Swedish Made Easy: Even Dummies Can Learn Swedish
Learning Swedish is not as much of a time commitment (and not as hard) as you might think. With Babbel, learning Swedish online is easy, intuitive and under your control: learn at your own pace, choose the lessons you want, and review and practice vocabulary on the go. Swedish closely related to English with half of their vocabularies in common. Although mastering the very different accent and pronunciation can be difficult at first, Babbel’s online courses and mobile app include speech recognition so you can quickly become comfortable with speaking. Read the how-to tips below and then test your skills with a free Swedish lesson.
The Viking Invasion
English is technically a West Germanic language so, even though it borrows more than half of its vocabulary from French and Latin, the core of English is firmly Germanic. About 1500 years ago, the Angles and the Saxons came to England from what is now Germany and the Netherlands. A couple hundred years after that, the Vikings swooped down from Scandinavia and left their mark, both in terms of settlements and the influence of North Germanic words and grammar. The evidence remains in modern English, which is closer to modern Swedish than it is to Old English.
Basic Swedish phrases
- Ja / Nej – Yes / No
- Hej / Hej då – Hi / Bye
- Snälla – Please
- Tack (så mycket) – Thank you (very much)
- Mitt namn är… – My name is…
- Jag kommer från… – I’m from…
- Ursäkta – Excuse me
- Jag har en fråga – I have a question.
Hjälp mig! (help me!)
Being able to ask a few questions is a good way to start speaking a language. Not only can you start communicating right away, but the answers to your questions will provide you with new vocabulary.
- Var är tågstationen? – Where is the train station?
- Varifrån kommer du? – Where are you from?
- När kommer du? – When are you coming?
- Vad är klockan? – What time is it?
- Hur är det? – How are you?
- Vad hände? – What happened?
- Varför? – Why?
- Vem är det? – Who is that?
Unlike English, which has no gendered nouns (the is the only definite article), every noun in Swedish is either common (en) or neuter (ett). In Swedish the definite article is added to the end of a noun, while it comes before the noun when it is indefinite: compare ett bord (a table) with bordet (the table). The endings of adjectives must agree with the article, but thankfully most Swedish nouns are the common gender.
Verbs in Swedish are not conjugated, which means the verb doesn’t have a different ending depending on whether you, I, we, she, or they are doing the verb. To get you started, here are a few useful verbs:
- Jag behöver… – I need…
- Jag vill ha… – I want…
- Jag har… – I have…
- Jag är… – I am…
How To Practice Your Swedish
Try your first Swedish lesson with Babbel for free. One of the advantages of the Babbel system is that you are immersed in Swedish from the beginning. The process is easy and intuitive (with lots of helpful hints when you need them), and you can learn at your own pace and set your own lesson plans. Babbel’s Swedish course is affordable, accessible online and via mobile devices, and proven to strengthen your reading, listening, speaking and comprehension skills. You can master Swedish by yourself, or use Babbel’s community features to connect with other learners, find tandem partners and share expertise. Use the tips above and see which level you can achieve.