Blog » Learn Swedish » Swedish Learning Tips » How Long Does It Take to Learn Swedish? Here’s All You Need to Know

How Long Does It Take to Learn Swedish? Here’s All You Need to Know

One of the first questions people will ask before they start learning Swedish is whether Swedish is difficult to learn. The second one, which we’ll talk about today, is “How long does it take to learn Swedish?”

It’s an understandable question, although it sometimes amuses me. I think to myself: “You haven’t even started learning yet, and you’re already thinking about when you’ll be done?” That said, it is a very human thought process. Before investing time and energy into a new project, we want to make sure we’re setting a feasible goal for ourselves.

So, let’s settle the question once and for all. In this article, we’ll go through factors that affect how much time you need to learn Swedish, and finally, look at some numbers.

How long does it take to learn Swedish: 5 Factors

How long does it take to learn Swedish? The less-than-satisfying answer is “It depends”. Because Swedish learners are different, there are many factors involved that will affect how much time you’ll need before reaching your Swedish learning goals.

We’ll soon get to a clearer answer as to how long it takes to reach certain levels of Swedish proficiency. And I think you’ll be pleased with that answer.

Spoiler: Swedish is one of the easiest languages for English speakers to learn!

But first, let’s talk about the variables that might affect how long it will take for you to learn Swedish:

  1. What your native language is
  2. How many languages you speak
  3. What your motivation is
  4. How you’re learning Swedish
  5. Whether you have the “talent”

Let’s take a closer look at each factor so you can see how your circumstances might affect the time you’ll need to master Swedish.

Factor 1: What your native language is

Yes, one of the most important variables required to answer the question “How long does it take to learn Swedish” is what your native language is. We often talk about how difficult a language is. However, a more appropriate way to talk about it is how different a language is from our own.

So, the question to ask is how different Swedish is from your native tongue. It will naturally be easier for a German person to learn Swedish, as Swedish is a Germanic language. For a Chinese speaker, it will be more challenging, simply because Swedish and Chinese are very different.

The good news is that you’re reading this article in English. This likely means that you’re either a native English speaker or, at the very least, speak English quite well. This will help you, as English is also a Germanic language. As a result, Swedish and English have similar grammar and sentence structures. There are also other similarities you shouldn’t take for granted. For example, the Swedish alphabet is similar to the English, apart from its 3 special characters å, ä and ö.

Factor 2: How many languages you speak

The second factor that weighs into how fast you can learn Swedish is how many languages you already speak. Research has shown that bilingual people have an easier time learning a third language.

Or perhaps you’re not bilingual, but you’ve spent time and energy learning a new language. This is also beneficial. Having experience in learning a language means that you probably already have some basic grammar knowledge, which will help you understand the Swedish structure. It likely also means that you’re more used to memorizing certain rules or even vocabulary.

Knowing more than one language helps you be more open-minded when learning a new one. When you know more than one language, you already understand that languages work differently. You can more easily accept that just because something is true for one language, it won’t necessarily be true for another.

There are also obvious benefits if the languages you know have similarities with Swedish. For example, if one of the languages you speak is French, you’ll recognize a lot of French loan words in Swedish. All these benefits will add up and help you on your Swedish learning journey.

Factor 3: What your motivation is

Something that might come as a surprise to some is how important learning motivation is. If you don’t have a particular reason for studying Swedish, it will be harder for you to learn, and it will likely take longer.

Think about why you want to learn Swedish. Are you in love with a cute Swedish colleague? Or maybe you’re just in love with Swedish culture? Or perhaps you have the dream of working in the country of work-life balance? Whatever your motivation, keep these reasons in mind as you study.

A clear motivation will help you have a good attitude towards studying, even when certain aspects of the language are frustrating. You will always learn more effectively when you view learning Swedish as something you’re excited about.

Factor 4: How you’re learning Swedish

How long it will take to learn Swedish will depend on how you’re learning Swedish. There are tons of strategies and resources to learn Swedish efficiently. If you’re taking a Swedish class once a week and not practicing much outside the classroom, your learning isn’t necessarily as effective as it could be.

On the other end of the spectrum is a more intensive approach, such as full immersion. If you’re interested in learning Swedish as quickly as possible, nothing will beat going on a trip to the country of lagom and experiencing a Swedish environment. Pushing yourself—and the introverted Swedes around you—to interact and communicate is about as efficient as your Swedish learning can get.

