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Learning through media

I taught myself German and it was a long arduous process. With Swedish I wanted to take it easy and do things a bit differently. So I just watched music videos of Disney songs I knew, watched Swedish vloggers (even if I didn’t understand much) and read Swedish memes. I am still far from fluent but I am starting to get a solid foundation and can read a lot of simple texts in Swedish now. I am having a lot of fun with it.

With this article I wanted to show you some of the things I have found on my Swedish language learning journey that I think will make your Swedish learning experience a bit more fun and you can also take these ideas and apply them to other languages you are learning.

Disney Music Video

You may be wondering why this section is called Disney Music Videos and not music videos in general. I too was surprised at how useful specifically Disney Music Videos could be. If you are like me and millions of others, then you grew up watching Disney movies. Lion King, Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast are probably among the list of movies you have seen.

What make music videos from Disney movies so great is that you probably know the plot of the movie and the English words of the song. Disney always translates the songs too so now you can watch the song in another language. Disney translates their movies into a lot of different languages. One of their later films, Frozen, was translated into 47 different languages. That means not just the dialogue but all the songs too.

So you know the original words and the melody, which will make the song more familiar. But there is another thing that makes them very useful for language learning. Many people have made a “S & T” (subtitles and translation) versions of popular Disney songs. These provide subtitles of the language being sung and a translation of the language. Sometimes the translated version changes the meaning a bit to make the song sound better in the other language.

S & T music videos are so useful because you can just enjoy the song, read the language or see how the song was translated from English. It is interesting to see how translators handle slang and different idioms. The most useful part of S & T though is the repetition practise they can provide for you. Words take a while to learn. You need to see them again and again.

I learned the Swedish word “glömma” (forget) from an S & T of “A Whole New World”. A lot of words in Swedish are similar to words in German and I already knew German at the time of first learning Swedish. So I would watch the Swedish version of “A Whole New World” every now and then and would come across “glömma”. It didn’t look like any of the other Germanic words for “forget” that I knew so it really stuck out.

It was one of the first new Swedish words (words that didn’t look like an English, German, Dutch or Afrikaans word that I already knew) that I learned and it felt really cool to learn new words just from watching music videos. There are tons of movies and videos that have been translated. Here are some links to get you started.

“A Whole New World” Swedish S&T

“Be Prepared” Swedish S&T

“Colours of the wind” Swedish S&T

“Under the sea” Swedish S&T


Vlogging is a great way to practise listening comprehension. Another plus of watching vlogs is that you are listening to the language as it is actually spoken, rather than very formal language from a textbook. Sometimes you find really old textbooks at a book sale and the language taught in those is probably quite different to the daily language.

One vlogger I watch translates her whole video into English which is very useful for learners. You can either watch in Swedish or you can turn on the subtitles and you can get a translation of what she is saying. This way if you don’t understand a word you can just look at the translation and then look up the English word to get the spelling of the Swedish word. It’s very exciting encountering a new word in the wild and being able to look it up. Sometimes you hear a new word and don’t really know how to spell it so it is very difficult to look up but if you know the English word you can find the Swedish word much more quickly.

Clara Henry
Hur mycket kan min mamma om mig (How much my mother knows about me)

Most vloggers don’t do this but it is still good to watch them. Even if you can’t understand a news report or listen to a lecture in Swedish, watching vlogs is a good way to practise conversational Swedish. Here are some vloggers I watch

Jacob Öman
15 saker som tjerer gör som killar inte vet (15 things girls do that guys don’t know)

Varför jag rakade av mitt hår (Why I shaved off my hair)

Chris Whippit
Besöker dyraste lägenheten i Strömstad (12 miljoner) (Visiting the most expensive apartment in Strömstad 12 million)

Vad händer när jag släpper en telefon från 30 meter (What happens when you drop a cellphone from 30 meters)

Memes and cool pics

Memes have become an integral part of online culture. So why not read memes in Swedish? One of the best ways to get better at something is to practise it every day. Why not read a few sentences of Swedish a day? With memes it becomes very easy. Most memes have about 2 to 4 sentences which people at almost any ability level should be able to handle. Here are some of the pages in Swedish I follow. There are also a bunch of pages posting various cool stuff in Swedish. I will add them below too

Roligt ska det vara

Ett gott skratt


Min värld av teckningar och tavlor

Roliga Filmer och bilder

Bara Svenska Memes

Balans i Centrum

Den inre kommunikationen med dig själv

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