Course Syllabus


Swedish Language and Culture | Section 3

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Semester & Location:

Spring 2020 - DIS Stockholm

Type & Credits:

Elective Course - 3 credits

Program Director:

Andreas Brøgger

Assistant Program Director:

Sanne Rasmussen - 

Time & Place:

Tuesdays 13.15-14.35 & Fridays 13.15-14.35, 1D-409


Description of Course

This course is an integrated language and culture course. We will study different aspects of Swedish culture and we will operate with a complex view on culture through various representations. The focus will be on dominant national narratives, values, and symbolism, which we will approach from both a historical and contemporary perspective.

When studying Swedish language, we will employ a functional approach. The course will focus on spoken everyday Swedish, reading comprehension and basic grammar.

The course will explore how culture is reflected in language. By analyzing keywords and concepts and applying appropriate etiquette, you will learn how to navigate a foreign culture.

An important component of the course will be your own observations and critical analysis.


Learning Objectives

  • Acquire a higher level of cultural awareness
  • Acquire knowledge and overall understanding of Swedish history, culture and society

  • Be able to speak, read and understand Swedish on a basic level

  • Get an understanding of the connection between language and culture



Your instructor is Magister Elisabeth Herron, Mag.Phil. University of Vienna 1985 – literature, history, psychology and pedagogics. University of Uppsala 1985 – 1986 – Scandinavian literature with focus on women in literature from the Vikings until modern times. Founder and Owner of Deutsch Exzellent ( 1990) – a language company specialising in language and culture courses for businesspeople, diplomats and their families moving to and from Sweden.



Language part: 


Cultural part:

Booth, Michael, Chapter 1  Sweden, The Almost Nearly Perfect People, Vintage, 2015, p. 293-299

Brodin, Björn and Pikkarainen, Heidi. Discrimination of the Sami – the rights of the Sami from a discrimination perspective, 2008 (online publication) Retrieved from: 

Carr Werner, Lisa and Robinowitz Christina Johansson,  Chapter 5 The Individual and The Group: Self Sufficiency and Solidarity, Modern-Day Vikings - a Practical Guide to Interacting with Swedes, Intercultural Press, 2001, p. 57-70

Carr Werner, Lisa and Robinowitz Christina Johansson,  Chapter 7 Jantelagen: Who Do You Think You Are?, Modern-Day Vikings - a Practical Guide to Interacting with Swedes, Intercultural Press, 2001, p. 81-95

Daun, Åke, Independence, Swedish Mentality, Pennsylvania State University Press, 1996, p. 56-69

Everdahl, Göran, The History of The Land of Lagom, The Swedish way of Lagom, Norstedts, 2018 p. 15-25.

Hofstede, Gert (2011), Dimensionalizing Cultures: The Hofstede Model in Context. (online publication) Retrieved from:

Friedman Ekholm Kajsa, From nation state to multiculturalism: on change in Sweden at the turn of the Millenium, The Swedish Success Story, Preses Nams, 2004, p. 227-240.

Hebblethwaite Cordelia, “Sweden's 'gender-neutral' pre-school”, BBC News, July 8th 2011

Johansson, Rune, The Construction of Swedishness, The Swedish Success Story, Preses Nams, 2004, p. 109-120

Kramsch, Claire, The Relationship of Language and Culture, Language and Culture, Oxford University Press, 1998

Schöplin, Gerhard, The Functions of Myths and a Taxonomy of Myths, Myths and Nationhood, Routledge, 1997, p. 19-35

Swahn Jan Öjvin, Svenska traditioner (excerpts), Ordaförlaget, 2014

Tagliabue John, “Swedish School’s Big Lesson Begins With Dropping Personal Pronouns”, New York Times, November 13th,  2012

Woolridge, Adrian “The Next Supermodel”, The Economist, February 2nd 2011


Course Intranet (Canvas)

Your readings – both when, what, and where; all assignment instructions, handouts etc.; as well as reading guides, are to be found in the course overview/the overview over lessons.

Rubrics for Final Exams and for Cultural Assignments plus audio files to the book and all worksheets are to be found under "Swedish Language Resources". Please note that you need to click further on "modules" to reach this material.


