Publishing for Immigrants

Sweden has a whole publishing industry servicing adult learners of Swedish language. Because when you’re just learning a language as an adult — or even a teenager — you really don’t want “See Spot Run! Run, Spot, Run!” you want something that will stimulate your brain in content as well as language learning. Otherwise it’s a total chore.

Every library (certainly in Stockholm) has a lättläst section. I’m currently reading the lättläst version of Let The Right One In (yes, the book that the movie was based on. It is set in a very nearby suburb that I travel through on the Tunnelbana every day).

And then there’s also 8sidor.se – grownup news, but with limited vocabulary and simple grammar. I’ve no idea whether the UK has anything like this. Certainly a business opportunity for someone if not.


To illustrate what this is like, here is the same information, but written using only the 10 hundred most common words in English:

Sweden has many businesses working for grown up people who learn to speak Swedish. When you are learning a new land’s talking, you really don’t want “See Spot Run!” you want something that will interest your brain too. Anything else makes learning feel like work.

In Stockholm, every library has an area for easy reading books. I am reading the easy reading words of the book that the movie “Let the Right One In” is taken from. It takes place in a part of the city that is very close to here. I go through it on the train every day.

There is also a place called “8 pages” which has real news but with simple words that are easy to read. I don’t know if the UK has anything like this. If it doesn’t, someone could start a business doing this.

Except I cheated. I used

  • Sweden and Swedish
  • Stockholm
  • Library
  • Pages
  • UK

Try it yourself — write something you know about, but only using the 10 hundred most common words. Here’s a checker for you.

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