Learning language as an adult it not so easy. Graham had his own thoughts on this last time we moved to Sweden; then we both took SFI (Swedish for immigrants) and attempted to learn enough conversation Swedish to be good guests and make do around town. After almost 10 years off, I started Swedish class again at the start of October, 6 hours per week plus a weekly lunch with an assigned Swedish speaking buddy.
Graham is in love with the book ‘Forever Fluent’ and is convinced by the science behind spaced repetition as a method for learning language. I have been supplementing my course work with digital flashcards using the App AnikDroid. It is really fast and easy to make a bunch of flashcards, and then scroll through them on your phone (I am admitedly a bit sporadic with this). The idea of spaced repetition is that the ones that you have trouble with you end up seeing more frequently, and the ones that are easy you don’t see again for a while – the idea is to present them juuuuust as you are about to forget them and then your brain has to search around and brush off the cobwebs, strengthening the neural path. I have a small spiral bound notebook, and I am trying to record new words as I hear them so that I can retain them. My base vocabulary is not huge, so there is a lot to add.
One fun thing has been talking about idioms with my lunch buddy. He is a deep well for the sayings one might have heard from a grandfather who spent their life on a farm/fishing boat/snowy mountain. Learning these always contains a bit of history, local context, usually some entomology and all wrapped up in a story that makes the words easier to remember and gives them a richer meaning in my mind.
Cow-ice-disaster, as advertised
Det är ingen ko på isen → ‘There is no cow on the ice’, as in: don’t worry, there is no danger here. As you can see from the video above, a cow on the ice can be a real panic situation.
Glida in på en räkmacka → ‘Slide in on a shrimp sandwich’, as in: you got really lucky
Det var som katten sa → ‘As if the cat spoke’, as in: holy crap, you don’t say!
This one could have been uttered by my own Pop:
Inte sälja skinnet förrän björnen är skjuten → ‘Don’t sell the skin before the bear is shot’