Course Syllabus

Swedish Language and Culture - Intermediate A

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Semester & Location:

Spring 2020 - DIS Stockholm

Type & Credits:

Elective Course - 3 credits


Staffan Bengtsson

Program Director:

Andreas Brøgger

Assistant Program Director:

Sanne Rasmussen - 

Time & Place:

Tuesday/Friday 08.30 am -9.50 am



Description of Course

This class is intended to improve your linguistic and communicative skills in Swedish on an intermediate level. It is an integrated language and culture course, and it gives you the opportunity to reflect upon and document intercultural competences gained while studying abroad at DIS. Studying a foreign language while living in the nation has a cultural dimension, and it will automatically make you a more perceptive student. The course makes you develop a critical and analytical understanding of your own as well as of the Swedish culture, and it seeks to explore Swedish history, literature, film, art as well as the burning issues of today – enriching your experience and making you a qualified discussion partner for your Swedish family and friends.


Learning Objectives

By the end of this course you will have

  • achieved intermediate linguistic and pragmatic skills
  •  acquired a higher level of cultural awareness
  • achieved a good pronunciation 
  • become able to describe, explain and discuss in a rich and functional Swedish with grammatical accuracy and with confidence while applying the proper cultural sensitivities relevant to Swedish society
  • written a coherent text about a specific topic, demonstrating your capacity for analysis and argumentation while using a varied language
  • acquired a deeper understanding of the connection between language and culture


Faculty: Staffan Bengtsson

PhD in Aesthetics, Department of Philosophy, Uppsala University, 2004. Postdoctoral fellow at the School of Culture and Education, Södertörn University. Researcher at Swedish Academy and Department of Literature, Uppsala university, since 2011. Research focus: Swedish, German and French literature, Critical Thinking, Enlightenment and Romanticism. With DIS since 2020.



Language part: 

Scherrer, Paula Levy & Karl Lindemalm, Rivstart A1 + A2 Textbok, Stockholm: Natur & Kultur, 2014.

Scherrer, Paula Levy & Karl Lindemalm, Rivstart A1 + A2 Övningsbok, Stockholm: Natur & Kultur, 2014.

Scherrer, Paula Levy & Karl Lindemalm, Rivstart B1 + B2 Textbok, Stockholm: Natur & Kultur, 2015.

Scherrer, Paula Levy & Karl Lindemalm, Rivstart B1 + B2 Övningsbok, Stockholm: Natur & Kultur, 2015.


Cultural part:

Booth, Michael, The almost nearly perfect people: behind the myth of the Scandinavian utopia, Vintage Book: London, 2015, p. 293-299.

Castineira, Angel Castiñeira, ”Imagined nations: Personal identity, national identity and the places of memory”, in: Gagnon, Alain, André Lecours & Geneviève Nootens (eds.), Contemporary majority nationalism,  McGill-Queens University Press: Montreal, 2011, p. 43-53.

Daun, Åke, Swedish mentality, Pennsylvania State University Press: University Park, 1996, ”Independence”,  p. 56-69.

Everdahl, Göran, The book of lagom: the Swedish way of living just right, Norstedts: Stockholm, 2018, ”The history of the land of lagom”,  p. 15-25.

Ekholm Friedman, Kajsa, "From nation state to multiculturalism: on change in Sweden at the turn of the Millenium," in: Almqvist, Kurt & Kay Glans (eds), The Swedish success story?, Preses Nams: Stockholm, 2004, p. 227-240.

Kramsch, Claire, Language and Culture, Oxford University Press: Oxford, 1998, ”Language and Cultural Identity”, p. 65-78.

Lindström, Fredrik, Världens modernaste land. Television series, SVT, 2006.

Nordstrom, Byron J , The History of Sweden. Greenwood Press: Westport, Connecticut, 2002.  [select chapters]

Robinowitz, Christina Johansson & Lisa Werner Carr, Modern-Day Vikings – a practical guide to interacting with Swedes,  Intercultural Press: Yarmouth, Maine, 2001, ”The individual and the group”, p. 57-70; ”Jantelagen: Who do you think you are?”, p. 81-95.

Schöplin, Gerhard, ”The functions of myth and a taxonomy of myths”, in: Geoffrey Hosking & George Schöpflin (eds.), Myths and Nationhood, Routledge: New York, 1997, p. 19-35.

Swahn, Jan-Öjvin, Svenska traditioner, Ordalaget: Stockholm, 2014. [select chapters]

Additional sources will be assigned for the cultural part (handed out in class or posted on Canvas), including: current and updated newspaper articles (Dagens Nyheter and Svenska Dagbladet), short stories, official websites, Swedish movies and Swedish music.


Field Studies

The class has two field studies, as well optional cultural excursions. The purpose of the field studies and the cultural excursions is to use Stockholm’s cultural resources and Stockholm city as our extended DIS classroom. Material covered during the field studies will be included in assignments and classrooms discussions. 

