On the bus to work yesterday morning, as is my habit, I was listening to the Swedish news headlines on an app on my phone – bluetooth headphones jammed in my ears to squeeze the extra thirty minutes or so of listening practice into my day.
When one of the app’s headlines caught my eye: ‘Älgen Elliot har kommit hem‘ (Elliot the moose has come home).
OK, I didn’t actually listen to the story to find out where on earth Elliot the moose had been, or why anyone cared that he was back. Sweden appears to be overrun with moose – people crash their cars into them on dark country roads, to the detriment of both wild mammal and careless driver.
However, it did make me reflect on how I ended up reading and listening to Swedish each day…
Club members who’ve been with us forever will already know this story (forgive me), which dates back three years to December 2016 when, short of ideas for marketing ebooks, I wrote an article in which I invited club members to VOTE on which language I should learn.
The idea was to actually demonstrate, in real time so to speak, that reading & listening were effective ways to teach yourself a foreign tongue. Read the original article here, if you can be bothered.
You guys selected Swedish, my mother-in-law’s native language and so, over the 2016/17 Christmas/New Year school holiday, I gave it a go.
I’ll be honest, and admit that not much actually happened for a while, not until much later in 2017 when I discovered Duolingo (and wrote about it here: “Congratulations. You are 43% fluent”).
Not long after that, my wife and I decided that it would help my motivation to plan a trip to Sweden. I would then have an additional reason to study (to amaze and delight her relatives in Stockholm).
I wrote about that trip, too, so if you’re having an idle Friday, find the travelogue on our ‘Best of’ page – scroll down until you see (2018 Sweden Road Trip – start at the top and work down).
Which brings us to 2019, when I’ve been doing conversation practice online for thirty-minutes each week, reading the news headlines every day, and doing masses and masses of listening.
Before the start of 2020, I plan to update the ‘Best of’ page with highlights from the year.
But from what I can recall, I did some B1 exam papers back in the summer (without signing up to do the actual exam, as it appears no longer to be available in Italy – shame!)
And having satisfied myself that I would have scored more than enough to have passed the real exam, began to consider myself a B1 student who aspires one day to reach B2.
So there you have it – three years, with ups and downs, false starts, a road trip, a certificate and some good habits established, then subsequently profited from.
Three years, three levels, which is more or less typical for a part-time language student.
Also on today’s Swedish news, interest rates have gone up to 0% (apparently, a sign the economy is weakening), Trump’s been impeached, and the extreme-right party is now polling highest of all.
Which was more than enough to occupy me during the morning commute.
N.b. Why not try this for yourself?
If you like it, get the app on your smartphone (it’s called RaiPlay Radio), plug in your headphones, and via!
A lunedì, allora.
Wanna study in Italy?
Non-stop sunshine, fashionable people living out scenes from ‘la dolce vita’, tortellini in brodo?
And don’t forget to listen to Thursday’s bulletin of easy Italian news – it’s FREE!