Work your way through a Swedish grammar book or take a Swedish online course. Learning Swedish by self-study has many benefits.
It gives you the freedom to study whenever you want. You can do it at your own pace and independent of your location, so, you can basically start your studies even before you arrive in Sweden. There are plenty of good, free or cheap online courses (see below). You can also borrow a Swedish course at your local Swedish library.
Remember to check the quality of your books and online courses before you buy them. They are your primary learning tool, so they must be good. A poorly written dictionary will confuse more than it will help.
However, the great disadvantage of this method is that it is entirely up to yourself and requires a great amount of motivation, dedication and constancy. It is hard to structure the whole learning process on your own and you might find it a bit lonely to do all the studying by yourself.
Online learning tools
There are a number of online learning possibilities. Here we post some options for you. We have mainly chosen language learning tools that are free of charge.
1. Learning Swedish
Learning Swedish is a free online course in Swedish for beginners provided by Svenska Institutet. The course gives basic spoken and written knowledge of the Swedish language, as well as an insight into Swedish culture and society. You join by creating an account on their website.
2. Say it in Swedish
Learn how Swedes really speak with free audio lessons, vocabulary lists and videos produced by real Swedes. Be a part of the learning community and get help from the team and your fellow students on the site or social media. Create an account and start speaking Swedish immediately.
3. Swedish 101 – learn the 1 000 most common Swedish words
The website 101languages.net helps you learn the 1000 most commonly spoken Swedish words. And the top 100 words come with an audio pronunciation.
4. Språkkraft Läscoach
Språkkraft Läscoach is a game-like learning app that is designed to help new arrivals to start reading Swedish. The app is designed for mobile phones and tablets where users can start by reading tweets then move on to news articles, then regular news and finally the whole short stories and novels, at their own pace.
5. ILT Inläsningstjänst – read and listen at the same time!
ILT Inläsningstjänst makes it possible for you to listen to the book/text while reading it. You can adjust the speed to your reading pace and jump to different sections in the book. ILT Inläsningstjänst also offers a service called “Studiestöd på modersmål“ where you can read & listen in Swedish and in your mother tongue.
What does it cost? Many schools and municipalities have agreements with ILT Inläsningstjänst, which means that you could have free access to their services (so, ask around to see if your school or municipality has an agreement). However, you can also sign up for the different services on your own and pay a fee for it.
Duolingo is a language-learning platform that includes a language-learning website and app. All its language courses are free of charge and the app is available on iOS, Android and Windows 8.
Memrise is an online learning tool with language courses and flashcards. It enables you to study and learn vocabulary through the flashcards that are especially designed to make it easier for you to remember the word and its meaning (a technique called mnemonics). Memrise is free of charge and only requires you to register.
Quizlet is mainly a memorising tool for learning languages. It can be a great tool for learning vocabularies, but it does require some discipline as you need to create your vocabulary list (the words and their meaning) on your own. An alternative to Quizlet is to make your own paper flash cards by writing the word you want to learn with the meaning on the other side.
myswedish.net is a free online webpage which offers Swedish lessons and vocabulary. Each lesson goes through Swedish phrases, vocabulary and grammar. The lessons are taught in both English and Swedish and have a blog-based look.
Rättstavat is an app that enables you to practice words in Swedish that are easily misspelled. The app is free of charge.
Lingio is a language app that enables you to play games and connect with people all over the world who are learning the same language as you. Lingio is designed for learning Swedish, German, Portuguese, French, Italian, Arabic, English and Spanish. It is also free of charge.
12. Google translate
Google translate is a useful translation tool. Might not always be entirely correct but a good helper in the beginning.
13. En or Ett
A fantastic app by Swedish for Professionals. Learn while you play, what’s not to like?
A fairly new contender on the language arena is OptiLingo. It is free if you register before the 15th of September 2020 and focuses on learning conversation skills and fluency. Offers 20 languages to choose from.
Lexin is an online Swedish dictionary that translates between Swedish and 17* other languages. Lexin is provided by the Swedish Language Council – Språkrådet, and has beside the traditional dictionary functions also animated videos and image dictionaries.
Lexin is probably the best free dictionary online (even though the design isn´t to impressive) and completely free of charge – highly recommendable for all newbies. Note that the English <-> Swedish function has been moved to The Peoples Dictionary, se below.
*Lexin translates from Albanian, Amharic, Arabic, Azerbaijan, Bosnian, Finnish, Greek, Croatian, Kurdish, Pashto, Persian, Russian, Serbian, Somali, Spanish and Turkish.
2. The Peoples Dictionary – Folkets lexicon
The Peoples Dictionary – Folkets lexicon is based on the Lexin Swedish-English dictionary and is continuously expanded and improved by its users. It is, just as Lexin, completely free of charge.
Interglot is an online multilingual dictionary that translates between Swedish and six* other languages and provides verb conjugation help. Works well as a complement to Lexin. Free of charge. *Interglot translates from English, German, Spanish, Dutch, French and Swedish.
bab.la is an online dictionary that translates from English and German to Swedish and vice versa. You can also play languages games and interact by creating your own vocabulary lists.
ord.se is a online dictionary provided by Swedish publisher Nordstedts. They offer a free online dictionary from English to Swedish and vice versa. It is also possible to pay for an extended version of the dictionary and to add other languages (like French, German, Spanish).
Listen, read and watch
Another way to learn Swedish is to watch movies & documentaries, listen to news and radio programs or read books in “easy” Swedish, so called “lättlästa böcker”.
- Klartext – is a service from the Swedish public radio that brings you news from Sweden and the world in Swedish. The special thing with Klartext however, is that Klartext tells the news at a slower pace and with words that are easier to understand. A great way to keep updated while learning Swedish. You can listen to Klartext every Monday to Friday between 18.00 and 18.10 on the Swedish Radio channel P4 or on their website sr.se.
- Sveriges Radio – the Swedish national radio has a wide and diverse offer of news, music, documentaries and different entertainment programs.
- SVTPLAY – the Swedish public television online. Watch whenever and whatever you want. All exposure to the Swedish language will help you improve your Swedish and doing so by reading, listening and watching will give a context to what you learn.
- 8 SIDOR a Swedish online newspaper. Here you get news in easy Swedish. The articles are kept short and told with easy Swedish words. You can also choose to listen to the article if you want. An excellent way to learn about Sweden and the world while you practice your Swedish.
Learn more about what you can do to improve your Swedish learning process here.
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