Beginning steps in Swedish

A few weeks ago, I received my copy of Schwedisch ohne Mühe. This was very much a spur of the moment purchase, based largely on this train of thought: I’ve long been interested in Viking history; I’m interested in Old Norse; I should check out a modern North Germanic language; Swedish looks good. And so I leapt to my favorite line of courses. 

Wanderlust strikes again, but I’m okay with it.

I’m only up to lesson 5 so far, but it’s going well and I’m enjoying it. Some of it seems fairly transparent due to my English and German skills (besök -> Besuch, flytande -> fließend, not to mention things like syster -> sister).

My biggest hurdle right now is pronunciation. There are a few obstacles here: one, my brain keeps trying to read ‘ä’ as it’s pronounced in German. Two, there seem to be some tricky instances of letters being silent, and at least as far as I’ve seen so far, there aren’t hard and fast rules for when that happens. And three, for some words, it seems the voice actors just have different ideas about the pronunciation. For example, in ‘det,’ the ‘t’ seems to be silent sometimes, but other times it is clearly pronounced, depending on which voice actor is speaking the line. I’m sure (much) more exposure will help me sort this out.

One last note for now: for some awful reason, this particular Assimil book doesn’t have a glossary in the back. I was very disappointed to find this when I received the book. For now, I’ve bought a Berlitz pocket dictionary, but I’ll have to upgrade at some point or another. Sadly, a cursory search shows there aren’t a great deal of high quality Swedish-English / English-Swedish dictionaries. Who would have guessed that?

2 thoughts on “Beginning steps in Swedish”

  1. Hello Josh,

    Good luck on your journey of learning Swedish did you make any progress ? I want to start learning a Scandinavian language like Finnish or Swedish. What your advices to begin the learning process of those languages whereas I only speak latin languages + English ?

    Thanks

    1. Hey Jeremie!

      Thanks for asking, I feel like I have made some progress, yeah. I’ve failed to do a lesson daily, as I tend to stick with one lesson longer than Assimil officially recommends, but I’m getting close to being on lesson 40. Starting grad school last month certainly has not helped my language studies, but I still get in a bit of learning here and there.

      As for tips: honestly, speaking English will be a huge, huge help. Swedish follows similar grammatical patterns, including word order (unlike German’s shifting around of verbs). Gender is simpler than in German as well, with Swedish only having common and neuter. (Not-so-proptip: commON -> en, nEUTer -> et). Verbs aren’t too bad either, as they aren’t conjugated for person or number, at least in the present tense.

      Sadly, I’m not sure of what course to recommend to you – Assimil is always my go-to, and they don’t offer Swedish with an English base. If French is one of your Romance languages, they do have the course with a French base.

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