This is a post I’ll likely be writing for years to come and learning Swedish could very well end up being a lifelong process. I don’t want to understand Swedish, I want to master it, to speak correctly and eloquently, to read and
write on a level comparable to that of my English. A high goal, I realize, but an important one. If I end up staying in Sweden indefinitely I believe this will be one of the key factors to truly feeling at home and not as an outsider.
Although almost all Swedes speak English well, they prefer to speak Swedish and rightly so. Who doesn’t feel more comfortable expressing themselves in their native tongue? And Swedes are not shy about speaking Swedish in front of those who don’t, but will always politely switch to English when addressing you. As someone who is trying to learn Swedish, I love to hear it spoken at its normal pace and try to decipher what I can. I’ve found it slightly frustrating when someone at a store realizes you aren’t Swedish and immediately switches to English. Polite yes, but when you need to practice it’s hard at the beginner stage to ask someone who speaks English well to switch back to Swedish and stumble along with you.
There are many tools you can use for learning a new language. Thanks to my wonderful sister I have the full
Rosetta Stone program in Swedish. It is an amazing system and has been quite helpful. I haven’t completed the full program yet though, so stay tuned I’ll give a comprehensive review later. After arriving in Sweden I also got a library card and have checked out text books for learning Swedish and children’s books which Andreas and I read together. I also try to keep a Swedish journal, nothing too involved but rather a daily account of what I did for the day or have planned that week. I will also be enrolling in the government provided Swedish language courses which start in August of 2012. I am building up a great vocabulary and base of knowledge, but I think the language courses will be most helpful in being able to construct sentences, use tenses properly, and read and write.
This picture is from 09/19/2010,
the day my Swedish life began.