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Is Swedish hard to learn?

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How difficult is Swedish to learn?

Well, it depends, of course. It depends on what your native language is, and whether it is close to Swedish. So for example, if your native language is German, then Swedish will be quite easy to learn.

It also depends on the complexity of the language. For an English speaker, Swedish is not that complex, compared to many other languages.

But compared to English, the pronunciation may be a bit of a challenge.

Swedish has a lot of vowels, in fact 9: a, e, i, o, u, y, å, ä, and ö

If you want to practice some vowel sounds, check out our free ÅÄÖ pronunciation course

Unusual sounds and gendered nouns

Swedish also has some particular sounds that do not sound quite like they are spelled (for ex: sj-, stj-, skj-, -rs-, tj-).

If you are not used to grammatical genders, the idea of using ‘en’ and ‘ett’ in front of the nouns seem weird to start with.

And when you learn more about the grammar, you will find out that the concept of ‘en’ and ‘ett’ can also affect other words. They kind of ‘rub off’ on other words (adjectives and possessive pronouns, typically). If you want to know the basics of Swedish grammar, have a look at our online course Swedish Grammar Made Easy.

How long will it take to learn Swedish?

It of course also depends on how much time you spend studying Swedish. The more often you study, the quicker you will learn. It will also depend on what resources you have available and your motivation for studying.

According to The Foreign Service Institute of the U.S. Department of State, Swedish is in fact on of the easier languages to learn. Good news! If you are a native English speaker, it should take you approximately 575-600 class hours to learn Swedish to a proficient level.

This is relatively easy, compared to some of the hardest languages – for example Japanese, Arabic and Chinese will take approximately 2,200 class hours to learn!

Also, have a look at the blog post we have written previously about how many hours it takes to learn Swedish.


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Dr Anneli Beronius Haake

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Anneli Beronius Haake

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