Mixing up Swedish and Norwegian

Hej! I am studying both Swedish and Norwegian. I thought this would this would simplify or even speed up learning them, because they are so similar. I have found, however, that I frequently confuse them … because they are so similar!

(I posted somthing similar on the Norwegian board; I thought I would post here too, so I could get responses from Swedish learners as well.)

The Scandivanian languages are mutually intelligible, but of course the Norwegians and the Swedes keep them apart, I'm sure!

Does anyone have an tips/idea/thoughts on how to keep me from ending up with my own hybrid language :-D


P.S. Too bad we cannot do Swedish from Norwegian or vice versa at Duolingo! It might be easier to detangle them, then! ;-) Ideally, this is what I would like to see!

May 5, 2017


It is a big problem when learning two similar languages at the same time. I had this problem when learning Spanish and Italian. My solution was to stop learning one of them until I was profficient in the other language.

May 5, 2017

Learning how to differentiate Norwegian and Swedish spelling would surely help. For example, Norwegian uses e in many cases where Swedish uses a, an example would be the infinite verb endings: norwegian = snakke, Swedish = snacka. Norwegians use a double k, Swedes use the ck combination. Norwegian written language is often closer to the spoken language than Swedish, like here: Norwegian konsentrasjon vs Swedish koncentration. (sj is the Norwegian way of writing sh). It seems Norwegian spelling is more regular and logical (I think).

Another thing I can think of is that diphthongs/ triphthongs are more common in Norwegian than Swedish. Compare Norwegian øya to Swedish ö (means island).

May 5, 2017

Ah these are excellent points.

May 7, 2017

> Does anyone have an tips/idea/thoughts on how to keep me from ending up with my own hybrid language :-D

Yes. Do them sequentially--one at a time, as psionpete suggests.

May 5, 2017

Mixing similar information (e.g. words) in natural languages is quite normal and probably difficult to avoid. The Swedes might say you speak with a Norwegian accent. And the Norwegians might say you speak with a Swedish accent.

May 6, 2017

Well, so long as they don't say "with an American accent", I will be doing well! :-D

May 7, 2017

Actually it is very hard to loose that native origin accent in any case, e.g. after listening to many Americans or British speaking a foreign language.

But that goes for most people. E.g. one can usually quickly recognize the country where some foreign speaker originally came from.

Examples, if the French (English), the Germans (English), the Swedes (English), the Norwegians (English), the Danes (English), the North Americans (French), the British (French), the Spanish (English), the Italians (English), the Russians (English), ... are speaking a foreign language it should quickly be recognized.

I can usually guess immediately where they come from.

May 7, 2017

Why not aim at learning Norwegian first, and then add Swedish on top? Then you might speak Swedish with a slight Norwegian accent but that's less of a problem.

May 28, 2017

If I was you I'd probably focus on one langauge for about 3 month and then after some intensive work, you may start with some Norwegian.

Just for the sake of learning easy, cool languages I will also start Dutch later this year (as a German with a high command of English ... easy peasy and as of late some Swedish it's gonna be even easy peasier =) ) The reason why I haven't done it already is because of the strong similarities in quite a few words between Swedish and Dutch.

If you REALLY, REALLY want to do both ... you may wanna try a ratio of 80/20. One langauge clearly needs to be a side project though.

That's just me though =) Eventually you decide.

July 27, 2017
Learn Swedish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.