March 8, 2015 | Swedish

Big Apple Greeter Preparation

I have to brush up on Italian, so I'm reading Assimil's Lo Svedese!

After a winter hiatus, I am back to doing weekly Big Apple Greeter visits. What that means is I take tourists around New York through the Big Apple Greeter volunteer program. The goal is to show visitors a slice of life in New York City.

Each visit hovers around four hours, and usually multiple subway rides to different neighborhoods are involved. I am not allowed to utter the word “tour,” because I am not a licensed tour guide. 

I try to take around only people who don’t speak English. I took around a nice Swedish couple last week, and all I can say is, it’s a good thing the woman spoke English, because I have not yet put enough study time into Swedish to be able to converse. I made efforts, and the nice Swedish couple were complimentary, but in my experience just about anyone is complimentary when Americans make the slightest linguistic effort. 

Visitors from Sweden!

Visitors from Sweden!

We are not known internationally for being super interested in other languages.

Monday I am taking around Italians, and my Italian is rusty, but I don’t want to stop studying Swedish, so I am focusing on Assimil’s Lo Svedese. It is their Italian-based product for Swedish, and it’s fabulous! They have a French equivalent as well.

In it I get to read explanations of Swedish in Italian, and in the translation exercises, I am translating from Swedish to Italian or Italian to Swedish.

It comes with audio lessons too — very high-quality and useful. I’m thoroughly into it.

I recommend this technique when you need to study two languages at once. Forget your native language and buy your products for foreign languages in foreign languages. Double up!

I had a brain burp when I first started using it and accidentally translated an exercise into the wrong language. It’s like I had to repoint my brain to focus on Swedish and Italian. I think doing this kind of thing clears a new special path in my head somewhere, and I like it.

Comments (5)

Amanda • Posted on Sun, March 08, 2015 - 2:24 pm EST

I’m doing the same - Assimil’s L’indonésian in French to learn both.

Jorge Sivit • Posted on Tue, March 10, 2015 - 1:31 am EST

Thank you for sharing that technique; it’s a great idea!

Est • Posted on Thu, March 26, 2015 - 6:15 pm EST

I am thinking of doing the same with Assimil Spanish as I realised that the advanced Spanish course is not available in English. So I am going to buy the Italian version instead. This will be my first foray at learning a language through my second language….not sure how well this will work with two similar languages but it’s worth a go…. gulp!

Mike • Posted on Thu, July 02, 2015 - 1:57 am EST

The wife and I did the same when we bought a book in Russian to teach Spanish. So much fun.

Stephen • Posted on Mon, July 06, 2015 - 7:46 am EST

I’ve been doing the same think for a while now to learn Armenian. I am using Assimil’s “L’Arménien Sans Peine.” I was kind of forced to do that since there is no Assimil Armenian course in English, but it turns out to be great!

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