A question about Swedish accents


I was told once that in the north of Sweden accents or maybe dialects can sound not as soft as the way people speak in Stockholm. Is it really so? It would probably make such an accent easier for me.

In case this is true does anyone know any source of podcasts from such a region? Maybe a radio station?

Thanks for reading this.

September 17, 2016


The different dialects of Swedish can indeed sound very different!

Sorry I can't help you with finding specific radio stations (but you could try googling names of northern Swedish cities and the word radio to find local stations that may broadcast online), but I can't stop myself from promoting the wonderful Moomin videos on YouTube which are spoken in my own dialect, standard southern finlandssvenska: I've been told this is easier for many learners to get the hang of than many dialects from Sweden. I hope you can access the videos from your country.

September 17, 2016

Thank you! Swedish language from Finland is an interesting case in itself and is definitely worth listening. My ear is still untrained but I hear that R is pronounced clearer. This usually makes an accent more preferable for me.

Are there still people in Finland who feel more comfortable speaking Swedish than Finnish?

I mentioned radio because I like audio podcasts which I can listen while doing just about anything. Sveriges Radio is what I use for Swedish in such case but I think it was all the same pronunciation. You gave me an idea to try to check their website for local casts from other cities than Stockholm :)

September 17, 2016

Oh gosh, yes, there are! We Swedish speakers go to school in Swedish, often have hobbies where you interact with other Swedish speakers, tend to marry each other, etc. Where I live, Swedish speakers tend to learn Finnish at the latest by late childhood (outside of school -- we all know studying a language at school is not always the same as learning it...), but there are (small) areas in Finland where people really don't know Finnish because the last they heard of it was at school, and their whole lives are lived in Swedish. (Then there are of course also the Åland Islands, where only Swedish is official and where Finnish isn't even an obligatory subject at school.)

September 17, 2016

You are the first such person I am talking to so stay cool ;) The first time I noticed something about Swedish in Finland was when I saw all the streets’ names in two languages. I liked it because I could understand some words as similar to what I know. But I never knew any native Swedish speakers.

Sounds a bit like Belgium except that they are divided more like 60%x40%.

I’m glad you wrote it because it was relatively easy to find a radio source of Finland Swedish with podcasts and everything I am used to - Svenska Yle. I have already tried it and I like the sound of it. I wonder if it’s the same dialect.

What would you say about the pronunciation in this program:

September 17, 2016

We're so unknown -- even many Finnish speakers in Finland have odd ideas about us being somehow Swedish or only speaking Swedish to try to be special, that I get very excited if someone is interested knowing about us. X-)

It is very much like Belgium...except for the balance, as you mentioned. Also, there isn't the kind of official language border as in Belgium: every municipality is officially either mono- or bilingual, whereas the country as a whole (except for the previous mentioned Åland) is bilingual. Some really Swedish bits are quite close to some really Finnish bits, and within a certain city you can also have some parts that are much more one or the other. And of course large parts are simply Finnish speaking in practice.

Yup, Yle is pretty good, although I don't know how much of the programming can be accessed from abroad. I'm normally not old enough to listen to Radio Vega (and not young enough to listen to Radio X3M...). :-p The people speaking on Naturväktarna do indeed sound very much like the standard finlandssvenska I was talking about, although they do seem to represent different parts of the country (from googling them). You don't hear as many different dialects of Finnish or Swedish on Yle as you hear on Swedish media in Sweden -- I assume it's a conscious decision by someone.

September 18, 2016

What you say about every municipality being officially either mono- or bilingual reminds me of what I have read about Norway and their Bokmål-Nynorsk duality with the exception that Swedish and Finnish are two very different languages unlike Bokmål and Nynorsk. (Which makes the struggle between the two versions of the same language look artificial but this thread is not about Norway…)

The fact that Swedish is official not only in Sweden but in Finland too is among the reasons why I would like to learn this language before other Scandinavian ones. And learning Swedish is the reason why I have joined Duolingo in the first place :) So I’m glad that you guys are out there :D

Those radio programs can be boring for native speakers and I don’t know the difference between Radio Vega and Radio X3M yet (maybe I should give it a try too :P ) but it’s not as much about the meaning for me right now for I can only catch some words and figure out the subject in general as it is about how the language sounds combined with an accent, the sound of a particular voice, manner of speaking, speed of speaking and the quality of an audio file :) It’s a kind of easy listening for me right now :D

As for your concerns about availability of something - I can watch the cartoon you have provided and I could access every podcast I have tried on Svenska Yle so far.

Right now I also like listening to this program: I understand that the subject is tragic but she seems to speak slower and clearer, the overall quality of the podcast is good with music and additional sound effects and it happened rather a long time ago. I will appreciate any of your comments on pronunciation.

