Swedish from nothing in 13 minutes (a quick overview)

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Today I am approaching the Swedish language completely from scratch in order that you can see the overall process I will take learning a new language starting from nothing. It is only an example, since I’m not learning Swedish fully at this time. However, it is a language I know nothing about, so it’s a perfect example for a quick demonstration.

You can follow along with me in this video if you’d like to see how easy it is to approach a new language. I used a resource called Foreign Service Institute (FSI) Languages. They have many different languages to choose from.

You can find it here: http://fsi-languages.yojik.eu/

(Disclaimer: these resources are quite dated, but some have great methods of study, which is why I chose it for this video)

In the video I follow 6 steps:

1) Find a Swedish phrase. I had previously browsed this Swedish text to find a phrase that would work for this tutorial. Once you know what you’re looking for, finding a phrase will be a piece of cake. I did not explain in detail how I choose my materials this time, but will make a future video explaining how to know what to look for.

2) Understand the meaning. Basically just figure out how the phrase translates into English. This was easy to to because it was given to me right there in the student text.

3) Recognize the input. Recognize the input. Steps 2 and 3 are interchangeable and can even be done simultaneously. This is when you can recognize what the phrase sounds like and looks like. Again, this is usually provided with the resources you are using.

*Note:

Most people spend way too much time on steps 1-3, and usually call these steps “studying.” They read, take notes, do exercises, and try to memorize a whole bunch of charts, conjugations, and word lists. I can’t stress enough how much all that work is NOT NEEDED. You should read and “study” only until you can understand and recognize the phrase. After that – start using it! Steps 4-6 all have to do with using the language (aka: practicing!!)

4) Create and interaction pattern. This is the crux of the practicing I will be doing. Since I am trying to use the language on my own before speaking with a native speaker, I want to create patterns that I can interact with, not just patterns that I repeat or translate. An interaction pattern can take several forms. I used 2 types of interaction patterns in this video:

Pattern1: Substitution. Substitution is where I choose a word or words from a phrase to be substituted with another word or words. This is very useful to practice the phrase in an engaging way without rote repetition.

There is

a restuarant

here.

a bus

a bag

a computer

a chair

a desk

 

Pattern 2: Question / Answer. A question and answer pattern is obvious. A question is asked that you are prompted to answer. This is similar to a substitute pattern (and actually can be combined with one), but differs in the fact that the answer is a different sentence structure than the question. Again, answering question patterns is repetitive enough for familiarity without using mindless repetition of the same phrase.

Question / hint

Answer

Is there a restaurant here? / Yes

Yes, there is a restaurant here.

Is there a bus here? / Yes

Yes, there is a bus here.

Is there a bag here? / Yes

Yes, there is a bag here.

Is there a computer here? / No

No, there isn’t a computer here.

Is there a desk here? / No

No, there isn’t a desk here.

 

There are 2 styles of “note-taking” I use:

A) Notebook-style: This style is for practicing in a notebook. It’s a similar concept as flashcard practice, just inside a notebook. Instead of flipping from one side to the other, It’s made up of the sentence and the cue. The first sentence is an example sentence, followed by a cue. The cue is a hint that prompts you to say what the next line should be.

In substitution phrases, it gives you the word to be substituted. * (Note: The answer is on the next line after the cue.)

Sentence

Cue

There is a restaurant here.

a bus

There is a bus here.

a bag

There is a bag here.

a desk

There is a desk here.

Is there a computer here?

Yes

  • Yes, there is a computer here

Is there a chair here?

No

  • No, there isn’t a chair here.

The idea is to start with the first sentence, then cover up the lines below it. On the left you have the example sentence with a restaurant underlined. On the right you have the cue – a bus, which means you need to substitute a restaurant with a bus. Before you uncover the next line, you should say out loud what the sentence should be with the cue word. Then uncover the next line to see if you are right. Continue doing this for each line down the notebook. It’s slightly different for Q/A patterns, but uses the same general concept.

B) Flashcard-style. This style is for writing on each side of a flashcard. Using the same sentence, this is how I created the pattern on a flashcard.

Side 1

Side 2

a computer

There is a computer here.

a bag

There is a bag here.

a desk

There is a desk here.

Is there a chair here? /

Yes

Yes, there is a chair here.

Is there a bus here? /

No

No, there isn’t a bus here.

You are meant to read the prompt on Side 1 and speak the answer on Side 2 before you flip the card over to check your answer. The Q/A pattern has the question plus a prompt that gives you a hint for how to answer.

IMPORTANT: I’m using English on these patterns only as an example to show you how it’s done. However, when you create these patterns, they should be made in the new language, NOT in English.

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