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Going for the Scandinavian trifecta?

I'm wondering if anyone has tried learning Swedish at the same time as any of the other Scandinavian languages on Duolingo. If so, did you find it confusing? Was there one that you found easier than the others?

I'm always interested in adding new languages, but from what I understand, these are even more similar than the Romance languages, so I'm worried I'll just get everything messed up.

Any thoughts on the topic are more than welcome.

October 26, 2016



I'm doing it. I recommend using different sources like youtube and forvo to hear the differences in accents. Your brain will separate them if you are listening closely.

I find Swedish the easiest for everything except speaking. Then I tend to find Danish a bit easier. I was slightly more motivated to learn Swedish though.

I also recommend trying the official memrise courses in these languages. Memrise uses real voices and will soon be adding videos to the Scandinavian courses.


haha the Memrise voice that says \ʒosa for rosa, and \ɔ for att... since a girl from Stockholm told me it was a weird accent I feel like I'm learning two different languages already haha


I briefly checked the Memrise course and the voice sounds great to me, she has a Stockholm regional pronunciation which is probably the best choice. It's very realistic to say [ɔ] for att, that's how we usually say it unless we're reading aloud, but I couldn't find where she says 'rosa' so I don't know about that specific word.


Yeah, I guess the [ɔ] thing isn't a bad thing, and it's way easier to say haha

Colors are in "Swedish 2", level 9. I uploaded it ( http://vocaroo.com/i/s0AGKV4isY7x ), it's always good to hear what people think of it.

That's also very likely that I repeated it so badly, that would explain why she thought it was weird.


Her /r/ sound is a bit fricative. The /r/ sound has many different realizations in Swedish, hers isn't uncommon but it isn't the most standard one. Both speakers who say rosa here http://sv.forvo.com/word/rosa/#sv (stefanlindmark and August) have a more neutral /r/ sound. (The reason the vowel sounds different in one of them is that there are two words rosa, one meaning 'pink' and the other is a verb meaning something 'praise' – the name Rosa is also normally pronounced that way). I'd recommend trying to sound like the guys on Forvo in this case.


Tack för förklaringen !


How stefanlindmark pronounced it as it means "praise" while August pronounced it as it means "pink".


Thanks a lot, @Arnauti


I've been told the dialect from the Stockholm area is easier. Though the person who told me that left there a long time ago so I would be interested in what native speakers thought.


Well in scandinavia there's a kind of dialectal continuum so southern swedish sounds like a mix of Danish and center Swedish, and as Danish pronunciation is hard to understand it's easier to understand center swedish I guess. I also have a finnsvensk friend, and she told me that was probably easier to learn swedish from finland because it's more regular but anyway that's hard to find objective opinions about languages as human kind is known to be ethnocentric and I do the same when someone asks me about French haha


The Finland Swedish pronunciation lacks some of the features that can be difficult to learners, so that's probably true. In general, the Swedish used in Finland tends to be a little more conservative so it's closer to older texts, which may be a good thing if you're interested in reading older literature. There are a few differences in vocabulary that may cause trouble but not many.


How does Finland Swedish sound to someone from Sweden?


It depends on what you mean with Stockholm area. I have heard that the Uppsala dialect is very close to standard Swedish. Also, the small town of Flen speaks very close to standard Swedish. I'm from the neigboring town of Flen, and we are not speaking standard Swedish. It's close but not as close as Flen and Uppsala. Finland Swedish is more archaic but very formal.


I have to say that Swedish pronunciation is intimidating to me. Strangely, I find the same is true of Dutch, which is another language that's easier for an anglophone to pick up in terms of vocabulary and grammar.


The Dutch voice on duo was hard for me to understand. That's another voice that I prefer Memrise for.


I don't recommend doing the trifecta as the languages are so close as to cause a great many problems.


I don't recommend trying all three at once. I had been studying Danish for about a year when I decided to travel to Scandinavia last summer. I started an intensive study of Swedish and Norwegian for several months before departure, but it all turned into a big mash of Scandinavian in my brain!! I was able to read things just fine in Sweden and Norway, but I didn't really try to speak it.

I've dropped Norwegian (for now - sorry Norway - you are a very beautiful country), and I'm continuing Swedish. I feel like I can keep Swedish and Danish distinct in my brain because they are somewhat different. Norwegian Bokmal and Danish are so similar in their written forms that I just couldn't keep things separate.

Hope that helps. Good luck! Scandinavia is a beautiful place to travel, and I hope to return next summer.


Picking Danish and Swedish as the most different of the three is a very interesting idea


I'm sort of doing it although I'm putting the most effort into Swedish at the moment. I find Swedish the easiest for me.


The languages are very similar, I know danish, swedish and norwegian people who can understand each other while speaking in their own language (though i guess the danish pronunciation is the most difficult to understand from a swedish point of view ?)

If you want to learn the three languages at the same time just be veeery careful because some words are the same but the pronunciation is different. (I'm learning swedish at the university and one of the other student learning norwegian at the same time is sometimes mixing the two languages in her exams).

But it's not impossible I think, just be very careful ! Sorry for my (probably) poor english, I hope you understood my point xD


Your English is just fine. Thanks for the advice!


As an Englishman now bilingual in Swedish I'd say: do what the Scandinavians do. Learn one of them and learn the handful of basic words that are different in the others. With Swedish and about 30 common Norwegian words that are different I can understand standard Norwegian (bokmål) with no problems, and speaking Swedish in Norway seems to work fairly well too in my experience.

I can also read Danish with no problems, though understanding spoken Danish is harder. Just practice listening to the sounds though I reckon, if I needed it I reckon I could get there.

But holding 3 very similar languages separate in my head? No chance.


I think is better first to get an intermediate level in a foreign language and then begin to learn another language, meanwhile you still are improving your first foreign language. At least in my experience is not a good idea both from zero. Don't bite off more than you can chew.

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