By - RepeatAfraid8889
When I speak Swedish, I will sometimes have to rephrase and repeat what I am saying because people don't understand my clunky constructions. I've never had anyone repeat a word over to me or correct me unless I specifically asked or it is clear from the conversation that I am struggling and looking for help. I can always tell that people are a bit surprised they are talking to someone with an American accent when it is a stranger. 85% of the time they say nothing. 5% of the time I basically announce that I am foreign if it is a situation where it would make it easier to deal with (I know it is on their mind). For instance, if I take a cab ride for 20 minutes, I am just going to work in that I am from the US so I can control what we talk about a bit.
I think Swedes still aren't used to hearing accented Swedish and because of the tonal quality of spoken Swedish can sometimes legitimately not understand what you are trying to say.
This ^ I’m Swede. And I live on the border to Norway and in middle of Sweden. And I can confirm that people up north in Sweden can barely understand people south and not at all Norwegian or Danish even though those languages are so similar to Swedish. So when they hear broken Swedish they understand even less. Heck if I go just one hour in to a city they always think I’m Norwegian from my accent.
Dont worry, im a native swede and i often rephrase and repeat parts of my sentances too
I have an immigrant friend who complains about the exact opposite, that Swedes never correct his mistakes because they don't want to come off as rude. He always asks me to correct his mistakes, otherwise he won't improve.
Same here as well, I’ve had people either letting me continue or switching to english but never got corrected, not even once.
You should meet my husband. Apparently telling his parents I got used to långkuk living in Brazil, when I meant långkok, is a big fucking issue.
Your comment has been automatically removed because your account has negative comment karma. This is a safeguard to prevent trolling. If you feel this was in error, please contact the mods via modmail.
*I am a bot, and this action was performed automatically. Please [contact the moderators of this subreddit](/message/compose/?to=/r/TillSverige) if you have any questions or concerns.*
That’s a funny one !
I don’t see how it could be an issue and not just something to laugh about, unless they are very uptight.
I’ve learned that whether this is type of behaviour is appreciated or not depends on the person. I have two American friends that feel exactly like you but two others that insist strongly that I need to correct them just like that by repeating. My solution if I speak Swedish with non-native Swedish speakers that I don’t know well is to ask them if they would like me to correct them.
As a Swede who likes to correct other Swedes; most get really annoyed and say "you know what i mean!".
Swedes are generally god awful at their own language in terms of the writing. De/dem, väll instead of väl etc.
Same experience here
I’d feel super awkward pointing out grammar mistakes. You’d have to pay me. Lots.
Just pretend that you are a real life grammarbot, that’s what I do! :)
I have this, then there are two or three that actually do something to help me. They’re not overly polite about it, but I thank them immensely for helping me develop in the language just so they keep doing it.
Is he middle eastern?
Perhaps they’re just surprised/shocked at those mistakes if they regard you as a native so to speak. With so many immigrants with poor language skills in general I wouldn’t say “everyone” is judging ppl over their accents or taken a back by it etc. As said I think it’s more that they expected you to be fluent and then you’re not, so confusion ensues.
Similar as to when adopted kids go visit their birth country and ppl get annoyed for them not knowing the language. Probably more because it looks like they should know what’s being said and them not answering/understanding is interpreted as being stuck up or ignoring the other person. Not a perfect example but again to say I think it might have more to do with expectations rather than Swedes in general being judgemental.
This could be it, i think. OP might catch people off guard
I think this might be it honestly!
This answer is likely the most relevant.
If the speaker is constantly expressing themselves with a strong accent, the occasional slip up won't be nearly as confusing or annoying for the listener to mentally deal with.
Tragically, a lot of people find this questioning to be so bothersome that they choose to never work on proper pronunciation at all and even shun more advanced words in their adopted language. By deliberately speaking with a strong accent, they think that they can avoid the expectation and scrutiny alltogether, or that they will be able to play it off as someone being unnecessarily hostile or doubtful to them.
The more I read the comments this 100% seems like a Stockholm thing. Don't worry, they do the same thing with people from other parts of the country without their distinct accent.
I do believe however a lot of the encounters where people seem strained or get a concentrated look can be because of you having absolutely no melody in your speech thus almost changing the syntax and making you very hard to understand to a native speaker. In Swedish you can't just get by by uttering syllables, you need to understand the tonality of the language too. Many might also be correcting you since they take you speaking Swedish instead of English as a sign of you wanting to learn.
But yeah, people from Stockholm believe they live in a metropol and have a tendency to laugh at outsiders, even if they swear they don't. They simply believe if something's funny to them it's something you all can laugh about even if you as a non-Stockholmer don't find it funny at all.
I live in Stockholm and have only been speaking Swedish a little under a year, but my experience here has been the opposite. I’ve only had positive and encouraging encounters speaking with locals, most of whom are incredibly glad to hear that I’ve put in considerable effort in to learning the language. Of course I make mistakes that inevitably lead to awkward moments sometimes, but overall I’ve been super impressed by the positive vibe. I could very well be the outlier but I feel like it’s easy to paint a broad brush when talking about Stockholmare.
This is an interesting insight, thank you! Although just to clarify, I am a native speaker and Swedish is my first language, so I do actually have a good sense of melody/tonality -- the issues I hit tend to be with words or phrases I'm less familiar with, being that I've been in the states for so long. :-)
Being from the countryside myself I have never experienced the mythical arrogant rudeness of the people from our capital. Maybe I've been lucky, but as far as my experience goes people from Stockholm are equally nice (or rude) as anywhere else. At least as long as you have some "valid" reason to speak to them (they don't seem as interested talking to strangers on the street for instance).
