is similar to English, although even more come from German, especially some core aspects of the grammar (word order for example, which is really quite different from English, especially in questions and subordinate clauses). Most people who learn Swedish find pronunciation difficult, and it is quite different to English. Firstly some vowel sounds that don’t exist in English (for ex y, å, ä and ö), and also things like the famous ‘sj’ sound. I find that most people can not learn Swedish after 6 months just by simply listening to it. But it also depends on what you mean by ‘learning’ Swedish. We work according to the CEFR-levels, and you will need to do more than just listening and understanding in order to reach each level, namely speaking, writing and reading. Hope this clarifies a little. /Anneli

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