How I'm learning Swedish Part I

How I'm learning Swedish Part I

3 Oct, 2017

Since moving to Sweden in September 2015, I’ve made a massive effort to learn Swedish. Other than the reasons listed in a previous blog post, I wanted to be able to speak to my partner in his native language and become more independent in Sweden. Being in a foreign country which has a different language to your native tongue means it can be difficult to feel like you can “hold your own”. Learning the language has also helped me feel more “at home” in Sweden.


Around July or August 2015, I initially started learning Swedish by downloading the Duolingo app onto my phone and completing the Swedish course there. To be honest, I never found it very useful because I hardly remembered things I learned in that app. Even after revising words many times and aiming for streaks and keeping the health bars up for each topic (I think this was supposed to show retention), words just hardly stuck (well some did, most didn’t). The only value I got from Duolingo was thinking it was cool that I could be consistent and have high streaks for consistently meeting my XP goal multiple days in a row. Other people may have had better experiences with Duolingo, but based on my experiences, I think it is only a very basic starting point. You’ll hardly even be conversational after completing the course.

Rosetta Stone

Just before I moved to Sweden, I decided to make a more serious investment by initially purchasing a 1 year subscription for the Swedish course on Rosetta Stone. The interesting part about using this was that it didn’t show English words alongside the Swedish translation. Instead it relied a lot on pictures and repetition. E.g. show a woman in a red car, then a woman in a blue car, then a boy in a red car etc You can then deduce what the words “woman”, “car”, “red” etc. are in Swedish.

I found Rosetta Stone was very effective in helping me learn Swedish, a lot of what I learned in Rosetta Stone stuck and I could then use it later when I needed that vocabulary. I try to do it every day. But to be honest I go through phases - still working on making it a habit. Since I’ve moved to Sweden it’s been more like this: everyday for 2 months for roughly 30min, then nothing for 2 months, then everyday for a month for 20min then nothing for a month, then 5 days a week for roughly 30min etc.

Rosetta Stone also has a mobile app, which I’ve downloaded it onto my phone, but I don’t enjoy using it as much because of the landscape view (makes it annoying to type in words etc). so I prefer to stick to desktop when using Rosetta Stone.

For Part II on learning Swedish check it out here

Learning Swedish
Written by Nicola Owen