Winter is upon us, according to the calendar. Yes, we have seen some snow in the Western part of south Sweden; enough to have had the chance to enjoy some beautiful days in the sleigh slope. The ice skates and the cross-country skis are still waiting to have their fun though. But even if there is no winter in sight right now we all know it – it will come back when you least expect it. That’s Swedish winter for you.
The song “Vintersaga” (Winter´s Tale) describes a wintry Sweden – in all the senses of the word. Even if we don´t always have snow it can be dark, windy and cold. The song captures all this, and the melancholy that it leaves behind, but also the beauty and the images of an ordinary Sweden on an ordinary day. The song was written by Ted Ström in 1984. My favorite version of it is sung by Monica Törnell, and was recorded the same year. You’ll find a link to it on Spotify below.
Enjoy the 80’s!
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?
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.
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.
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
Here is a useful tip for encouraging your child to speak in another language.
Sometimes children can be a little hesitant to speak a language which is not native to them. Well, there are some tricks to help them. For instance you can use hand puppets, teddy bears or dolls. Let them “do the talking”. This makes the children feel more confident since they use another voice – it is not “them” who is speaking.
Even if children happily speak a language bringing in another character is a fun way to stimulate and encourage a conversation.
Today I met with “Bob”. Boy, did he speak a lot, in Swedish!
If you are interested in individual Swedish language classes for children or adults read on.
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