Hej, alihoppa! Jag heter Mark och jag är VD för Radio Lingua. Och jag lär mig svenska!

I’m the Managing Director of Radio Lingua and you’ll probably know me better as the presenter of our Coffee Break languages series. I’ve set myself a challenge for 2015: I’m going to be learning Swedish and I’m planning to keep a blog of my efforts here on the Radio Lingua site to share my experiences.

When it comes to language learning I’ve been lucky enough to have lots of language-learning opportunities. I speak French, Spanish and Italian and a couple of years ago my role as the learner on Coffee Break German allowed me to improve my German. I also speak some Portuguese, Catalan and a little Norwegian.

So, why Swedish? Well, I’ve always been fascinated by Scandinavia and Sweden in particular. Perhaps it was because I was brought up on Abba, but there has always been something about Swedish culture which has interested me. I love listening to all kinds of Swedish music, and I enjoy reading Mankell, Läckberg and Jungstedt – in English for the time being! I’ve travelled to Sweden a few times, mostly to Stockholm, but I’d love to discover more of the country and hope to get the chance to do so later this year.

Since I understand some Norwegian I do have a bit of an advantage in that I’m already familiar with some vocabulary and structures, but I know it’s going to be quite difficult to avoid getting mixed up between Norwegian and Swedish.

This blog has two purposes: firstly to encourage me to keep at my Swedish and ensure that I’m not letting it slip by the wayside! Secondly, I hope that as I share some of the strategies I use to learn, our community of learners of other languages will be able to apply them to whichever language they’re learning.

I’ll be back soon with my first post of 2015. In the meantime, please let me know in the comments if you’ve had any experience of learning Swedish – or indeed if you are Swedish and can help me in my quest!

Tack, och hej då!

    10 replies to "Mark’s learning Swedish"

    • Maureen

      Hej Mark!

      Congrats on taking on a new language. I just visited Sweden for the first time last summer, and I had an incredible time. I’m interested in learning some of the language, so I was very happy to hear about this new blog. In case you missed it, I just noticed that Duolingo offers Swedish now. I’m going to start in the new year, too!

      Vi ses,

      Maureen from California

    • Klara

      Hej Mark!

      I love your work and what you do is really terrific. When I was 13 I started listening to coffeebreak spanish and it truly changed my life! Maybe you remember me, I won an ipod back in 2008! Now I’ve started to learn german with coffeebreak german, even though it’s difficult I love the logic of the language! So good with your grammar guru…

      If you need advice or help in your swedish learning I’d be willing to help!

      Tack för allt du har gjort – du har förgyllt mitt liv!

      • radiolingua radiolingua

        Tack så mycket, Klara. We’re delighted that you’re continuing your language-learning journey!

    • Micke

      Hej Mark!

      Being from Sweden, I’m happy to hear that you’ve chosen Swedish as your next language to learn. Me, I’m improving my Spanish, with your work at Radio Lingua as a very good source for help and understanding, and this fall I’m moving to Argentina to spend my third year of engineering-studies in Buenos Aires – all in Spanish, yikes!

      One of the trickiest parts in my opinion of learning Spanish as a Swedish person is the use of the subjunctive (or konjunktiv in Swedish), because we barley have that in our language. And half of the time it would seem rather old fashioned to use it. I suppose this is a bit too early in your learning to introduce it, so I’ll stop there and simply say thanks for all the help with learning new languages, your work is amazing and should you ever want to, I’d be happy to return the favor.

      Lycka till med dina studier! Good luck with your studies!

      /Micke från Stockholm

      • radiolingua radiolingua

        Jättebra, Micke! Tack så mycket, och lycka till med resan till Argentina!

    • Zbig

      Mark
      I want to thank you SOOO much for your hypnotizing “verbcast” 🙂
      It really helped me go through my “learner’s block” so to speak when I was doing French past tenses on Duo. I often was listening to the vcast in bed at night so I can tell you lulled me to sleep a couple of times :))
      Now that I finished the French tree (officially know 1848 French words), I took up Swedish too, what a coincidence 🙂

    • Annette

      Hej Mark,

      I think Swedish is the best Scandinavian language to learn as it not that many extreme dialects as Norwegian and Danish and you mostly know how to pronounce it when reading! Speaking with my colleagues in Oslo works quite well with my Swedish with my German accent :-).

      I think the hardest part are the prepositions as they are completely different to all other languages I tried to learn – especially for times – “i en vecka” (in but meaning “for a week”) and “om en vecka” (like the German um / round, if … but means “in a week”). Unfortunately they are also different between the other Scandinavian languages.

      The other thing is when ‘o’ is pronounced ‘u’ and when ‘o’. I heard if the consonant after is long ‘Stockholm’, it is an ‘o’ and if it is short or not existing, it is an ‘u’ – ‘bro’ (bridge), ‘bror'(brother). Anyhow – I used the rule, if there is a similar word in German it is pronounced as the German one :-).

      The last thing I think is tricky is getting rid of my German accent. I don’t think it is that strong if I speak English or French. I met people living for 60 years in Sweden and having still this accent. But I guess this is tricky for most languages. Passive is quite nice with adding an “s” at the verb.

      I listened to “Showtime Spanish” and I enjoyed it – not sure that it improved my Spanish speaking but my understanding. After listening – I started to use the Konjunktiv more often when speaking German :-). Swedish has only “skulle” and “vore”, so not that much to take care about.

      Lycka till med Svenska!

      I am sure you will soon enjoy all kind of Scandinavian movies – except for the Finnish ones of course.

    • Olesya

      Hi Mark,

      Happy to hear you’re unstoppable on your polyglot journey. On the other had, I’m very sad you gave up on German since this apparently means that all of us who joined you at CBG will now be left on our own to continue mastering this beautiful but tricky language.
      Any plans to help us via Season 2, let’s say?

      Thanks,
      Olesya

      • radiolingua radiolingua

        Hi Olesya. Worry not, there will be more Coffee Break German content in the future – I’ve not given up entirely on my German journey! We’re a small company with limited resources and we’re always keen to know what our listeners and customers enjoy and find useful. We’ll take your comments into consideration! In the meantime I’m finding very little time to develop my Swedish skills unfortunately!

        • Olesya

          Thank you Mark for such wonderful news! Honestly, I’m such a big fan of yours (personally and Radio Lingua in whole) that I volunteer to help, if there’s anything I can do. With you I’m mastering basics of German, started my Spanish adventure a few years ago supporting my university program and polished with French amazing 3 season so I’m pretty much familiar with the structure and main ideas. Just don’t hesitate to reach out!
          And Good Luck in any case!!

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