Monday, June 2, 2014

The Swedish deluge (or, SFI Day 2: when things get real)

Sveavägen coffeshop  |  The Swedish deluge (or, SFI Day 2: when things get real) on afeathery*nest  |
After the first day of language class last week I was feeling quite optimistic—we went at a good, easy pace and I had two dates lined up with girlfriends (both native Swedish speakers) to help me review before the next class. Unlike improving my Italian, a language I at least know how to pronounce pretty well, learning Swedish is a bit problematic because I have no idea if I'm speaking correctly or not, so having someone help is 100% necessary right now.

The day after Day 1 was a holiday, so my first study session with a Swede happened at home over a fika (wherein I tried my hand at making chokladbollar...let's just say I'll need to try again) before we went to a rousing dinner party with the same friends that helped us break in our new apartment (no dancing this time, but just as much hilarity as last time).

The day after that was our second day of school. It was gray and raining heavily and I had my second study session with another girlfriend at a coffee shop before class that afternoon. Once we got settled and caught up with each other, she too very sweetly ran me through all of Day 1's notes and corrected my (mis)pronunciation.

After two review sessions, you can see why I was feeling quite confident walking into class on Day 2—but that feeling didn't last long at all.

Our new teacher decided to cram two days of lessons into one since we had missed the day before and she didn't want us to be behind other students when our class is merged next week. In three crazy-pants hours we covered (I don't say "learned" because I can't call what we did learning):
  • Numbers
  • Dates
  • Months
  • Seasons
  • Years
  • Time
  • Weather
  • Indefinite singular nouns (note: 5 groups of nouns...)
  • Indefinite plural nouns
  • Definite singular nouns 
  • Definite plural nouns
  • And lastly...a hint of verbs (4 groups of these)

Here's hoping today includes a lot of review.

One year ago: Sublime Saturdays and Sundays


  1. I think best thing about SFI was meeting other people - foreigners in Sweden, like me. It was very hard for me to learn in the class. It's such a nice service Sweden provides but the real learning for me happened when I was like forced to speak to and understand my wife's grandmother at Christmas or something! But at SFI, I met a lot of really cool people and we were all in the same boat. Still friends with a few of them today, after all the years of I've been here.

    1. I'm starting to agree with you, Joel! We had our first little mobile # exchange yesterday :).

      But, one thing that does help me is the structure—I learn best by writing things down (I can't pick up languages on the fly/by ear as some Europeans can...i.e., my husband), so that aspect has been good for me to see the word and then know how it's pronounced (as many letters are surprisingly silent!). And since my immediate family here also has another foreign language (Italian) as the alternate, and we haven't yet made the switch to Swedish for me (as I just don't know enough to get beyond, "Hur mår du?"), I don't have as much interaction in the language apart from class. But hopefully when that happens and my accent gets better (so Swedes at the supermarket or tunnelbana kiosk won't switch to English) I'll start picking it up. How long did it take you before you felt comfortable with Swedish?


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