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Languages, accents, dialects an' t'ing


mjmooney
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20 minutes ago, El Zen said:

What do you want to know? 

How varied are the local accents and dialects, as compared with those in the UK? 

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1 minute ago, bickster said:

Why can Danes understand Swedes but Swedes can't understand Danes

I’m far from convinced all Danes understand Swedish, but Danish is notoriously difficult for outsiders (including Norwegians, I can say from experience) to decipher because spoken Danish is extremely vowel-heavy. Swedish and especially Norwegian is far less so. I guess that could explain it.

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5 minutes ago, El Zen said:

I’m far from convinced all Danes understand Swedish, but Danish is notoriously difficult for outsiders (including Norwegians, I can say from experience) to decipher because spoken Danish is extremely vowel-heavy. Swedish and especially Norwegian is far less so. I guess that could explain it.

The languages written down are fairly similar though, is that right?

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, bickster said:

The languages written down are fairly similar though, is that right?

Yes. Very much so. Written Norwegian is basically modified Danish. 

Edited by El Zen
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1 hour ago, mjmooney said:

How varied are the local accents and dialects, as compared with those in the UK? 

Norway is extremely diverse in terms of dialects. I’d say at least as many variants as Britain, but a fraction of the population. Some dialects are extemely difficult for outsiders. Both grammar, vocabulary and phonology can vary a lot. 

I’m not as comfortable answering for Sweden and Denmark, but Sweden certainly has very distinct regional accents and in Denmark you’ll definitely hear a noticable difference between i.e. a Copenhagen accent and a Juteland accent. But I think Norway is the more dialect diverse country of the three. Denmark probably the least. 

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2 hours ago, bickster said:

Why can Danes understand Swedes but Swedes can't understand Danes

I am from Skåne which used to be East Denmark. I understand Danes fine and they understand me. I have harder to understand Norwegian and some Swedes don't understand me. 

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19 minutes ago, El Zen said:

The Skåne dialect is really f***ing strange 😅

and to explain it; two vowels of a diphthong are in one syllable. Skåne dialect is with three vowels in many cases; a triftong. Cant find a English translation.

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32 minutes ago, NoelVilla said:

and to explain it; two vowels of a diphthong are in one syllable. Skåne dialect is with three vowels in many cases; a triftong. Cant find a English translation.

Which examplifies its close relation to the absolute tsunami of vowel sounds that is spoken Danish. That and the gutteral r they have in common. I love the Skåne dialect, I really do, but it’s certainly really f***ing strange 😁

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Posted (edited)

Thanks, guys, this is interesting. I watch a lot of the Scandi TV crime dramas (with English subtitles, obviously), and I have this odd feeling that I can sort of understand a little of both the Swedish and Norwegian ones, but the Danish seems more impenetrable. Quite a few of them (The Bridge, Beck, etc.) feature characters from two or more of the countries, and there does seem to be a lot of piss-taking about each other's accents. 

Edited by mjmooney
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I knew a guy at uni whose girlfriend was Norwegian who, when speaking English, had an utterly bizarre accent. She spoke perfectly good English, but her accent was this weird mix of almost like, Essex bimbo, crossed with Californian surfer stoner, with the tone and rhythm of the stereotypical 'Scandi' accent. She was lovely though.

I also knew a girl from Finland on my course who basically had the classic Transatlantic accent when speaking English, which was weird. She was also **** terrifying. If there could ever be a realistic version of the classic female spy assassin, it was her. Very pretty, utterly ruthless, completely intimidating.

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Born in Stockholm, lived there for 30 years and I'm now in my 15th year as a Skåne-påg. Still talk like a inner city capitalist but have adopted some of the southern traits, especially the short "ja" when agreeing to something. On thing that hasn't changed is my urge to murder when I hear the posh-speak of Djursholm/Danderyd/Lidingö. Even more so from people who don't live there.

