Videos about Swedish
Many of you have already encountered my videos in Arnauti's sticky, but I thought I'd introduce them properly here.
I recently started a project making video lectures about languages and various humanistic subjects, and thus far my main focus has been on Swedish.
I have made 11 videos about Swedish, shown below. I've listed them in the order I'd recommend watching them for someone with no prior knowledge, but they can all be viewed independently of each other.
Introduction to the Swedish Language
A general introduction to the Swedish language.
The Swedish Vowels, Part 1: Preparations
A video introducing concepts needed to better understand the Swedish vowels as presented in part 2.
The Swedish Vowels, Part 2: The Sounds
The Swedish vowels explained.
The tj sound
Explains what the Swedish tj sound is, how it is pronounced, and how it is spelled.
The SJ Sound, Part 1: Pronunciations
Explains what the SJ sound is, its variations, and how they are pronounced.
The SJ Sound, Part 2: Usage
Explains how the various SJ sounds are used in words, and how they vary across dialects.
The SJ Sound, Part 3: Spelling
Goes through all possible spellings of the SJ sound, and where to expect them.
Predicting Swedish Vowel Length
Introduction to spelling rules and how to tell when the vowel in a word is long or short. Also introducing and explaining consonant length.
Understanding the Swedish Pitch Accent
Presentation of the Swedish pitch accent, or, how Swedish distinguishes skotten 'the gunshots' from skotten 'the Scotsman' solely by accentuation.
Swedish Pitch Accent Revisited: Dialectal Variation
Presentation of how the pitch accent differs across the various dialectal regions of the Swedish speaking area.
The Swedish Alphabet
Presents the Swedish alphabet; what letters there are, how they are pronounced, and how they are declined. Also comments on the difference between letters and sounds.
Swedish Word Order: Basics
Presents the very basics of Swedish word order. You'll learn how to form basic statements and questions with one and two verbs, and you will also learn how to negate them.
I hope they can be of help to you and your studies! Feedback is welcome, and if you have suggestions or requests for further videos, feel free to tell me about them :)
OMG, I know I already raved to you the other day about how awesome your videos are, but I'm gonna rave again. I just watched the vowels ones. Thank you so much. I have a degree in German (it WAS a long time ago), including a linguistics paper, but you clarified so much in your short videos that I now feel like I finally understand many those things I could never get my head around at uni. I reckon you are a gifted teacher. Thank you for sharing your awesomeness with the duolingo world.
Thank you for making this! I hope all of these help discussions will end up in the Most Popular tab so that I can find them again easily in the future. Incase they don't, is there a way to ensure that the Team Swedish help discussions all show up together in a search? Maybe create a Code in the Title, such as [Swedish101] ? Just an idea. :)
A question: the difference in pronunciation of some of those 10 thousand vowel sounds can be very subtle at times, the same with some consonants, so I guess my questions is really how bad could things get in a real conversation with a native swedish speaker? is he really going to think I meant 'dust' instead of 'lady' (damm vs dam), or am I going to be undrestood (using the context and whatnot)? In any case, your videos are great and I'm alt-tabbing in and out of them constantly as I progress through the course, so thanks a lot. And finally a request: I'm struggling with the first sound at, say for example, "sköldpadda". Don't know what you call that. The duolingo female robot makes it sound almost like an "f" or something, it'd be great to have a video on that just as you have the "tj" sound. Thank you again for your time.
You're welcome! Generally you wouldn't have any major issues with being understood. Languages are kinda great in that way, that you don't need perfection to make it work :) There might be some problems at certain occasions, of course, but that's only natural. Context usually fixes most things!
I want to point one thing out though: When you say a vowel, it's a lot more important to get the length right, than the quality right. To use your example - the a in 'dam' and 'damm' has different qualities in the two words, as well as different lengths (/dɒːm/ vs /damː/). But if you only distinguished the quality /dɒm/ vs /dam/, that would be a lot harder for a Swedish speaker to parse, than if you used the same quality but made the length distinction clear: say /daːm/ vs /dam:/.
As for a video on the sj sound (which is what I'd call it :) ), it's in the works, but I can't really say when I'm going to have it done. The amount of time that I can set off to make videos is always varying :)
I'm sure I've been told that's the sj sound before, and yet to me it sounds subtly different when it appears in -ation words spoken by native speakers, so I never really quite believed that. Maybe I'm just imagining it. I can make a reasonably convincing sj sound, but I find it more challenging to make that sound in the middle of those words, and maybe that's what's going on - that the "gear change" your mouth has to make in the context of some words is what makes it seem to come out a little differently - perhaps it just has to be voiced a little more deliberately sometimes, if you know what I mean. Does that make any sense?
Definitely! I'm working on it, but it'll probably be a little while before I can publish anything :)
That description is not really accurate, no. I'd say that in Central Standard Swedish, <sj> is similar to a German ch/Spanish j (IPA /x/) but with significantly less friction (it's a lot "smoother", to use such a term), and possibly (depends on your German/Spanish...) produced slightly more to the front of the mouth (It's where you'd make a /k/). Many speakers also have lip-rounding to go with it, but I'd say that this isn't mandatory. The TTS, I think, has quite prominent lip-rounding, whereas I myself have only very weak lip rounding, if any at all.
Hopefully this description isn't too messy. That's unfortunately what tends to happen when you try to explain such an unusual sound briefly like this. As I said, I'm working on a more thorough video explanation :)
I'd also be interested in a video about the tendency to leave out letters in pronunciation, for examples in words like "ja(g)", "o(ch)", "de(n)", "de(t)", "me(d)", "nå(go)t", "nå(go)n", "tju(go)fyra", etc. And, while at it: also "weird" changes of pronunciation as in "de" (dom), "tjugo" (tjugi), etc.
It's definitely something I'd like to bring up at some point. Although I'm not sure I've ever encountered den being changed into de? Do you have an example of that?
Also, not sure if this is what you meant, but regarding the pronunciation of de/dem, I have made a video explaining how this discrepancy came to be, historically. It's available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ld9ieozJ-ws (it's in Swedish with English subtitles)