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Is Swedish difficult to understand ?

  Tags: Swedish
 Language Learning Forum : Questions About Your Target Languages Post Reply
29 messages over 4 pages: 1 2 3
Medulin
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Croatia
Joined 3143 days ago

1199 posts - 2192 votes 
Speaks: Croatian*, English, Spanish, Portuguese
Studies: Norwegian, Hindi, Nepali

 
 Message 25 of 29
22 December 2013 at 12:18pm | IP Logged 
montmorency wrote:
What Iversen calls the sad story regarding Danmark and Sweden may be more to do with
people not perceiving a neighbouring country which seems to be very similar, as being
exotic enough to be worth spending much time and effort over, than a question of
language.


But language differences should not be underestimated, especially pronunciation.
Written Norwegian Bokmaal and written Danish are almost the same (95-98%) yet
mutual comprehension is much lower than that, as in the case of European Spanish
and Continental Portuguese (Spaniards are poor at understanding spoken European
Portuguese).

Edited by Medulin on 22 December 2013 at 12:19pm

2 persons have voted this message useful



eyðimörk
Triglot
Senior Member
France
goo.gl/aT4FY7
Joined 2574 days ago

490 posts - 1157 votes 
Speaks: Swedish*, English, French
Studies: Breton, Italian

 
 Message 26 of 29
22 December 2013 at 2:04pm | IP Logged 
Medulin wrote:
Overall, I'm quite satisfied with my oral comprehension of Swedish.
Most Swedes seem to speak the standard language in public,
although with a local accent, and no weird dialects
(in which vocabulary and morphology is different,
as frequent in Norwegian) are heard.

I think this is an excellent point. Educated or urban speakers will usually attempt to standardise their speech whenever speaking to strangers or people who don't share their dialect. I learned how to do this at home, just hearing my father speak differently on the phone during work calls (clients and the national office) than during personal calls (my family has rural lower working class roots). Most learners won't run into a lot of truly heavy dialect.


Here's a fun video showing the difference (more for the advanced learners, or people wanting to be seriously put off from learning Swedish). They speak with a "local accent" most of the time, except for one attempt at making fun of northerners and another almost Danish grammatical construction that you sometimes find in southern Sweden ("den lilla julafton")... but they are teaching you some dialect words.
2 persons have voted this message useful



drygramul
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Italy
Joined 2943 days ago

165 posts - 269 votes 
Speaks: Persian, Italian*, EnglishC2, GermanB2
Studies: French, Polish

 
 Message 27 of 29
24 December 2013 at 4:07pm | IP Logged 
I started exposing myself to Swedish less than a week ago, with a great deal of discouragement for the spoken language. Additionally I chatted with an ethnic swede of the States that's just at a B1 level after two years and a half of studying the language, so that kinda put me down.
Now, watching a couple of movies with Swedish subtitles and a rudimentary vocabulary, I can already grasp some sentences and the general meaning, and my ear is getting tuned. I guess that's thanks both to English - which looks very close in grammar too - and previous exposure to German (I had a basic vocabulary of about 500 words at most).

However, when they speak fast, or, as I assume, have a different accent, it's still hard to link what you hear to what you see (subtitles). I wonder if learning to hear and understand will be enough to talk. How did other self-students get to talk and at what point?
1 person has voted this message useful



tarvos
Super Polyglot
Winner TAC 2012
Senior Member
China
likeapolyglot.wordpr
Joined 3182 days ago

5310 posts - 9398 votes 
Speaks: Dutch*, English, Swedish, French, Russian, German, Italian, Norwegian, Mandarin, Romanian, Afrikaans
Studies: Greek, Modern Hebrew, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Korean, Esperanto, Finnish

 
 Message 28 of 29
25 December 2013 at 12:12pm | IP Logged 
By talking. No one is stopping you from opening your mouth. I learned words, then started
using them when I thought I could use them (which was after a couple months in my case).
I took some online tutoring and developed it.

Talking and writing is the easiest thing to practice because all you have to do is open
your mouth and try.
3 persons have voted this message useful



eyðimörk
Triglot
Senior Member
France
goo.gl/aT4FY7
Joined 2574 days ago

490 posts - 1157 votes 
Speaks: Swedish*, English, French
Studies: Breton, Italian

 
 Message 29 of 29
25 December 2013 at 1:30pm | IP Logged 
drygramul wrote:
However, when they speak fast, or, as I assume, have a different accent, it's still hard to link what you hear to what you see (subtitles).

Beware that, regardless of the language, subtitles don't always match the spoken language. Sometimes the subtitles appear to be transcription, sometimes the subtitles appear to be standardised to proper written language with written, rather than spoken, grammar.

Subtitles for the hard of hearing are bad enough, but subtitles get completely useless when you're learning with dubbed media. You get the dubbing, which is one person's approximation of the original, working with certain time constraints, and then you get the subtitles which are another person's approximation of the original working with completely different constraints. :P

I'm not saying you shouldn't use subtitles, but if when you've studied for some time you still can't get the text and the sound to match up it might not be you OR the language...


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