Hey hey people! 🙂
Do any of you who were already around here a year ago remember my post
Reasons Why I’m Learning Welsh?
Well I got an impression that it got quite a lot of reaction, at least more than I’d suppose it could on not even a month-old blog, and it seemed like people were interested, and some time before I published that post on my Polish blog where even though I had only a couple of readers it also got quite a lot of attention and more that I initially expected. It was also lots of fun for me, so let’s see how it goes with Swedish this year. I actually should write the Swedish post earlier since I started learning Swedish earlier than Welsh, but who cares about chronology nonsense. Not me anyway hahaha.
I’m going to refer to some reasons I posted in the Welsh post because some of the reasons for learning both languages are the same for me. Also they are in no particular order, just as they come to my mind, and I don’t have any particular number that I’m aspiring to, we’ll see how many I can come up with.
Because I just plain like it. What better reason can you have? I like Swedish language, I like Swedish culture, I like Swedes, (even though I don’t always agree with them or support them in all that they do and in all that is going on in their country but I don’t have to, and diversity of views, opinions and ways of doing things is in my opinion, among others, one of things that makes this world interesting 🙂 ). I love the sound of Swedish. My first contact with Swedish was when I was a very little child, we lived in the countryside, on a bit of a hill, so that when there was good weather, or after the storm, and you went upstairs, you could find Swedish radiostations in the radio. And sometimes I listened to them, absolutely hypnotised by the sound of swedish. I didn’t even know for sure whether it’s Swedish,I asked my parents what it is and they said maybe Swedish, maybe Norwegian, maybe Danish, or maybe something else. But I liked to think it was Swedish, and it was Swedish. I could listen to it for hours, and I still can. After some time I watched “The Six Children Of Bullerby” with my Mum. I always loved the book and Mum read it to me countless times before watching that film. She read the subtitles to me so that I knew what they were saying, but I remember that I didn’t really care about it, I didn’t care about what was going on in the film, I just listened to the language and nothing else interested me, it was so beautiful. So then my obsession with Swedish developed fully and when I was 10 years old, Mum found a teacher for me. I was at the integration school back then for two years, not the boarding school, so it was possible for me to learn Swedish at home which I really enjoyed. Unfortunately, we had to face the fact that integration was not for me, and there were also some external factors involved, so I had to go back to the boarding school,which meant there was no point in continuing my swedish lessons as they would be rare and very irregular, and when I was home from school I didn’t really feel like learning anything. I yearned for Swedish terribly though, so had to sort of suppress it, put it deep inside my brain to not have to think about the fact that I can’t learn Swedish to be able to accept it. I succeeded at it, only when I happened to hear something in or about swedish, my brain exploded with longing all over again. But I was able to restart my Swedish when I got out from there. Swedish is one of my most favourite languages, in case of which I feel some sort of pressuring need to be in contact with them, use them, explore them, just be in touch with them as much as possible. It’s a bit strange and hard to explain for someone who doesn’t have, it, it feels like some sort of a strange calling. 😀
Because one of my music crushes – Cornelis Vreeswijk – lived in Sweden, created music and poems in Swedish, and I usually tend to love my crushes’ languages, since my languages are my fetishes, yeah it might sound crazy but I’ve just had to accept it hahaha. I actually feel like in a way I owe my reunion with the Swedish language to Cornelis. It was in my last year of being in the boarding school, I was at home for some short break, working on some project for school. And in my mind I was hearing a song which my swedish teacher showed to me years ago which we used for learning some new words. I memorised it back then but I didn’t think I could remember it after all those years of not thinking about it, but turns out I did and quite clearly. The song was called “Balladen Om Herr Fredrik Åkare Och Den Söta Fröken Cecilia Lind” (The Ballad About Fredrik Åkare And The Sweet Miss cecilia Lind), which surprisingly I also remember despite the long title, and was a real brainworm, but I didn’t know who did it so I just googled it. And so it was my first conscious contact with Vreeswijk’s music, and I slowly started to get this strange crush despite that actually he wasn’t really my style. If I have a crush, I’m very nosey and want to know everything possible about them, their music, their life, their personality, likes, dislikes, views, whatever. Vreeswijk was quite easy to get a lot of info about, as he was quite (in)famous in his time and still lots of Swedes love him or hate him and he’s well known, but in order to get that info, I had to understand at least basic Swedish. So I had to learn really quickly to quench my thirst, both for Swedish and for knowledge about my crush. And, despite at the beginning before I left school I really suffered for lack of resources, it was speedy, almost miraculous! I could amost feel the words I learned before and forgot coming back to my brain, and the more I listened to Vreeswijk’s music, read and worked on it, the more intense this process of language recovery felt, and it felt gorgeous! Summer holidays came, and passed away, and surprisingly and very dynamically my life changed diametrically and I got out of that school, that’s another story, and quite a yucky one despite a happy ending so I won’t write much about it here. But that paradoxically opened new possibilities before me, and because I had individual education for the next year which was less absorbing, time consuming and anxiety provoking than normally going to school, I had a lot of time to devote myself to my Swedish studies. By sheer luck and a very weird and funny accident my Mum got in touch with my former Swedish teacher so we could start all over again. Well not really all over again, because to huge surprise and amazement of both of us it turned out that my Swedish is actually a bit better and more communicative than those six years ago. 😀 Funny innit? He said that I had to literally skip some stages of development of my Swedish. With time I learned more about Vreeswijk, among others that he migrated to Sweden with his family at the age of 12, with no Swedish at all, but managed to start attending a normal, mainstream Swedish school after a year of learning. And I suddenly felt very competitive. Because wow, he learned Swedish in a year enough to communicate in it properly, and then was fluent like a native as an adult. I want to be like this too! I’m gonna do this! I guess his task was easier than mine as he lived in Sweden, didn’t have much choice about it, and Dutch is much more similar to Swedish than Polish, he was also younger than me which I guess does make a difference. But I guess i accomplished this goal really well. I still am not fully satisfied with my Swedish, but I think I would manage in a Swedish school if I had to. My crush on Vreeswijk has faded, which means that I still have it but it got dominated by my newer crush from Wales – Gwilym Bowen Rhys – but my crush is my crush so I’m loyal to them all. Vreeswijk was a socialist and had quite controversial views on lots of things, which I most often don’t agree with him about, but I love his lyrics and poems that don’t regard politics and other stuff like that, and my dream is to translate them to Polish. Don’t know how realistic it is, and how realistic and successful could be introducing him to Polish people, but I’d like to try, and I’m still trying, very strenuously, even just for myself.
