The Sound of...Swedish

Discussion in 'Cultural Discussions' started by Mulliman, Jan 18, 2006.

  1. Mulliman New Member

    Inspired by this: thread.

    I started thinking and in my own reply, i wrote this:

    Realizing and being reminded that i was actually threadjacking, i decided to open a new thread about the subject.
    As my question involves a rather minor issue, this thread could also be used for for example Spaniards, Italians, Chinese and whathaveyou to ask how foreigners perceive their languages. :)
  2. Hakro

    Hakro Senior Member

    Helsinki, Finland
    Finnish - Finland
    As you are Swedish you probably know that we Finns think that the Swedes speak "singing" and the Swedes think that Finns speak "singing" (both Finnish and Finlands Swedish). It's all about the different intonation. American intonation is closer to Finnish intonation, and that's why we have more difficulties understanding BE than AE.
  3. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Well, do you know the Swedish Chef, from the Muppets?... :D

    I'm kidding. I've heard Swedish a few times, and the Chef is very exaggerated. Real Swedish is spoken slower, and more softly. It sounds quiet, although with some slightly abrupt changes in the intonation (low note, high note; low note, high note...).
    We have a humorist who's imitated Swedish a few times. He did it by speaking very, very slowly, with very long vowels (esp. "ooooo" and "uuuuu") and a low voice, and acting very serious and sombre. Of course, what he was really imitating were Ingmar Bergman's films. ;)
    It does seem to be a bit sung, but, as Hakro said, people often describe any foreign language (and different accents) as being "sung". Still, in this case there may be some truth to that description, since Swedish is one of the few European languages with some tonal features.
  4. jimreilly

    jimreilly Senior Member

    American English
    Well, I'm more used to hearing Norwegian than Swedish (or I should say Norwegians, since there's so much variety) and I find Swedish a little less sung than Norwegian sometimes is. But nevertheless, Swedish sounds generally pleasant to me, if at times a little slow and careful sounding. Both Norwegian and Swedish are easier on my ears than Danish, which, although it has a certain gentleness at times, seems back-of-the-mouth sounding. I have to work so hard to catch what is being said! Icelandic?--lots of firm character in the sound, it makes me feel like maybe I could endure long, dark, winter nights too if I had such strength in my language! Or at least with a little alcohol to help!
  5. CrazyIvan Senior Member

    I did my exchange in Norway and lived in Scandinavia for one year. Therefore, I got a chance to compare all these three languages (Swedish, Danish and Norwegian/actually Bokmål because I stayed in Oslo mainly)from an outsider perspectives. I would like to share my experiences here...:) ( and these are only my personal feeling..)

    I found that Norwegian cannot stop singing, and that is actually why I found this language attracting. As some people in this thread pointing out, Swedish is quite low and peaceful, with rather flat intonation. And Danish is kind of strong and rough in a way.

    I guess we Asian languages have quite different pronounciation system compared to Western languages....and it is fun for me during my exchange to be an outsider and just listen to the way people speaks. :D
  6. Ana Raquel

    Ana Raquel Senior Member

    For me is soft, tranquil, non-articulated, I mean, I don't differenciate the words, the vowels, a soft flow just interrupted by what Outsider pointed out: high note, low note. Listening to it is pleasant.
  7. hsam

    hsam Senior Member

    Nr. London
    British English
    Thankyou for viewing my post and I have no objection to a bit of threadjacking its such an interesting topic area!
    Anyway I have to admit I completely disagree with Ana Raquel I have always thought it was very up-down up-down like a rollercoaster and generally happy sounding.
    I realise that was a ludicrously appalling reply but there you are. I don't think I've heard it enough and am therefore qualified to make a fuller reply.

    Happy "foruming"!!

  8. barkley04

    barkley04 Senior Member

    arabic tunisia
    I heard, one day near the swedish embassy in tunis, a swedish couple speaking and their language looked like the icelandic one, after all my conclusion was the following: i percieved it as a language of macho like german,danish and the slavic languages.
  9. emma42 Senior Member

    North East USA
    British English
    Yes, soft and gentle and "high note, low note". This is almost purely from Sven Goran Eriksson! It sounds lovely to me. The way you might talk softly to a child.
  10. barkley04

    barkley04 Senior Member

    arabic tunisia
    He is as soft as his tactics who led "the three lions" to a defeat against the portuguese.
  11. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Praha (Prague)
    magyar (Hungarian)
    I like how Nordic languages sound...but I am not in love with them.... :)

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