Whether you have the chance to go to Sweden or not, try to find ways to practice daily. Research has proven that students who study for at least one hour every day will learn the language significantly faster. Watch a Swedish TV series, listen to Swedish podcasts, read Swedish books or practice with Swedish learning apps like Clozemaster.

Factor 5: Whether you have “the talent”

This final point might be controversial. Don’t get me wrong, anyone can learn Swedish! However, experience has shown that some people seem to have a “feel or a gift for languages”. Some people have a knack for math. Others can pick up musical instruments quickly. And some just seem to be able to learn languages faster than others.

If you feel like you don’t have this “talent”, don’t let that dissuade you. It simply means you’ll have to put in the time and effort—like most of us. Focus on your reasons for learning Swedish and don’t give up.

How long does it take to learn Swedish: According to levels

Okay… But how long does it really take to learn Swedish? I get it, you want an answer. As has been stated, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to a question like “How long does it take to learn Swedish?” However, some statistics allow for a general idea.

The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) famously conducted a study on how long it takes for native English speakers to learn certain languages. The time needed is specified, not in months, but in hours. This is quite logical when you think about it. Someone who studies for 2 hours a day will naturally learn Swedish in fewer months than somebody who studies for 2 hours a week.

So, how long does it take to learn Swedish, counting in hours? Let’s look at some approximates, depending on what level you’re aiming for.

Level 1: Beginner

How long does it take to learn Swedish on a beginner level? If you’re satisfied with reaching a beginner level of Swedish, it can take approximately 200 hours of active Swedish learning. This means that if you study 7–8 hours per week, you can reach this level in six months.

As a beginner, you’ll be able to have some basic conversations. For example, you’ll be able to greet people, introduce yourself and make simple inquiries.

Level 2: Intermediate

How long does it take to learn Swedish at an intermediate level? If you hope to reach an intermediate Swedish level, it can take around 350 hours of active Swedish learning. This means that if you study 6–7 hours per week, you can reach this level in one year.

As an intermediate Swedish learner, you’ll be able to follow simple everyday conversations and communicate with Swedes on familiar topics.

Level 3: Advanced

How long does it take to learn Swedish on an advanced level? If you are a native English speaker and your goal is to reach an advanced Swedish level, the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) states that you will need about 600 hours.

Yes, if you start learning Swedish now, you’ll need around 600 hours of active Swedish learning to become fluent. This means that if you study 11–12 hours per week, you can reach this level in one year.

Hours required to learn Swedish

  Beginner Intermediate Advanced
Time required 200 hours 350 hours 600 hours

The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) divides languages into 5 categories based on how different they are from English:

  • Category I: Languages closely related to English (575–600)
  • Category II: Languages similar to English (750 hours)
  • Category III: Languages with linguistic and/or cultural differences from English (900 hours)
  • Category IV: Languages with significant linguistic and/or cultural differences from English (1100 hours)
  • Category V: Languages that are exceptionally difficult for native English speakers (2200 hours)

Luckily, Swedish is in the first category among the languages closely related to English, and, therefore, among the easiest to learn.

How long does it take to learn Swedish: Conclusion

Now you finally know the answer to the question “How long does it take to learn Swedish?” According to research, you can become fluent in Swedish after 600 hours of active learning.

Now, that number may go up or down depending on variables such as your native language, how many languages you speak, what your motivation is, how you’re learning, and whether you have a “feel for languages”.

In the end, 600 hours is only an estimate. And the best approach isn’t to count the hours, but to make the hours count. Learning a language is time-consuming and challenging, yet incredibly fulfilling. Celebrate each milestone that you reach, and remember to keep up that motivation. Use music, media and fun tools like Clozemaster to help you practice Swedish through contextual learning.

Study a little bit every day and enjoy the process!

The best way to learn Swedish is, without a doubt, to start practicing it and immerse yourself in it from day 1. While all previous advice I gave you is important, this one is crucial if you really want to learn Swedish. I don’t want to promise you that it won’t take time because it will, but I want to promise you something else: it’ll be fun, and it’ll be worth it.

Learn Swedish faster with Clozemaster 🚀

Clozemaster has been designed to help you learn the language in context by filling in the gaps in authentic sentences. With features such as Grammar Challenges, Cloze-Listening, and Cloze-Reading, the app will let you emphasize all the competencies necessary to become fluent in Swedish.

Take your Swedish to the next level. Click here to start practicing with real Swedish sentences!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *