With other 10 million Swedish speakers around the world, you would think that anyone learning Swedish would have their pick of language learning resources. Unfortunately compared to other more popular foreign languages, Swedish has fewer available learning materials.
But If you're looking for an app to learn Swedish you're in luck. In this post we'll look at some of the best apps for learning Swedish. But first let's take a closer look at just what makes a great language learning app.
What makes a good language learning app?
It teaches practical vocabulary
The best app for learning a new language will teach you words and phrases you can use in real life conversations. The traditional textbook approach to language learning leaves you with a list of sentences based on grammar rules. In the beginning you learn phrases like "the dog runs", "the man eats", "The apple is red". You are not likely to use such whitewashed sentences while talking with a native speaker. A great app will give you the phrases you need to start speaking from day one.
It covers pronunciation
Pronunciation is an important aspect of learning a new language, and it's overlooked by a lot of apps. The obvious benefit of having a good Swedish accent is that it will be easier for native speakers to understand you and vice versa. Pronunciation also helps you remember and recall new words more easily. When your brain knowns how each Swedish sound is formed it's a lot easier to remember new words.
It teaches grammar in context
Pronunciation and conversational vocabulary are important if you want to speak Swedish, but it's also important not to skimp on grammar. The best way to learn Swedish grammar is in the context of a conversation or dialogue. When you can see how the grammar is used in a longer string of text or speech, it's easier to understand how you can use it to create your own phrases while speaking or writing. The traditional approach of memorizing charts or rules doesn't give you that opportunity.
Top 7 apps for learning Swedish
Pimsleur Swedish is an interactive audio course that teaches you how to speak and think in Swedish. The app uses a unique method that simulates what it's like practicing Swedish with native speakers. Each lesson teaches you a variety of phrases and then prompts you to answer and ask questions in Swedish using what you've learned. You have a short amount of time to respond before the correct answer is given. It's hard to predict what you'll have to say. Material from previous lessons is always mixed into whatever lesson you're listening to. This unpredictability keeps you on your toes, and forces your mind to constantly remember the Swedish words you've learned.
You learn phrases for the kinds of situations you're most likely to encounter while living or traveling in Sweden. Everything is practical and there's no fluff vocabulary.
There's currently only one level of Pimsleur Swedish available. If you're a beginner the app is a great way to start speaking Swedish and build a strong foundation in vocabulary and a feel grammar. If you already have some experience with the language then you're probably better off with a different app.
Swedishpod101 is more than just an app for learning Swedish. It's the ultimate of hub of Swedish learning resources. There are hundreds of podcast style lessons sorted by difficult level (from absolute beginners to advanced). With each lesson your podcast hosts teach you important grammar and vocabulary, using a real conversation between two Swedish speakers. Each lesson has downloadable transcripts in both English and Swedish. You can even make flashcards right in the lesson to help you review new words and phrases.
The app also provides a ton of free resources to help you learn Swedish. There's a Swedish to English dictionary, downloadable eBooks (like a pronunciation guide and a alphabet primer), interactive phrase lists, a grammar search feature, and more.
Babbel is an app that teaches languages primarily through quizzes. The lessons feature a mix of text and audio content and cover grammar and vocabulary. Throughout the lesson you are quizzed on the material. One of the strengths of Babbel is that it often has whole lessons dedicated to a specific grammar rule. The app is design with beginners in mind. Overall it's a great supplement but intermediate and advanced students might be better off looking for a different app.
Italki is an app where you can pay for one on one video classes with a language teacher. There are thousands of teachers offering lessons in over sixty languages (currently there over 40 Swedish teachers). Teacher provide materials and resources throughout the learning process including textbooks, videos, audio content, and more. The Italki app also offers some useful free resources in addition to their paid lessons. There's a Q/A forum where you can post questions to the community about Swedish words, grammar, or anything else related to the language. You also have a public journal where you can post entries in Swedish and have them corrected by native speakers. The app also lets you search the profiles of other users who are learning English so you can setup a language exchange.
*With a purchase of $20 or more. After you complete your first lesson 10 free Italki credits will be added to your account.
Duolingo is one of the popular apps for learning a foreign language. Their Swedish course is a great way to learn foundational vocabulary and grammar in a way that's fun and interactive. The app follows a gamified format. Each lesson unit feels like a level you have to complete before you can progress further through the course. Each time you answer a question wrong you lose "life". When your life is gone you have to start over in the lesson. With Duolingo you'll be learning a new language using translation exercises, listening comprehension exercises, word matching, fill in the blank, and more. The app is free to use with ads (with some limitations). There is a paid premium features that gives you unlimited accesses to the app.
Master Ling Swedish
Like many other apps on this list Master Ling teaches you the Swedish language through a collection of minigames and exercises. What sets Master Ling apart is that it provides in depth explanations to help you understand grammar. The app also has a Swedish chat bot to practice with (a great exercise if you want to speak Swedish). There also full audio dialogues with transcripts in Swedish and English. Overall Mater Ling is a fun and effective way to learn a new language. The first units of the app are free but you will need to pay to unlock all of the courses.
Simply Learn Swedish
Simply Learn Swedish is an interactive phrasebook that helps you learn Swedish conversationally. The app teaches you new words and then quizzes you on them to help you remember and retain what you study. The app is completely free to use (with ads).