- Field study 1: Wednesday February 12th, 08.30-12.30. Stockholm City Hall + City Walk

- Field study 2: Wednesday April 29th, 13.00-17.00: TBA

- Optional cultural excursions: TBA.


Language Café

Visit the language cafés at DIS on Tuesdays 2-5 pm, hosted by Staffan Bengtsson, and get extra Swedish language practice.


Continue learning outside the classroom

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

  • Create and use opportunities to meet people outside DIS either through language exchange or activity groups relating to your interests. Meetup is a great way to both get information about language exchange groups and other groups. Welma - a culture guide for Stockholm (note: in Swedish - is a great source when it comes to different events and happenings.

  • If you like sports, sign up for some of the Stockholm University´s sport activities or sign up for Ssideline  city running club.
  • If you like art, visit some of the art exhibits by students from Konstfack, the Royal Art college.
  • Use the opportunity to go to free museums. Stockholms has several museums that are free and also, museums that have free entrance and extended opening times Tuesday evenings.
  • Watch Swedish movies with English subtitles on Netflix or Swedish programmes with Swedish subtitles on Swedish TV.

  • Turn off your iPod on trains and busses and try to listen to what is being said around you . Listen to Swedish news in Swedish either on Radio Sweden or SVT Play.

  • Make a daily habit of using 3 new words each day by using them in different sentences or phrases. Create a goal of trying to use new words on a regular basis in order to activate your Swedish vocabulary.

  •  Observe signs and advertising in Swedish as you see these when moving around in the city.


Approach to Teaching

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 relevant observations. The ambition is to create a classroom culture in which everyone feels at ease. 



Engaged participation is a crucial part of the class and will correspond to a large part of the course evaluation (grading). 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.

Please do the following:

  1. Submit assignments on time.
  2. Complete all assigned readings/media viewings prior to the designated class.
  3. 23 classroom sessions will go by fast and times flies! Be punctual and attend all classes (also including field studies), prepared and ready to contribute. Missing classes without a legitimate excuse or showing up to class not prepared will result in a lower participation grade.
  4. Bring a notebook and pen/cil to class for taking notes. Only use laptops when instructed for specific activities. Please switch off your mobile phone during class and resist the urge to text. Please speak with me if you need your device for note-taking. 



In order to receive a passing grade, you must complete all the assignments.

“Engagement” is your responsibility, so it is up to you what grade you receive in this area. Consider how often you discuss, comment or ask questions in class; how many absences you have during the course, how often you complete all the readings for class; how often you check your phone or Facebook or other non-class related media during a single class meeting. The use of laptops in class will be allowed, provided they are only used for taking notes during lectures or presentations.

In order to achieve a high grade, be sure to:

  • Get involved! Use your Swedish language 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 Swedes.

  • 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 takes constant work and commitment.

  • 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.


Grading and Assignments





Engaged Participation


Cultural Assignments







Quizzes (15%)

Homework is a vital part of this course.  You are expected to have done your assignments, both in regard to language and culture. In order to help and monitor your progress, we will have several quizzes during the semester. 


Engaged participation (15%)

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


Midterms (20%)

You are expected to write a Midterm exam in Swedish language. This written exam will test your language skills gained from the first part of the semester. Further detailed guideline will be provided in class. 


Cultural assignments (20%)

You are expected to write one academic paper (2-3 pages) in regard to Swedish culture (12,5 %). The topic for this cultural essay will based on the literature listed above under ”Readings (cultural part)”.  During the semester you are also expected to give a 10-minute presentations about a cultural aspect of your own choosing (7,5 %). Further detailed guidelines will be provided in class and when the assignments are published.


Finals (30%)

You are expected to write a Final exam in Swedish language. This final written exam (15 %) will test your language skills gained from the whole semester. Further guidelines will be provided in class.

As part of the Finals, you are also expected to complete an oral exam in Swedish language (15 %). This exam will test your language skills gained from the whole semester. Further guidelines will be provided in class.


Formal guidelines for the academic paper

It should be 2-3 pages and have a minimum of three sources to which there are clear references. Further details will be provided in class.


Electronic Technologies

Laptops/tablets/iPads/phones are not permitted to be open and in-use during class unless we are working on specified tasks. Mobile phones must be silenced during class. If you need your device for note-taking, let's talk. 


Academic Regulations 

DIS expects that students abide by the highest standards of intellectual honesty in all academic work. DIS assumes that all students do their own work and correctly credit all work or thought taken from others. Academic dishonesty will result in a final course grade of F and may result in dismissal. Your home institutions will be notified. DIS reserves the right to require that written student assignments be submitted electronically for scanning by plagiarism detection software. Please speak with me if you have any questions.

Please make sure to read the Academic Regulations on the DIS website for additional information. There you will find details on:


DIS - Study Abroad in Scandinavia -


Course Summary:

Date Details