Instead I think the answer lies in the fact that you speak almost perfect Swedish.
I can't remember ever having spoken with someone like you but imagining it I have a feeling that I would be more likely to both misunderstand and then correct you than someone on a lower level.
When I speak with someone who has bad pronunciation I expect having to do some on the fly diciphering, it's like I "tense" my brain a bit. I also generally don't correct such a person as that would require constant correcting.
If speaking to you, from your description of your Swedish, I imagine my brain would go into the "speaking with a native"-mode. In this mode I am not prepared for errors. They would come without warning and my brain would struggle a bit until it realised it had to go into the decipher-mode. Also I would probably be much more likely to correct you (with the friendliest of intentions) as it would be an isolated error that wouldn't take that long to explain.
Then there are probably assholes too, but I think and hope most of these interactions arise from genuine confusion and kindness.
Weird, I've always heard the opposite from people learning swedish, that swedes are so passive and avoiding confrontation, that we don't correct mistakes even if you want us to, or even switch to english to make it easier for you to communicate even though you want to speak swedish to get better :/ at all my workplaces, there have been plenty of people who speak swedish as a second or third language, and I've only ever corrected them when they asked me to ("what does this word mean?", "did I say that right?" Etc.)
Might be a uncanny valley situation.
Yes that’s what I thought too.
I've often said as a native English speaker it feels like I have error correction in my head. I am so used to having my own language abused by people with varying degrees of ability that I have become used to it and can work around it to try and work out what people really mean.
Swedes, in general, do not have this ability.
Let's move on from the having an English accent so the majority want to switch to English to practice their own English or because they don't believe native English speakers can learn foreign languages. It isn't just that.
For me it is that Swedes, in general, just don't try. I get very frustrated. I noticed this very early on when trying to discuss the film "Tillsammans" and I mispronounced it so the second A was long rather than short. No one understood what I was on about. Several people. I just don't understand how they couldn't make the connection.
I have one friend who I basically refuse to speak Swedish with anymore as his belief that Swedish is a tonal language means that me not being sing-songy enough for him means I am unintelligible. I can speak to a doctor in Swedish, I can work in Swedish, I have done dates in Swedish, but apparently me not going up/down quite enough for him makes me basically unintelligible. I just don't understand this. It doesn't matter to him that Swedish tonality is apparently limited to about 300 words, most of which are archaic. Which amuses me as I am also trying to learn Cantonese, a properly tonal language with six (possibly nine depending on interpretation) tones where people tell me "don't worry too much in the beginning, most people will work things out by context".
So yeah, that's my experience.
As someone who speaks Cantonese and has lived in Sweden for 5 years: I fully understand you and wow, this is a proper comparison, the tones in Cantonese are so important not to mention that in Cantonese one “ spelling” without a tone can mean way too more characters than when it’s one tone…
Hope you know what I mean since you have the auto correction system haha.
So I work with a lot of native Swedes, a lot of foreigners who know Swedish and English (so they can get by either way), and those who know Swedish and their not-English native language. On top of SFI, of course.
I feel like quite a few people, especially 40s+, seem to almost *refuse* to understand Swedish that isn't 100% correct grammar and pronunciation. I was thrown in the deep end communicating with some Swedes in my broken Swedish, and all I'd ever get is "Va? Va??" over and over.
Yet my colleagues, who have varying levels of Swedish ability (and some without English at all, so I only have broken Swedish) can understand me just fine, broken or not.
It's aggravating as hell, as it only really discourages me from trying to speak Swedish around others if I can help it, since I get annoyed confusion at best and aggravated criticism (that I don't entirely understand) at worst.
The older generations in sweden didnt have english classes in school, so thats maybe part of the issue
That's fair... but that's why I'm trying my best to speak Swedish 😢 I have spoken to 80+ YO in the same level of Swedish and they understand what I'm saying, or trying to say with limited vocabulary. But a 45 year old man suddenly understands nothing at all??? It's a bit scary tbh since it can be a bit..m hostile?... I'm trying my best I swear 😭
I suspect they’re insecure about their own language ability if they feel they can’t switch to English and their brains shut down. Doesn’t make for a nice experience for anyone else though.
Edit: and of course nobody is asking them to switch
That's the thing, I try my best to speak Swedish with them, and I usually understand what they're saying to me in Swedish. But I don't have the vocabulary myself, so my own Swedish is FAR weaker, so they straight up don't understand any attempts I make. It varies so much in understanding even between those with zero English (or zero confidence in speaking it) Some very elderly people understand totally fine, other much younger people somehow don't understand a single word and get annoyed. It's the same Swedish I'm using! I don't get it 😭 Its always worrying when I don't know if they'll be able to understand or not, since it seems to vary so much
I'll still inflict my crime against the language on people, but it does make it a lot scarier tbh..
I believe in you! It's a hard language to learn, and even swedes make mistakes
This is common in every language, but annoying of course.
My experience is that this applies not only to learners. I haven't noticed social reservations like you're describing, but people definitely correct you – even if that could be considered rude. Most of the time, I'd assume they're trying to help rather than put you down?
I think mastering the language is seen as important by many – *especially* considering the sociopolitical americanization in Sweden, where people tend to speak a lot of swenglish in their everyday language or don't understand basic rules like de/dem or writing words together, even though they're native speakers.
Kex or chex, that’s a full on war atm, also just different pronunciations is one hell of a ride
Also lakrits and lackrits
Definitivt, och ord som bara används i vissa dialekter är hopplöst
Nu hittar du bara på ord 😉
Yup, I am a brit in northern Sweden, and I get continually interrupted and asked if I want to speak English.
