I am Duolingo Swedish contributor Zmrzlina, ask me anything!
Like the title says, this is a post for asking me anything you might wonder, be it about me, the team or the course. Keep it civil and friendly. Fire away!
This is an important questions that gets asked a lot. There are plans, yes, but sadly they're just theoretical. We have a lack of time, energy and contributors for the forseeable future.
Thanks for your reply. I'd love to contribute, but I'm not a native in either of the languages (plus I've got a ton of work as it is).
It's such a pretty word! :D
I encountered it many years ago as an example of vocalic consonants and just fell in love with the word. I don't speak Czech or Slovak though.
After learning and falling a little bit in love with Swedish, which of the other Nordic languages would be best/easiest to learn next?
And a big thanks to you and the Swedish team for such a well-designed course and for all the help/explanations you provide in the comment sections of various exercises.
Tack så mycket! All the appreciation from the community is a reward unto itself as far as I'm concerned. :)
I think Norwegian would probably be easiest. It's relatively close to Swedish and Danish, and Norwegian spelling is a bit more logical. It's also a great gateway language for someone who wants to go on to Danish and/or Swedish.
What does the Swedish team's group chat log tend to look like, if there has ever been such a thing? xD
Also, what reading resources (or types of reading recourses) would you recommend for learners who just started getting acquainted with written Swedish?
We don't talk that much, especially not in the chat in the Duolingo incubator where courses are built. We do, however, have a facebook group where we talk occasionally. Mostly, we vent questions about translations where there has to be a decision on where to draw the line in the more nuanced areas of translation. There is only one other contributor in the team that I've met IRL, and we only met at a contributor meetup 2015 in Berlin and 2017 in Amsterdam... :p
I'm afraid I don't know much about the specifics of reading material, but I really recommend taking the time to read a little Swedish every day to learn the language, and to always look up the words you encounter that you don't know. Books are great, but news online are also a great resource.
What's your favourite book (in Swedish and otherwise)? I'm always looking for new books to read
Good question. I don't read very much at all, especially not fiction literature. I do enjoy occasional nonfiction though, and I read a lot of stuff on the web.
But when it comes to fiction, I really liked the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I read it the first time in my teens and I've reread it several times. In English, I'm quite fond of Neal Stephensons novel Snow Crash.
Are you saying the Hitchhiker's Guide is fiction? I always took it for fact^^
I guess I'll put Snow Crash on my to read list. Thanks for the recommendation.
What would you say is the most difficult part of English for Swedish people to learn, in terms of grammer or certain kinds of words? Also, is there much variation in accents across Sweden? I am familiar with a more Stockholmy type of accent and a little bit of Norbotten, as I have immigrated to Norbotten from Britain fairly recently (the whistling thing is most amusing). There is rather a lot of variation in accents in England, to the point where I very often dont understand someone from my own country!
That's an interesting question. I don't know, to be honest, but the question brings to mind one thing my uncle told med when he learned English as a kid. To him as a kid, it was really hard to get a grip on the use of "the" to form definites. The Nordic thing of marking definiteness with a suffix was just too stuck as the normal thing to do.
But that anecdote aside, I think English is likely one of the very easiest languages to learn for a Swede. It's Germanic, so the structure is similar, but English has done away with grammatical gender. That makes things a lot easier.
Perhaps the most difficult part is the finer nuances of English? Us Swedes like to humblebrag about our English skills, but we're often not as good as we think we are.
I have only just started Swedish (level 13 or 14 on the tree) but my knowledge of German is helping more than I had expected, particularly with reading new vocab and verb word order. One or two false friends though. When I see en as the definite article at the end of a noun I want it to be a plural. I like the fact that Swedish doesn't have lots of parts of the verb for I, you etc.
That is a know difficulty for people who come from German or Dutch. If it's any consolation, it goes both ways. As a Swede, it feels weird that "Studenten" is just the plural and not the definite.
