The app that teaches you Swedish while you watch TV

Still struggling to learn the Swedish language? A new app featuring popular Swedish television shows and tailored language support can help take your Swedish to new heights.

The app that teaches you Swedish while you watch TV
Photo: SVT

We’ve all been there. You hear a string of sounds that make sense to everyone in the room but you.

Sure, there are parts that seem familiar; that you know you’ve heard before. But it all moves so fast your brain just can’t keep up.

Yep, learning Swedish is no easy task. Classes can only take you so far, and words often ‘look’ different than they sound. Plus Swedes often switch to English at the first sign you’re struggling.

But now Swedish public broadcaster SVT has developed, SVT Språkplay, a free app that lets you learn Swedish – and watch TV at the same time.

The app gives you access to thousands of subtitled TV shows with interactive Swedish language support in 18 languages, including English, Spanish, Arabic, and Russian.

Download SVT Språkplay for iOS / Download SVT Spåkplay for Android

Thus, SVT Språkplay makes SVT's programmes more accessible to people who are either new in Sweden or simply want to develop their Swedish language skills.

“This is a really useful tool for people who want to improve their Swedish,” says Erik Hedin, project manager at SVT.

“It’s a great way to learn the language and more about Swedish society,”

Click on words to learn more

After downloading the app, simply choose your language, level of Swedish, and start watching.

When someone starts speaking onscreen, clickable Swedish subtitles appear on your screen.

Clicking on a word automatically brings up a translation into your chosen language. You can click to hear that word spoken on its own, and also save words in a personalized glossary.

Choose from thousands of programs

The app features thousands of SVT programmes in several different categories, including, drama, comedy, and children's programmes – there’s really something for everyone.

You can find all the programmes using the Search field or scrolling through the different Categories. Once you’ve picked a show, the app lets you practice your Swedish while watching something you like.

Learn more about SVT Språkplay

“We feel we’ve managed to develop a tool that is both simple and fun to use,” says Hedin.

“In addition to language learning, we hope that the app will help contribute to a more inclusive Sweden by giving more people a chance to keep up with events through news and popular television programmes.”

SVT Språkplay is currently only available to users in Sweden and supports English, Russian, Spanish, Arabic, Turkish, Albanian, Bosnian, Croatian, Persian, Finnish, Greek, Kurdish, Serbian, Somali, Azerbaijani, Amharic, Tigrinya and Pashto.

Download the app for iOS (iPhone / iPad) here

Download the app for Android here

This article was produced by The Local Client Studio and sponsored by SVT Språkplay.


Italian word of the day: ‘Inchiodare’

You'll nail this word in no time.

Italian word of the day: 'Inchiodare'

What do a carpenter, a detective, and a bank robber screeching to a halt in their getaway car all have in common?

In English, not much – but in Italian, they could all be said to inchiodare (eenk-ee-ohd-AHR-eh) in the course of their professional activities.

In its simplest form, inchiodare simply means ‘to nail’ (chiodo, ‘kee-OH-do’, is a nail) – a picture to a wall, or a leg to a table.

Ha trovato questo cartello inchiodato alla sua porta.
She found this notice nailed to her door.

Inchioderò la mensola al muro più tardi.
I’ll nail the shelf to the wall later.

But like ‘to nail’, inchiodare has more than one definition.

You can use it to describe someone or something being ‘pinned’ in place, without actually having been literally nailed there.

Mi ha inchiodato al muro.
He pinned me to the wall.

La mia gamba è inchiodata al terreno.
My leg is pinned to the ground.

You can be metaphorically inchiodato to a place in the sense of being stuck there, tied down, or trapped.

Dovrei essere in vacanza e invece sono inchiodata alla mia scrivenia.
I should be on holiday and instead I’m stuck at my desk.

Don'T Forger You'Re Here Forever GIF - The Simpsons Mr Burns Youre Here GIFs

Siamo inchiodati a questa scuola per altri tre anni.
We’re stuck at this school for another three years.

Sono stati inchiodati dal fuoco di armi.
They were trapped by gunfire.

Just like in English, you can inchiodare (‘nail’) someone in the sense of proving their guilt.

Chiunque sia stato, ha lasciato tracce di DNA che lo inchioderanno.
Whoever it was, they left traces of DNA that will take them down.

Ti inchioderò per questo omicidio.
I’m going to nail you for this murder.

Thomas Sadoski Tommy GIF by CBS

Senza la pistola non lo inchioderemo, perché non abbiamo altre prove.
Without the gun we’re not going to get him, because we have no other proof.

For reasons that are less clear, the word can also mean to slam on the brakes in a car.

Ha inchiodato e ha afferrato la pistola quando ha visto la volante bloccando la strada.
He slammed on the brakes and grabbed the gun when he saw the police car blocking the road.

Hanno inchiodato la macchina a pochi passi da noi.
They screeched to a halt in the car just a few feet away from us.

Those last two definitions mean that you’re very likely to encounter the word when watching mystery shows or listening to true crime podcasts. Look out for it the next time you watch a detective drama.

In the meantime, have a think about what (or who) you can inchiodare this week.

Do you have an Italian word you’d like us to feature? If so, please email us with your suggestion.