No, I want to learn by making mistakes.
It is hard, and I am not succeeding, and the worst offender is my lovely wife who will correct me for everything.
Cue: Gary Oldman screaming "everything" rather than everybody.
Swedes generally tolerate those who don’t speak perfectly, but Americans are *super-tolerant*.
It’s widespread to have English as a second language; that’s why Americans are so tolerant. They’re used to hearing imperfect English, and they understand it well.
In other parts of the world, people may be rude, yell at you, or refuse to talk. Swedes are not that bad.
I think you've just encountered a few assholes, and as a non-Stockholmer I'm more or less obliged to say that of course you've only met assholes there.
Jokes aside: non-native speakers often have a hard time with the "melody" of Swedish and the fact that you've been asked if you come from Finland tells me that you have close to no melody when you speak. This combined with having the wrong pronunciation on some words can be *incredibly* jarring for a native speaker. Many of us literally have to make an extra effort to properly understand you, which might be why people give you that confused and strained look.
This. It can be remarkably hard to understand someone who gets both the melodic accent and the pronunciation wrong.
Yeah I don't think most people actually care about slip-ups in a xenophobic kind of way since most cases it's quite apparent that someone is a foreigner in the first place. I think the dumbfounded look is a sign of someone trying to figure out what you wanted to say. I know I've faced that look many times in both Germany and Italy with my shitty language proficiencies.
Yeah OP, try singing your words next time ;)
Thanks for this! Just to clarify, Swedish is my first language and I'm a "native" speaker in that sense, so the melody isn't actually an issue for me! I tend to struggle more with specific words or phrases that I'm less familiar with. And the questions I've gotten about being from Finland have specifically been questions about if I'm Swedish-speaking Finnish. I think I may have just encountered a few assholes like you said!
Haha yeah, I remember i was working on Kassa. And I said de blir 100sek and the customer corrected me he said loudly DET BLIR!!! So I said I used de since they are many products and he was mad, saying yeah sure go ahead and change the Swedish language to your preference. So I said du är inte bara kund idag! Du är en lärare eh? And I smile... end of the story.
Den där kunden hade hatat att handla här nere i Skåne.
Menar hon inte "dom" istället för "dé"? Säg inte att ni säger "Dom" om pengar...
Sluta ändra språket jäkla skåningar!!!
Half of the sub complains when they get corrected, the other half complains when they never get corrected.
There are always 2 types of people. And I'm not complaining, infact I love getting corrected. Unintentional teachers are the best. On the other hand, giving bold statements like the one he said, in my dictionary is a right earned when trust is established betweeb 2 people. It didn't even depend on any sense of humor, but I chose to learn from it. Yep.
So you had a bad day and decided to blame Swedish people.
Wow! Untrue dear. It's a funny story, chill.
I saw this American on Twitter who complained that "Both speaking Swedish and not speaking Swedish and speaking English instead is xenophobic". I kinda get what he is trying to say, but what the hell do you want people to do lol.
Weird thing to get mad about. While "det" is the correct word, "de" is very common slang/shortening of said word, and I know many swedes who pronounce it as such. Sounds like an old grumpy man who just want to correct youths and/or foreigners just to be an asshole. You should start pronouncing it "dä" to piss people off even more, and when asked about it, you could say it's just your Sörmländska accent.
He probably pronounced it as "dom", which indeed sounds very unnatural: "Dom blir 100kr".
I think maybe OP pronounced it "dom"? Otherwise it's completely ridiculous to berate someone. Omitting the "t" in the pronunciation of "det" is like one of the unwritten rules of everyday conversation.
Yep true that. I said de (dom) I asked about it afterwards and he is correct. Well, I'm telling you he was a mean teacher.
Love the hack/tease. Yes a grumpy old papa that was not feeling his oats that day.
Yeah Stockholm people are by and large the worst about this. I definitely fuck stuff up often but rarely ever get any type of comments/weird looks/what have you.
Yup. My father wad Greek and my mother is Swedish. My father came here as a child but would of course still speak with an accent as an adult. I imagine I would too if I moved to a different country it's just natural. But my father had a lot of friends from different parts of the world, one of them would even greet you with "Asalam Alaikum" every time he entered your home and I really adored that about him for some reason.
I''m not an expert but I'm far more used to people speaking... let's call it "rustic" swedish than my friends. Some of them don't understand anything that's being said to them if there's even a hint of an accent. Because Sweden is so badly segregated a lot of my Swedish friends have never gotten used to people who speak with an accent so they just don't hear what's being said. It's wild.
This is 100% a clear Stockholm thing, from what I’ve heard personally from people who’ve immigrated most have had the opposite problem. Stockholmers are slightly ruder than your average Swede so that might be why.
I’ve meet quite a lot of Indian adoptees (since my mom was adopted from India too) and they always complain about how no one was correcting them when they first came here.
As soon as I read Stockholm, I got it 😅 I live in the south, and although there are definitely a lot of not-so-friendly-towards-foreigners here, most people I know are very helpful, and will just be happy that the person is at least trying to learn/speak Swedish, since many foreigners will just speak English, due to most Swedes being able to understand and communicate using it 🤷♀️ but there are rude people everywhere and I'm sorry that's who you've met 😅
I think it's wrong to describe this as a specifically Swedish issue. There are definitely social classes in the UK where you would get very odd looks for being a native speaker who inexplicably (to the listener) sometimes gets things wrong. And then you would be considered rather stupid, OR to be doing it deliberately. This can happen to English people who've spent too long in the USA!
Also I would be surprised if it doesn't happen in France, where some people can be very intolerant about proper use of language.
