Swedish Basic Course
Now in a Digital Edition!
The Swedish Basic Course provides all of the essential information and vocabulary for learning to speak everyday Swedish. It uses drills and exercises to cover a wide range of conventional situations, and also covers grammatical structure and pronunciation pitfalls that present difficulties for the English speaker. The latter part of the course emphasizes reading and translation. With 15 CDs and a book. And we now have a digital edition for Swedish Basic, with a PDF text and MP3 audio files, all on one CD-ROM!
The Swedish Basic Course developed from a need to provide a more comprehensive and up to date curriculum than had been afforded by an earlier work, Spoken Swedish. The latter had been produced during the 1950's by William R. Van Buskirk and Fritz Frauchiger of the FSI linguistic staff, with the assistance of members of the staff of the Post Language Program of the American Embassy in Stockholm. It was written especially for the future U.S. diplomat in Sweden, and is meant to serve as a textbook as well as a source of cultural information.
We all know that the ability to speak a foreign language and to live in a new culture is not learned through books and audio recordings alone. These are only aids in a learning process which begins in the classroom, where the instructor is the primary source of information and your main conversation partner, and which later expands to the whole country of Sweden, where a nation becomes your teacher. However, the book has taken into account the student who may not have a teacher available. It was designed in such a way that, together with extensive use of the CDs, it may be used profitably by the self-study student.
Studying a Swedish textbook and listening to the accompanying CDs, however, does not guarantee mastery of the Swedish language. It is hoped that this book will serve as one of many aids in your endeavor and that you will find numerous opportunities to practice your Swedish. The best way of doing that is to close your book and put your vocabulary and grammar to use in real situations. This is when you have to transfer your book-learning into something productive and meaningful. When you speak, understand, and read outside the classroom environment you have truly learned to communicate in your new language.
The first twelve Units consist of dialogs which cover a range of situations relevant to your life and work in Sweden. The last few Units are written in a narrative form and constitute a transition to further reading.
Each Unit includes Notes on Basic Sentences, which clarify certain grammar points, cultural information and idiomatic expressions that are particularly important.
Following Notes on Basic Sentences is a section called Points to Practice. This section deals with the grammar, which is first explained as clearly and simply as possible, and then put to use in Practices. Here you can cover up the correct responses with a piece of heavy paper or cardboard and then slide the paper down the page to confirm the correctness of your response or correct any error you may have made. Be sure you do the Practices aloud.
Grammatical explanation should be thought of only as a tool when learning a foreign language. But it is the key to understanding a structure and a system which might otherwise seem confusing. Even though Swedish grammar and vocabulary are related to their English counterparts, a word-by-word translation from either language into the other does not necessarily produce good sense. Because of important differences in ways we have of expressing the same thoughts, speakers of English and Swedish see each other as using different patterns of language. It is therefore invaluable to learn Swedish patterns to the point where they become a real part of your speech, so that the difference between English and Swedish becomes natural to you.
Over many years of teaching Swedish to English speaking students the teachers at FSI have noted consistent patterns of difficulty that an English speaker has in learning Swedish. They have tried to draw on this experience in explaining the grammar and in pointing out the pitfalls. The happy Vikings are used to draw attention to some of the grammar points, and to make the task of learning Swedish grammar a little less serious. A dragon appears in places where we discuss something that may be unusually tricky.
The CDs provide the correct pronunciation of the dialogs, narrative texts and grammar practices. On the CDs each Unit begins with the dialog For Listening Only to give you the chance to understand as much as possible unaided. Remember that it is just as important to understand what is being said as to produce your own sentences. Following For Listening Only there is a section called For Learning. It contains the same dialog, but this time each new word is given with a pause, during which you are to repeat the word before the correct pronunciation is confirmed. The same pattern is then used for longer utterances. Try to mimic the native speakers as closely as possible, paying close attention to stress and intonation. When an utterance is very long it will be divided into two or more sentences, and then given in its entirety.
The grammar practices have also been recorded, in order for you to hear the pronunciation of the correct response given in the practices. It is best to keep your book open when doing the grammar practices with the audio recordings, since you will always have to read the instructions for each individual practice in order to know which cue words you are supposed to use. However, you will find that some practices can be done orally using only the audio recordings. In those instances, try to rely on what you hear on the CD and don't look at the book.