Because I wanted to read “The Six Bullerby Children” in Swedish. I did. A few times. 🙂
Because of other Swedish language music. I feel like Welsh music speaks much more to me than Swedish, but they still have loads of great music.
Because so many people think it’s difficult. OK I can agree with you on Welsh, Celtic languages can feel a little abstractive at times, though I am also pretty sure there are more difficult languages. But Swedish isn’t difficult at all. It’s childishly simple. It has some annoying grammar quirks and a few sounds that might be a little challenging, but that’s all. Just because you don’t hear it as often as English, doesn’t mean it’s difficult. I’d risk a statement that it’s easier than English, well my ENglish is better than my Swedish at the moment, but I think overall Swedish is easier.
As I already wrote in reason #1, I like Swedes, I like all of the nations that speak my favourite languages/dialects/accents, and I feel a strange sense of bond with them. Obviously my Polish people are closest to me than any other but I feel really close to all of them. I also want to connect with my people via my languages
To show Swedes that their language is beautiful. I don’t know for sure and I know I shouldn’t generalise but it feels to me like many of them don’t fully appreciate their language, even though Swedish is not like Welsh almost on the verge of extinction. I think we all often take our own mother tongues for granted. All Swedish people speak English, or almost all but I’ve never come across anyone who wouldn’t. It happened to me countless times with Swedes with whom I initiated contact online that I wrote them in Swedish and they wrote to me in English. I know it’s just their kindness and they want to adjust to me (or maybe my Swedish is still so shitty hahaha), but it always sort of frustrated me because it felt like they didn’t want to give me a chance to practice, or maybe felt like Swedish is something exclusive, I don’t know. They were of course happy with it when I told them they can write to me in Swedish, but it felt weird. Same when I was in Stockholm, whenever I couldn’t find a word and automatically used an English one, they would respond to me in English. Ughhhhh. Maybe it’s a little incomprehensible to me because many people in Poland wouldn’t do it. I think I wouldn’t either if I saw a foreigner here and realised that he can speak at least basic Polish. And maybe Swedes just got used to speaking to all non Swedes in English by default because of so many imigrants that are in Sweden who can’t speak Swedish. So I want to show them that their language is also beautiful and worth learning, not so very difficult that a foreigner can’t learn it, and it’s not them who have to make all the effort, the other side can do something too to make the communication easier. If they can learn English, why can’t we learn Swedish.
Because people wouldn’t treat me seriously if I only learned some endangered languages on the verge of extinction about which most people don’t even have the slightest idea. My Dad still thinks I’m making up this whole Welsh learning thing even if I talk to him in Welsh. But Swedish, yes! Swedish is a serious language! You can earn a lot of money in Sweden, you can translate crime novels, you can work in transport or in embassy! Swedish is well respected and recognised. In Welsh post I said that my learning Welsh is a good conversation starter ’cause people always ask either why or what it is or how it sounds. With Swedish, they always say: “Aww, that must be difficult. But you can do lots of things with it.”
Don’t know how anywhere else, but in Poland people really dislike German language. All the WWII associations aside, they just think it’s an ugly, harsh language. And for some stupid reason they think Swedish is as well. Especially older people for some reason. But it’s not. It’s maybe not as softy as French or Italian, it has a character and is, as I like to put it, al dente, but it’s definitely not harsh.