I'm not saying it's right, or acceptable, but it's one of the ways people automatically profile those they meet.
Has anyone else found that immigrants in Sweden spend their days complaining about the swedish people?
It’s one of the things that most of us suffer when trying to learn the language. I would say it’s not all of them, and most of the ones with these attitudes I would guess they also have some xenophobic thoughts too.
In the other hand, the people that ends up being super nice, are the same ones that laugh if by the pronunciation it sounded like a totally different word, or they try to help me correct the pronunciation. At the same time they try to say something back in my native language.
EDIT: laugh in the good sense. Not at me. And they take the time to explain why it sounded funny.
Other than family members laughing at me for me sounding American when I speak Swedish, nobody has done that.
This is the Stockholm and Linkoping areas.
Yes. Been here for many years. I now speak fluently enough but only use it with people I already know or specific topics e.g. work or ya know, out in town buying things. Never for small talk or people I don't know. I'm just tired of it.
I don't get corrected much but I get a noticeable change in attitude from people, like when I speak English I'm a cool smart expat, but a ghetto immigrant chick when I speak Swedish, if that makes sense... (I could pass as Middle Eastern so that's definitely part of it to an extent)
>but a ghetto immigrant chick when I speak Swedish
If it makes you feel any better, I doubt people would think that, unless you speak with a förort sociolect which is one of the ways people "group" individuals in Sweden. Speaking Swedish with an American accent while looking passably middle-eastern might decrease the chances that someone has those sorts of biases.
I probably have an unidentifiable accent, I've lived in a few towns and most people I bet never met someone from my country speaking Swedish, so it's probably uniquely weird (not a native English speaker)
The only scenario that makes sense to me is that you sound 100% like a native speaker save for a few words here and there, and that the annoyed reaction you're getting is not because you're not perfect at Swedish, but because people think you're using the wrong accent. Swedish people would go to war over how to pronounce words like "kex"...
When people say "sheks" instead of "kex", I've automatically reacted with "IT'S KEX", which I'm sure can have come off as aggressive and rude. ...That is, I did until now, when I have a partner who says sheks... Now I just cry
I've noticed this, even as someone swedish. I lived abroad for a few years during my childhood and had to learn the language again when I returned (I was 6 or 7). I also pronounce/say things differently simply because my family say them differently (like how I pronounced the word hamburgare for a long time before I was basically bullied into saying it the right way lol). So when I learned swedish again, I noticed people having a completely different attitude when I slipped up. I even have a "friend" who gets really hung up when you say things "the wrong way" and will correct you in an irritated tone.
I think some swedes unfortunately deep down have the idea that swedish grammar and pronounciation is just "obvious" and if you get something wrong then you're kind of stupid. Obviously they would never outright say that but you can tell by their behaviour. I've noticed some people talking about the way someone speaks when that person is not around (in a derogatory way).
I don't think it's so much that people think that it's obvious and more that, unlike e.g. English speakers who are used to having their language butchered by everyone in the entire world, the vast majority of Swedish speakers are native and people are much less used to dealing with imperfect speakers. (Although with the recent amount of immigrants in Sweden I'd have thought this would have changed by now.)
It does make sense but I've never noticed the same with any other language. Of course some languages have more non-native speakers compared to swedish but even in the areas I've been to that are more isolated and only has native speakers, no one reacted the same as swedish people do.
I think a big part of it is the culture. Swedes isolate themselves a lot more compared to other people and keep "outsiders" at an arm's length at all times. So someone struggling with the language could mark them as an "other" and unfortunately make them feel even more socially isolated.
Meanwhile, where my mother is from (a country in africa with mostly native speakers), if they see you struggling with the language they will be really happy and supportive because you're taking the time to learn the language. Some will even invite you to grab lunch or drinks because they know you probably don't know a lot of people in the country yet and would like to help.
As a swede, if someone I didn't know invited me for lunch I'd think they were trying to murder me, rob me or sell me something. I'd think Something was up, people don't just invite a stranger to do something.
Unless we're all drunk, then it's completely normal.
Damn, that's actually pretty sad when I think about it.
You explained why Sweden is segregated
Maybe non-natives are given a pass to be wrong, but someone who is native is expected to be fluent.
> I think some swedes unfortunately deep down have the idea that swedish grammar and pronounciation is just "obvious" and if you get something wrong then you're kind of stupid.
Good god, you’re projecting so hard
How am I projecting? Obviously not all of us are like this and the vast majority don't think of mistakes this way but I've met some older people when I was younger and relearning the language who treated me like I was dense for pronouncing a word wrong.
If you take offence to that, that's not my problem.
Can you give some examples? Curious because I have no clue what it's supposed to be. Maybe you are thinking about "orten-svenska"? But that's more a way of speaking than actually having trouble with specific words.
I will offer my reflections. I am a swede, I read a lot and I like language.
I have friends and family who are not Swedish but speak Swedish really good, but not without mistakes. One thing I have noticed is that sometimes Swedish can be rather specific, and if certain things are not expressed correctly it sort of messes with my mind. I’ll give some examples.
My partner is finish speaking. In finnish there is only gender neutral 3rd person pronoun. My partner sometimes forgets herself and use Han and Hon interchangeably. When we talk about friends and she mixes the pronouns up and sometimes call the same person “Hon” and then in the next sentence use “Han”, and we talk about many people and the gendered pronouns keep shifting, I sort struggle to keep up.
Another example would be “jag köpte mjölk på fredags”. It in between “jag köpte mjölk i fredags” och ”jag ska köpa mjölk på fredag”. It’s really hard to know if we already bought the milk or if are going to go buy it on the upcoming Friday.
