I've finished my Swedish tree!
I've done it! So happy! :D
I have found Swedish culture interesting for quite a while now (especially through the lens of Eurovision ;) ). I started this course about three months ago, although I had been wanting to begin for about six months prior to that. I wanted to wait until I reached my summer holidays (I'm an Australian) to make sure I had the free time I needed to give this course a serious go. However, it also co-incided at a pretty rough time in my life, and this course gave me initially the distraction, and the later the sense of empowerment, I needed to rise above the adversity. I've really enjoyed learning the Swedish language and more about the Swedish culture. I'll be forever grateful for this opportunity; and this moment, while joyous, also brings a sense of sadness as the journey now comes to an end. :')
I would like to acknowledge and thank the Swedish team for their development of this course, as well as for their help and support along the way. Zmrzlina, Arnauti, Anrui and Anders91, thank you so much. I'd also like to thank the native Swedish speakers who also frequently helped me out whenever I had a question. Devalanteriel comes to mind, but I know there were others as well. Thank you!
I'd also like to thank the rest of the community. That's right, you guys! Thanks for creating such a welcoming and friendly environment conducive to good learning. You've asked many of the questions I also had, and have provided very good help as well. Thanks!
I guess some of you might be wondering how I tackled this tree, given that I completed it in three months. Firstly, I decided before beginning the tree that I was going to ditch the traditional methods of language learning. I had learnt Italian from the age of 5 until I was 19, during primary school, secondary school and even university. In my experience, I found that some aspects of traditional language learning were actually impeding my progress, rather than facilitating it. I felt a lot of pressure during assessment, so rather than getting better at the language I got better at test-taking strategy. I learnt to get the grammar right because that was what was going to show in my writing tasks, but I essentially neglected vocabulary learning because I was always allowed a bilingual dictionary for reading and writing tasks. I know this is a bit controversial, but I'm of the school that learning vocabulary is more important than learning grammar, especially at beginner level. It's like being able to ask where the bathroom is. If you know how to construct the sentence correctly, that's great, but you're not going to get very far if you don't remember what the word for bathroom is. :P On the other hand, if you can at least say "bathroom where?" people will understand you and you will be able to get by. Hence, while my reading and writing skills in Italian were okay, my listening and speaking skills were consistently poor. I also didn't develop them very well because I was always scared of making mistakes and making a fool of myself, or worse, stuffing up my assessments. I largely got by with oral assessments by memorising sentences that I could say, while for listening, well, that remained a weakness. :/ Additionally, I felt more pressure coming from an Italian family, and the last thing I wanted to do was look incompetent in front of people who had fairly good Italian proficiency.
... Coming back from my tangent there, I committed to doing four lessons each day and re-golding any skills as they faded. I only used duolingo, and I didn't take any notes at all. Instead of studying this like a school subject, I wanted to simulate basic immersion in the language and get some sort of feel for it, rather than learning and mastering the technicalities but never getting good at the language overall. I refrained from peeking at words I couldn't remember, because I knew I'd learn better if I got an incorrect response and had another go. Initially learning would only take a few minutes a day, but as I got further down the tree I needed to re-gold more skills so I'd generally spend an hour. In addition, I also made the effort to listen to some Swedish music (which was pretty easy as a Melodifestivalen and Eurovision lover) and Swedish TV (I initially watched the kids program Bolibompa, but now tend to watch Nyhetsmorgon, and, of course, Melodifestivalen, now that it's on again). I definitely don't understand it all but I'm not completely clueless either, I understand a bit. Speaking practice has been limited, but what I mainly did was walk around the house and say in Swedish what I saw (i.e. "the door is dörren in Swedish" etc.).
So how far have I come? I regularly make mistakes with grammar and I forget some pieces of vocabulary, but otherwise, I feel like I have a good grasp of some basic working language. Most importantly, due to the fact that there is no pressure or expectation on me whatsoever, I feel confident to at least have a go with Swedish and make some mistakes along the way. I still feel a bit more comfortable reading Italian, but otherwise I almost feel as if Swedish is not that far behind in everything else, despite the massive time difference in learning the two languages. For those of you who are curious, objectively speaking I think Swedish is easier to learn than Italian for native English speakers, although both are not terribly difficult and there are some things in Italian that are easier than their Swedish counterparts.
