It is fun to learn a language. However repeating vocabulary is not always all that fun. I love to come up with creative ways to inspire learning Swedish (or any language). Today I instructed my young students to keep a word cloud application open during our Skype lesson in Swedish. We spoke about toys and playing, and tried to come up with all possible nouns for toys (we also used a toy store catalogue for the visual). The two students took turns to type the words in Swedish, making sure spelling was correct. Typing/writing helps in remembering and learning the words. After the lesson they will print the cloud in a few copies and go through all the words again; looking up any word they cannot remember the meaning of. They will also circle words that take “en” on one sheet, and “ett”-words on another. One copy goes up on the wall as today’s achievement!
Remember that repeating is key.
We used Tagxedo for today’s “Learn words in Swedish”. I have used a few other similar applications as well. If you search for “word cloud” you will get suggestions enough!
We had to leave out all the words with the Swedish letters ÅÄÖ; they were not supported by this application.
Here they are:
Want to read something besides Aftonbladet? I found a link to Swedish Newspapers on line. “Click” to find your favorite.
The webpage does not only list Swedish newspapers but newspapers worldwide.
Reading the news does not only help improving your language but also gives you a sense of belonging; whether you are new to Sweden, a Swede living abroad or just interested in Sweden. You know what is going on and can join the conversations.
Personally I have a thing for local news, no matter which country I live in. It is also an excellent way to stay updated on what is going on on the cultural scene – museums, exhibitions, theaters, markets and other happenings in your area.
Have you found a favorite newspaper?
The Swedish expression “mellan hägg och syren” really says it all.
I love this time of the year. Late spring (which came early this year) that promises a long, beautiful summer with endless time outdoors. The green shades are soft and crisp; the white blossoms are abundant and simply breathtaking, and sometimes the white petals fall graciously through the air like soft snow.
It is the time “between Bird Cherry and Lilac” – “mellan hägg och syren”. The expression is said to originate from a cobbler’s sign saying he was closed “mellan hägg och syren”.
The Bird Cherry is in full bloom (depending on where in Sweden you are) and we are awaiting the Lilacs. Both add a wonderful scent to the gardens and the neighborhood.
Another word describing this time of the year is “försommar” – “pre-summer” 🙂
Did you know the moon is actually made of ice cream? At least in this Swedish story about Krakel Spektakel by Lennart Hellsing; Glassmånen (the ice cream moon). Listen to this 5 minute tale to practice understanding Swedish. If you are a beginner don’t worry about understanding or not; simply listen to the rhythm of the language as well as the stress and intonation of it (the prosody). This will help you get acquainted with the Swedish language.
Practice listening to Swedish!
glass = ice cream
en måne = a moon
ett moln = a cloud
note: måndag means Monday. However in this text the author is playing with words and måndag in the story refers to “moonday” – the day of the Moon. Pronunciation is different from the day of the week “måndag”. Listen to pronunciation here.
Do you find it hard to practice speaking Swedish? You are not alone. Students learning Swedish does not speak Swedish outside of the classroom, says this article.
I have heard this before, and of course it is difficult learning if there are no opportunities to practice! I also hear that students don’t speak much in the classroom since there usually are pretty many students and fairly little time.
So, opportunities must be grabbed! I know; I have been living abroad myself, learning new languages and sometimes forcing myself to speak to strangers :). Last country I lived in I also had a private tutor with whom I spoke hours with each week. This made wonders to my fluency and confidence, and it still does even though it is six years ago, and I do not practice the language on a regular basis (only in my head which btw is a good tip!). But I can still speak rather effortlessly!
Go out there and practice Swedish/any language you are learning. Hire a tutor, find a language friend, make friends, go to a language café, join a local club or local language playgroup if you have kids.
Any other tips for practicing to speak?
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
Don’t worry if you haven’t yet mastered such delicate planning skills as presented in the photo below. There is still time to sign up for individual Swedish classes, via Skype. Just drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Since my classes are individual you decide when to start and how often you would like to have them.
Planning ahead for spring glory! Photo taken in Gothenburg Botanical Garden
New year, new challenges – new Swedish lessons via Skype?
New year, new challenges! Some people plan way ahead, some don’t. Perhaps this is the year you are going to treat yourself to learning something new, or to kick things up a notch when it comes to something you have basic knowledge in. There is just something so fulfilling to acquiring new knowledge. It can be small or it can be big, but it usually opens up new doors and worlds!
I for one have signed up for tennis lessons starting this week. Yes I can play tennis, but I want to get better at it, and to have more fun playing it. I am looking forward to have a personal trainer to surprise me with exercises I never would have thought of on my own; to provide tips and tricks to make learning and playing fun; to challenge and correct me, and to suggest enhancements and areas of improvement. Not to mention just the actual playing! I am sure this will raise my confidence when playing with others, and also make it happen on a frequent basis!
What about your Swedish language? Are you currently learning or hoping to start soon? Do you have a plan for the first half of 2014 set up already? Perhaps you are already in a program but don’t really feel you are learning the right things. Speaking – or using the language – for instance. Look again at the paragraph above describing my tennis lessons. Now think of it as a private Swedish language class, via Skype! This is what I am providing! Contact me at email@example.com if you would like to know more. You can also read on here – Swedish lessons via Skype
Interested in learning what others think? Check out the testimonials!
December 9 is apparently Gingerbread Day in Sweden. As I’ve said before – keeping track of all days in Sweden dedicated to Swedish pastries, cakes and cookies is probably a full time job. At least if you’re supposed to keep up with the baking yourself. Luckily there are bakeries and supermarkets more than eager to profit from these appointed days. In fact, they are part of the industry coming up with the days in the first place.
Well, I must say I thought all days in December were Gingerbread Days. At least when it comes to eating them.
essential vocabulary of the day:
en pepparkaka – a gingerbread biscuit
med kristyr – with icing (icing that hardens)
utan – without
even more essential:
många pepparkakor – lots of gingerbread biscuits
mums – yum, yummy
Photo shows result from multicultural gingerbread project last year. Kids and moms in my international network had fun while decorating for local exhibition at the library.