It certainly makes sense that the nuances of English are confusing. As a follow up question then, are there certain sounds in English that are hard for Swedish people to pronounce? I ask this because I am currently on the Adjectives 1 part of the Swedish tree and find that when I try and practice saying these new words to my Swedish boyfriend, my mouth simply doesn't know what on Earth to do! The 'sj's and 'sk's and such like are strange to me.
Yes and no. English phonology is relatively easy for a Swedish speaker, but there are some small hurdles. Firstly, Swedish doesn't have the TH-sound [ θ ] and [ ð ] respectively). Those are quite easy to learn though, but we might find it a bit counterintuitive to use them.
Secondly, a characteristic of English with a Swedish accent is to struggle to get alveolar affricates right since Swedish doesn't have them. Those are [ t͡ʃ ] and [ d͡ʒ ], as in chop and gym, often replaced in a Swedish accent them with [ ʃ ] and [ j ] instead. So you might hear Swedish parents telling their "shild" to put on a "yacket" before venturing outside in the winter.
I have definitely heard those. Also that there is a sale on and thus the clothes are 'sheep'.
Did they give you feedback on your application and why they chose you in particular? How does that part work :).
A few years ago I saw that there was a Swedish course being built. When it launched, I started spending a lot of time hanging in the forums and sentence discussions, answering questions. My effort was seen and appreciated by the people who built the course, and they asked me if I wanted to become a part of the proper team. I gladly accepted, and I have never had reason to regret it!
But normally, contributor applications go through an application form (don't remember where the link is at the moment). We haven't taken in any new contributors for a while though. Our most recent additions were 2-3 people who speak Swedish but whose native language is English. While us Swedish contributors speak English fluently, we lacked the perspectives of native speakers to give input on certain questions.
Ok, this might be an odd question but is it possible to be a moderator in the Swedish forums even if you're not fluent in Swedish? :)
I think moderating requires a fluent understanding of both English and Swedish.
I also thought that. For example, someone who doesn't know Russian very well probably wouldn't be the best person to moderate the Russian forums. :)
I don't exactly have a question, but I would just like to congratulate you and the Swedish team! I can't wait to start the Swedish tree. :)
Why thank you! The appreciation we get from our community of learners is such a wonderful reward for the all the volunteer work we do. I hope you'll like the Swedish language!
I have completed the Swedish course and am continuously doing revision exercises, sometimes against the clock! Before I got to the end I reached 58% fluency but dropped back when I failed to do the extra exercises given, but since then I am unable to improve my score. Do I assume that this is now set in concrete and I must get over it, or can I somehow improve it? Q2 - are you still adding new revision words/phrases to spice up the experience for us finishers?
I'm afraid I don't know enough to provide a good answer to your first questions. Us contributors have naught to do with the fluency meter. In fact, many of us don't like it at all, partly because it's a very clumsy way to measure language proficience and partly because it doesn't really measure skill but rather time spent exercising. You could take the easiest lessons over and over again and still improve. Instead, keeping track on your own of you ability to read texts and/or watch video media or stuff like that is recommended as far as I'm concerned. (Or taking actual tests, but I don't know anything about how that works.)
As for the second question, the answer is no, not really. We add missing translations whenever we see the need.
Hej! I have been learning Swedish very slowly for a while now, but have been having some difficulty with it. However, I recently tried Norwegian and am finding it much easier. I would rather know Swedish because of the culture, but since Norwegian seems so much easier, which do you think I should go with? Is there a big difference in how easy each language is to learn or does it not really matter? Tack så mycket!
I think you should go with the one that adds the most value to your life. It's a bit hard to give general advice for me, but Norwegian might be a little easier if that's what you want. It's also a great gateway language to the other north Germanic ones.
Ok. I think I will stick with Norwegian for now and see how that goes. Tack!
Hej. Congratulations and thank you for the Swedish course. I have found it incredibly difficult to find somewhere to learn Swedish for free and I am so glad I could find somewhere as good as this! Well done!! I wanted to ask if rolling your "r"s was necessary and if you could be understood without rolling them. Also not all the words have rolled "r"s, why is that?
Tack så mycket! :)