Swedish language

Tips for Learning Swedish

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Swedish kids singingSo for the last few weeks I’ve been focusing on the Swedish language. First I complained about how hard Swedish is, then I mentioned some tips on overcoming the difficulties of Swedish.

While overcoming the difficulties is key, there are other tips that can help you improve your Swedish learning.

These can be applied to most other languages, but since this site is SwedishFreak, we will be focusing on Swedish!

Top 10 Tips for Learning Swedish

1. Listen to Swedish every chance you get.

Many of us have smart phones, or some sort of device where we can listen to music. If you are at home, you can listen to the Swedish radio completely free online. If you are on the go, I suggest downloading your Swedish CD from your workbook into your device so you can listen to it on the go. If you are good with bit torrents, just search “Swedish”, there are usually many audio files available for not-so-legal download. Every second you get, listen to Swedish. Its not a big deal if you don’t understand everything. Even just listening to how the language sounds will help! And eventually, as you study more and more, you will be able to understand more and more!

2. Watch your favorite kids movie with Swedish dubbing.

This is one of my favorite things to do when I was learning French. I had a tons of Disney movies on DVD, and it was easy to switch the dubbing over. Plus I knew the movie so well, that I did not need the subtitles and I knew what was going on! A lot of DVDs provide subtitles as well.

3. Speak Swedish with friends or family members who are fluent.

Now I know this is difficult to do. We have a “Swedish day” at home, but it can be very hard. Try having a “Swedish hour” or a “Swedish meal”. Take your friend out to eat, and offer to pay for their meal on the condition that he or she only speaks Swedish with you. Beg and plead, as speaking with Swedes is how you are going to improve your Swedish.

4. Post Swedish words throughout your house.

toiletThis is a fun one when you are learning nouns. Start labeling things in your house with the Swedish name.

Past house nouns? Then try Swedish vocabulary in the bathroom. Simply tape some vocabulary to your bathroom wall. It is great to go over your vocabulary words when you are sitting there. 😉

5. Take a course that is in Swedish about a topic you enjoy.

I’ve done this in both Czech and Swedish, and it is a great way to learn a language. Currently I’m taking my hunting exam online. In Swedish. Do I know every word? No. But I can look most of them up, it is a topic I enjoy, and not only am I preparing for my hunting exam, but I’m learning Swedish at the same time! Score!

6. Read Swedish magazines or newspapers.

I’m not big on newspapers or magazines, but it is a great way to study the language. Look at the pictures, read the headlines, and try to figure out what is going on. Have a question? Ask your Swedish friends to explain. This is also a great way to practice if you live in Sweden, as newspapers and magazines will be readily available to purchase or while your waiting for the doctor or dentist, or even at restaurants.

7. Study with flashcards.

I know, I know. We all HATE studying. But sometimes the very best way to grow your vocabulary is to just study! I usually need a test in Swedish to get motivated, but I learn the words so quickly it is surprising.

For those of you that have forgotten how flashcards work, put the Swedish word on one side, and the translation of that word to your mother tongue on the other side. Then quiz yourself.

Remember to do both from Swedish to your language and from your language to Swedish.

If you are having trouble, start with 5 cards, memorize those, and then add 5 more, memorize those, etc. The human brain can hold 5-7 items in short term memory. It must be in short term memory before moving over to long term memory, so it is always best to start with 5!

8. Write your journal in Swedish.

Have a diary? Write it in Swedish! Don’t have one? Well, maybe you should get one just to practice your Swedish! If you don’t know a word, look it up. Just practicing to think in the language will help! Learning to write your inner thoughts in Swedish, even without anybody correcting you, is beneficial. Plus your pesky little brother or sister won’t be able to understand it if they get their hands on it!

9. Read children’s books in Swedish.

This is another one of my favorites. Swedish children learn to read by reading children’s books. Start there. Practice reading books, look up words you don’t know. As book levels get easier for you, work your way up. Before you know it you will be reading novels in Swedish!

10. Turn your phone’s language to Swedish.

I have a lot of friends who do this. They turn their phone’s language into the language they are learning. Most phones come with multiple languages on it. So set your default language to Swedish! If you are really daring, you can even change your computer’s language to Swedish (depends also on the phone/computer you have).


So these are my top 10 tips for learning Swedish. I’m sure there are many more out there. Is there something important that I’m missing?


  1. Paige
    December 6, 2011 at 17:41 — Reply

    I have a really cool radio station app for iPhone and iPad. It’s called TuneIn Radio. You can listen to radio stations from all over the world, including Sweden. They have tons of Swedish stations and the app is free. I often just play Swedish talk radio in the background. SVT also has a free app.

    • December 6, 2011 at 18:52 — Reply

      Awesome tip Paige, thanks! 🙂

  2. December 6, 2011 at 21:30 — Reply

    DO NOT try to translate from English to Swedish. Det går inte! USE Swedish whenever you can, and do not allow people to force you to switch to English.

    • December 24, 2011 at 15:44 — Reply

      An inlteligent answer – no BS – which makes a pleasant change

  3. December 6, 2011 at 21:34 — Reply

    read read read — not just kids’ books. Whatever interests you — sports, finance, hobbies

    • December 6, 2011 at 22:24 — Reply

      Good points! Though I have to say translating English to Swedish works more than I would think. That is coming for after learning czech for 7 years though. So probably good not to listen to me on that point 🙂

  4. Galabuzi Rogers
    December 5, 2012 at 06:55 — Reply

    Am going to try it. Thanks.

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The Author



Hilary lived two years in Norrland, Sweden (Northern Sweden) and fell in love with the country. She lives in Prague, Czechia and hopes to one day soon return to Sweden.