Learning Swedish can be fun
Learning Swedish should be easy and fun. Therefore, Swedish4Real was created by Swedish writer Jacob Sundberg, who has an interest in foreign languages (particularly, for some strange reason, Russian).
Throughout his language learning (mis)adventures, he noticed it was difficult to navigate the landscape of language learning material out there. What he was after, really, was material (audio and text) that would give him exposure to the language in question – preferably spoken slowly and adapted to non-native speakers.
While theoretical knowledge about a language can be helpful (we’ve nothing against grammar books), Jacob realised that language learning is more like a skill than it is a form of knowledge. It takes a lot of practice to be able to speak a language, and before you’re anywhere near fluency, it’s difficult to find a native speaker with the patience to endure all those hours of conversations with you it would require for you to get there.
There’s a sort of Catch-22 thing about language learning – you can’t really socialize with natives until you speak the language, and you can’t learn the language without socializing with natives. It’s not entirely true, but almost.
What Jacob was after was practice that would transform his theoretical knowledge into practice, to move all those words and sentences he struggled to express into the unconscious, so that speaking became natural and intuitive.
There are a number of good courses out there that do this quite well, such as Unlimited Spanish (for, well obviously, Spanish).
And so Swedish4Real was conceived of in order to alleviate the frustration experienced by all those people intent on learning Swedish but have found it hard to get to a decent conversational level. And also, to give a boost of confidence for those same people. Language learning has a lot to do with confidence. If you’re focusing on your mistakes, focusing on trying to speak perfectly, to use grammar correctly, it will probably stifle your development, and you’ll soon give up. But language is not about exhibiting your eloquence – it’s about, well, communication. If you can make yourself understood and also understand what the other person is saying, then that’s great.
If you can come across content in the language you want to learn that is enjoyable, meaningful, entertaining – or all those things at once, you stand a better chance actually learning. This is what we’re trying to achieve with Swedish4Real. Learning Swedish should be fun.
The level of the content should be comprehensible, yet challenging. When you understand a hundred percent of the content, you are not learning – and what’s potentially worse, you get bored. When you understand too little, not grasping even the theme of the content, it overwhelms you. In order to learn (and to stay motivated) it is important that you understand the context of the words, but equally important that you find it challenging. This is how you stay motivated. In Swedish4Real, we gradually make it more complex, so that you’ll continually be challenged yet not overwhelmed.
Fear is the enemy of language learning. What’s holding many language learners back is the fear of making mistakes, making them overly conscious about their speech. We might fear that we bore our conversation partner with our slowness (we probably do), or embarrass ourselves by making mistakes (we probably do as well). The idea of Swedish4Real is for you to feel free to make as many mistakes as you like. And, of course, to learn from them.
Also, context is key. There are many courses that will provide you with “the 1000 most common sentences” or “the first 2000 words” in this or that language. Yes, it may be useful to know how to say “Can you pass me the salt, please”, but if you want to give your brain a chance to remember it – and more importantly, to help you construct your own sentences – it needs to be situated within a meaningful context.
We tend not to remember information that is not useful. That is why all the content in this course is story-based, following a progression of complexity. It consists of 20 units, which you can use roughly as weekly progressions if you start from zero. Make your own plan and stick to it – and make sure you listen daily (half an hour is ok – an hour is even better).
Right. And so, that’s the idea of Swedish4Real. You can try out the first chapter for free to see if it’s up your ally.
Check out Swedish4Real and Learn Swedish