Tongue-tied på svenska


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.

3 Responses to “Tongue-tied på svenska”

  1. 1 Moi
    April 16, 2009 at 6:53 am

    Aha – svensk-lektioner! Kul! 🙂 Du får åka hit i sommar och öva på konversationen!

  2. 2 twistinthedark
    April 17, 2009 at 10:40 pm

    Nu blir jag rädd. 🙂 Jag är inte så bra när jag pratar på svenska.

    Jag skriver snart.

  3. February 10, 2010 at 1:13 am

    I found this post through the “Possibly related posts” from the blog I just started, http://saysje.wordpress.com/.

    I can relate to what you are describing. I am also a perfectionist, and being quite a verbal person I am painfully aware of how rough my english is. For people like us I think the trick is just to go for it and use the language, and to accept that we might learn the language slower, but maybe with a hightened awareness.

    Good luck with your Swedish studies!

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