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Scandinavian spat o' the day

Norway and Sweden are in the middle of a bit of a falling out:

"A retired Norwegian linguistics professor has described Swedes as "stupid" for not being able to understand Norwegian. Norwegians have no problem with Swedish, the professor points out. Finn-Erik Vinje has caused an escalation in what is promising to become an all out language war, by publishing a post on his blog last week asking, "Why are Swedes so stupid?"....The basis of Vinje's assertion is that Swedish viewers of Himmelbå, a Norwegian television series based on the British production "Two Thousand Acres of Sky", have complained that the language is too difficult to understand and would prefer to see a series in Swedish, with Swedish actors, in a Swedish setting".

The comments thread at the tale's original home (local.se) is in English and is quite lively. I had always been under the impression that Norwegians and Swedes were - armed with functioning brains and a bit of good will - at the very least mutually intelligible. I've got a handful of words and phrases in both, derived either from songs or a pal at university who specialised in the Scandinavian languages, but don't suppose knowing the Norwegian for 'hedgehog' or the Swedish for 'milk' would be much use if I was dying of exposure half way up a mountain.


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Blogger Blue Eyes said... 10:07 am

"En ol snalla" is the most important Swedish phrase and the only one I know. Its Spanish equivalent is "una cerveza por favor". Once one's beer has been poured, it's worth saying "tak".  



Blogger Croydonian said... 10:22 am

My fave is an old Norse curse - 'Vesall ertu thinnar skjaldborgar', meaning 'May a plague descend upon your ramparts'. Handy, eh?  



Blogger Croydonian said... 10:24 am

I do like the new floating preview boxes for blog comment. Très chic.  



Blogger James Higham said... 12:59 pm

When I was over there, this was always going on. The Finns and Norwegians got on but Sweden was the problem.  



Blogger JuliaM said... 2:27 pm

"...a Norwegian television series based on the British production "Two Thousand Acres of Sky"..."

*boggle*

There really is a market out there for everything, isn't there?  



Blogger Mac the Knife said... 10:35 pm

"...but don't suppose knowing the Norwegian for 'hedgehog' or the Swedish for 'milk' would be much use if I was dying of exposure half way up a mountain."

For heavens sake! You use the milk to ensnare the hedgehog (hjedgehøg in the vernacular as any fule kno), which you then send for hjelp.

Honestly. I've had just about stajdgodsblattirhøgven of your ill-informed nonsense young man.  



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