https://www.duolingo.com/Tehed

Swedish pronunciation

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3OxCRTg8iE

This could be me right now! :D Sorry, I had to post this. I still have tears in my eyes from laughing. I love how he just surrenders at the 3rd or 4th sentence. Of course I gave up even seeing the first sentence!

But let's get to the point...

I still have quite some difficulties with Swedish pronunciation. The TTS isn't bad, but for some sounds, I'd like a "formal" explanation. For instance, I didn't learn the English "th" sound until someone told me to put my tongue between my teeth. That's just how I learn, I'm afraid.

In particular those are the things that trouble me:

  • "r" - I'm not sure if it's rolled on the tip of the tongue or produced in the back near the palate. I can't really tell from the TTS.

  • "g" - I know, it's pronounced like an "i" (or German "j") after an "r", but there are other times too, aren't there? Take for example "Göteborg" - I think it's pronounced "Jötebori" with a "tch"-sound in the beginning. Is that correct?

  • "k" - well, something like "kvinnan" is straight forward. But what about "kött"? Is that the same sound you'd use for the first "g" in "Göteborg"? It sounds similar to me, but I'm really not sure.

  • "sj" - The elephant in the room. There is no such thing in English, but maybe there are some German speakers here in the Swedish section as well. Is the "sj" sound similar to the German "ch" in "nicht" or "Mädchen"?

If you do have links or further info when it comes to the Swedish pronunciation, I'd greatly appreciate that. Even better, if they also provide phonetic language or an explanation how the sound is produced.

Thanks a lot, guys! You're awesome.

Best,

Christian

June 10, 2015

10 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Arnauti

Did you see Blehg's helpful videos? Link to an overview of them here: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/6502614
There are some more links here: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/5892805

June 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Tehed

Thank you for the links!

I have seen the second one, but didn't see the first one with the videos. I'll make sure to have a look at them :)

[Edit]

Ok, I finally had time to look into Blehg's videos. This is bloody brilliant! Really good explanations! I especially like the many parallels that he draws to other languages so that you get some kind of reference how something is pronounced.

June 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/landsend

I found http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swedish_phonology very helpful for single sounds.

June 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Tehed

This is really great. Thanks a lot for that link!

June 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/lumisade

That video is hilarious!!! Thanks for posting. :D

This video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtpbB5-kA_0 video taught me how to pronounce the "k" in "kött".

The "sj" sound doesn't exist in German. I think it's like a German "sch" but with the tongue a little farther back in the mouth. That's how I pronounce it, but a Swedish native speaker might have a better explanation :D

June 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Tehed

Great video, thanks a lot!

And yes, we don't have exactly that sound in German. I was just looking for some kind of reference that I can compare the "sj" to. It's just how I learn things. If the soft "ch" or "sch" are closer... well, I don't really know :)

June 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/skalpadda

The sh/sj/sk/stj/skj/sch/ch/tj/k/kj (and on it goes...) sounds and spellings are a bit of a nightmare and the only way I know of to really get it right is learning each sound and mapping it to the correct spellings. On the upside, getting it wrong is unlikely to make you difficult to understand, it'll just sound like a foreign accent, so from a utility perspective I don't think it should be a top priority.

R is pronounced differently depending on accent, from a harsher "Scottish" r-sound in Gothenburg to guttural French r-sounds in Skåne and a softer, almost English r-sound in Stockholm. The most "standard" pronunciation is a rolled R, but shorter and less exaggerated than you get in Spanish.

G can be "hard" or "soft". The hard version is simple enough and the soft is the same as the standard Swedish j-sound and is usually used when the g comes before a soft vowel (e i y ä ö) as in gärna, gift, or geting. It also uses the soft sound when it comes after the letter r, so Göteborg is pronounced exactly the same as if you spelled it Jöteborj. To make matters a little more complicated there are also a few cases where it's pronounced the same as "sk" or "sj"; compare for example genant or generös with sked, sjö or skjorta.

K, like g, can be soft or hard and the soft (tj) pronunciation is used when it comes before a soft vowel, as in kött, kittla, kärlek or kyckling.

Sj is one of the many spellings of what we call the "sj-ljud" and is pronounced the same no matter what variant spelling is used (and I have no idea if there are any rules about what spelling to use where). Sjö, stjärna, skinka, skjorta, shorts, generande, choklad and schablon all start with the same sound and you come across it in other places as well, such as words ending in "tion" or "sion" - station, diskussion.

It is not the same sound as German ch or sch, but many Germans use it and it's perfectly intelligible, so if you're not worried about having an accent it's not a huge deal.

Personally, if I was to lean Swedish I'd focus first and foremost on getting the hard and soft vowel sounds (a o u å - e i y ä ö) and their long and short versions right, as those matter for every single word you say and English speakers especially tend to get lost and inject diphthongs that don't belong in Swedish words at all.

June 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Hashmush

Sj is one of the many spellings of what we call the "sj-ljud" and is pronounced the same no matter what variant spelling is used (and I have no idea if there are any rules about what spelling to use where). Sjö, stjärna, skinka, skjorta, shorts, generande, choklad and schablon all start with the same sound and you come across it in other places as well, such as words ending in "tion" or "sion" - station, diskussion.

Not everywhere in Sweden. Some dialects still pronounce stj- and sk- differently. All of these different spellings had different sound values before they merged to the same sound. Like lj- with j- and dj- with j-.

The realization of the sj-sound also varies a lot in Sweden. Take a look at this wikipedia article for more info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sj-sound

Regarding g- being pronounced with a sj-sound. I think that's only for French loanwords.

June 11, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Tehed

Wow, thanks a lot for this detailed answer.

I immediately see some mistakes I made. E.g. I only knew the rule about "g after r" but not the rule about "g before a soft vowel". Now that pronunciation makes a lot more sense. And I gotta put more focus on the soft vowels, as you said.

June 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Cat60684

I am Scottish learning Swedish, some of the pronunciations are very nice for me because I use them when I speak..I love the harsh R, the sound when saying och is exactly the same in Scots as we use it to say "ochster" which mean underarms..we say druik which means wet, I could go on but they sound exactly the same..

June 16, 2015
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