I was just sitting in the common room of a hostel here in Bratislava listening to the Germany vs. Uruguay match while reading Olle Kjellin’s Accent Addition article, when I happened to notice that the fellow sitting beside me had a novel with a Swedish title!
I pointed at the book and asked him “är det svenska?” in my best Swedish accent and he replied “ja…men du talar svenska…” (yes, but you speak Swedish). I told him “jag vill lära mig” (i want to learn). He asked where I’m from, and was surprised when I said Canada, so then he asked (still in Swedish) why the heck I was learning Swedish, at which point I had to break the chain and reply in English.
So far this is encouraging, since I’ve been worried that all the Swedes I meet will automatically jump to English once they hear I’m from Canada. It was nice to have a counterexample. It also reminded me that I should find some “connectors” for Swedish conversation, similar to the czech connectors I’ve seen before…I like the idea.
Getting back to Olle Kjellin’s article for a moment (which is good, go read it), I’ve prepared some materials for my long train ride tomorrow. I sliced out a few sentences from a Swedish audiobook that is read by a particularly pleasing voice. My plan is to listen to each of them a few dozen times, and then if I have some time alone (so that I don’t sound like a fool) I’ll try and repeat them along with the recording. The goal will be to use the recording to correct myself, and to hear the sound of my own voice making the correct sounds with the correct rhythms. Auditory feedback is very important when speaking, so it’s important to train yourself in what it sounds like when you speak correctly.
I also have plenty of listening materials, and I might try to simultaneously listen to a Swedish audiobook while reading he translated text in English, and see if I can pick up some new vocabulary that way. I’d prefer to also read the Swedish text, but I don’t have any Swedish books with me right now, so that will have to wait until I arrive in Sweden later this month (although if anyone knows of a Berlin bookstore that has some Swedish books, please let me know right away).