I do pretty well with the Danes if they talk slowly, and vice versa since I myself is as fast talker. Norway is either a piece of piss or utterly impossible depending on the region of the person. It's a minefield.

 And a shoutout to the "shhppp" of the far north

 

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9 minutes ago, Tegis said:

Oh, and the Finns might as well be Russian, there isn't a single word or phrase that can be deciphered from that

Yep. They don’t count. 

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1 hour ago, mjmooney said:

Thanks, guys, this is interesting. I watch a lot of the Scandi TV crime dramas (with English subtitles, obviously), and I have this odd feeling that I can sort of understand a little of both the Swedish and Norwegian ones, but the Danish seems more impenetrable. Quite a few of them (The Bridge, Beck, etc.) feature characters from two or more of the countries, and there does seem to be a lot of piss-taking about each other's accents. 

I love parodying other Norwegian dialects, but also Swedish dialects and especially Danish in general. Danish is objectively ridiculous. That’s just science fact. 

 

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4 hours ago, El Zen said:

Yes. Very much so. Written Norwegian is basically modified Danish. 

Nynorsk eller bokmål?

2 hours ago, mjmooney said:

Thanks, guys, this is interesting. I watch a lot of the Scandi TV crime dramas (with English subtitles, obviously), and I have this odd feeling that I can sort of understand a little of both the Swedish and Norwegian ones, but the Danish seems more impenetrable. Quite a few of them (The Bridge, Beck, etc.) feature characters from two or more of the countries, and there does seem to be a lot of piss-taking about each other's accents. 

As an English speaker learning Norwegian I'm always surprised at the amount of crossover between Norwegian and English. It's a north germanic language while English is a mix of Latin and north germanic. The accent of saying the ø and words like tur sounds just like someone from Yorkshire, unsurprisingly, given the Viking roots.

You have so many Norwegian words that sound like an English word but not a direct translation e.g. kjopper for buy (Shopper). Butikken - the shop (boutique). Bland - mix (blend). Må - must/should (must). Ting - thing. At - that. Hund - dog (hound). Gris - pig (fat, grease?). Almost every word you can make a link to English or Latin or germanic in some way. I find it fascinating and love learning it. Jeg elsker å lære det.

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Oh and Norwegian makes such perfect logical sense.

Every verb ends in 'er'

Husk - remember

Husker - verb of remembering

Du - you

Du husker - you are remembering

Husker du? - do you remember?

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7 hours ago, El Zen said:

I’m far from convinced all Danes understand Swedish, but Danish is notoriously difficult for outsiders (including Norwegians, I can say from experience) to decipher because spoken Danish is extremely vowel-heavy. Swedish and especially Norwegian is far less so. I guess that could explain it.

Great thread. No, not all Danes understand Swedish, and neither (in my experience) do all Swedes understand Danish... I spent some years working for a multi-national company, and whenever only Danes and Norwegians were present, we got along speaking our own language at each end. Likewise for a Swedish/Norwegian gathering. When all three countries were present the conversation was in English.

I once suggested for a Danish colleague that the difference between standard Norwegian and standard Danish was the Danish *very* soft consonants. He just smiled and replied: "Consonants? What consonants?"

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6 hours ago, El Zen said:

Norway is extremely diverse in terms of dialects. I’d say at least as many variants as Britain, but a fraction of the population. Some dialects are extemely difficult for outsiders. Both grammar, vocabulary and phonology can vary a lot. 

I’m not as comfortable answering for Sweden and Denmark, but Sweden certainly has very distinct regional accents and in Denmark you’ll definitely hear a noticable difference between i.e. a Copenhagen accent and a Juteland accent. But I think Norway is the more dialect diverse country of the three. Denmark probably the least. 

A fraction of the population, to be sure, but it's also about distance and ease of travel... 50 years ago, the four quadrants of the 164 square miles-sized island where I grew up had four easily recognizeable dialects.

Edited by TB
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