Swedish regional accents

Moorland

Member
English - England
I enjoy listening to "Malou After Ten" on YouTube as I've no problem understanding what she's saying, but I have a lot more difficulty with all the others which gets very frustrating. Anyone know what her accent is called and where can it be watched and listened to elsewhere ....?

Thanks
 
  • MattiasNYC

    Senior Member
    Swedish
    Well, she's from Stockholm and it sounds close to what I would consider standard Swedish, for lack of better terminology. I'm guessing that if you were to travel north from there up to Uppsala you'd find very similar sounding Swedish, possibly with a bit less of an accent.

    At any rate, Stockholm of course includes some far heavier accents so even locally there's variation. I'm thinking more of what one could possibly associate with working class Swedish versus a more posh upper class Swedish that she is closer to.

    I would also point out though that she might be using language a bit more clearly than a lot of "ordinary" people by virtue of being a journalist. So the contrast might be due to not only the accent/dialect but that she (hopefully) knows how to construct clear sentences whereas ordinary people generally often don't.

    I'd be curious to see what other Swedes think about it though...
     

    Moorland

    Member
    English - England
    Interesting thanks. When you say standard Swedish would she be speaking Rikssvensk ? Also from what I've read it would seem like it's the equivalent of South East/ Home Counties English ? Anyway lots of good progress watching YouTube, SVT etc. and getting by on Skånsk and one or two of the harder ones, the biggest problem really being everyone talks so fast !
     

    MattiasNYC

    Senior Member
    Swedish
    I'm not really aware of those accents in England. I found this:

    I think I have to retract what I wrote actually. Saying "Standard Swedish" or "Rikssvenska" is probably just opening a can of worms and after further thought I'm not even sure there is such a thing as standard Swedish pronunciation. It sort of implies there's a right and a wrong way of speaking which would in some cases further imply we'd have to choose between someone from Norrland and someone from Skåne.. because they sound so potentially different they can't both be "right".

    I suppose a better description of what I meant was that her pronunciation was relatively clear and clean in the same way some German sounds very clean to my ears. Same with some Spanish and some Russian. In a sense I'm thinking about it in terms of "How easy would it be for a foreigner to pick up on what vowel sound is used?" Some accents are far "rounder" and make it harder to decipher what's being said because it's hard to understand what vowel the sound corresponds with (for example).
    No youtube links
     

    Moorland

    Member
    English - England
    Your link is spot on and gives a very good idea of the South East accent also Malou's accent is just as clear as well, the best way I think I can describe it is that it's very distinct and not slurred in any way.

    I then found this example of Rikssvenska below which doesn't help at all and as you say wrongly implies the correct way to speak Swedish. However the lady at the very beginning Ina Tzacheva is just as clear as Malou as well and about the same pronounciation as mine, so what would it be called so as I know what to search for in future ?

    No youtube links
     

    MattiasNYC

    Senior Member
    Swedish
    I actually don't know the name of the accent. I only think of the general area of Stockholm, minus heavier accents or "sociolects" locally. I hope someone can chime in with a name since I'm curious myself now.

    As for the Swedish video; I saw that as I was looking into this and I think the point it's making is actually the opposite - it's that we have a really hard time arguing that there is an objectively correct way of speaking or pronouncing Swedish. I think that's why the video contains a collage of voices saying the same sentence in different ways.
     

    Ansku89

    Member
    Finnish
    Saying "Standard Swedish" or "Rikssvenska" is probably just opening a can of worms and after further thought I'm not even sure there is such a thing as standard Swedish pronunciation. It sort of implies there's a right and a wrong way of speaking which would in some cases further imply we'd have to choose between someone from Norrland and someone from Skåne.. because they sound so potentially different they can't both be "right".
    This may be off topic, but I'd like to point out what I think rikssvenska means. The way we use the term in Finland, it means Swedish spoken in Sweden (including all dialects), and finlandssvenska is Swedish spoken in Finland (including all dialects). Both rikssvenska and finlandssvenska have forms that are considered more general/standard and forms that are clearly local/dialect. Rikssvenska isn't in any way more "right", the term doesn't imply that at all, it's more like the difference between British and American English (which both also include several varieties).
     

    Moorland

    Member
    English - England
    I would also point out though that she might be using language a bit more clearly than a lot of "ordinary" people by virtue of being a journalist. So the contrast might be due to not only the accent/dialect but that she (hopefully) knows how to construct clear sentences whereas ordinary people generally often don't.
    I think you're right that she's obviously had lots of experience down the years on TV especially Malou Efter Tio, so I think I'll follow and focus on Stockholm TV and radio broadcasts in future.

    Thanks to you both for all the thoughts and suggestions....:)
     

    MattiasNYC

    Senior Member
    Swedish
    This may be off topic, but I'd like to point out what I think rikssvenska means. The way we use the term in Finland, it means Swedish spoken in Sweden (including all dialects), and finlandssvenska is Swedish spoken in Finland (including all dialects). Both rikssvenska and finlandssvenska have forms that are considered more general/standard and forms that are clearly local/dialect. Rikssvenska isn't in any way more "right", the term doesn't imply that at all, it's more like the difference between British and American English (which both also include several varieties).
    It's definitely off topic and that's why I said I retracted the earlier view.

    The 'debate' ends up being about where line is drawn. I don't think that would have been particularly productive and that's why I stopped using that term.
     
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