Learn Swedish: Don’t Sätt på en Skygg Lapp

Congrats if you made this far and managed to get a job, move to Sweden, find an apartment, drink a lot, and get some books in the hopes of educating yourself. Now is the time master the Swedish language.

First, if you’re still working on the earlier steps, here is the list from the Living in Sweden Series:
Get a Job in Sweden– Welcome to Sweden! This is where it starts.
Going for a Swedish Interview– Do read up on polishing your CV and holding an interview.
Finding an Apartment in Sweden– Oh yes, it is a pain in the arse to find a place to live.
English Bookstores in Sweden – finding cheap books is not always easy

If you have learned another language, then learning Swedish will not be difficult. It will be hard to speak Swedish because most people naturally switch over to English when they hear someone speaking English or hear that accent. Don’t fret though, listed below are some free online resources to help you learn Swedish.

Tips on learning Swedish:

  • Increase your Swedish vocabulary by learning five new words a days. Put them on note cards, make lists, and write them down.
  • Speak Swedish with confidence. Even if you are totally wrong, speak it like you know and people will help you even more.
  • Ask you friends to send you emails in Swedish. Trade emails and short stories to build your writing ability.
  • Got a sambo? Then speak to him/her. I totally suck at it because my sambo intimidates me but don’t be a pussy like me.
  • Watch Swedish news. Swedish news are in the form of riksvenk, the official Swedish. The news anchors without accents from dialects and enunciate words clearly.

Online Swedish language resources to check out:
Swedish word of the day – Go figure, it’s supposed to be my Swedish word of the day site but has failed thus far. Still there are some good phrases there.
Swedish in 1001 difficult lessons – A famous blog from Francis Strand. Definitely worth checking out.
Swedish phrases – Basic lessons on Swedish. This is a good place to get started in more formal learning environment.
Lexin Dictionary – A handy online Swedish dictionary

Swedish Courses:
To get formal academic classes in Sweden is easier said than done. The free Swedish courses offered to all immigrants (Svenska för invandrare) is a failed system. The Swedish government even failed the institution saying that most people teaching Swedish at SFI are not even qualified to teach. Now, I have not taken anything from SFI but few people have positive reviews.

The second option is Folkuniversitet, classes you pay for. The quality is higher but it is not cheap.

Third option is to take private lessons. Expensive. Really expensive. I took some provided by my company, they were terrible; just disorganized and making us read texts from the 19th century.

I like to learn languages the academic way. You know, say a phrase fifty times, learn a few new verbs, nouns, and adjectives a day. Write out tons of sentences over and over. Drill down technique. The only way to learn Swedish in this style is to take university lessons, which sadly I haven’t figured out to enroll in, not being a student.

If you want to get started on your own with that get the Form i Fokus Book from any bookstore.  Puntino (an Italian blogger in Sweden) also recommends Colloquial Swedish book (ISBN: .

Now for lots of funny Swedish language videos:

Mastering Swedish Lesson 2

This lesson is the funniest of all. It’s about särskrivning, the swedish language art of taking one word that is a combination of two or more words and still writing it out as several words. This is where people get tongue tied in Swedish, by pronouncing long words too slowly, thus separating the word, and turning the phrase into a complete faux pas. (like my French bit to confuse you?)

Here’s the list to the video for Mastering Swedish that the guys used. Notice the difference.
Wrong: Kassa medarbetare – Bad co-workers
Right: Kassamedarbetare – Tellers

Här börjar kassa kön – The bad queue starts here
Här börjar kassakön – The head of the queue starts here

Vi behöver ett bygg till stånd -We need a build to boner
Vi behöver ett byggtillstånd – We need a building permit

Matt tvätt – Tired laundry
Mattvätt – Carpet cleaning or carpet cleaner

Brun hårig sjuk sköterska – Brown hairy sick nurse
Brunhårig sjuksköterska – Brown-haired nurse

Surfa inte på sex siter -Don’t surf on six sites
Surfa inte på sexsiter – Don’t surf porn-sites

Sätt på en skygg lapp – Fuck a shy laplander
Sätt på en skygglapp – Put a blinker on

Får jag köpa en gift orm? – May I buy a married snake?
Får jag köpa en giftorm? – May I buy a poisonous snake?

