There are countless watercourses of very varying size in Sweden, and consequently there are a handful of words to refer to them. In a very rough fashion of small-to-large there are bäck, å, ström and älv/flod, but where one stops and the next applies may vary regionally.
It can be said quite safely, though, that en bäck is about the size of a ditch. You could probably jump over a bäck.
En å is quite hard to narrow down in explanation. It's a small river, definitely bigger than en bäck but not bigger than en älv (which isn't a very good explanation to non-natives, I know).
En ström is relatively infrequent and I won't go into depth on it here.
En älv is largely synonymous with en flod and it's what we'd call a river, but it's use is found mostly in the Northern 2/3 of Sweden. No Swedish river is called en flod in its Swedish name.
En flod can be used for rivers abroad, especially large ones.
Perhaps that is more than what you asked for but... I guess you'll just have to count yourself lucky to have asked a geographer. :p
No, that's awesome! That fully explains everything! And I love geography too, by coincidence!
En älv is used for river in Norden, en flod outside Norden. E.g. in Finland we have Kymmene älv.
Is there also a difference depending on where the rivers flows to? Like French fleuve (flows to the sea/to a lake) and rivière (flows to another river) - the only language I've heard (so far) which have specific terms for this.
Would it be possible to assume that the differences could be determined in terms of navigability – "en å" being bigger than "en bäck", but still impossible to navigate whereas "en älv/flod" is large or deep enough to navigate through?
Perhaps, but IMHO "en å" isn't necessarily navigable. The size of "en å" may vary locally.
Native speaker / former course contributor chiming in: the TTS is definitely screwing this up. I'll make a re-recording in a while and post it in the comments.
but there's a big TTS hiccup. It just sounds very unnatural. almost like 2 different "voice takes" were spliced together (obviously, that's not how tts works, but as a comparison/analogy)
phrases like this make swedish the most concise language i ve stumbled upon, more concise than even english
In English, to be technically accurate, a creek flows into the sea and a stream doesn't, though in Australia most people call all streams creeks wherever they flow.
The voice is not quite perfect on this sentence, as of April 14th, 2018, so I've taken the liberty of re-recording it.
I think this sentence is probably hard to hear normally, so with the voice meshing the vowels, the difficulty level goes even higher. :) I have made two recordings in a single file: the first is a little clearer, with the och fully pronounced, and the second which follows immediately is closer to how most natives would say it.
Please find a correct recording on http://duolingo.vydea.io/71a89a335b044dcf9959aa7b72061aed.mp3
For more info on re-recordings, please check the info thread: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/23723515
Thanks for listening. Ha en bra dag! :)
That is one of the most adorable landscapes I've ever seen. Imagine being there during summer, playing in the water and then climbing on that island to sunbathe. ^_^
yeah, including all the country mosquitoes :) The forests are full of mosquitoes. I was innocent once, until I sat down to rest in a forest. And to my wonder, my light coloured clothes changed to black. I still have PTSD :P