To scare my grandma. Yes I put it already in the welsh post. No my grandma doesn’t really believe that Swedes are pagans too like Welshies, but she has very conservative views and is slightly obsessed with religious matters, and constantly worries about the whole world like Filly-Jonk from “The Moomins”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a rightist and a Christian as well, but she is a little extreme and, oh well, I just like to make fun of people, even of my tribe. So, any time she sees me and conversation is focused on me/my languages, she asks me what I see in Swedish. “Sweden is such a cold, lawless, self-devastating country of lonely people! Why do you like them so much?” She is very intelligent but can’t comprehend why I like them so much. We often talk about Swedish politics, she asks me whether I know what’s going on there. I’m not always up to date and while I do care about politics, I don’t trace it all the time and for all my favourite countries, but I try to update my knowledge at least once in a while and with Sweden it’s rather easy. So I tell her about some spicier things that I’ve heard, often colourising it, and relish her utter fright.
To develop my brain. For more details on my brain wellness obsession see the Welsh post.
TO scribble in Swedish in my diary. I like my scribbles to be private and in my household no one else speaks Swedish, so I can have a guarantee that if I write in Swedish no one here will get it even if they would find my diary and figure out how to get to it. Also, for me, all of my languages correspond with particular feelings. As I wrote in the Welsh post, for Welsh main ones are anger, enthusiasm, longing and joy. For Swedish it’s happiness, (not like euphoria but just calm, stable, peaceful happiness, contentment and strong pleasure), amusement, surprise, serenity and disappointment/grief/apathy. So I feel particularly inclined to write in Swedish when feeling any of those things. Also, when my crush on Vreeswijk was at its best, I tended to even write to him. You know, if someone is dead, it’s different than when they are alive and don’t know you and don’t care about you. I believe that if there is an afterlife, which I believe there is, those who passed away can know what’s going on on Earth. I was sure that he must know me, and liked to think that he would be proud of me because of my Swedish and all that, and that he likes me. So I took an example from my Mum, who also wrote her diary in form of letters and wrote letters to Cornelis, in Swedish. 😀
To talk to Misha or myself in another language. It was actually my Swedish teacher who suggested to me talking to Misha in Swedish because his point of view was that cats understand every language.
It’s useful! If you can speak Swedish, you can understand at least to some degree Norwegian, especially Bokmål, and even Danish though personally I find Danish rather hard to understand while listening but if I read it I can get at least the mere context. Icelandic is related though not closely enough, but it happens that I also understand some interesting bits and pieces and it’s always nice. Recently I listened to an Icelandic song and understood that “The ocean is cold”, yay for me! 😀 It’s not much definitely but, hey, if I didn’t speak Swedish, I wouldn’t have a clue about it otherwise. One of my favourite languages is Faroese and while it seems to be even further related to Swedish than Icelandic, I believe that once I start learning it, I’m going to be very grateful for my Swedish. I also plan to learn Dutch which is of course not a Scandinavian language but shares some similarities and I can already see it very clearly.
It’s useful not only with Germanic languages. I strongly hope that when it will be the time for me to learn Sami and Finnish, my Swedish will help me, as English helps me with Welsh because all resources are in it. Swedish is always close to Finnish than Polish because of Sweden and Finland being neighbours and influencing each other, and there is a Finnish minority in Sweden and Swedish-speaking Finns in Finland, and the Sami are also a minority in Sweden.
Because “Swenglish” accent is cute, sexy and crasily amasing! I want to know why and how it is the way it is, and what better way could be than learning Swedish, figuring out its phonetics and putting myself in the same position as Swedes.
TO be able to understand what they talk about in those radiostations I was so amazed with as a kid. 😀
To read Swedish books, not only Astrid Lindgren’s. My vocabulary in Swedish is still a bit limited so it takes me a lot of time and effort to read something as long as a book and focus on it and enjoy it, but I try sometimes. I still haven’t read all the Swedish books I’ve got for myself during my trip to Stockholm. Not just because of the language but uhhh scanning sucks and is boring.
TO scare strangers. See the Welsh post for details.
To help me with my anxieties, depression and generally my freaky brain.
Because every language you know gives you a different perspective on different things.
Because if not my Swedish, I wouldn’t go to Stockholm and have so much fun there. I wouldn’t realise that although my anxieties including social anxiety can be really crippling and debilitating, my love for languages is stronger. And because if not Swedish, I would miss some other cool things in life too. Like I wouldn’t meet my friend Jacek from Helsinki. My friendship with him, although a bit stormy and weird, as he was stormy and weird, was also one of the most unusual and interesting things that happened to me, and now that he’s no longer on Earth, Swedish reminds me of his spirit and charisma.
Because I like vikings and Norse mythology. I can like them without learning Swedish but this way it’s more fun. 😀
Because I hope that indeed it will help me in future in some way.
Because Swedish is so uncomplicated in terms of expressing yourself. I consider myself quite a complex person, with lots of complicated feelings, ideas and complicated things going on, and sometimes I find it difficult and annoying that I can’t seem to be able to express myself properly and adequately, meaning that I can say exactly what I want and how I feel, not have to say that something is either black or white, sounding naturally and not too sublime and sophisticated or silly on the other hand. But in a way I love this trait of Swedish, because sometimes when I feel that my brain goes too complex and I get trapped in it, I like to just sit down and think it through in swedish. Things usually look much simpler then.
Oh my, I wouldn’t think that there will be more reasons than for Welsh! It’s a lot, isn’t it? So i can be sure that it’s worth it! 😍