language learning tips...


I am currently learning Swedish - with a tutor for an hour a week and the rest self taught. Since loads of you are international students, or good linguists - any hints for rapid development? I feel like after a year of learning I am ready to do more somehow...I want to start putting the hundreds of words together but I'm not quite sure how...I find grammar texts so dry....

Maybe I'm not making any sense! ;-)


Hi Chris. First of all it's great that you are trying to learn a new language. Now, I don't know a word of Swedish but I have some background in teaching languages. Grammar & exercises are boring but necessary. However after that you should try to put theory into practice as much as possible. Do you have any chance to watch any foreign channel or listening to Swedish radio programmes? In our Uni we have conversation swapshop where students can meet with native speakers. Is there a Language Centre in your Uni? Can you borrow books in original language, watch Swedish TV there? Have you tried to get in touch with the Swedish cultural institute? I am not sure if there is one in the UK, but you can check this:
In short, if you want to be fluent you need to live the language.
(If all the above fails, the best alternative is to find a Swedish boyfriend)


I'm learning Swedish as well! Progress is slow, because I don't have a lot of time for self stduy.
Best thing to do: Language Holiday.


Hi Chris
You're in Manchester right? Go harrass the people at the Swedish Embassy on Deansgate. I did that once and got invited to their St Lucy's day party and met lots of cool Swedes to practise on!


Very sound advice! I'm a language learner and my PhD's on acquisition. When you do listen to the radio / watch TV / or take some time abroad do remember that you're not going to understand everything first time. Full on exposure after a year is fantastic but more daunting than if you were an advanced learner! So try not to let it knock your progression or enthusiasm!

It's great that people doing PhD's find the time to enrich their lives with foreign languages!

Good luck


work hard and practice more


just listening to! yay! trying to distract myself from a supervision tmrw. Will reply properly in morning. Thanks guys!

Why did I not know that the Swede's had a consulate in Manchester! I sense a pilgrimage coming on....


I started reading in every of my foreign languages at a rather early stage of learning. At the beginning I had to look up half of the words or so, but I quickly started to learn vocabulary and to get familiar with the particularities of the language. It helps if you read things which are not too complex from the point of view of its content, such as light newspaper articles, etc.

It also helps watching films in the foreign language with subtitles (in English or Swedish), although I don't know if there are plenty of Swedish films available.

In my case, I did (and continue doing) both because they are things which I enjoy doing, so if I plan to watch a DVD one evening why not give it a try and watch it in a foreign language.

I would love to learn another foreign language (preferably Hindi or Chinese) but I'm afraid I'll have to wait until I finish my PhD...


Nothing, absolutely nothing else is more effective as a learning aid, than actually going to the native country and living there for at least a few weeks.


I'm in the same boat as you, Chrisrolinski. I find often that although I understand all the words in a sentence, I don't seem to be very quick at putting the words together to grasp the overall meaning.

I forced myself to complete two textbooks, but now I have a subscription to a Dutch women's weekly and that's really helpful. I read the articles aloud, which makes you feel a bit silly but somehow helps the phrases stick in your head much better than silent reading.


I'm exploring tv on the internet.....seems a good option. I plan to spend extended weeks in Sweden once I have (with hope!) written up, and before I find a job.

So what languages do people learn here? You're brave to learn Hindi or Chinese - I'm sticking to latin script!


Hur är det?

Jag läser svenska i Tyskland! Och du?

Practise, practise, practise is probably the best recipe!

Hej da


A blonde Swedish exchange student once taught me to say "jag alska dig".


I learn Serbian and Croatian - I just drift into Cyrillic when I have to (reading Belgrade street signs!). Very lazy about it though!


Bra tack! Jag pluggar svenska i England. Det är mycket svårt - men jag börjar blir van!

Jag hoppas en gullig svensk pojke säger "jag älskar dig" i den framtid!