Han dog av en kul blixt – He died of a fun lightning bolt
Han dog av en kulblixt – He died of a ball of lightning

Vi har öppet mellan dagarna – We’re open between days
Vi har öppet mellandagarna – We’re open between Christmas and New Year

Vi söker bar personal – We’re looking for naked personnel
Vi söker barpersonal – We’re looking for bar personnel

Växel i retur skål – Change in return cheers
Växel i returskål – Change in shrapnel plate

Säljes: Rak apparat – For sale: Straight machine
Säljes: Rakapparat – For sale: Shaving machine

Säljes: Sjö nära tomt – For sale: A lake near a lot
Säljes: Sjönära tomt – For sale: A lot near a lake

Djupfryst kyckling lever – Deep-frozen chicken is alive
Djupfryst kycklinglever – Deep-frozen chicken liver

Ren korv – Clean sausage
Renkorv – Reindeer sausage

Hand tvättas separat – Clean hand separately
Handtvättas separat – Hand cleaned separately

Skit gott – Crap tasty
Skitgott – Awfully tasty

Hipp hipp Svenska för nybörjare!

Part of a television show from TV2. Don’t take it too seriously.

Simple Swedish: Lesson 1
Hilarious! A fun way to learn Swedish

So get started on speaking Swedish. Because at least if you learn some basic Swedish, you won’t be asking to fuck a shy Laplander.

11 thoughts on “Learn Swedish: Don’t Sätt på en Skygg Lapp”

  1. nice post :) I’d add the following resources,
    Colloquial Swedish, it’s one of the most accredited
    simple advice:
    turn your environment in a Swedish sound environment, for example: set your mobile phone menu in Swedish, do the same for your computer, write on your sticks in Swedish and so on ..

  2. I am using the same “professional” on site company that you used when we worked together. It’s a joke. We are translating articles from 8sidor.se in an attempt to “broaden” our Swedish. Really, it’s easier just to use cue cards to memorize!

    That or have a Swedish sig other who doesn’t mind spending time with you teaching you words.

  3. Thanks Puntino for the suggestion. I will add your book recommendation in.

    Andrew, yea…lol. They’re really no good and I can believe the company still has them hired to teach Swedish.

  4. I know. I’ve stopped going to class. My time is better used WORKING than in there. Anyway, I’m still picking it up.

    As for software, Rosetta Stone is decent to give you a basic level (I have Swedish 1-3), but Pimsleur seems to be the cats meow! I haven’t tried it yet, but from what I’ve read from forums with _REAL_ people, it’s far superior.

  5. I have tried to learn the language myself, it’s not going too bad though it is tough when you’re trying to teach yourself – this is another reason why it would be good to speak to the Swedish girl I know more to get practise in the language! – and having learnt a couple of languages at school it is hard, as you say what happens is the other language(s) keep coming to mind especially with common questions like finding a landmark or train station for example, like you have to overlearn what you’ve already learnt with a different language and it’s structure. I would think that the locals there will appreciate the effort to try and learn the language and speak it, I was surprised at how well my Swedish friend can speak and write English, they put us to shame! I’m going to give some of the language a go when I go to Stockholm at the end of this month though and see how it goes! Have you got any CDs or books? Have you heard of the Teach Yourself series?

  6. I have been tried all the ways above to learn swedish. I should say the most efficient way is studying in the university and you have to really focus. As far as I know there are three university that you could learn swedish full time: Umea university, Stockholm University and Linköping University. Check there homepage there will be a course somethign like: college course in Svenska. That is it. Here are two links I have. I hope it is helpful! And apply them on studera.nu…you should apply it at least half year in advance if u are not living in Sweden.

  7. Hi Cindy. Thanks for the links! I really want to take Swedish formally and I believe the academic way is the best.

    How is your Swedish going now? How long were you studying at the university?

  8. Vocabulary is one of the keys to language. When individuals speak about fluency, they generally include some reference to the minimal quantity of phrases which one need to understand.

  9. Ha ha ha love the simple Swedish video – the guy is hilarious. Love his accent and how he pronounces ‘plural’ SLUT

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  11. The last guy in the video “Simple Swedish” – sounds a tiny little bit like the Finns I grew up next to – but they were Canadian Finns – so maybe they came from Swedish speaking part of Finland? I don’t know. I know Swedish is a Germanic language and Finn is totally not the same at all. But he just sounds (when speaking English) so much like those Canadian-Finns (when they spoke English) to my ears.

    So what kind of Swedish accent does that guy in the last video have – from what area of Sweden?

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