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Friday, December 18, 2015

how's your swedish?

This is a question I have been getting frequently ever since moving to Sweden 4 years ago, and coming home for Christmas I’ll get it a few more times. My go to answer has recently been “not so good”.

I have a long and painful history with language learning. It was never something I managed to grasp in school. While the English language, being my mother tongue was easy to excel at, Irish was a different story, but first a look at the language.

The Irish language 
Contrary to what some people think, Irish (or Gaeilge or Gaelic) is a completely different language to English. Different words, different language family. Example: An bhfuil cead agam dul go dtí an leithreas? To anyone not Irish that looks like gibberish. Everyone else knows it’s the first thing you learn in school.

The Irish language has always been a sore point in Irish education. We begin learning it on the first day of school aged 4 or 5 until we finish secondary school aged 17 or 18. Study of the Irish language is given the same amount of time as other main subjects such as English and Maths.

That is about 14 years of study of a language that the majority of the population will never use once they finish secondary school. We have Irish language programming on mainstream media as well as dedicated TV and radio stations yet currently there are 140,000 native speakers or 3% of the population.

My experience learning Irish 
Having being dragged kicking and screaming through the education system being forced for 14 years (or just over half my life) to learn something that I have no use for left an impact on me. I was not good at it. I went to Irish summer colleges for weeks at a time, trying to improve or get a grasp of the language, but all it did was raise my ability back to the bare minimum to scrape by.

On top of that, for the last 6 years of my education I had to learn French (and 1 year of German), which I also wasn’t good at. In the end I could probably speak better French than Irish.

Moving to Sweden and Swedish 
Fast forward to 4 years ago and I move to Sweden and begin to register for my personnummer so I could register and attend SFI classes (svenska för invandrare or Swedish for immigrants) and 6 months later I find myself sitting down attempting to learn my 5th language.

I started really well, but as I approach the end of my first year at it, I reach a plateau and nothing new seems to be sticking. I scrape by my final exams completing SFI in the year. I felt if I continued in full time Swedish language education the effort required would only increase exponentially so I decided instead to start looking for a job.

A few months later I land in an English speaking role where all my colleagues speak English throughout the day. This didn’t help my Swedish speaking skills.

The job did however help with my study of the Swedish language. Being around people speaking Swedish improved my understanding. I was able to follow conversations picking up the gist of what is being discussed by being helped with familiar words and English words that have bleed into Swedish. I still never spoke Swedish since I can express myself perfectly to everyone and they understand.

Getting work in Sweden (without Swedish) 
It’s difficult. I have a background in Business Information Systems and Teaching. I do not have Secondary School Swedish which is the level needed to teach in Sweden, so that rules teaching out. On the Business and IT side, there are companies that have a working language of English, but also require fluent Swedish. So that rules me out of a chance there too.

If I did have Secondary School Swedish, there would still be the hurdle of not having “Business Swedish”? I’m guessing this would be similar to “Business English”. I notice that there is classes for “Business English” where Swedes go and learn English (beyond the already fluent English they all speak) for a business context. I assume that those people don’t feel comfortable with their Secondary School English and want a course to prepare them for the English speaking workforce environment. How would the Swedish workplace be with just basic Secondary School Swedish and not another level of professionalism on top of that.

My only hope is to find that elusive job that will utilize my experiences and education while being in a fully English speaking environment.

My situation summed up. 
I don’t speak Swedish, but I can follow along conversations in Swedish. I can communicate with 99% of people in Sweden who I need to talk to. For me going back to school to learn Swedish for fluency would be like pulling teeth with no anaesthetic.

