Course Syllabus

Swedish Language & Culture I-II

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Photo credits: Sara de Basly/

Semester & Location

Spring 2023 - DIS Stockholm

Type & Credits

Elective Course - 6 credits

Major Disciplines

Anthropology, Language


Djina Wilk and Elisabeth Herron (current students please use the Canvas Inbox)

Program Director

Andreas Brøgger

Academic Support 

Time & Place:

Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays & Fridays, 11.40 - 13.00, 1E-508

Course Description

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 and immersive approach. The course will focus on spoken everyday Swedish, reading comprehension and 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 culture part 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 an intermediate level
  • Get an understanding of the connection between language and culture


Your instructors are Djina Wilk ( and Elisabeth Herron (

Course material

Language part:

DIS SVENSKA (2020). In house publication.

Rivstart A1 + A2 (Natur & Kultur)

Culture part:

Akinmande Åkerström, Lola (2017). Lagom - the Swedish Secret of Living Well. Headline Home. [selected pages]

Alter, Charlotte, Suyin Haynes, and Justin Worland (2019) “Greta Thunberg: Time´s Person of the Year 2019”. Online Publication.

Anderson, Benedict (2016) Imagined Communities - Reflections on the Origin and the Spread of Nationalism. Verso, pp. 5-7

 Brodin, Björn and Pikkarainen, Heidi (2008) Discrimination of the Sami – the rights of the Sami from a discrimination perspective. Online publication, pp. 18-26

Castineira, Angel (2011) Imagined Nations: Personal Identity, National Identity and the Places of Memory. Kingston (Canada): Queen's University. pp. 43-53.

Derrier, Benoit and Savage, Maddy (2021). How To Tackle The Swedish Winter. BBC Reel.

Derrier, Benoit and Savage, Maddy (2021). Why Sweden is Proud to have the World´s Highest Taxes. BBC Reel.

Edwards, Catherine (2018) What’s Behind the Rising Inequality in Sweden’s Schools, and Can It Be Fixed? ”The Local, Published 22 Aug. 2018. 

Gatehouse, Gabriel (2018) Sweden: Truth, lies and manipulated narratives? BBC Newsnight. Originally aired on 22 august 2018.

Gelter, H. (2000). Friluftsliv: The Scandinavian philosophy of outdoor life. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education (CJEE), 5(1), 77-92.

Johansson Robinowitz Christina and Carr, Lisa Werner (2001). Modern-Day Vikings - A Practical Guide to Interacting with the Swedes. Intercultural Press, pp. 17-28 + 81-95

Kramsch, Claire (1998) Language and Cultural Identity. Language and Culture. Oxford University Press. pp. 65-77.

Milewski, John (ed.) (2018). Sweden: The World´s “First Feminist Governent”. Video interview produced and published by Woodrow Wilson Center.

Porzucki, Nina (2018) The Three-letter Word That Rocked a Nation. Public Radio International. Originally aired 27 March 2018. 

Savage, M. (2019, October 9). Jantelagen: Why Swedes won’t talk about wealth. BBC. Online publication.

Swahn Jan Öjvin( 2014) Swedish Traditions. Ordaförlaget. [selected chapters]

Other cultural material:

Selected programs from Swedish public service, both TV and radio.

Selected Swedish movies such as Sameblod and Astrid

Field Studies 

The class has four mandatory field studies (on Wednesdays), as well as three optional cultural excursions (during weekends). 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. The cultural excursions connects more to visual or audio impressions of  specific aspects of Sweden and Swedish society.

The four mandatory Field studies are:

  • Wednesday, January 25  at 9 am-12.30: City walk plus guided tour at the Stockholm City Hall, Stadshuset.
  • Wednesday, March 8 at 13:00 - 17:00: TBA
  • Wednesday, March 22 at 13.00 - 17:00: A visit to a Swedish school, Blackebergs gymnasium.
  • Wednesday, April 26 at  09.00-12.30: 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 relevant 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 

25 %

Throughout the course


10 %

 2 March

Cultural Assignments

40 %

Suburban project: 24 March

Swedish cultural presentation: 28 April

Cultural essay: 11 May

Final Exams

25 %

Written exam: 8 May

Oral exam: 9 May


Engaged participation 

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 participate actively on all four field studies during the semester. Further detailed guideline will be provided in class.



You are expected to write a Midterm exam in Swedish language. The Written midterm will test your language skills in the chapters in DIS Svenska dealt with in the first part of the semester. Further detailed guidelines will be provided in class.


Cultural assignments

You are expected to present on a suburb in Stockholm (in English). You are also expected to give a presentation about a famous Swede (in Swedish). Lastly, you are expected to write one academic paper in regard to Swedish culture and Swedish society (in English). The topics for this cultural essay is related to topics dealt with in regard to cultural part of the course Further detailed guidelines will be provided in class.



You are expected to write a Final exam in Swedish language. This Final written exam (10 %) will test your language skills gained from the whole semester but with emphasis on the last couple of chapters dealt with in class. Further detailed guidelines will be provided in class.

As a part of the Finals, you are also expected to complete an oral Final exam in Swedish language (15 %). This Final oral exam will test your language skills gained from the whole semester but with emphasis on the last couple of chapters dealt with in class. Further detailed guidelines will be provided in class.


Late Papers / Assignments

All late submissions will be reduced by half a letter grade for each day late unless you have communicated with me before the deadline and have received permission to submit your work late. 

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. There you will find regulations on: 


Course Summary:

Date Details Due