Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Raising the stakes to learn Swedish

The Background
After living in Sweden for 2.5 years, we've attended classes, had a private tutor and bought Rosetta Stone and yet we still haven't greatly improved in our understanding of the Swedish language. It is not so much of an inability to learn as it is a lack of proper motivation. My job is entirely in English and I work from home, so I'm somewhat isolated. Jon works entirely in English and has some coworkers who are willing to have fika time in Swedish, but it isn't helping nearly enough. Jon's parental leave is beginning at the end of this week and we both decided that it was time to set aside dedicated language time each day. This is Jon's greatest opportunity to learn the language and if we don't commit, we will only continue to slowly struggle.

The Issue
One of the biggest motivating factors is Calvin. He is truly bilingual and can consciously switch between Swedish and English if we ask him. I wouldn't say we can count on him as our main translator as he has led us astray in the past - he's a practical jokester already - and also because he is 3 years old. We are responsible for our own integration. Our neighbors have told us that he speaks perfect Swedish when we aren't around but when we are present, his Swedish declines and he speaks in English. We don't want to be in a position where we are negatively affecting his social skills with his peers. We want him to be able to play and invite friends over to our house. It is a major issue if we can't communicate with his friends. We don't want to be the limiting factor here. That's not fair to Calvin.

Raising the stakes
So, to really buckle down, Jon set a bet. We will be using the free online program, Memrise, and their handy iPhone app, to set daily competitions. The program awards points depending on how accurately and quickly you respond to reading and writing comprehension of a vocabulary set. Whoever has the least number of points awarded during their 30 min study session will have to do the laundry that day. We can practice in addition to those 30 minutes but only that session will be scored and will determine the winner and loser. Believe me, our house has a lot of laundry so this is truly a motivating factor.

So when you see us using a lot more Swedish on Facebook and in emails and texts, it is because I really don't want to do the laundry anymore and Jon is trying his best to beat me. BRING IT ON!

1 comment:

  1. Well, Lis, as I am YOUR grandmother, I'll be on your team! Go Lisa, GO! (How do you say that in Swedish? I tried to use the translator on my phone and it only has a few languages, and not Swedish! )


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