Sunday, October 01, 2017

Question from Readers: Do you use only Duolingo?

I've received questions from my blog readers asking if I only use apps such as Duolingo to study Swedish. The answer is no. Using apps alone will not be enough.

My small collection of Swedish books or books about the Swedish heritage and culture in my personal library in Singapore.

For now, I have a small collection of Swedish books comprising of references, dictionaries, novels, and non-fictions related to the Swedish heritage and culture. I bought some of my books in Sweden while browsing at bookstores, and some I bought online on or (for new books) and (for used books). I also received books as gifts from my Swedish friends when I was in Sweden.

The one book I'm actively using now for systematic study is COLLOQUIAL SWEDISH, by Philip Holmes and Gunilla Serin. This is a used book I bought on It's a great book. I'm a sucker for the proper usage of any languages, so it is important to me that I study the grammar or structure of the language; in this case, it's Swedish. No language can work without structure and to convey meaning, there has to be a structure.

Apps such as Duolingo is fun and it's useful for daily engagement with the target language. What Duolingo doesn't do, though, is explain why the language behaves the way it does (the grammar). That is why it is important to have solid materials to chew on and reinforce that with supplementary materials (Duolingo, for example). The app shouldn't be used as a standalone if you are serious about mastering a foreign language. In my post yesterday, I shared my latest Swedish Duolingo progress report.

I'm still far from being able to read a novel in Swedish but I have a few of my favorite books in the target language. You may have noticed novels such as Projekt Rosie (The Rosie Project), Gatukatten Bob (A Street Cat Named Bob), and En Man Som Heter Ove (A Man Called Ove) in my picture above. I'm a subscriber of Storytel (it's like the Netflix of books) where I pay a monthly subscription fee and download as many audio- and e-books as I wish. Storytel is a Swedish company. I use this to listen to, for example, En Man Som Heter Ove being narrated in Swedish while I read the text from the physical copy of the book. I may not fully comprehend what I'm hearing or reading, but it's a good way to match the sound to the words.

For a more complete picture of how I tackle Swedish including the other resources I use, please check out my previous posts.