Ett, två, tre… Learning Swedish!

Swedish is an Indo-European, Germanic language. It is a beautiful language, if you ask me: it is very melodic, so proper pronunciation is crucial. Swedish sounds like a song and what helps with the pronunciation is imagining that little white ball jumping up and down (like when you’re singing karaoke). 

The Swedish alphabet contains 29 basic Latin letters, with the additional Ää, Åå and Öö. Because it is a Germanic language, there are similarities to English, so if you know English well (or any other Germanic language), chances are you’ll be able to understand basic Swedish quite easily. 

Personally, wherever I find myself, I like to at least try and learn the language spoken there (you know, when in Rome Lund…) because I feel learning the language really brings you to a whole new level of learning about the culture and social interaction in general (even though everyone speaks English in Sweden). In Sweden, municipalities organise SFI courses – Swedish For Immigrants – and they’re open for all international students who come for a programme that lasts more than 1 year. The courses are free and in a student city such as Lund, there are even courses adapted to Master students only.

I started with my SFI classes earlier this week and I am absolutely loving it. It’s also a lot of fun because most of the time the whole class is attempting to pronounce difficult phonemes in unison and it looks (and sounds) really funny. It takes a few attempts for our pronunciation to start resembling Swedish. 🙂

I speak for myself, but I think most of us new to the Swedish language feel the same way: number 7 (sju) is a tough one to pronounce! The SJ-sound, transcribed [ɧ] in phonology, has been my biggest challenge so far. 

On that note, I challenge you to pronounce the following:


Sju sjuksköterskor skötte sju sjösjuka sjömän på skeppet Shanghai.

I still can’t do it!

Dena avatar


  • jahangir raiz • 28 Jun 2015 at 4.18 am Reply

    jag heter jahangir och jag är från pakistan. Jag är mcyket intressant till vet on svenska. Du ska help min….!!!

  • Matheus Vieira • 18 Jun 2015 at 3.44 am Reply

    Hej Dena!
    How are you doing? I’m going to Sweden in august to live there for 3 years! My dad is going for doctoral studies in LiU and me and my family are going with him! I’m finishing high school (in Brazil, by the way xD) and I expect to enter in some university as well! Do u like it there? I think I’m going to! Thanks!

    • Dena
      Dena Dervanovic • 25 Jun 2015 at 6.14 pm Reply

      Hej Matheus!
      Great that you are moving here! I love it here and I hope you will too 🙂


  • Amerins Riemersma • 3 May 2015 at 10.24 pm Reply

    Jag är Amerins och im från Nederländerna.
    Im Amerins and im from the netherlands.
    Im 15 years old. And later I want to live in Sweden. I love that country my whole life. The nature is very beautiful, the people are nice. And I like the language. I’m teaching it to myself and its very easy. Jag älskar Svenska ❤

    • Dena
      Dena Dervanovic • 6 May 2015 at 10.17 pm Reply

      Hej Amerins,

      Du pratar svenska så bra. 🙂 Grattis!
      Keep up your good work and make sure to apply to study in Sweden when you’re a bit older – you don’t want to miss out on the experience of studying here. 🙂


  • Mohamed Mahmoud Abdul Ghaffar • 23 Apr 2015 at 12.17 pm Reply

    I am Mohamed from Egypt and I want to study Swedish in Sweden grant from Saudi free and I am 21 years of age and I am a college student in the Faculty of Arts , Cairo University Department of Philosophy , and I want to learn Swedish in Sweden because I love it and I want to learn as soon as possible in Sweden
    Thank you

    • Dena
      Dena Dervanovic • 23 Apr 2015 at 10.43 pm Reply

      Hej Mohamed,

      It’s so great that you are very motivated to learn Swedish. Good luck!

  • Xavier Fernández • 23 Apr 2015 at 12.24 am Reply

    Hej! I have applied for a master’s degree in Linköping and I am very excited about learning Swedish! I love the way it sounds, I completely agree with you with that it sounds like singing sometimes and that it has a hard pronunciation as well. I have started learning Swedish already and the more I study the more I enjoy it. Thanks for your post 🙂

    • Dena
      Dena Dervanovic • 23 Apr 2015 at 10.45 pm Reply

      Hej Xavier!
      It is very heartwarming to hear that you liked the post. Good luck with your Swedish! Or shall I say… Lycka till!


  • Bieshay • 22 Apr 2015 at 5.43 pm Reply

    I’m Egyptian pharmacist and I would like to learn Swedish to fulfill the requirement of licence as pharmacist in Sweden.
    Many thanks.

    • Dena
      Dena Dervanovic • 22 Apr 2015 at 10.22 pm Reply

      Hej Bieshay!
      It’s so great that you’re so motivated to learn Swedish. Check Jesus’ post on free courses to get you started. Good luck!


  • raju • 12 Dec 2014 at 9.28 pm Reply

    HELLO , im an Indian i want to learn Swedish language . I want to join this January . I see there are free course . I need help how to apply .Thanking you

    • Dena
      Dena Dervanovic • 25 Dec 2014 at 5.54 pm Reply

      Hej Raju,
      It’s great that you want to learn Swedish. There are free courses for Master students on programmes that last more than 1 year and you need to have a Swedish personal number too. Check Swedish For Immigrants in the municipality where you study, if you live in Sweden.
      Lycka till!

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