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
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