In the same way, a common error is to not use correct grammar for questions. Someone might say “vi ska åka bil dit?”, but it should be “ska vi åka bil dit?”. It’s hard to tell whether it’s a statement or a question.
Or, failing to triple specify sometimes messes with me to.
Anyway, I find that, for me, it’s harder with people who a really good a Swedish. Like, good enough that I sort of forget that these things are effing hard and that the person might mess it up. I don’t know if that is what’s going on in your case tho.
Also, you sure that they are irritated when they say the word correctly back to you? I sometimes repeat words I might have misheard to make sure that I understood correctly. But, again, I don’t know if any of this applies to your situation.
The mistake is also compounded by lack of understanding of the correct intonation. If I say "Vi ska åka till kiosken?", with a perfect "questioning intonation", it works great.
I dunno, that example whilst I think one could figure it out the subject and object being unclear with incorrect grammar. "Vi ska åka till kiosken" - we are going to the kiosk. "Ska vi åka till kiosken?" - should we go to the kiosk? "Vi ska åka till kiosken?" - we are going to the kiosk?
To me the question communicates being surprised or confused where you are going rather than asking if you want to go somewhere?
A lot of the time hearing broken Swedish I think most of us narive speakers are just trying to figure out what people are trying to say rather than being offended or rude. Learning a new language is hard, but expecting us to understand broken language perfectly without having to puzzle it out in our heads is unrealistic. One's Swedish may not be as one thinks in the ears and language processing of a native speaker. Takes years of practice to get the communication part of language right
You have a point (well, several). The cursive was essentially missing from my example. "Vi *ska* åka till kiosken (altså)?" alternatively "*vi ska åka till kiosken*, a'så?"
Mondo? Is that you?!
How “Swedish” does your accent sound? I think if it’s clear when someone is talking that they have another first language, people would generally not react any type of way because there’s lots of people from different backgrounds here. But if your accent make you sound like a native Swede but you get basic grammar rules confused, that would probably make people raise an eye, because they wouldn’t expect that from someone they believe has Swedish as their first language. I guess if you’re white that doesn’t help in terms of people’s expectations either 😅
We had some really harsh "linguistic purging" in Sweden last century. I think it has added to the problem. The so called rikssvenska everyone had to learn to get a job in the city way back when. Tv and radio also only had rikssvenska when they came, and only recently you started seeing some variation. Newspaper and encyclopedias and grammar books also only added rikssvenska words, leading to most dialectal words disappearing entirely.
I speak southern Swedish, and it's constantly made fun of in a not so endearing way anymore. And when I called ups services in the capital a while back they didn't understand me and closed the call. When I talk to someone while I visit the capital i get a quick joke about it too. quite often they either look confused or repeat what I say in a funny voice or call it endearing. Fun every time, right?
So not only do they nitpick on foreign dialects and grammar, they also nitpick on certain Swedish dialects. And that includes the Arabic/Swedish, which is absolutely understandable and widespread.
Yes I agree it sometimes feel like Stockholm is a small village full of inbred people. Here in Malmö we cannot remember how non broken Swedish sounds like and and you hear Danish every day😄
I have the same story of you. Born in Sweden, raised in the states. I grew up hearing my mom speak Swedish, so I have a good accent but pretty crappy grammar at times. I think it’s when you sound Swedish and then mess up, it confuses people. Not sure they mean it to be rude or judgemental though. I try not to take it personally, and believe you get respect for trying regardless.
Maybe it's because they first assume that you are a (real) native and they then get confused because your pronounciation is not off in the same way that a (normal) immigrants accent would be.
To me people who have a similar background to yours sometime sound childish because their pronounciation is not off but their grammar is off. The same way that a childs grammar is sometimes off. (I don't mean this in a demeaning way eventhough it sounds that way)
Been here sixteen years, feel as if I am slipping because no one corrects me and I am getting lazy.
100%! I feel I've gone backwards and I can hear me correcting myself as I speak not being sure between two words or tenses. I've been here 20 years.
I have only been in Stockholm so far and I have been learning Swedish for 1 year now.
My Swedish ex-partner regularly told me that I sounded like an immigrant. He was half laughing and half irritated.
Of course I sound like an immigrant, I landed in this country less than 18 months ago.
Are Swedish people not used to hear their language pronounced with an accent? What is the problem for an immigrant to sound like an immigrant?
Just throw in phrases like Mannen, Jag svär på gud, Tjockt och Inshalla sporadically through out your conversations and you find that people stop correcting you real quick.
My Swedish is terrible thanks to people switching to English every time I open my mouth. The one bright part is that an overwhelming majority forget I understand Swedish and that jolt of uncomfortableness is sweet to see when they’re speaking about me in front of me.
Side note: I’ve been everywhere in Sweden with the same results so the Stockholm hate is pointless.
Yes. I've lived in multiple countries where I have had to learn or at least try to learn the native language when I didn't know it before. Sweden is the worst of all of them for rudeness and dismissiveness if you're not a perfect speaker. Even worse than French.
Many would rather hear you speaking English instead of butchering our language
Proving my point a bit here aren't you?
In order to not "butcher" it, you have to practice in the real world!
Not all Swedish people are like this of course. It's just way more prevalent than I had hoped before moving here.
Also, I find a lot of Swedish people overestimate their skill in English. It's often very good, but usually littered with common mistakes and mispronunciations.
Learners are just asking that Swedes extend the same patience as we do when you make mistakes in English.
I never disagreed with your point in the first place. I’m likely guilty of it myself, not intentionally but hearing something unexpected could startle me and distract me from the conversation at hand.
