18 January, 2017

“Learning Swedish isn’t difficult”

If you’re planning on moving to Sweden, you have to start learning Swedish. Yes, Swedes are very good at English, but you really have to know Swedish for many small things! You probably saw the term SFI often, or svenska för invandrare, on many websites. These are free Swedish courses provided by the government, however, you really don’t have to do this in order to become good at Swedish.

By doing the following things I became good at Swedish in a very short time, without SFI!

Use the app ‘Memrise’

Memrise is a really good app to learn both basic everyday sentences, but also much more difficult and detailed ones, depending on your level. This app is much better than Duolingo in my opinion, as a native Swede pronounces the words and sentences with a realistic speed (not like Duolingo), and they keep on giving you sentences that you will actually need in your daily life. I’m sorry Duolingo, but hopefully I will never have to use the sentence ‘the turtle ate the orange cat’, like you taught me (that’s ‘sköldpaddan åt orange katten’ in Swedish by the way, in case you urgently needed to know it).

Listen to many podcasts

If you just started to learn Swedish, you should listen to ‘Radio på lätt svenska’. They talk very slowly and you can find what they say online, so you can study the new words and focus on pronunciation. If that’s too easy for you, I’d recommend listening to sommar/vinter i P1, or if you like crime: P3 Dokumentär. You probably won’t understand everything, but unconsciously you will improve your listening skills a lot!

Watch Swedish vloggers

I often watched Clara Henry, Keyyo, and Therese Lindgren, but they might not be the best choice for everyone J There are more than enough choices though, it’s good to just quickly watch a short video if you don’t have time to study, so you can still learn some new words and sayings!

Switch your phone and computer to Swedish

Okay I’ll have to be honest: I accidentally deleted 60 pictures right after doing this the first time (don’t ask me how.. I don’t know), but it really works! By making everything around you as Swedish as possible, you are forced to read it every day, and you will learn many words that are often used.

Watch Swedish movies

If you don’t like crime or investigation movies, it’s pretty difficult to find good Swedish movies. I often watched the Swedish version of Disney or Pixar movies, which is perfect as the language isn’t that difficult, and they’re always fun to watch! If you have Netflix and you’re in Sweden, always turn on Swedish subtitles when you’re watching a movie in another language.

Talk to Swedes online

I use the app ‘HelloTalk’ to meet Swedes  who would like to learn another language (sometimes they want to learn Dutch, but I often just ask if they can help me with Swedish). It’s really good to type a lot in Swedish, you’ll realise that it’s pretty difficult to come up with sentences yourself and that you don’t know many important words. As with everything you do: the more you do it, the better you get. You might even end up getting good Swedish friends you can fika with!

Download Swedish news apps

SVT Nyheter and Aftonbladet are probably the best ones, with long articles and news reports. Of course this is good for your vocab, but it’s also good to know what’s going on in Sweden!

Read an easy Swedish book

Or a book that you’ve already read before, but that depends on your level. I read many Astrid Lindgren books, as I already knew what the stories were about, so I could guess the meaning of many words. Reading helped me a lot with understanding the structure of the sentences, and of course it’s great for your vocab.  

Buy Swedish study books

Captain Obvious, yes I know. If you are focused enough to study out of a book in your free time, this is the best way to do it though. The books På svenska 1 and 2 are really good, but I’m sure that there are many others I don’t know about. Make sure it’s not too easy though, so it doesn’t get boring!

Learning Swedish isn’t difficult, it just takes a while and a lot of concentration to become good at it. But remember that in the end, it’s definitely worth it! Lycka till!

Written by Lydia Hallie 

I’m Lydia, a 19-year-old Dutch girl living in Stockholm. I try to write many helpful posts to help younger people who recently moved to Sweden to get to know the country and how everything works here! 

The Newbie Team
The Newbie Team posts news, tips and general goodness that can be useful for all Newbies. We always try to find Newbie related information that will help all Newbies on their new life in Sweden.
Please let us know if there is something you wish we'd write more about and we will try to add it to our repertoire.

6 Comments on ““Learning Swedish isn’t difficult”

José Ramón Bárcenas
10 February, 2017 at 17:52

Hello Lydia! I did not found Sweden language at Memrise app…
Would you know why? I’m from Mexico.

Lydia Hallie
10 February, 2017 at 22:36

Hi José,

You find the courses by clicking on “Courses”, then when you see a list with many languages and flags, you click on “Swedish”. If everything is okay, a course called “Swedish 1” will be showed, now click on “Start learning”. If Swedish 1 is too easy for you, you can scroll all the way up to start the course Swedish 2 and so on. I hope this was helpful! Good luck!

24 February, 2017 at 23:15

Excellent tips!

I’ve been doing basically everything described except for Memrise, but instead used Duolinguo (great app, taught me most of my basic Swedish). Also I’ve learned lyrics to fav songs and sing along 🙂

Good TV series to watch is The Bridge. I also highly recommend watching SKAM everyone’s talking about. It’s the series about life of Norwegian 17-20 year olds. Even though they talk in Norwegian, the pronunciation is somewhat similar and you can watch it with Swedish subtitles. What I love about this series is how realistic it is and it gives you the language as young people speak it. (It’s on SVT with subtitles)

SVT is a Swedish top TV channel – you can watch different programs for free online/download the app, they have subtitles and content for variety of tastes.

Lydia Hallie
26 February, 2017 at 15:46

Hej Maria!

Thanks for your message! Ah yes, you could often hear me singing (or rather screaming.. I really can’t sing) in the house singing along to Swedish songs 🙂 Especially Veronica Maggio songs were so good for that! And it’s really nice to realise that you understand more and more of the lyrics every time!
I haven’t watched SKAM yet, but yeah I’ve heard lots of good stuff about it! Thanks for the tips, if you have more tips that you’d like to give to newbies that I could maybe write something about, let me know!

25 February, 2017 at 18:26

Hejsan Lydia Hallie!
Are you living here now or you will move to here?

Lydia Hallie
26 February, 2017 at 15:42

Hej Jan,
I’ve been living in Sweden for some months now! 🙂


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *