Point me to the part of the internets where I should be learning Swedish
November 17, 2010 8:41 AM   Subscribe

SvenskaFilter: Help me learn basic Swedish in 2 months!

Studying abroad in Sweden next semester (starting mid-January) and although my classes will be in English and I know pretty much everyone will speak English, I like learning languages and like to get acquainted with the language before going to a country.

I'll be studying on my own, and prefer online resources. I'm basically looking for resources like this, but for Swedish, not Japanese. I've seen this as well, so I have some things to watch, but I'm more interested in learning the language itself at this point. (FYI, I have a Mac and an iPhone, if that helps).

Also, I speak Japanese and am somewhat involved in the enormous online community of Japanese-learners (my twitter feed is exploding with people trying to learn Japanese). Swedish certainly doesn't get the same amount of attention, but I'm wondering if there's a similar (albeit smaller) community of Swedish learners that I can tap into for mutual encouragement, practice, etc. Where are they?!
posted by mokudekiru to Education (12 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Shell out of Rosetta Stone. They have a great web-based program, and it's quite good, especially for listening comp and pronunciation.
posted by colin_l at 8:51 AM on November 17, 2010

Best answer: Get some Pimsleur language CDs. You'll be able to do it, Swedish is dead easy. I learned it in an afternoon when I was 14, then forgot it.
posted by tel3path at 8:52 AM on November 17, 2010

The old FSI Swedish tapes are available online for free. They worked for 60s diplomats, at least.
posted by dd42 at 8:59 AM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

I personally found the basic course for Swedish on Livemocha to be quite good.
posted by knz at 9:07 AM on November 17, 2010

Best answer: Tjena! What you want is SAFIR

It's an online (or offline if you rip down the flashfiles) Swedish tutor developed for people learning Swedish as a second language. The aim is to get them up to speed enough to enter the workforce.

Start with module 1 at that link. You have 8 avsnitt or chapters, and each chapter has a number of exercises (övningar). You will need headphones.
They start you off with the letters and sounds, click, listen, repeat. You can google translate the instructions, but it's not really necessary though. Don't skip this part, it will really help you with the pronunciation, when you down to conversational stuff on chapter 3 of modul 1.

A little while down the road you can start reading the news in simple Swedish.
posted by Iteki at 9:10 AM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

Don't buy Rosetta Stone or Pimsleur! They can be good resources if you can find them for free (public library?), but definitely not worth the money.

I second FSI, which is what I've been using and which has gotten me to level B2 after 12 units (out of 16).
posted by snoogles at 1:15 PM on November 17, 2010

Pimsleur is great for learning the basics and working on pronunciation if you can get it for cheap/free.

I can highly recommend the Assimil program. I used it for french and it's an excellent value. Couldn't find the english version on amazon, but you may be able to track one down through more specialized vendors.
posted by smokingmonkey at 1:36 PM on November 17, 2010

The FSI stuff for Swedish is linguistically correct, but the pronunciation, melody and vocab used is often really archaic, kinda like old newsreel speakers. It would be highly entertaining though. SAFIR as linked above is part of the suite of tools provided to all immigrants attending SFI (Swedish For Immigrants).
posted by Iteki at 1:51 PM on November 17, 2010

Assimil is a French company, so you may be able to find a Swedish course where the medium of learning is French. However, I think it will take you more than two months to get through an Assimil course, so use it as well as a Pimsleur course, not instead of one.
posted by tel3path at 3:26 PM on November 17, 2010

Maybe you can use public service radio (available online at www.sr.se) to get used to the sounds.
posted by Hastur at 3:48 PM on November 17, 2010

If you download your TV shows on the internet, you can also download Swedish subtitles for most of them. Eg I watch True Blood with Swedish Subtitles.
Stage two of my plan - watching shows in Swedish with Swedish subtitles, I figure it'll help my written/oral comprehension.

I also use Byki - download additional language lists for it here http://www.byki.com/category/Swedish/rates/a
It's offline, and has more of a focus on oral/written and matching the Swedish with English, as opposed to the LanguageMocha matching the Swedish with a picture, but the sound files are quite good, and you can select a turtle icon to slow down the playing speed so you can get your pronunciation just right. Don't look at the word when you are listening, get the sound right, then write.
I've observed that people tend to perceive people with better pronunciation as having better language skills than those who have much, much better vocab. A Swedish friend was quite stunned by my parroting some of the Byki phrases, and thought that was somehow impressive - *shrug* go figure?
posted by Elysum at 9:18 PM on November 17, 2010

I've been studying Swedish for most of the past year and the things that have helped me the most (aside from actual classes, which you definitely should take advantage of if you can find them) have been:

1) LiveMocha - mentioned above. Resembles an online Rosetta Stone without the cost.

2) Anki - a flashcard type program available for your Mac and both a mobile web version or iPhone app. I was able to find pre-made card sets for Swedish vocabulary, verb tenses, etc. via their "Shared Deck" options.

3) Swedish-Flashcards.com - I haven't used the actual website much, but signed up for daily vocabulary emails.

4) iTunes podcasts - There are a few to choose from. Most seem aimed at travelers, but would teach you basic phrases.

Once you have some basics down, YouTube is full of Swedish language videos to choose from. Try finding some children's shows (e.g. Fem myror är fler än fyra elefanter, a sort of Swedish Sesame Street) and see if you can pick out words.

Lycka till!
posted by fishmasta at 10:02 PM on November 17, 2010

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