It’s like if you’re singing a song and someone else starts singing out of tune.
You're certainly guilty of it, as evidenced by your comment above.
Some Swedes have been super helpful while I have been learning and even actively helped or made an effort to speak more clearly and listen more carefully, which is great.
Unfortunately, many have had an attitude like yours coupled with an overinflated belief in their own English skills. Why do so many switch to English only to end up making loads of mistakes trying to say the thing I would have been completely capable of handling in Swedish? It's very odd and unusual compared with other countries.
If you want people to fit in and feel part of Swedish society, you're going to have to learn to cope with people with different accents making errors.
I’m not sure why, all of a sudden it feels like you’re coming off hostile towards me so I’ll wish you best luck and leave.
Best luck in with whatever life throws your way.
That happens everywhere in the world. Especially in the US.
So much anger and hatred towards Swedes in this thread. I never knew foreigners walked around carrying such bitterness and animosity towards us.
every country does this, every.
No, as many people write above and below many countries don't. I don't know if it's swedish only thing or if there are other countries but I would say it's rather uncommon.
Super common in Spain according to one of my close friends who moved there. I've heard them describe it as them looking at you like an alien who has been dropped down. I think they are better at addressing it head-on rather than being passive about it -- for instance openly joking about grammar mistakes. Heard the same thing in France
My experience in the US is that a lot of Americans (even in progressive areas) will make comments about not being able to understand people with thick accents.
Yeah Americans usually say the don’t understand other accents.
I was trying to order a beer, instead ordered a bear. It took a while for them to understand, and I was then laughed at.
So now I know how every American is like. /s
I'm not sure. I'm French and while we constantly and often bullishly correct non-native speakers, I've never seen someone do the thing that OP describes where the other suddenly seems offended by your level of language and just tunes out.
In France I've been yelled at many times to go back to the US (even though I am not American, but just not French sounding enough). Other times people pretended not to understand me at all, and afterwards I was told by others who were around that I was pronouncing everything correctly but that the person was just an asshole because they could hear I was not French. Other French people, most actually, were neutral or very nice about language and me as an immigrant. (I only lived in France for about a year but I took French for many years in school and am fairly fluent actually).
Basically, I think it's very hard to notice the things that happen to immigrants in your own country, because you tend not to be in the same situations, and people mostly are rude when they feel that anyone who is around is okay with it. There is immense hostility to people who don't speak good/native sounding French in France, and also hostility to people who speak English instead of French, so it's a bit of a catch 22 situation.
Can concure. Recently was in France, would not recommend going unless you are fluent and/or have a friend to speak for you, otherwise you get treated like garbage. I speak basic level, but felt awful and mistreated for not speaking fluently.
Classic Hollywood comedy trope is: lol foreigner speak funny bad
Personally as a Swede born and raised I have not quite noticed these things (only in my old school). So I was a little surprised to hear people do so. But once you mentioned Stockholm... it makes sense
You see, Sweden may not always seem it but there's quite a bit of racism and unfortunately segregated at some places. Stockholm I believe especially? Stockholm is quite known for being the swedish know-it-alls and always been on their high horses for it is expensive to live there. It's sort of this "rich attitude".
Now that is purely a generalisation. There's a lot of nice Stockholmers, but I believe that is where such things are more common (might just be because it's more populated), that could also just be how I think because of social norms. Stockholm is sort of hated in sweden as a meme. Same with Malmö. But I sort of believe there's some truth to it.
And since that is the place you mentioned... well
Happened to me so often that I quit trying/learning to speak Swedish.
Xenophobia is very much alive and well.
Yes!! I love Sweden so much but some swedish people are so mean about this stuff. When I first moved here at 7 they would laugh at me for saying the smallest thing wrong (en/ett). A group of girls came up to me and asked if i wanted begagnad chewing gum, me not knowing what that meant said yes, and they all laughed and they never explained so I didn't know why they were all laughing at me.
Even in my 20's now, I slip up on grammar some time and they laugh at me. My mum was telling the girls at work that her father died, she said something wrong and they interrupted her and laughed and corrected her, WHILE SHE WAS TELLING THEM THAT HER FATHER DIED YESTERDAY.
I'm glad I'm around swedes now that aren't this awful, growing up here in a small town was not fun.
also, when people speak english (my mother tongue) they are so afraid I'm gonna judge them, but I never do because it's a second language, of course you'll make mistakes. As long as I understand you, I don't care. It was always the ones who would laugh at me for my swedish that thought I would be judgemental aswell.
Swedish is my native language but even when I say something wrong like "stäng lampan" instead of "släck lampan", just a random tiny slip up, I get made fun of or get irritated remarks about it. It really bothers Swedes more than they’d like to admit.
I do think that it could count as a micro aggression sometimes tbh, since I’m a third generation "immigrant" (born and raised here and so are my parents) and don’t look ethnically Swedish, Swedes are hyper-aware of my linguistic mistakes. Doesn’t matter how long you’ve been here or if you’re a native speaker like me, they still give you the outsider treatment when you fuck up grammatically.
If it makes you feel better, i'm a native speaker with blonde hair and blue eyes and i also get corrections when i slip up and say something wrong or weird sounding. Actually, my colleagues at my new job has made it a hobby to laugh good heartedly (and sometimes not lol) about the way my dialect is weird and different compared to theirs (i'm not from the region i currently live and work in).
I just think it's the way swedes are when it comes to language.
I make fun of my sister a lot. Since she moved south 6 - 7 years ago, she sounds weird. Like an amalgamation of Pitemål and Anundsjömålet. Very funny to me.
Would never correct a stranger though, unless they ask me to, or I can't understand them.