So, what's next? Well, I'll probably keep aiming to keep my tree gold. One of my weaknesses at the moment is the past tense of strong verbs (even if there is some consistency with English), as well as the supine form. I'll probably have to make some notes here, constructing verb tables so that I can ingrain that stuff into my head (I have the duolingo Swedish word list but I think I'm dreading having to sift through it to get every verb - it will probably take some time =_=). In about a week or so I'll probably also give the progress quiz a go to test myself. If immersion for this language ever becomes available, I wouldn't mind giving that a go either. Other than that, I might have a go writing some short essays in Swedish, continue watching some Swedish TV programs (cough Melodifestivalen cough) and joining the Scandinavian Club at my university, which has some Swedish speakers I can practice with. Perhaps further down the line I might try some more formal testing methods. We'll worry about that later.
Anyway, this turned out to be a very long post so I should probably stop writing haha. Once again, thank you very much for your help. If you have any questions about the course at all, please feel free to ask! :)
Good Job! I can't wait till I get there! (It might be a while) How long did it take? Was it harder as you progressed?
Thanks! It took me three months (I've explained what I did in that very long post above). Obviously the level of difficulty increased, but it never seemed especially challenging. Keep at it, you'll get there eventually! :)
How many times have you been doing Swedish exercises in a day to finish it in a three months?
I did four new lessons a day, as well as re-golding any skills that had faded. :)
You are amazing to me im a teenage I find that you are an idol to not only me but to other people but you may also need to consider to strengthen your skills by not only making your skill tree gold but practice it with the strengthen you skills option (I don't know if this is a option to the other courses that is created by the native speaker and not by the developers of duolingo team) But if that is a option i recommend practicing by doing that as well other that you are awesome.
Wow, how nice of you to say that! Thanks, I really appreciate it! :)
I read somewhere that specifically strengthening a specific skill is more likely to to re-gold the the skill than using the generic "strengthen skills" option, hence why I haven't been using it. However, if I hear anything to the contrary (or if, by luck, I find one day that all the skills have remained gold) I'll have a go using it. Thanks for your advice. :)
3 months?!? Wow, congratulations! *high fives* I wish I had the willpower to get it done that quickly! Here's a Lingot for making me want to try harder.
If you're looking for more TV/radio/films in svenska, you should check out SBS, they have heaps of content...
My favourite TV show at the moment is a science fiction/drama called Äkta människor. The synopsis on SBS begins: "This ten-part Swedish drama series is set in a parallel present day in which robots have become so human it is barely possible to distinguish them from real people." (There's actually two 10-episode seasons, all on SBS On Demand) It's very interesting, albeit quite brutal. If you're interested, you can watch the first episode here: http://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/video/11883075614
The other svenska TV shows on SBS On Demand are Millennium, which is the extended version of the critically acclaimed 'The Girl...' Trilogy, cut as a 6-episode miniseries (very violent from what I've read) and En pilgrims död, a 4-part police drama following a newly put-together police force as they investigate the long-unsolved mystery of the assassination of Prime Minister Olof Palme.
En pilgrims död Ep1: http://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/video/268846147742/death-of-a-pilgrim
SBS On Demand also has 23 films in svenska, and you can filter their TV guide and movie reviews by program language too. There's also lots of content in Danish and Norwegian, which are 'largely mutually intelligible' according to Wikipedia, although my understanding is that the vocabularies somewhat differ.
The Norwegian 'Never Ever Do This at Home' looks fun, like Mythbusters without the myths. The other TV series in Norwegian and Danish are all Crime/Drama—most with Mystery/Thriller elements—except for one, 'Heartless', that's about vampire-like energy-sucking twins who wind up at a mysterious boarding school on their quest for answers about their condition. I haven't even looked at the movies, I know if I start it'll eat up my whole day! >_<"
Films in svenska: http://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/movies/all?language=Swedish
TV guide for svenska: http://www.sbs.com.au/guide/language/swedish
Reviews of svenska films: http://www.sbs.com.au/movies/languages/swedish
Svenska home page (Radio+On Demand): http://www.sbs.com.au/yourlanguage/swedish
Just the radio player: http://www.sbs.com.au/yourlanguage/block/Swedish-radio-player (hit the lower button on right of player to add to iTunes etc. as a podcast)
Danish On Demand: http://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/search/filter/language:Danish
TV guide for Danish: http://www.sbs.com.au/guide/language/danish
Reviews of Danish films: http://www.sbs.com.au/movies/languages/danish
Danish home page: http://www.sbs.com.au/yourlanguage/danish
Norwegian On Demand: http://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/search/filter/language:Norwegian
TV guide for Norwegian: http://www.sbs.com.au/guide/language/norwegian
Reviews of Norwegian films: http://www.sbs.com.au/movies/languages/norwegian
Norwegian home page: http://www.sbs.com.au/yourlanguage/norwegian
Have you been getting any help with pronunciation yet, or will the Scandinavian Club be your first feedback on it? I'm always worried that I'm saying things wrong, I guess I should find a svensk who wants help with their English...
