Monday was my last 'Swedish Class' as I prepare to windup my sojourn here in Sweden. Hmmmm, all good things must come to an end, and so is my 'valiant' attempt in mastering the nous of the Swedish language :).
It has been four months since I started taking Swedish classes. Do I think it was worth it ?. Well, I didn't progress as far as I would have liked to, but still, it was such a fun experience. Speaking a few sentences in Swedish helped me get a long way in making new friends and ofcourse, endup with a few interesting incidents. Now, a bit about my experience in trying to learn the language, the class and my teacher.
First day of my class - I go to the school with so much anticipation and excitement. A dejavu feeling of going back to school, being a student again, lots of classmates and so on. As I enter the class, there was my first shock. It's an empty room with one old guy standing there and smiling at me!. I am like, sorry I guess it's the wrong room. Then he says, you are Rahul right. Huh, yeah. And he goes on.... welcome to the class, I am your teacher 'R'. Uh-oh, this ain't anything I expected it to be. I manage a weak smile and greet him back. Within a few minutes, I come to know that, I am the only student in the class !!. Oh God....what did I get myself in to. Anyhow, I convince myself thinking, one to one coaching would be much better and I can learn fast.
The first few weeks, I am all excited and the classes are interesting. The class is for 2 hours and I especially love the 'Coffee Break' when me I get to have some coffee along with a sandwich and some cookies. As the weeks proceed,realization strikes me. Swedish ain't that easy and I am not that young to grasp things quickly !. And yeah, I can't even doze off or have other students to chit chat with. Still, my eagerness to impress people with my swedish and the 'sandwich break' keeps me going. The first few sentences I learnt were.
Ar det daags ett go hem ?
Read as : R dae daags ett go hem ?
Means : Is it time to Go Home ?
Ska vi slutta nu ?
Read as : Ska we slutha nu ?
Means: Shall we stop now ?
No wonder, I used these two sentences quite often to my teacher (he,he....). It was even more fun when I got to work one morning and went straight to my colleague's office. He was just switching on his comp. I go in and confidently say, Hey 'T', Ar det dags ett go hem ?. The startled look he gave me... ahh....priceless ! :).
As I learnt more sentences, my colleagues started to help me out. Before I knew, I was part of the gang and hanging out with a bunch of Swedes. But it was tough to carry on conversations in swedish. Once they knew I speak english, they were eager to speak to me in english and practice!. FYI, almost all swedes can understand and speak a little bit of english. It's taught as a second language in school.
Swedish language has the same english alphabets and a few more, which are.... Å, Ä,Ö, !. Stop wondering how I typed them. I have a Swedish keyboard :o). The toughest part was to learn how these 3 letters sounded.
Å - It sounds like a O. Pout your lips and say O, but not from the base of your throat.
Ä - This is like a A but with a drag. More like Aaee !. Sounds right when you do the brushing teeth action and then say A ;o).
Ö - This was the toughest. Again, pout your lips but with the lower lip flattened a bit and then say O from the base of your throat !.... (he,he...).
For most people learning, these three were the toghest. But I just rocked. Thanks to my native language 'Tamil', I had similar sounding letters !. My teacher 'R' was really impressed when I just rattled those letters like someone born and brought up here !.
As for sentence formations, it was just way different from english. And the fact that, there are so few words in the language that, most words have two or three meanings depending on the usage !. I had a lot of Swedes confused because of that :o). All in all, I had fun learning and I should thank my teacher 'R' to be patient enough to deal with an overexcited student like me. Here are a few memories that I'd take back home....
When my Swedish teacher sang 'Happy Birthday' to me in Swedish, while I was wondering what on Earth was he singing ! :).
The time when I found that, I had a Namsdag !.
Ofcourse, the sandwich, tea and cookies ... yummy.
The dinner at my teacher's place on the last day. His wife had cooked a wonderful 'Chicken pie' with salad and dessert.
All the monkey faces I made trying to spell Ä, Ö and Å !.
The short naps I took whenever 'R' had to go away.. ( even if it was for a few minutes ) !.
It was fun to learn a new language. As I had back to Texas, I am already looking forward to the next language. Duh!.....not the ' Redneck english ' .... but, Espanyol. Afterall, I've already had a tough time without knowing a bit of Spanish. Here comes 'amigo' :o).