Some thoughts on the Swedish tree
After having rushed through the tree last night, I thought I would share some random thoughts of mine on the course here on the Swedish discussion board. Keep in mind that I am a native speaker, and that I tested out from most of the tree (54 skills), so what I write here might not apply to first-time learners of "the language of the honour and the heroes", as they (jokingly) used to call it at my school.
First of all, just the fact that I was able to test out of so many skills shows that the course has very few missing translations or actual mistakes. In other courses (even ones graduated from beta) the English is sometimes awkward and there are obvious translations missing, which then may or may not turn up months after they have been reported.
Here, some English sentences were not as elegant as one would translate them in a real text, but always correct and useful for the learner trying to piece together the Swedish sentence. Swedish does of course have the benefit of not being that different from English, but finding this balance of natural sounding but still relatively easily translatable sentences is certainly not easy, and here it has worked out very well. After all, the point of the course is not to display a bunch of perfect translations of very natural sounding English into very natural sounding Swedish, but to teach people the basics and a bit more of Swedish.
(I actually had a feeling that the last skills were pretty complex already, so I'm wondering if this course brings you a bit further in terms of actually knowing the language than some of the others... I guess the proof will be in the cinnamon bun when real learners get to the end of the tree and see how much they can do with what they have learned.)
Although I am fairly familiar with standard Swedish, I speak a completely different dialect (Fenno-Swedish), so I had been expecting more "missing translations" (from my point of view -- they might of course also be considered "strange regionalisms"...). But I think I only reported a couple of dozen (it's hard to keep count while you're at it, though), and 30+ of them have already been accepted -- the caffeine intake of this team must be absurd...
Edit: I forgot to mention that I have had the auto-voice turned off since a long time, so I can't comment at all on the voice of this course.
The course seems a bit more oriented towards practical usage of the language than the French, English, Dutch, and Spanish courses I have tried on here: there were quite some realistic sentences, asking for the way to touristic places, etc. I generally like the absurdities Duolingo presents us with, but I guess a bit of helpful and useful information can't be a bad thing, and Swedes are pretty helpful people. And there were some quirky ones, too:
"The course is perceived as very rewarding by most students."
closely followed by
"Fifty percent of the students will fail."
closely followed by
"Do not be afraid to take risks."...
Other favorites of mine include
"Everybody has to pay tax." (Very Nordic!) "She speaks nine languages." (Wishful thinking from my part...) "Some Finnish trolls sing in Swedish." (A cultural reference.)
There were many other funny ones, which I didn't think of writing down as I went along, but I'll leave those up to the learners to discover! Lycka till och ha det roligt! Tack Team Swedish för en fin kurs!
Finlandssvenska = Rikssvenska except for some words called finlandismer which they do not understand in Sweden, either because they are old Swedish or because borrowed from Finnish.
In both countries we have
en mus, flera möss = a mouse, many mice
en älg, två älgar = a moose, two moose
mos = 1 pulp 2 mash
mousse (from Fr) = foam
Maybe, as long as I can still keep my French owl! :-D
I think the Incubator system is generating some very healthy (at least in terms of the resulting courses -- the contributors sometimes seem a bit exhausted) competition between the teams: The Dutch course was great, I gather the Irish and Danish ones are great too, and this one's even better than the Dutch one in my opinion. Each team wants to surpass the other ones in fabulousness... Duolingo's future is looking pretty rosy from this angle!
I'm not quite done yet, but I have to agree that they have been absolutely amazing when it comes to accepting translations. And I kind of feel like I'm back at school, and learning how to actually spell some words that I had kind of just assumed were spelled a certain way and uh, apparently they weren't? Well, I probably actually did know most of my spelling errors, but it becomes easy to write.. talspråkligt? And one forgets that there's some extra consonants around.
After reaching the owl, I decided to start from scratch. Now I have completed the first section (nine skills) without skipping a single lesson. And the few times I Iost a heart it was by own mistakes, so the course seems really stable. I also like the way new things are added and the way you practise them.
I appreciate the references to Swedish songs and movies, and so far I have found
Jag har en plan! (Jönssonligan)
Mina gyllene skor (Herreys)
Guldet blev till sand (Peter Jöback in Kristina från Duvemåla)
I will look out for more!
Thank you very much Annika! It's great to have Swedish speakers go through the course and help us! So thank you for making our job much easier :) I believe that what you write actually reflects a lot of discussions that we've had internally. Our main objective is to teach correct Swedish and that does at times force us to write quite awkward English sentences.
Thanks for posting this Annika! I don't know anything about Swedish but I have noticed that this tree so far is really really good. I had four years of French before finding French on Duolingo and it took me forever to get through because the English translations were so weird. I'm really really enjoying Swedish so far :) The Swedish team definitely put a lot of work into it!
The voice has been disabled for this word, but that only means that you won't receive any hearing exercises involving this word. Unfortunately, we cannot disable the TTS completely for mispronounced words. You will encounter several mispronounced words throughout the course and that is our biggest problem at the moment. We have a list of about 100 words that the TTS can't pronounce.
I LOVE this so far, I should be sleeping but it is so addictive!! The best course I have tried on here so far in all areas! I'm halfway through level 7 and while I admit so far I have mainly been using this to consolidate and put into practice what I've already been learning it is so SO helpful (and hilarious:"varför äter din moster sköldpaddor?" till exemple)! Once I've had a sleep I will get back on it, and into unknown territory ha! tack såååååå mycket guys!
Any comments on the audio, some have indicated that it could be better.
It's interesting that you should say it's more complete I'm finding it easier than the French tree, but after learning French and playing with Spanish and German I'm finding so many relationships. Of course the lack of crazy conjugations probably helps.
I'm seeing that as well. While the grammar appears easier I'm positive all the "funny" characters will take me a lot more time to assimilate and even more to regurgitate in the spoken form. :-) Still getting used to the keyboard shortcuts to produce them, it's a shame that every platform seems to have a different way to produce non ascii characters.
From what I remember, the most difficult part of Swedish grammar was the use of prepositions, when one uses på or till or åt and how they change the meaning (and already early on one sees the discussion about verb tycka om / tycka att...) But, well, that same thing is a problem also in English :)
I saw it written somewhere that de is always pronounced dom, but I wouldn't be that strict in this. In slightly more formal speech, like talking to a business contact, I would probably say it de rather than dom, and it wouldn't actually feel out of place for me even in a casual conversation.
It is of course a matter of personal preference to most Swedish speakers, but as a foreigner trying to speak Swedish, it would sound bad to use the "de" pronunciation. It seems as if you've learnt it from a book, but you can never go wrong with the "dom" pronunciation. That is why we recommend to use it at all times.