Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Jag lärde mig engelska från TV
The Swedes speak excellent English. Occasionally you might run into someone who has a really limited ability but they are few and far between. I had always assumed they learned it in school. But that still left me wondering how they got so fluent.
The answer I always get is - television. Swedish TV, like most other foreign countries, is many times bought from the American market. However, what is different, unlike other countries, they do not overdub the voices in Swedish. They leave the original audio and have Swedish subtitles.
That, mixed with the English they do learn in their studies, makes them have incredible fluency with the language. Typically they can move in and out of languages with ease. Signs and advertisements are commonly in English to the point where there has been some talk at the legislative level of limiting the amount of English used in that capacity.
I have also learned a few things about the Swedish dialects. Some Swedes, when you speak with them, will do a sort of, unnerving at first, "sharp intake of air" (as it is described). Almost the noise you might make when you see someone get hurt or watch something unpleasant. Typically, it is a gesture of agreement. A strange sort of "yes, aha, I see".
Some Swedes tell me this is a red neck trait. Which is funny because many of the people I hear do it are not anywhere in the realm of red-neckdom. I have noticed, though, someone may not do it when you initially speak to them but as they grow more comfortable with you it will begin to assert itself into the conversation.
I have also noticed it is habit forming. Sometimes, I must admit, my kids and I imitate it and it takes us a while to stop.
Additionally, I have learned that the more desirable accent to have is what has been described to me as a more southernly accent. I should preface this by saying I find Swedish to be a nice sounding language for the most part. Except for this accent. It is a throaty, maybe Pee Wee Herman sounding...oh, I'd go so far as to say Julia Child's sounding kind of thing. It is really not attractive. I am told it is some remnant of Danish which travelled northward and into the Swedish language.
I am still learning Swedish, at a snails pace because the urgency is not there. When I lived in Bremen, you either asked for it in German or you did not get it. Sink or swim language training, more efficient than Rosetta Stone.
Posted by kmbr at 4:28 AM