January 15, 2015 | Swedish

Swedish Pronunciation Tools

My pronunciation challenges with Dutch would have been addressed by all the web-based tools available to me today.

When I studied Dutch in 2012, I had a hard time figuring out how to pronounce things. And I am not a person who can read a text about or in a foreign language without knowing how to pronounce the foreign words. It doesn’t matter that the reading is taking place silently in my head. I absolutely have to be comfortable with the pronunciation or I experience mental discomfort. Which in turn means that it is hard for me to get through relevant grammar books, even if they are written mostly in English.

Memrise: 100 Swedish Verbs!

Memrise: 100 Swedish Verbs!

The materials for Dutch are not as plentiful as for some other languages, and I remember being frustrated in early 2012, while studying, by the fact that there were only 30 Pimsleur Dutch audio lessons available. That was not enough to get me operational with Dutch sounds.

Fortunately, web-based resources keep advancing. Memrise was founded in 2010, but I’m not sure when it took off or how much material with audio it had for Dutch back then. I am pretty sure Antosch & Lin, which offers websites for numerous languages, did not have Dutch at the time.

Swedish pronunciation, after a number of weeks, still mystifies me, but I have constant reinforcement through Memrise’s bazillion Swedish courses, many with audio, and through Antosch & Lin’s Swedish site. In fact, I have been a web addict and neglected my useful print resources that would tell me more about Swedish grammar.

VocabuLearn: For Those Who Don't Require Fancy FeaturesIt is terrible.

VocabuLearn: For Those Who Don’t Require Fancy Features

In Memrise terminology, I am now called a Membassador, which means I have accumulated more than 5,000,000 points through my various Memrise activities and am getting geekier by the day. One day I will probably be a Meminence.

Five million points means a lot of lounging around with a laptop.

There are other non-web-based technology tools as well. I haven’t used VocabuLearn in ages, but I recently got it for Swedish via iTunes. I’m actually kind of liking it. It’s very old-school and not exciting, but you get to listen to vocabulary in Swedish, nice and slow, with constant opportunities to repeat and practice the sounds. The audio files are divided up by nouns, verbs, and so on. I went to sleep to it the other night.

Oh, I also just found the CD version of VocabuLearn much cheaper on Amazon, but since it’s out of print, there are not that many copies. While still on Amazon, I realized that there is a second level for VocabuLearn Swedish that is not yet available on iTunes, so I bought that, too. Exciting!

More important technologically speaking, the past year has seen Glossika release materials for Swedish as well as many other languages. I have just put the Glossika Swedish files on my computer, so that comes next. I know a number of people who really like Glossika’s products, which provide tons of oral practice involving full sentences.

My point is, if I can just find enough hours in the day, there are plenty of things out there to help me say Swedish correctly. Technology has facilitated the creation and distribution of some really lousy language-learning products, but also lots of good ones.

The sounds of many tongues are increasingly available to curious people around the world.

Comments (5)

Daniel K • Posted on Mon, January 19, 2015 - 2:20 pm EST

Hey Ellen, I hope your studies go well with Glossika!

I’m about to try them out too and see how much of a difference it makes to my pronunciation and overall aural/oral skills in Korean… I’ve listened through the first 1000 sentences and so far I’m impressed (and slightly nervous). I start the real work tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Raymond J. • Posted on Tue, January 20, 2015 - 10:04 pm EST

Woah, I didn’t know it was so effective to use Memrise over other sources. I’ll definitely try it out, great post!

All Graduates | On Site Interpreting • Posted on Fri, January 23, 2015 - 1:43 am EST

These are great resources! The best way to learn a language is to always hear it, something most students cannot do as they do exactly live in Sweden themselves. These audio tools will certainly help language learners get familiar with the Swedish vocabulary at their own pace. A few minutes of these each day can help, and hearing this for hours will be even more helpful. Thanks for sharing!

Joe Carson • Posted on Fri, February 06, 2015 - 12:15 pm EST

It’s amazing you can now learn a language to fluency level for FREE in this day and age.
Like you’re saying, with the ever-growing web’s source of material you can literally find yourself behind a computer talking to it for hours on end.  Sure, it’s not like hearing it from a real person, but it’s invaluable to hear it over reading it and forming the pronunciation in your head. I’m the same as you - if I’m not completely sure(& satisfied) of the pronunciation I get ‘mental discomfort’...which probably leads me to learning a language slower than I should if I just “went for it,” as they say.
  Haven’t dug into Swedish yet but its certainly high on my list.  Can’t wait to get started using all the incredible resources we have available to us!

Thanks for the post, Ellen.

Dan Dracea • Posted on Fri, September 09, 2016 - 7:58 am EST

jag hatar svensk uttal!!!

How much time do you spend on Memrise? Do you play flashcards that have only one word? The ones with full sentences are the best, I think.

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