Also published to Medium

2 comments:

  1. Dia duit Is mise Gráinne Mc Elwain Táim ó Chluain Dolcáin na hÉireann ach táim ag bogadh go Londain le mo fhear céile agus gortaíodh agus briseadh croí orm nuair a tháinig fadhb mhór chun cinn i mo phósadh seacht mí ó shin, idir mise agus mo fhear céile. chuir sé an cás chun na cúirte le haghaidh colscaradh. Dúirt sé nár theastaigh uaidh fanacht liom arís, agus ní raibh grá agam dom a thuilleadh. Mar sin pacáil sé amach as an teach agus chuir sé orm féin agus mo pháistí dul trí phianta tromchúiseacha. Rinne mé mo chuid deiseanna ar fad chun é a thabhairt ar ais tar éis go leor déirce, ach bhí gach rud míshásta agus dheimhnigh sé go ndearna sé a chinneadh agus níor theastaigh uaim é a fheiceáil arís. Mar sin, tráthnóna amháin, nuair a tháinig mé ar ais ón obair, bhuail mé le seanchara liom a chuir ceist orm faoi mo fhear céile. Mar sin mhínigh mé gach rud dó, agus mar sin dúirt sé liom gurb é an t-aon bhealach ar féidir liom mo fhear céile a fháil ar ais ná cuairt a thabhairt ar theilgean litrithe darb ainm DrIgbinovia, toisc gur oibrigh sé dó freisin. Mar sin níor chreid mé i litriú riamh, ach ní raibh aon rogha agam ach a chomhairle a leanúint. Ansin thug sé dom an seoladh ríomhphoist doctorigbinovia93@gmail.com den chaip litrithe a thug sé cuairt air. Mar sin an mhaidin dár gcionn chuir mé ríomhphost chuig an seoladh a thug sé dom, agus dhearbhaigh na riachtanais litrithe dom go bhfaighidh mé mo fhear céile ar ais an dá lá. Ráiteas iontach !! Níor smaoinigh mé riamh agus labhair sé liom agus dúirt sé liom gach rud is gá dom a dhéanamh. Ansin an mhaidin dár gcionn, mar sin ionadh, d'iarr mo fhear céile nár ghlaoigh orm an 7 mí seo caite mé a fhógairt go raibh sé ag teacht ar ais. Cé chomh hiontach! Mar sin bhí sé mar sin tháinig sé ar ais an lá céanna, le go leor grá agus áthais, agus ghabh sé leithscéal as a dhearmad agus as an bpian a chuir sé orm agus ag ár bpáistí. Ón lá sin i leith, bhí ár gcaidreamh níos láidre anois ná mar a bhí sé cheana, le cabhair DrIgbinovia Mar sin rachaidh mé i gcomhairle leat má bhíonn aon fhadhb agat teagmháil a dhéanamh leis. glaoigh air nó cuir leis é ar Whats-app: +2348144480786 a bhuíochas mór do Drigbinovia ..!

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  2. Táim an-sásta mo thaithí a roinnt anseo, is é Brenda an t-ainm atá orm agus bhí mé pósta go sona sásta. Go dtí go ndúirt mo fhear céile go raibh mé ag caimiléireacht air, ansin thángamar ar bheirt lánúineacha, ní raibh sé in ann a chreidiúint, ní raibh muinín agam as mo chuid focal mar sin chomhdaigh muid le haghaidh colscartha. Rinne mé iarracht bogadh ar aghaidh ar feadh i bhfad, ach ní raibh mé in ann fanacht gan é, agus mar sin thosaigh mé ag iarraidh mo fhear céile a fháil ar ais, agus ansin cuireadh mé chuig an Dr. Is fear mór a tháinig mé, chaith sé seal grá agus d'fhill sé ar mo fhear céile laistigh de 24Hours. leis seo, táim anseo chun teagmháil an Dr. IZOYA a roinnt, a shroicheadh air trí drizayaomosolution@gmail.com. Is cinnte go bhfuil sé cumhachtach agus go bhfuil sé ag plé leis na nithe seo a leanas ...
    (1) Séasúir ghrá de gach cineál (2) Scagadh ar stad (3) Deireadh a chur le neamhshuim. (4) Cabhair Spioradálta a bheith de dhíth ort.

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