June 6th is Swedish Flag Day, and by now you probably know exactly what I’m going to do.
Swedish pronunciation is intimidating. The syllable stress games can be daunting, the shifting vowels as well, not also to mention the various tomfoolery with letters like k and g when placed before certain vowels. This throws off a lot of absolute beginners and yes, does cause a lot of them to give up.
The grammar may be very familiar and easy to adapt to if you’re a native English speaker, but sounding genuinely Swedish is a great challenge (even though, contrary to what I’ve read in some travel guidebooks, it IS very much possible for a foreigner).
One thing I definitely recommend to my students and friends is to imitate the accent in an almost over-the-top way at first and then learn to “tone it down” accordingly. This helped me with more recent languages as well, such as Hungarian and Fijian.
Anyhow, topic at hand!
A lot of people may know that videos of people playing games with commentary have not only gotten very popular in the past decade but also that PewDiePie, the YouTuber with the most subscribers (as of the time of writing) is himself Swedish. For better or for worse, he has been one of the forces behind the immense Swedish culture boom that is only gaining momentum by the year.
That said, there are many other Let’s Players that actively use Swedish in their videos—such videos can be harnessed with shocking effectiveness in order to ensure that you learn to speak casually, naturally and with very believable pronunciation.
My talk at the 2017 Polyglot Conference did deal with this in detail. But that’s for another time.
Anyhow, predictable listicle, right now!
His style is not only very accessible for more advanced beginners, but also includes many theatrical improvisations that make it very much worth watching. Matinbum’s improvisational singing is certainly worth mentioning as well as his ability to draw forth cultural references from Swedish and Anglophone culture to maximum humorous effect.
The game in the video above (“I Wanna Run the Marathon”) is an extremely difficult “rage game” that draws together themes from many well-known game franchises as well as every single unfair trick you can think of. This video series is a winning combination (as are many of Matinbum’s other ones).
His style really does lend himself emphatically to not only a very memorable voice with a distinctly Swedish texture to it but also, from a learner’s perspective, serves to enhance all of the advantages of “context learning” that this genre represents. The narration being on point is a huge advantage to you, the learner, in picking up new words based on context alone.
Probably the most beginner-friendly of the channels on here, this channel has upwards of a thousand videos spanning a VERY wide variety of family-friendly games. If you’re in the beginner plateau and want to advance in a very fun way, I definitely recommend almost all of the videos that Mustachtic has to offer.
- The Kilian Experience
You’re probably wondering what an English-language channel is doing on here in the first place. Surprisingly Kilian’s voice does have many features that make a Swedish-accented voice stand out, which is very helpful for not only learners like you but also people who may think that the Swedish Chef is somehow a realistic portrayal of what Swedish actually sounds like.
If YOU are a Swedish YouTuber and also have a channel (esp. a Swedish-Language one), let us know about it in the comments accordingly! Chances are I may have not discovered you yet. 🙂
Anyhow, one thing you should also know is that I’m on a break for a while (with the likely exception of 21 June’s Greenlandic post that a lot of you have been asking for) to work on my dream project, “Kaverini: Nuuk Adventures” a.k.a. “Greenland: The Game”.
I’ll still be able to read and approve comments accordingly. Until we meet again!