Pronunciation of stjärnorna in a song
In the song Fråga stjärnorna, Cajsastina Åkerström is pronouncing stjärnorna differently than I've heard elsewhere. Is it only a matter of variations in the pronunciation of the sj-sound? Or is there something different happening here?
Cajstastina's pronunciation sounds like the Standard Swedish pronunciation to me as well. There are actually (at least) three ways to pronounce the sje-sound and the girl in your video seems to use the one which is close to the German ach-laut.
The third one is to pronounce "sj" like the English "sh"-sound and is used mainly in Northern Sweden. Personally, I think this is the most beautiful pronunciation, if you are from the northern parts that is, else it could sound fake or unnatural.
CajsaStina sounds right to me. Perhaps a little weakly pronounced. I'd think it's a matter of training your ears to get it.
Do you know if there's a reason why Swedish people thought it would be a good idea to pronounced "skj" as "hwy" when they were developing their language? The pronunciation confuses me so much lol.
I wonder why it isn't closer to German.
It has to do with sound changes over the last five hundred years. The spellings were, hundreds of years ago, actually pronounced the way they're spelled. Over time, many of these consonant clusters (and K before soft vowels) changed into the sje and tje sounds of today.
In 1906 the Swedish language went through a spelling reform, but it dealt primarily with spelling V and T, abolishing hv/fv/dt spellings. The countless ways the Swedish language of today uses to spell the sje and tje is the woe of many of those who try to learn the language, and even native schoolchildren have to spend time learning the respective spellings of words.
Curiously, up until the second world war, there was a small but notable Swedish-speaking minority in western Estonia, whose Swedish had not gone through all these changes. Consequently they still pronounced TJ as /tj/ for example. After WW2 though, these Swedes were expelled and today only a few hundred remain.
There is considerable variation how it’s pronounced. For me it’s a labialised velar fricative, but it might not be the same for everyone. Before back vowels it’s sometimes just a velar fricative where I’m from.