Swedish Language Blog

Your Experiences – Linda från Kalifornien Posted by on Apr 20, 2009 in Swedish Language

Your responses to my question about how you learn Swedish and what works for you and what doesn’t were incredibly insightful and I would like to thank all of you for taking the time to share your Swedish learning experiences with the rest of us.

I also think that occasional readers may miss them if they don’t visit the comments section, and that would be a pity. There’s some great info in your stories I know will benefit a lot of people. So, I took the liberty to bring your comments to the main section, and start sharing them one by one.

We’ll begin with Linda from California. Her experience is unique in that she has tried probably every possible method to learn a foreign language: a structured course, self-study, computer assisted-learning, at home immersion (Swedish husband and his family) and learning via Skype. She also gave a very detailed account of what worked for her and what didn’t and why.

Linda, I hope you don’t mind I’m reposting your story here. I am certain that it can help many other readers who are on the sometimes very rocky path to Swedish proficiency.

Jag har studerat svenska på BHLI i Beverly Hills, Svenska Skolan i Los Angeles och nu med LearnSweden på skype.

I learned a great deal from BHLI but for me time and a 2hr commute once a week proved too difficult. We used Nya Mål textbooks also used by SFI. It was an 80min lesson weekly. My instructor a native of Sweden, is also the Headmistress of the Svenska Skolan i Los Angeles. So I transferred to that school, however again the commute was very tiring. My two youngest children also attended the courses.

I decided to try LearnSweden.com, it is based in Stockholm and they use Skype to have a live session with a native Swedish instructor. I am enjoying this method, since I don’t have time to drive to LA and I also have one-to-one instruction for 50mins twice a week. But also my instructor has become a friend. She shares with me things of Sweden and if there is a specific interest I have, we use it as the focus of the lesson.

My lessons are geared towards verbal fluency and pronunciation. I have a good grasp on reading and understanding Swedish, it’s more the listening and responding that I seek confidence with. As I am a visual learner, the reading and writing flow well, but listening and understanding is more difficult for me.

For convenience LearnSweden.com works for me, but I prefer an actual classroom setting. I also have Rosetta Stone level I, but I knew all that they had to teach and didn’t find it helpful at all. Even the pronunciation part with the mic is not so good. My husband is a native of Sweden and the voice analyzer did not think his Swedish pronunciation was correct. So for all the expense and fancy features, I personally did not find Rosetta Stone worth it.

I also have Pimsleurs Swedish, In-Flight Swedish,Teach Yourself Swedish and some other Swedish Podcast lessons. I find them ok for review and practice, but I don’t feel I learned much. But again this is only my thoughts on the matter.

If one can attend courses at least twice a week for an hour or two, I believe Swedish can be learned without too much difficulty. Being in Sweden and surrounded by the language in daily life is probably the best way to immerse oneself into thinking in Swedish. I had 2 weeks with my in-laws and it has improved my ear for understanding the spoken language.

I still have a long way to go but I shall trudge on…

I added relevant links to this story as they might be helpful to someone else.

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  1. Stu:

    What ironic timing! I just found your blog, and am in the middle of using the
    Rosetta Stone Swedish Level 1.
    My wife and I are moving to Stockholm in the fall, and will be studying for two years.
    I like the computer program a lot! I’ve learned other languages in a variety of
    methods and prefer their program. Perhaps Linda should check out the higher
    But I agree that living in the country is the best way, and I’m also concerned with
    speaking in conversant Swedish once we get there.
    Thanks for the great blog and all the help!

  2. Michael:

    Re: posting if Stu above. Perhaps you could start a blog when you get to Sweden and tell us how it is to learn and speak on site! Lycka till!