Continue learning outside the classroom

 While living and studying in Sweden, you can immerse yourself in the culture in a variety of ways. Try these:

  • Watch Swedish movies with English subtitles

  • Watch American sitcoms with Swedish subtitles

  • Turn off your iPod on trains and busses and LISTEN to what is being said around you

  • Watch the news in Swedish

  • Make a daily habit of reading and translating the headlines of the newspapers

  • Observe advertising in Swedish as you see it when moving around in the city… etc. etc.


Field Studies

The class encompasses two mandatory field studies, as well as now optional cultural excursions. The purpose of the field studies and excursions is to use Stockholm’s cultural resources as our extended DIS classroom. Material covered during the field studies will be included in assignments and the final exam. Missing a Field Study will impact your participation grade.

  • Wednesday January 22th: A Guided Tour at The Royal Castle. Focus: Power and Presentations of Power. The Journey from a Power State with a Dictatorship to a Modern Democratic Constitutional Monarchy

  • Wednesday March 25th,  TBA


Approach to Teaching

Expectations of the Students

The teaching style of this class is interactive. You are expected to actively participate in class discussion, to have done the readings and other homework, and come to class with notes, questions and relevent observations.

Learning a language is hard word and requires a lot of commitment. The ambition is to create a classroom culture in which everyone feels at ease trying to pronounce the unfamiliar Swedish sounds and words.

Engaged participation is an integrated part of the class and will be a large part of the course evaluation. Participating in class discussion requires a high level of preparation and a voluntary contribution of knowledge and ideas. In addition, when speaking Swedish or discussing the connection between language and culture it is important to meet the level of preparation required to be an active participant.



How to get a good grade:

  • Get involved! Use your Swedish, meaning the language as well as your historical and cultural knowledge outside the classroom - the more the better. The more you know the more you see and experience.

  • Use the knowledge and insight obtained in class through readings, lectures and discussions to enrich your study abroad experience and to start fun, thought-provoking and interesting discussions with Danes.

  • Get organized! Notice all due dates assignment, set aside time to prepare for tests, papers etc., especially at the end of the semester.

  • Prepare for class! Studying a language is like taking care of a new and vulnerable plant, it needs constant attention, water and sunshine in order to grow.

  • Participate! Practice your language in a “safe” environment and get relevant feedback, this is essential in improving. Sharing your thoughts and ideas in class is one of the best tools for developing your analytical skills.





Engaged Participation


Cultural Assignements


Final Written


Final Oral


Engaged participation (20%)

You are expected to be well-prepared for class and to be very engaged in the classrooms discussions and exercises, both in regard to language and culture. Also, you are expected to actively particapte actively on all four field studies during the semester. Further detailed guideline will be provided in class.

Cultural assigments (40%)

You are expected to write two academic papers of 1500 words each in regard to culture. The topics for this cultural essay is related to the last topics dealt with in regard to culture. Further detailed guidelines will be provided in class and here in Canvas.

Finals (40%)

You are expected to write a Final Written Exam ad a Final Oral Exam in Swedish language. This Final written exam will test your language skills gained from the whole semester but with emphasis on the last 2 chapters dealt with in class. Further detailed guideline will be provided in class.

As a part of the Finals, you are also expected to complete an oral Final exam in Swedish language. This Final oral exam will test your language skills gained from the whole semester but with emphasis on the last 2 chapters dealt with in class. Further detailed guideline will be provided in class.


Policy on papers: Formal guidelines, late papers

Formal guidelines:

Minimum use of two class texts/sources to which there are clear references.

Minimum use of two relevant texts chosen by student.

1200-1500 words (300 words pr. page = 4-5 pages)

Font and font size: Arial, 12

Line spacing: 1, 5

Name, Class Section number and teacher´s name in the left  upper corner.

Please note that the grade deduction for late papers is a letter grade for each day the assignment is late.


Policy on classroom etiquette: Laptops and cellphones in class

Laptops/Tablets/iPads are not allowed to be open in the classroom unless agreed upon for specified tasks, notes on paper are much less disruptive. Cellphones should be on mute and are not to be used in the classroom.


Academic Regulations  

Please make sure to read the Academic Regulations on the DIS website. There you will find regulations on:


DIS - Study Abroad in Scandinavia -


Course Summary:

Date Details