A couple of months ago, I joined a Swedish class here in Sydney. I had lived in Sweden about 10 years ago but my language skills have become very rusty to say the least. While there is much I can remember, there is much I have also forgotten. Well, it has been ten years since I last attended a Swedish class!
I am pretty good on grammar and vocabulary and my pronunciation isn’t too bad but my big failing is when I try to put it all together in a conversation. I become a babbling mess.
I think I worry too much about getting it exactly right. My inner perfectionist is always at work and as soon as I realise that I’ve made a mistake (which is usually pretty early in the conversation), I crumble and make less sense than the Swedish Chef.
When I was in Sweden, I took part in the Svenska För Invandrare program (Swedish for Immigrants) and I always envied my class mates. They would mangle the Swedish language, throwing grammar out the window, but they could still hold conversations in every day Swedish without a worry. On the other hand, I would be thinking of my adverbs and conjunctions and prepositions. The teachers used to love me but I would be very hard on myself.
It has been good to get back into the routine of learning Swedish. I have joined a class with James and have been having fun. I have even started my thing of introducing the rest of the class to Swedish music since that can be a good way to learn the language.
I did want to say that I have a lot of respect and empathy for non-English speakers making their way in an English dominated world, especially on the internet. I can understand why they are sometimes a little reluctant to speak English even if their English is quite good to my ears. It’s a confidence issue and that worry of getting it wrong.