Thursday, March 02, 2006

Mystery of dialects

Fredrik Lindström has been sorting out the mysteries of different dialects of Swedish this winter in his TV programme at SVT, the Swedish Public Service Broadcast Company. The last episode of it aired last night and the theme for the night was my own lingua, Swedish dialects in Ostrobothnia. The crew discussed semantics and phonetics with teenagers, whose mother tongue also is Swedish, in my previous home town of Åbo and in municipalities close to where I live and am from, such as Närpes and Korsnäs, where the ancient dialects of Swedish have been rather well preserved over the years.

Lindström concluded the programme by stating that the fact that many are keen on talking a strict, polished Swedish may indicate the fear of not fitting in, of not being adequate or suitable enough that he sees in the modern society. Conversely, if you speak a dialect you take the risk of standing out. Standing out, but in a positive and sometimes exotic manner, is sometimes what I do when I speak my dialect instead of the strict, clean Swedish that is intelligible for all, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I couldn’t change the way I talk without it reflecting my identity.

The entire programme on Swedish dialects in Finland is here.

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