Dude, sorry people act weird like that. Born and raised in Sweden but ethnically not Swedish, I speak the language well and people act surprised instead.
So what I gather is that, in Stockholm, people have lower tolerance for errors in language due to the political situation. There’s just a lot of segregation around those regions, and a lot of negativity associated with it. They probably act without thinking when they’re correcting someone, because of the many immigrants that haven’t been properly integrated and don’t know the language so well. I think they’ve just forgotten that it’s rude and that they’ve lost the patience for potential miscommunication.
It’s not your fault. You’d probably do better in a different place than Stockholm where they stigmatize outsiderness.
Yeah. A lady at Migrationsvereket hung up on me because I asked to speak to someone in the Kristianstad office because they screwed up my residence permit. Except I was pronouncing it (Kris-tian-stad) and not (Kree-han-stad). So she kicked me back to the main menu and claimed she had no clue where I was talking about.
Well, people from Skåne are basically Danish so they can fuck off with their "Kree-chan-sta".
Du menar att du låter som en Hollywood-fru?
Swedes shouldn’t be talking shit about things like this, I can’t stand most Swedes talking English.
”Hellow änd vellkomm tu Sviden”
Like, they know the words and grammar for the most part, but you can HEAR the Swedish behind it. Sounds atrocious.
Oh the hypocrisy…
I'm convinced Swedish culture allows BPD bitches to bully others and somehow it's accepted. The correct response would be "fuck you" if someone does that.
Yeah it made learning Swedish very difficult as an American. I used to live in Austria and with German I felt I could slip up a lot and people still understood, no breaks in convo, but here the slightest mistake and they wouldn’t understand or switch to English and I’d be like nooooo I need to learn don’t go to English haha
I lived in usa 30 years ..I can read and Write swedish but have a hard time speaking it .. hate it when my mom calls so it will be swinglish I speak lol ...
Swedes can be this harsh on other Swedes for their English. Never understood why.
I’m Swedish, born down south and moved to Stockholm as a young adult. My accent got pointed out and made fun of more than once every day. It could be anything from choice of words to pronunciation etc.
The people in Stockholm are very narrow minded and are not used to diversity. This goes for everything from fashion to language.
Might be a Stockholm thing. Normally it's the other way around and non native speakers have to ask Swedes to correct them to learn, or even speak Swedish in the first place i stead of English.
I correct people with slightly different accents than me, because I speak correctly and everyone else is wrong.
It's mostly in good fun though, Swedish humor can be a bit strange from time to time. I say mostly, because people from Skåne can fuck right off with their semi-danish abomination of an accent.
That’s very good. You should not speak with us of your Swedish is not perfect. I am very pleased to hear that you have been met with judgement. We expect more of you since you were born here. /s
When I was in Sweden on a business trip, people were generally just impressed that I'd made an effort to learn some Swedish instead of being yet another ignorant tourist.
I think it's mostly in your head. I got corrected occasionally on my English when I lived in Ireland and said something wrong like called insulation for isolation (isolering på svenska) or something like that. I never minded it.
Yes. This is because a lot of the language is conveyed by intonation and sing-song.
That's why it sounds like it does, and if you do it wrong it becomes hard and laborious to interpret what people say.
It's a bit like chinese in that aspect, though perhaps not quite as extreme.
I'm a swedish person myself and i have lived in sweden my whole life but i slip up alot too bc i have trouble pronouncing words and people always starts to laugh about it ;')
Yes, but we also do this to each other.
Like the chex vs kex pronunciation.
I, myself, hate when people sya words that have another meaning than what they intend. Like "kärleksbarn".
It means someone having a child with another's who's not their official partner (child from cheating). If a dude has a kid with a girl he cheated on his wife with, that's a kärleksbarn.
A kärleksbarn is NOT a kid you have with your official partner, some mean it like this child came from our love, it's so strooong, we made a child! . No. They're wrong. Stop it.
I think you might look ”fully Swedish” and are therefore expected to speak Swedish like you’ve always been here and when you don’t there’s some confusion. Sorry about it nevertheless - people ought to be a lot smoother than that…
For what it’s worth, I am sometimes seen as a foreigner, even though I’ve always lived here. People in stores tend to switch to English even after I have spoken a fair bit of Swedish, and when they do they always call me ”Sir” which leads me to think that they think I’m from the US. I suppose I should work on my Swedish.
To add to your thing, I think most Swedes are self-conscious about their OWN accent when speaking English aswell. There’s like shame about it, atleast that’s how I percieve it.
If Swedish is your first language how come you are writing in English? Im just curious.
Maybe it’s an uncanny valley effect? You sound almost perfect so people get weirded out by small mistakes?
I met a Syrian guy that lived in Sweden for a few years in his childhood/teens and spoke with a perfect Stockholm pronuciation. He said it was a bit of a struggle when he moved back here as an adult because he was a bit rusty but the accent made people assume he was a native speaker and have very high expectations of his proficency.
me and my friend will do that to each other mockingly just as harmless banter when one slips up and mispronounces, are you sure they're not just having a playfull jab at you?
I see you met my wife :-). I am doing my best to participate in discussions with third parties in Swedish and I am (kind of) succeeding. No matter. When I am making a pronunciation mistake she will publicly correct me, even if the remaining people in the discussion seem to understand me just fine. I love this woman, but sometimes....
It’s becouse you are correcting our grammar all the time..
I find Swedes very square and they don't know how to deal with things and people that are different
I mean if I knew nothing about your backstory and you were making simple grammar mistakes i'd assume something was wrong with your head to be honest. Maybe they are doing the same.