What would you say are some difficult words to pronounce correctly? What words took you a while to figure out how to pronounce? (I'm not expecting expert answers, just one Aussie student to another :P)
Have you found any good resources outside of Duo for learning svenska?
Hi there, goshuar! Many thanks for the congratulations, as well as for the lingot! :)
Wow, that's a really extensive list of shows SBS has. I never realised they had so many in the Swedish language! The only time I had seen a Swedish show was when I turned on the TV the other day and I just happened to recognise some of what this lady was saying (in all fairness it could've been Norwegian or Danish though). I've also heard really good things about The Bridge as well. It looks like I'll have plenty of watching material, although I have to admit that crime/drama isn't really my type of genre.
Regarding the pronunciation, you're right - I haven't had any feedback on what my pronunciation is like yet. The Scandinavian Club will be the first time I receive feedback on it. Luckily, I haven't had too much trouble with it - having grown up with Italian from an early age I've got the trilled r down already, and thankfully Swedish is also a largely phonetic language. I don't think it's too bad but given that I've basically been trying to mimic the text-to-speech I'm bound to have some words wrong. I was initially concerned about the pitch accent but from what I can tell it's not actually as prominent as it seems - it primarily comes into play with the stressed words in each sentence.
One word I had a lot of trouble with was skådespelerska (actress) - I had to say that one aloud for about half an hour before I got that one right. :P Another one is sjuksköterska (nurse); this one only took me about 15 minutes practice to get right. Later in the course you'll get the Swedish tongue-twister "Sju sjuka sjuksköterskor" (seven sick nurses), which I still cannot say. XD Getting that sj sound actually hasn't been too difficult to me, unless it's embedded in a difficult word overall.
Regarding other resources, there's a SwedishPod101 listening comprehension playlist on youtube which I really enjoyed. Don't be surprised if you struggle with it initially, but you will get better at it soon. I know there's also the online course at http://learningswedish.se but I don't know how good that is because I haven't used it. That website teaches the language more traditionally, so it might be a good complement to duolingo.
There seems to be quite a few Australians learning Swedish at the moment! Perhaps it's a Eurovision effect, given Sweden gave us 12 points for our song last year. ^_^ Anyway, enjoy the language-learning journey! :)
Yeah, I've heard good things about the bridge too. I was going to mention it, but SBS only have 2 recent episodes online, not the whole series. I'm not much of a crime drama person either.
I'm definitely having some trouble with skådespelerska, good to know I'm not the only one... Doesn't help that the only two recordings on forvo are slightly different... (http://forvo.com/word/sk%C3%A5despelerska/)
Thanks, I'll check out those resources later. The Eurovision thing wasn't a part of it in my case, it's mostly Mojang, Äkta människor, and Alexander Skarsgård that drew my attention to svenska, svenskar, and sverige.
Good luck, hope you have fun with with your language-learning journey too! ^_^
I actually come from a different school as I believe learning grammar is more important as it is essential to learn how to build a sentence in a right way, while learning words will come through time :)
Of course, it cant be the same for everyone, as I am memorizing words quite easily. I am level 11 and just learning about past tense for the first time (so you could see where I am at the moment on the tree) and the only words I really had problems with are "vanligt", "mojligt", "omojligt" and similar. The rest was piece a cake for now. Of course, I forget something from time to time but thats just meant to happen. :)
At the end of the day I guess it depends on what your objective is in studying the language. For me, it's about potentially being able to engage in basic informal conversation with someone and getting a sense of appreciation for a country and its culture. If I make a grammar mistake, it won't be too bad and it probably wouldn't be heavily looked down upon. If your intentions with the language are more formal, then grammar might become more important, especially if you can use workarounds to overcome words that you have forgotten. Grammar has always been my strength over vocabulary, so this time I wanted to manipulate my learning so that the latter would benefit this time.
Enjoy your Swedish learning journey! :)
I just thought I'd update you all on the fact that I've just taken the Swedish Progress Quiz! I received 3.37/5.00, which I'm pleased with, especially for a first attempt. :) If you have any questions about it please feel free to ask.