View Full Version : Learning Swedish / and life's adventures

26-07-05, 23:44
It is funny how life changes. Just a year and a half ago I began researching my Swede-Finn ancestors. With the help of June and Torbjörn and others I discovered my paternal roots. So I started researching more and had several hundred pages of what could be a great family history book. Well, the pressures of everyday life forced me to leave this project.

Something unfortunate/fortunate happened. My 13 year old son was not a good fit for high school, so at the end of the year we decided that homeschooling was the best option. He had already completed two years of high school French in middle school, and with this great head start on the language I thought that he would want to continue. Well, guess what -- he wants to learn Swedish! I know enough Swedish to tell a death record from a birth record and that is about it, and there are no local Swedish classes here in Nashville, TN. So now I need to research my options, and I hope that you can chime in with how I should approach this.

I've looked at the book/CD self-study classes:

Linguaphone Swedish Language Course (9CDs plus books) $400 (http://www.linguaphoneusa.com/swedish/lp1_learn_swedish_overview.htm)

FSI Swedish Basic Course Book 15 CDs $200 (http://www.foreignserviceinstitute.com/languages/swedish/)

Colloquial Swedish: The Complete Course for Beginners (Colloquial Series) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0415304938/103-2748733-9599810?v=glance)

My son also wants to visit Sweden and Finland.

As for the genealogy book -- his first assignment in English is to edit the mess I have so that I finish it.

Thanks for the help everyone.

27-07-05, 07:25
:) :) :) :):) I received the follwoing information that was very helpful and I wanted to share without the poster's name:

I've taught myself several languages mostly from tape/cd courses. Here
are my thoughts:

Both Colloquial Swedish (with 2 cds/tapes) or Teach Yourself Swedish
(also with 2 cds/tapes) are easily accessible and reasonably
entertaining. They're good for getting the basics, but they don't have
enough recorded drills to get you really fluent. Still, if money isn't
an issue, I'd recommend having them to listen to -- repeatedly -- just
to "imprint" vocabulary and phrases in addition to a more in-depth

The Linguaphone courses, which are also much more expensive, have much
more recorded drill time. If your son made his way through the entire
course, with all its drills, he'd be at least at, say, a second-year
university level.

However, if the $400 strikes you as excessive, I'd recommend the FSI
(Foreign Service Institute) course, which is about the same length and
depth. It's not as beautifully packaged as the Linguaphone course, but
it only costs half as much:


Re the Spoken Language series, I don't have the Spoken Swedish course
but I do have three of their courses for other languages. Basically,
there are two problems with this series: 1) they were done back in the
1940s, so the material is sometimes dated, and the recording quality
can at times be less than ideal; 2) they rely mostly on repetition,
not drills, which I at least haven't found all that helpful for
learning languages.

All these "tape" courses, by the way, were developed so that people
could 1) actually hear how languages are spoken; and 2) get some
listening comprehension practice. There's still no better method
(short of working with a native professional) for acquiring a good
pronunciation, and, if you (or your son, in this case) have a fair
amount of self-discipline, drilling vocabulary and grammar with
recordings is a great way to learn a language. The last benefit of
recordings -- advancing listening comprehension -- really only applies
with tapes, imho, at the beginning stages of language learning. Your
son will make far more progress -- and have a lot better time! -- with
comprehension practice if he spends as much time as possible listening
to real live Swedish. I reached a stage of reasonable fluency in
Swedish mostly by listening to Sveriges radio live every day over the


And also watching lots of clips from Swedish TV:


I'm assuming that you and your son are in the U.S. , so Swedish
broadcasts are a great way of making Sweden and Swedish more "real"
than it would be otherwise.

Hope all this helps!

27-07-05, 20:43
Hi Michael!
I got an idea, if you are able to download music with for example Kazaa, download swedish music. Then you will be able to hear the language and be able to translate what they sing about. Many artists have websites where they have their lyrics written down.
Artists I like and that sings in Swedish are:
Bo Kaspers Orkester (the Singer has a typichal nothern accent as myself and easy to understand)
Eva Dahlgren
Uno Svenningsson
Tomas Ledin
Per Gessle (earlier member of Roxette, solo he often sings in swedish)
Marie Fredriksson (also earlier member of Roxette)
Of Course there are more artists but these would be quite easy to find.

This is music that different agegroups like in Sweden. I learned a lot English by listening to music and it should work the other way around.

Good Luck = Lycka till!


Shirley King
27-07-05, 21:59
HI Michael,
Although your son may be a bit young for this now, I would hope that you will consider letting him be an exchange student. I knew only how to count to ten when I went to Sweden my Junior year of high school. What a way to learn!! I was sponsored by Rotary International, but I know there are other good programs out there. I decided on Sweden as my country because I believed I was of Swedish heritage, then low and behold, a few years ago, I found out I am really Finnish! Although my Swedish is really rusty now, I can still read and talk enough to get by, after all it has been almost 30 years ago since I went. But it is an experience that I will cherish forever and one my own daughter would like to pursue someday.
Good Luck
Shirley King

PS Say here is a thought; if someone wants to refine their English and help out Michaels son, they could talk to each other over Skypes!

28-07-05, 01:02
Originally posted by Shirley King
HI Michael,
Although your son may be a bit young for this now, I would hope that you will consider letting him be an exchange student.

This is a great idea! His/my ancestors are from Vora, Finland.

PS Say here is a thought; if someone wants to refine their English and help out Michaels son, they could talk to each other over Skypes!

Another great idea. Let him learn to count, first!