Lära Svenska = Svårt

Aside from a little hiccup with apartments, Johan’s move to Haparanda went well, but I’ll let him fill you in on that when he has time.  He starts his first day at Svefi today to study audio engineering, and has already been making friends with the locals who also study there.  This will mean less Skype time between the two of us, but we’ve been privileged for so long and this isn’t the first time, so we’ll get through it.  It’s healthy too, to have some time apart and now we’ll have exciting new things to talk about in our conversations!

He’s starting a new adventure now, just as I did when I started work.  Admittedly it did make me feel a little lonely this morning, and it’ll take some time getting used to.  What did I do to combat this feeling?  I did something I haven’t done in a long time.  I listened to a podcast whilst on the bus.  Now usually, I am fast asleep on the bus, catching up on some lost sleep which is another result of long distance relationships (and I mean that literally. I look forward to my daily bus naps, and have only slept through my stop twice!). Not just any old podcast either, but a Swedish Language Learning one.

I’ve been trying to learn Swedish on and off for two years and while I feel I’m passed the basics, I feel I’m not much further.  My motivation comes in phases, and I told myself I wouldn’t go back to Sweden until I’ve learnt more.  Ha, like that was going to keep me away for too long.  Well, I have learnt a bit more, but not as much as I’d like to.  It’s no surprise I want to become fluent in it some day, and I realise that’s not likely to happen until I’m living over there, but taking my time learning the basics over here will surely help.

I’m pretty good in my colours and numbers, better than good in my animals, and okay in food and drinks.  I know my basic phrases and can greet people and ask how they are doing, where they are from and how old they are… Which is all well and good when getting to know strangers.  Not so good when you already know the people – aka Johan’s friends and family!  Of course, they all know and understand I don’t speak their language and do their best at communicating with me in English, which they do so well, as does most of Sweden.  But knowing the language certainly helps to fit in, so I don’t need to ask for a translation every two minutes. At the very least, I can now tell that lady in the shop, “Forlåt, jag talar inte Svenska. Kan du talar Engelska?” It also helps me to feel closer to Johan, for obvious reasons.

One of the most suggested ways of learning a new language is to watch tv and movies in that language and listen to the way it sounds.  I took it a step further.  The first movie I watched in Swedish was (the ever favourite) Frozen.  And one thing led to another and before I knew it I was listening to the Swedish soundtrack, over and over the way I do with any new song to learn the lyrics.  I was going to learn the lyrics, memorize them, then once I could sing them without reading them word for word, I would worry about the differences in the song translations.  Well, I got as far as the first step.  I can sing almost all of the songs (minus the troll song, don’t think I’ll ever master that one in Swedish!) but I still have the need to read the lyrics as I sing them (though I’m sure I must know at least half off by heart, I’m not comfortable singing it without the lyrics in front of me, and Johan reckons I’m still missing the mark on some of the pronunciations… give me a break 😛 ).

The same goes for Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, the national anthem, some Christmas carols and as of the other night, children’s nursery rhymes (which in hindsight should’ve been the first thing I tried).  I’m getting to the point where in most instances I’ll know how a word is going to be pronounced before it is sung (and I guess rhymes help with that) but translating and understanding the positioning and form of the words, nup.  So that’s also a new task for my bus rides.  I figure I can’t sing on the bus, so I’ll be forced to truly read and listen to the words, hear where my pronunciations are going wrong and memorize it, memorize them all and learn the translations and how they differ, in turn learning random new words that come with the song that might not appear in other language learning tools.  Which isn’t to say I can’t give up on those either… I have that many apps to help me… I really need to start making use of them on a daily basis.  I have just under four months before his Mum tests me on my language development!  Hejdå!

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