You are learning Swedish and want to start reading quickly and painlessly? It seems that there is a solution. In my first-ever overview of a language-learning website, I´d like to present a source which helps you to immerse into Swedish content from an A2 level. It calls 8 Sidor (“8 pages”) and is basically a news portal in simplified Swedish. So what makes it special?
8 Sidor has a plain, minimalistic design and offers a few essential news sections like Sweden (Sverige), World (Världen), Sport (Sport) and Culture (Kultur). All articles consist of short paragraphs which have no more than two or three sentences. You can also listen to an article or some parts of it using an audio file.
Another feature is a word translator which supports 19 languages, primarily those of the ethnic minorities in Sweden plus English. You just need to mark a word in the text, go to the translator above the article and choose the target language.
Why is this tool so outstanding? Above all, it´s not another Google-like translator. Apart from the proper translation, it provides the definitions of a word as well as the examples of its use. On the other hand, this tool translates only the single words, not even the phrasal verbs.
The last but not least: 8 Sidor is also a newspaper. To put it clear for the youngest generation: It can be read offline. You can subscribe 8 Sidor regularly and pay for it, but there is also good news for those who just want to test-drive the newspaper. You can order a free sample and let it shipped directly to your place for free as well, at least within the EU. Isn´t it nice to hold a newspaper in your hands and read like a Swede?
So, my first websites check is over. What is good on 8 Sidor?
- Simple and readable content for the pre-intermediate level
- In-depth word translations
- Audio for each pattern of the content
- One free sample of the newspaper
What could be better on 8 Sidor? As this post has no commercial purpose, let me look at the blemishes more explicitly:
- No grammar explanations. 8 Sidor is about getting used to Swedish though the content, but it doesn´t teach you the language like a student book does.
- No video content
- Monotone voice assistant. 8 Sidor is probably not the best place to listen to native Swedish pronunciation. Besides of the rubric Listen (Lyssna) with some authentic audio recordings, all automatic replays of selected content have a boring and almost robotic voice behind them.