How to speak Swedish
So you’re interested in learning how to speak Swedish? Well, you won’t be the only one! There are more than 10 million native speakers, mostly in Sweden (makes sense), but also in Finland, Canada and the United Kingdom. And if you learn Swedish, you’ll find it fairly straightforward to get by in Norwegian and - with a little effort - in Danish too! These three Nordic languages are quite similar, but with a few important differences. There are also several regional dialects spoken mostly in rural parts of Sweden which vary a bit from standard Swedish, but hey, variety is the spice of life!
Most words in Swedish have a Germanic origin, but you’ll find quite a few loanwords from Greek, Latin, English, Romani, German and French. You can generally recognise words coming from French or German from their accent and syllable stress. In Swedish it’s common to combine words into compound words, resulting in quite a smörgåsbord of possibilities! (For example, smörgås means “sandwich” and bord means “table”, so smörgåsbord literally means a table full of sandwiches.) You can also use different endings to turn nouns into verbs and vice versa. And in general, the grammar is quite similar to English or German, with a few idiosyncrasies.
How to learn Swedish?
There are several ways you can learn how to speak Swedish. Online lessons, traditional language school classes, learning on your own with apps, books and audio, language tandems, exchange programmes or a visit to Sweden are all good ways to pick up the language. But to find what’s right for you, it’s important to consider how much you’ll learn with a specific method and how much it costs.
Classroom courses can be really effective, but you have to travel somewhere - maybe every day - which can be a hassle. They can often be quite expensive too. Online lessons and apps can be free, and you can learn in comfort from home (or from anywhere, really!) and go at your own pace. With the right tools and a little focus, you can make a lot of progress in as little as a week!
How to speak Swedish?
If you already have some knowledge of Swedish, you can put it to practice and learn new vocabulary by listening to podcasts or audiobooks, watching Swedish series or films and reading articles or books in Swedish. Tip: start with something you already know - then you won’t get too frustrated when you come across a word you haven’t learnt as you’ll already have an idea what it could mean.
It’s not just about ABBA; Sweden is also famous for producing tons of music popular all over the world. Although it’s often in English, you can definitely find some Swedish-language music to sing along to, whatever your taste!
As much as you can, get out there and speak Swedish with Swedish people. Whether that means getting on a plane to Sweden, inviting over a Swedish friend for dinner or going to meetups, that’s where you’ll really put your skills to the test and learn those useful expressions you probably won’t learn in a classroom.
Oh, and the next time you’re in IKEA (probably buying more things than you originally planned), look at the names they give their furniture. They’re usually genuine Swedish words or places, and there’s a system for how things are named. Can you figure it out?
How to speak Swedish with Babbel
When you learn Swedish with Babbel, you’ll learn practical, real-life conversation. Stuff you can use when and as you need it. No more fumbling around trying to look up a phrase for you. From ordering lunch to buying tickets, we quickly get you talking with confidence.
There’s no chance you might be bored because you choose the topics that you’re interested in. Whether it’s winter celebrations or holiday vocab for your trip to Sweden, you can focus on what you find interesting and useful. And all course content is crafted and tailored for English speakers by our in-house team of expert linguists. They know their stuff to help you learn yours!
Because Babbel lessons are only 15 minutes long on average, you don’t have to shake up your calendar to learn how to speak Swedish. In fact, that’s short enough so it becomes part of your routine. 15 minutes is perfect for most commutes or lunch breaks. Even one lesson a day makes a difference!
Give Babbel a go and start your Swedish language journey today. Your first lesson is free!