September 20, 2016

The event took place in Österbotten and the reporter herself seems to either reside there or maybe originate from there. And I read that the dialect there is not always mutually intelligible with other forms of Swedish so this program is probably not the best example...

It won’t be possible anymore to reply directly to this comment. You can always reply anew directly to my original message.

September 21, 2016

I had never heard of this event before! But I wasn't living in Finland when it happened, so maybe that's why.

Unfortunately, I have only had time to listen to a little bit of the program so far, but the way the narrator is speaking is indeed very clear and almost standard finlandssvenska. She only sounds very vaguely österbottnisk. Österbotten does have some dialects which are, when spoken in their pure form, incomprehensible to pretty much anyone outside of the area, but you wouldn't hear those on the radio anyway (unless it was a special program about dialects). Most people who speak these change their pronunciation and vocabulary when they speak to people from other regions (others don't, to make a point). Someone once told me that they found nynorsk very easy to follow because of it's likeness (in some ways, of course not in all) to these dialects!

September 21, 2016

Unless you live in the same city you can only hear about it in the media and at that point it doesn’t matter anymore whether you are in Finland or abroad :)

Thank you for your reaction! It means that I can continue with listening to that podcast.

I have noticed the difference between the faces at the pictures on Radio Vega and Radio X3M. And I have noticed now that some subjects are closed for access from abroad.

September 21, 2016

And as already discussed in this thread, Swedish speaking Finland is tiny (although there are great geographic and cultural distances involved). So word does get around.

I probably followed Finnish media more back then, though, than I do know, although I now live in Finland. The world and especially the use of media has become more fragmented since then...

September 27, 2016

Yes, I forgot about 'your' Finland being even smaller :)

September 27, 2016

Unless you live in the same city you can only hear about it in the media

I guess you don't live in a small (in terms of population) country? :-)

September 26, 2016

Your guess is correct :) It's much bigger compared to Finland.

September 27, 2016

The all-famous Sveriges Radio definitely has region-specific stations, so you can listen to Norrbotten's specific station to get a grasp on the accent. Although if you prefer pop music, you should best stick with P3 (Stockholm) as the region specific channels seem partial to... older music?

September 17, 2016

Yes, thank you. P4 Norrbotten seems to be the closest to what I originally meant. Except that I can’t find anything meant for download there. This is less handy for me but I can deal with it in other ways.

Music can be very helpful but I prefer to keep it apart from radio programs. Maybe I can check it as a source of something new.

September 17, 2016

The podcasts are available for download if you use SR's app.

September 18, 2016

Seriously? Unfair. Many of their other pages simply have a “Ladda ner” button but not this one. At least not for the interviews they have there, which seem to be the most interesting.

September 19, 2016

In U.S. it works.... poor Mumin looked like a purple Gollum.

September 17, 2016

Thank you, but it’s wwwaaayyy too advanced for me now :) It still made me smile though :)

September 17, 2016

I live in Luleå and all my teachers were northerners so that's the Swedish I learned. When I hear people from other parts of the country, especially anything from Uppsala and southwards, I can pick up lots of differences. The most important difference for me is SPEED and how they pronounce the R. Most northerners are considerably slower and have a clear, almost rolled, R.

The further south you go, the faster most people seem to speak, and for me, the Skåne and Småland dialects are the most difficult to understand. Of course, like with any language, enough practice will make it easy. But if you're looking for a starting point or a dialect that can ease you into the language, I would recommend Norrbotten/Västerbotten.

September 20, 2016

Thank you! This confirms what I heard and it might become my favorite accent in Sweden. I tend to like clearer R if a language allows it. It’s also easier for me to recognize it in pronunciation. Not to mention that speed is always a sensitive issue for any learner. The more I like how a language sounds, the more enjoyable it can become to learn it. I like listening to such examples of real speech even without understanding much until I learn more.

I will pay close attention to audios I can find from the north of the country and first of all from Norrbotten.

More standard pronunciation will still find its way through anyway as a part of nearly any official learning material available to me so far.

September 20, 2016

Lycka till!

September 20, 2016

The pronunciation you just recommended is the one i was told to follow too. Hopefully, gonna study in Gothenburg in a year :)

October 26, 2016

1.Swedish dialects in Finland

Lyssna på talspråk | Svenska litteratursällskapet i Finland rf.

Explanation: Choose a place from the map. Under the map you get a square with a lot of blue texts "LYSSNA" = listen. Chose one. You will hear somebody talking in the dialect. You can read the what is said both in the dialect and in translation to ordinary Swedish. If you want another place, go back to the map and take "TILLBAKA" = back

2.The Finnish-Swedish radiostation

December 24, 2016

Thank you! Dialects remain way too difficult for me :-) Still I can notice the difference between the two written examples.

December 26, 2016

Even native speakers of ordinary Swedish have difficulties with dialects, especially those from Österbotten

December 27, 2016
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