Hej på dej! Slowly my thoughts are turning towards the fact that I am moving to Sweden! I should have tickets in my back pocket in a month or so, so now it’s time to start preparing for the move. In this post, I will tell you how have I learned the Swedish language.
Learning Swedish as a Finn
Like almost all Finns, I have studied the Swedish language in school since the age of 13. Finland was a part of Sweden for centuries, until 1809 when we were taken over by the Russian empire. We still have around 5 % of Finns who speak Swedish as their first language, and because of this heritage and the rights of those people, all the kids need to study Swedish from their 7th grade all the way to high school and university. However, since this language is “forced” upon Finns, many have no motivation to study it. It is very common that people can only say “Jag kan inte svenska” (I don’t speak Swedish) and other basic sentences.
Almost every Swedish-speaking Finn speaks fluent Finnish. Also, nearly all Swedes speak fluent English, so many Finnish kids have no interest in learning the language. I’ve always liked Swedish, though. It is one of the easiest foreign languages to learn. The grammar is very simple and the vocabulary is pretty self-explanatory once you learn the basics. Also, Swedish is a part of the Germanic languages, so if you speak English or German, learning Swedish is even easier.
Even though I’ve studied Swedish for many years, I haven’t had many opportunities to use the language. My skills are very rusty, and it’s hard to even remember the basics. My boyfriend is Swedish but we speak English with each other most of the time.
How do I practise Swedish?
I’ve started to practise Swedish by buying a Swedish textbook that is concentrated on the basics. It might be a bit too easy for me but with it, I can still revise the things you need the most in your daily life (ordering food, buying clothes etc).
I have also started following Swedish-speaking media. In Finland, we have news in Swedish as well, and a good variety of Swedish drama, movies and series. I recommend checking out for example a series Kalifat on Netflix. Also, The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo as the original Swedish version is really good. You can also find many Swedish podcasts on Spotify. You can listen to ones that start from the absolute basics or pick ones that are good for more advanced learners. I can recommend at least a podcast called Svenska folkets historia. In this series, they are going through some important events in Swedish history in the eyes of one ordinary person who lived at the time. I can kill two birds with one stone: learn Swedish and learn about the country’s history!
Moreover, I’ve tried to find opportunities to use Swedish at work and while talking with Isak’s relatives. I have also joined some “Finns in Sweden” and “Expats in Sweden” Facebook groups to find tips and support.
My goal is that within 6 months I am able to speak the language pretty fluently in day-to-day situations. Of course, this might not be a realistic goal for those who start learning Swedish from the absolute basics. My only problem is that I’m moving to the South of Sweden (which used to be a part of Denmark some centuries ago), and their dialect sounds more like Danish than Swedish :D.
You can always hit me up with some tips on language learning and/or good Swedish shows, movies or podcasts!