How I'm learning Swedish Part II

How I'm learning Swedish Part II

6 Oct, 2017

In my previous blog post, I described my experiences with Duolingo and Rosetta Stone, specifically focussing on how effective I found them in getting me to not only learn Swedish, but also use it in everyday life. I admit that I still actually find it hard to go out and actively use the Swedish I have learned - I get nervous about making mistakes and still get frustrated with how much more time it takes me to express myself because I need to constantly find the right words (or any words that are close enough) so that I can say what I want to say.

The fact that people’s English here in Sweden is so good, that it’s really easy to be lazy. I do my best to speak in Swedish to my sambo (Sambo is a person who you live with, and you’re in a romantic relationship with) as much as possible, but the lure of my mother tongue is sometimes just too good to resist. And I’m not even kidding you, his English is so good, I often forget English isn’t his native language.

But still, I make an effort to learn Swedish, because with every mistake I made, every word I mispronounce, every Sweglish sentence I use - I’m getting closer to becoming fluent.


Memrise is freakin' awesome. I started using Memrise roughly a year ago and upgraded my membership to Pro a few weeks later so that I could download the courses to my phone and be able to use the “Difficult words” feature. Memrise was created by some seriously legit guys, one of which is a memory grand master (look it up, pretty awesome huh!). By being created by some pretty talented folk, it means the app is really effective in helping words stick to your memory. It uses a combination of missing word in a sentence, flashcards, hearing the words in Swedish then writing English translation and giving you 10 letters jumbled together, to spell out an 8 letter word (among others) to help you learn Swedish.

There are 7 Swedish Memrise courses. I went straight to level 5 and have since completed levels 6 and 7 as well (I briefly checked out Level 4, but found I already knew the vocabulary there so I didn’t bother). The topics in the levels covered include phrases for relationships, outer space, health examinations, citizenship and phrases to help you sound like a native. e.g. “att gå som katten kring het gröt” - to beat around the bush. (I admit I’ve never said that phrase, it’s way too long for me in Swedish. But hey - if someone said it, I know they’re not actually talking about a cat!)

The difficult words feature is also really useful. I like it because it gets me to review words I get wrong or struggle with, more frequently than other words.

Nowadays I’m working my way through some Swedish courses on Memrise that I believe aren’t “official” Memrise courses to help me expand my vocabulary further, including “100+ Swedish adverbs, expressions and more” and “400+ Swedish verbs in present tense”.

Similar to Duolingo, you are encouraged to get streaks. for each day you achieve your XP goal, you add to your daily streak. I think the maximum I hit was around 15 days in a row. I would definitely recommend this app to anyone learning Swedish (or any foreign language for that matter), I really enjoy using it and found it very effective.


I like to listen to Swedish podcasts on my commute to work, at the gym and when I’m just doing random chores around the apartment. To be honest, I don’t always completely understand what the people are saying - but I try to listen to Swedish podcasts to help me immerse myself in Swedish. (Even though I live in Sweden, I spend a lot of my waking life surrounded by English considering I’m on a English-speaking project at work).

These are the podcasts I currently listen to:

  • Klartext - news said slowly in Swedish. I started off with this in late 2015. Back then I understood like 5% of what was said, now it’s more like 70%. The speaking slow part really helps!
  • Träningspodden - health and fitness podcast. I have never talked about health and fitness podcast in Swedish. But I enjoy listening to these sorts of podcasts in English so figured I would give this a try. I started listening to this at the beginning of this year. Really enjoy it!
  • Europapodden - podcast about news in Europe. I like to try and stay up to date with what’s happening in the news in Europe and found that when I also read about it in the news (and already know what it’s about), then I learn the Swedish words more easily once I hear the Swedish version of the same news on this podcast.

How I’m learning Swedish Part I

How I’m learning Swedish Part III

Learning Swedish
Written by Nicola Owen