Happy new year – gott nytt år! A big thank you to all my customers and supporters 2014.
The last Swedish class this year I gave this morning – on New years eve – and on Friday the 2nd I will have my first meeting 2015 with an expat family.
Gott nytt år!
Valborg (Walpurgis) is celebrated throughout Sweden yet in varying forms. To me Valborg is a celebration of springtime. I also associate it with University students; Chalmers, Lund, Uppsala and their own special festivities. Many a choir is welcoming the spring by singing spring songs. In many parts of Sweden large bonfires play a big role on Valborgsmässoafton (Walpurgis Night).
Read more about Valborg (Walpurgis) and the Swedish traditions here – in Swedish
Watch and listen to Håkan Hellström’s beautiful song Valborg.
A Happy Easter to all my customers, followers and friends! Let there be sun, food, company, love and chocolate!
And a Happy weekend if you do not celebrate Easter.
As usual you can print this mini poster – put it in a small frame on the counter, or put it up on the refrigerator door to learn or keep Swedish vocabulary alive! Just right click on the picture. Share or leave a comment if the print made you happy!
Glad påsk! Free print in Swedish.
A clear blue sky and a gentle, warming sun promised spring ahead today. Already there are signs of fresh growth in the garden. Could it be the Swedish spring? Actually I don’t think it ever stopped growing this season. It has been a mild winter and even the roses have tiny budding leaves. I just had to bring the camera out for a break in the garden today. There wasn’t really much to photograph though, so I focused on the one interesting tree so far; the willow.
A classic, popular Swedish children’s song is “Sov du lilla videung” (Sleep you little young willow). It is about the transition between winter and spring, and the longing for warmer, brighter days. The Swedish spring is usually much awaited, but full of surprises in terms of snow and colder days and nights in between. It happens every year, and yet we are always unprepared!
vår = spring
It is Valentine’s Day – alla hjärtans dag – today, and what could be more appropriate than posting a link to a beautiful song of love.
It you are learning Swedish this is a perfect song – Cecilia sings in a clear voice, fairly slow which makes it easier to follow. The link is to Spotify; if you don’t have it you can check Youtube ( I did not post a link since I could not find a version where there were no spelling mistakes …) Be sure to use TuneWiki to see the words in writing, if you use Spotify.
Cecilia Vennersten – Det Vackraste
If you are learning Swedish a dictionary is a must. Online or as a book. However I suggest that you also try to get used to a thesaurus. The thesaurus will provide “explanations” by listing a few synonyms in – in this case – Swedish. Sometimes you will find antonyms too. No translations; immersion in Swedish language; a great way to expand the vocabulary.
If you know Swedish already you need one too :). We are never fully educated.
You can use Svenska Akademiens Ordlista – the link takes you to its online Swedish thesaurus. It also comes as a book, of course. With the help of this Swedish thesaurus you also conveniently check spelling, whether it is “en” or “ett“, conjugations of verbs, inflection and declension. And here is the good news – it comes as an app. A free one. Gratis! (means “free”) Grattis! (means “congratulations”). Links at bottom of post. It is far more lighter to carry around in your pocket than the real thing. Promise.
A few pictures to illustrate how it operates.
Svenska Akademiens Ordlista iTunes
Svenska Akademiens Ordlista Google Play
Goals for Learning Swedish
Goal setting is a must. Yes you have heard it before. I know. Hopefully you also practice it. Sometimes the goal for learning Swedish is “I want to be fluent” or “I want to be able to speak without FEAR”. But being a bit more specific is a wise strategy for acquiring language skills, as well as any skill. Here is some inspiration for the language learner. One of my Swedish via Skype students was recently interviewed by Digitala Affärer about learning Swedish, and her clear and highly rewarding goal of being able to participate in a Swedish conference. In Sweden. In Swedish! Link to article at bottom of post.
Goals for Learning Swedish – our strategy?
- Watching videos of speeches from for instance Webbdagarna (“the Web Days”)
- listening comprehension
- summarizing; written or oral presentation
- reviewing, reflecting and criticizing
- comparing (use of language, articulation, topics)
- “Analyzing” web pages on the topic – anything from WebCoast to small business companies within web design
- Collecting internet and web related words to build glossary
- Reading newspaper and magazine articles – practicing scanning and summarizing without preparation
- And most importantly working towards a high confidence in speaking the Swedish language
Since the conference was scheduled we had a time frame. The work was of course always done with an eye on grammar and structure, remembering acquiring new vocabulary, pronunciation and learning about Swedish culture and phenomena!
Here is the article over at Digitala Affärer.
Link to Christas impressions of the conference
What are your major struggles learning Swedish?
Replies to this question via twitter and IRL include trying to actually speak it. Most people in Sweden are fairly happy to speak English which makes it easy to avoid using Swedish in every situation that holds the opportunity.
Another common answer is the prononciation of “sje-ljudet”.
Fitting Swedish classes in in a busy schedule, or having babies and young children at home all day also make it difficult to study. Here Skype works well – no time wasted on travelling to class and you can do it with babies and toddlers at home. Want to learn more?
Knowing at least a bit of the local language is important to adapt to a new culture. Learn how to greet before your move, and how to say thank you, and teach your kids too. This is a good start when arriving. I remember my mother taught me how to say “play” in German, on the ferry, when I at the age of seven went to Germany for the first time. It was a very good word to know to start playing with other kids on the boat.
Also for vacationing purposes it is fun to know a bit of the local language. When I was working as an Italian teacher the basic courses usually involved a lot of tourist conversations – food, restaurants, travelling, shopping, accommodation. And the text books contained quite a few pretty pictures 😉 .
Some try to learn the language before they go, some start once they get there. I have done both. What about you? What worked well?