Swedish stereotypes

‘Where are you off to then?’ That’s the taxi driver yesterday, taking me and my suitcase to Hull station. ‘Sweden,’ I reply, as I have so many times before. The reaction is always the same. Either (a) ‘isn’t it cold there?’; or (b) ‘isn’t it expensive?’ I try to explain that (a) yes, it is cold, in winter, but in summer it can be warmer than in England and for longer during the day; and (b) it’s only expensive if you buy a lot of booze and eat in restaurants, where they pay their staff a decent wage. Other stuff costs roughly the same. And is usually better. In any case it depends on the exchange rate – rather bad for me just now, as it happens, due to the Brexit vote. But they don’t believe me.

I’m doing my best for the Swedish tourist industry – take note, Migrationsverket: I’ve not heard back from you yet about my citizenship application – but to little avail. Maybe if I confirmed their other stereotypes – for example, about the country being full of leggy blondes willing to have sex with them (the men) at the drop of a hat – I might do better. But then my taxi-drivers would be so disappointed – and probably arrested for harassment – when they got here. Perhaps it’s just as well. I don’t want a lot of British hoi polloi coming over and spoiling the place for me.

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3 Responses to Swedish stereotypes

  1. No, it just sounds difficult. Nouns are ‘en’ or ‘et’ words, with no particular rationale to them (it’s not gendered, like in French), so you have to learn the words with their endings: ‘et hus’, ‘huset’. Plurals are irregular. Otherwise it’s all pretty rational; as is the pronunciation, which mainly accords with the spellings. Some of their sounds are difficult for us, like ‘sj’ – like our ‘sh’ but formed in the throat. And Swedes don’t swallow their words, so it all sounds crystal clear. English is far more difficult, because more complex and irregular. I speak a bit of Swedish, but as all Swedes speak perfect English, and are keen to show it off, it’s hard to practice.

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  2. Another stereotype: Swedish is a formidably difficult language. Is that true and do you speak it?

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    • No, it just sounds difficult. Nouns are ‘en’ or ‘et’ words, with no particular rationale to them (it’s not gendered, like in French), so you have to learn the words with their endings: ‘et hus’, ‘huset’. Plurals are irregular. Otherwise it’s all pretty rational; as is the pronunciation, which mainly accords with the spellings. Some of their sounds are difficult for us, like ‘sj’ – like our ‘sh’ but formed in the throat. And Swedes don’t swallow their words, so it all sounds crystal clear. English is far more difficult, because more complex and irregular. I speak a bit of Swedish, but as all Swedes speak perfect English, and are keen to show it off, it’s hard to practice.

      Like

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