I just got back from visiting Sweden for the first time!
An absolutely beautiful country and I can't wait to return. At the moment, I only have one more skill to learn before I finish my tree, but while I was there, I was hardly able to understand what people were saying. Is this a problem anyone else has had or have others kind of just, been able to pick up Swedish pretty much immediately once nearing the completion of their tree? I feel a little behind, but much like with learning a new coding language, I know there's a barrier I have to breach first. I have to get to a point where I completely understand the grammar before I start really retaining the words. Does this make sense? I also collected a lot of free (and some small, paid) literature from my travels around Sweden to translate in my free time and this seems to be working out very well so far.
Hey. I'm not fluent in Swedish by any means and I haven't even finished the tree, but I have some piece of advice for you. You see, English is not my native language and I've been learning it for quite some time already (like 5+ years for sure). And now I'm able to learn Swedish based on English with no issues whatsoever. But back in the day I was in the same situation as you are, despite that I haven't visited some English-speaking country. By that time I already had a pretty good vocabulary and learned a bigger part of the grammar, but I was barely speaking the language as well as understanding native speakers in real-time (i.e. without asking them to slow down or to repeat/write down a sentence again and again and again).
So, there were two things that helped me A LOT (really, there was a huuuuuuge jump after each of them):
1)Watching a full-length movie in English with English subtitles only(!). Pausing it after every single sentence, googling, translating and writing down all the words and idioms I didn't know. It took me roughly 8 hours straight, but it was totally worth it. You should have a written text of what you're listening to in order to train your hearing. There are to resources that will get you covered with that: a) Sverigesradio.se. It's a news site that's providing scripts for all the available audios. b) Youtube.com/user/SwedishPod101. This YouTube channel is mainly targeted at the begginers, but still have a look.
2)Getting English-speaking friends (preferably native ones). The awesomest yet free site,that's providing you with such an opportunity, I found is the Interpals.net. The best feature, so to say, is that it basically is an electronic snail mail. You write a huge message to your friend, he/she replies back with an even bigger one and that's when you can spend as many time inspecting it, picking up new words. expressions, idioms, just the way natives say this or that, as you want. And you spend just the same amount of time composing your response, which is quite difficult at the beginning. Trust me, once you look back even after a month of chatting to natives, you'll just laugh at the messages you wrote at that time. The next step when you get used to chatting and it won't be a painful thing to do anymore, obviously, is the real-time verbal communication. It is crucial and you'll just have to go through that. That's where the Interpals will come in handy once again. By that time you'll have at least 2 or 3 friends, who will be glad to talk to you via Skype. You should be looking for native Swedish speakers who are learning English (you can specify that in the search options).
After that I switched to consuming all of my content in English, which was hard at the beginning, but had significantly widened my vocabulary and helped to train my ears.
Whooh, that's the one long message. Anyways, I hope that will help you. Keep up the good work!
Thank you so much for this!!! I'm so excited to try out all these techniques - I really expected to just keep using Duolingo and translating free train magazines that I took from SJ to learn Swedish, lol.
You are very welcome! Yeah, life is tough and you have to work pretty hard for everything that really matters. =)
How much do you understand when you listen on Duolingo?? There's no "right" way to do it but ideally you should not be looking at the words before you listen to the Swedish spoken, so you can improve your comprehension.
ps I think using some other sites for listening practice would also be good, such as 8sidor, sveriges radio på lätt svenska, etc
Just as a matter of warning - my Swedish teacher told me last week that 8sidor is really bad at pronunciation
It is, because it's a computer, hah! Just like Duo's TTS, but not as good.
It's just hard to find a site with consistent listening resources for those who are above Duo but below the ability to understand native materials like those on SVT. It's pretty much Klartext (which I forgot to mention) or Sveriges radio på lätt svenska.
When you learn a language its usually hard to hear what people say. Natives speaks fast and blurry in all languages and it takes time to understand where one word ends and a new starts. In the beginning everything is just a continuos stream of syllables even when they use words you know.
Watching subtitled TV helps me. Aslo reading books at the same time as you listen to them. Also ask your boyfriend to help you. Pick som sentences where you know all the words and let him say them normally (not clearly och slow) a few times. It will help you to recognise them.
If you can read text and practice a lot you will learn to understand spoken Swedish as well. Your boyfriend first and then others. If you are a very social person the process will be faster and if you are shy it will be slower I think.
Swedish spoken at a natural pace is still soooooo hard for me to completely understand (like, I'll understand the gist of it but 45% of the sentence just flies past me).
Might just be a vocab problem though. After all, you can't understand words that you've straight up never heard before. :)
Did you ever try to speak with others? What I found neat was that although I couldn't understand strangers talking to one another, I could effectively communicate with others in Swedish using my Swedish completed tree vocab, and I could understand people once they got a better idea of my own level.
No, I was too embarrassed, and though I know that's a really horrible thing and I need to get over it or else I won't get much further with my Swedish, I certainly need more immersion learning before I can try speaking.
Hey, I know those demotivating feels when you hear Nils Johansson literally vomiting words at Sven Forsberg and it just sounds like two turkeys quarrelling but still nice at the same time. I find swedes talk like its a full-on rush to get the words out as fast as you can.
This radio program should help you transition, it's designed for newbie speakers so they speak in a slow manner and use easy words. It may seem a little tough at first, but after a few weeks of listening youll amaze yourself with what you understand.They have a new program everyday to listen and read along to.
And for the love of god tell that Swedish boyfriend to spend the first five minutes of a phone call talking easy Swedish to you!
I loooooove Radio Sweden på lätt svenska lol. Although it's funny to be listening to someone tell me what the weather's gonna be like in Göta/Sthlm when I'm at work or in my kitchen cooking in California.
Where did you visit? Some dialects can of course be harder than some.
If you're not already, listen to it alot even if you may not understand that much in the beginning. That will help greatly. Listen to radio, music or maybe befriend a Swede over internet that you can talk to over a voice program.
My boyfriend is Swedish and he helps me a little. I do listen to some Swedish music, but mostly screamo so that doesn't help me much, but I watch a lot of Swedish movies which does. I visited Stockholm, Karlstad, and Gothenburg.
I am super late to your thread but seeing your comment I wanted to ask--what Swedish screamo you are listening to? Also you might like Solen. They are good sad rock band who aren't screamo but often sing clearly which is helpful to practise with.
i don't think anybody could understand a language as spoken by natives after just duolingo. i've studied a language all through school for 14 years and i still can barely understand it when spoken. listening to slow-speaking teachers will not help your listening skills much, and with duolingo you don't even get that much. you need to put in hundreds of hours of listening to native speakers at regular pace before you'll make real progress.
It depends on where you were in Sweden. You are taught standard Swedish on Duolingo. That is mainly based on dialects around Stockholm, Uppsala etc. The further away from that area, the harder will it get to understand it.
I was mostly in Stockholm, Karlstad, and Gothenburg. I don't know much about the dialects in those areas.
The dialect in Karlstad can differs a lot from Gothenburg and especially Stockholm. Same county as Karlstad is in, there are dialects that sounds like a mix between Swedish and Norwegian. The dialect differs a lot from Stockholm, but not as much. They really like their local slang, which even me as a Swede can have problems to understand.