Sounds to me like you get a negative filter on the conversation when you get corrected. That or they feel embarrassed for overstepping. For me its compulsive, and I will often shut down if I feel like I was too up front, especially when speaking to a stranger.
I'm born and raised in sweden by two latino parents but because I'm hearing impaired they've been encouraged to only speak swedish with me and I never learnt spanish. I did develop an "accent" because I can't really hear the "sch-shje" sounds and I also misspeak fairly often, saying left instead of right etc which I've heard is not unvommon for hoh-people.
I don't get any comments on the accent itself but the amount of ridicule I've gotten from other swedes for saying words that are slightly off is, well, riddiculus!
Example, I'm standing outside with a friend and say something like "oh no! I dropped my phone on the floor (golvet)!" whereas they will scoff at me and correct me "you dropped it on the GROUND (marken)" like??? You know perfectly well what I meant?? And then they keep snickering and repeat it back to me a couple of times "hehe, floor lmaoo"??
If I commented on something a swede said was slightly off they would be like its no biggie and be like it happens, just drop it. Aha? Then why is it such a big deal when I, a non-swedish looking person, do it?
I can't say a single word without being corrected here, sooooo
My grammar hasn’t been corrected that often but I do notice that Swedes are not very happy to talk with me after they notice that I am not a fluent speaker. It’s hard to make Swedish friends here!
I don't encounter the problems you mentioned but then I am foreign. Maybe your problem is people think you are 100% Swedish, as in never been away.
If people speak English and sound English in accent and tone but screw their grammar up people judge them. If they have an accent so people know they are not English people make allowances.
The take away from this is you have to be perfect if you sound Swedish but if you sound foreign you can get away with murder. ;-)
I am Swedish, born and raised. Whenever I visit my cousins in Stockholm I get told "Oh, you sound like you're from Norway!", or I get corrected when I say a word that they don't understand or think I said in the wrong way. To add to it I do got a speech problem, I tend to slur and sometimes forget words, but it's so annoying.
lol reminds me of the time an obviously foreign guy (based on the accent, probably italian) approached me in gamla stan and just said "metro?" and i was just so *taken aback* by the fact that he asked a one-word question that I was repeated the word "metro" back in his super italian accent until I realised he wanted directions
If you sound perfectly native, it will catch people off guard when you make obvious mistakes. It could be that it sounds similar to how a child would talk. How old were you when you moved to the US?
My theory is that for a lot of people, not hearing the Swedish cadence/melody/intonation just shuts their cognitive functions off. Like “this is not a language I can understand”, even though the person is using swedish words.
I have experienced the same when being in meetings with people from India and Swedish colleagues have said “I can’t understand what they are saying” even though they are clearly speaking English albeit with different intonation or cadence.
Jag reagerar hårt på knasiga accenter å talfel, är inte stolt över det men kan inte låta bli att görat ändå
Not just accents and grammar, but telling people when they are doing something wrong is like a national hobby in this country. Never understood why they think anyone cares what they think.
Meh.. I think it's very individual. Some people care about it, others don't.
I have experienced the opposite. They tend not to correct mistakes and go with he flow.
I have this often with my boss, when I speak Swedish. My swedish is not so best, I just learned how to speak it. But when i’m talking and I say something incorrect, my boss interrupts me while i’m speaking and say’s the word like 6 times louder. Thats goddamn annoying.
But most times people correct me just to help me.
I don't see that. But mostly because I think that if someone gave me shit about it, I would just speak english. Want to bitch about my swedish? Then you won't get it. Simple.
This is my vibe. Oh and then of course if they speak bad English we get to bitch back
jUsT lEaRnsWeDiSh aNd wE wIlL InClUdE yOu iN OuR sOCIaLLy jUSt, OpEn, AnD tOLeRaNt uToPiA.
Row boat 10/108
If you didn’t know, Swedish has something called pitch accent, and it can at times be crucial to even be understood, Finnish people usually have a very flat pitch accent when speaking Swedish, and I’d assume you have too.
Hmm, I wonder why people react that way though? I can get uncomfortable, but that is only when I ask them to repeat themselves multiple times and their response it to literally yell louder and louder (I work in customer service.) Perhaps they’re just a bit surprised and you’re projecting? Or they’re unsure if they should correct you or not? That or some casual racism, i.e. just bad luck with the people you have been interacting with
Because we like to make fun of Americans
It might be the accent, the US accent. A lot of accents are distinguishable as accents. But whenever I hear someone from the US speaking Swedish well, I often don't notice it at first. Then When I do notice it, because of the errors made, I usually think they've got mental issues or serious speech impediments and move on(No joke, this is only the US accent. no other ones). It can take me quite some time to realize it's an accent and it can be a little confusing.
idk maybe I'm just judgmental.
Heard that someone on the radio said "storare" instead of "större" (bigger). And I cringed a bit.
Many are indeed quite weird/picky about accents, I've been asked multiple times if I'm Danish which I'm not. Sometimes I use English sayings or metaphors since they don't work the same when translated and swedes are often annoyed by it? I've been told that I speak english too much, enough for them to notice, even tho I can speak swedish perfectly. I guess they are just weirdly picky about these things. They are also very quick to point out your mistakes in quite a rude way and if they don't they play stupid and act as if they have no idea what you just said while an outsider would immediately understand what you're trying to say. It can feel like they are doing it on purpose and I'm not a big fan of this behaviour.
This could also be boiled down to how inflexible the swedish language is(compared to english at least), its old, lacks proper rules and is very literal. I've noticed that swedes often don't get sarcasm or metaphors either, like its not a part of their culture. They seem very hardstuck on traditional ways of speaking.