One of the biggest regrets I have after coming here is that I didn’t take the time to learn some rudimentary Swedish before I arrived. I was placated by the fact that an overwhelming 86% of Swedes speak English fluently, and so I told myself: “I’ll figure it out as I go along.”
Truth be told, I’ve yet to encounter a language barrier here in Sweden that couldn’t be surmounted using English. That said, not having a working body of knowledge of Swedish will leave you wanting a lot. Truly experiencing a country and all that it has to offer means not being inhibited by filters of any kind (language being one of them).
Keep reading to learn two of the most powerful tools that you can start using immediately to build a Swedish lexicon before you come:
Livemocha isn’t always the go-to option when it comes to language learning. I had some reservations about what to expect when I tried it for Swedish after finding it unsatisfactory for far-eastern languages. Turns out, I had nothing to worry about! Currently, I’m using Livemocha Swedish in parallel with a course in elementary Swedish at KTH to fast-track my way to a working vocabulary.
Using Livemocha is great for when you want to sit down and actually study some Swedish, but wouldn’t it be great if you could squeeze in some extra Swedish study-time on your daily commute?
Anki is a tool that I’ve long been in love with. A platform that can be synced between your PC/Mac and your smartphone, Anki uses scientifically-proven spaced repetition techniques to firmly cement new concepts using flashcards. Anki can be used to learn everything from Japanese Kanji to the names of all 206 bones in the body.
Anki can also be used to learn Swedish.
The Swedish Core 2000 Flashcard set available for free in the Shared Decks section of the Anki site contains 2000 flashcards of core Swedish words and phrases.The best part? Each of the cards features a sound clip of the native pronunciation of the words/phrases (for the auditory people) and a colorful picture (for the visual folks)! You can even add cards or modify ones using the powerful built-in editor.
Using these two tools is by no means the only way to get started with Swedish, but given their speed, simplicity, and lack of an overhead, they’re worth considering when you’re just starting out.
EDIT: Check out fellow blogger Jesús Alvarez Sarro‘s Ultimate Guide to Learning Swedish for more awesome Swedish-learning tips!