Swenglish: Wikis


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Swenglish (Swedish: svengelska) is a colloquial term meaning either:


English heavily influenced by Swedish


Swedish has many more monophthong vowels than English. This difference is sometimes disregarded by Swedish speakers, resulting in mispronunciation. Swedish also lacks some common English phonemes, such as [θ] (voiceless interdental fricative), [ð] (voiced interdental fricative) and [z] (voiced alveolar fricative). In general, written Swedish corresponds to the pronunciation more closely than in English. This too can lead to mispronunciation and incorrectly stressed words.

Vocabulary and grammar

Swedish and English have in part different grammar that could cause mistakes when translating.

Literal translation of Swedish expressions and idioms are sometimes used by mistake or in belief that they are correct English. Also, several Swedish words have false friends in English. When trying to find a suitable English counterpart to a Swedish word, it is tempting to "translate" the word by simply using the Swedish word in hope that the English counterpart is similar. However, the anglicized Swedish word may mean something completely different.

There are several Swedish-English false friends that can, unintentionally, take on an obscene meaning when used in English. Compare the list of Swedish-English false friends on Swedish Wikipedia.

Swedish with English words

The second meaning of the term Swenglish occurs mostly in sports, computing, and business where Swedish lacks words for some concepts, like the word serve in tennis, or the Swedish word is less well known. It also occurs when a word is to be "modernized", shortened or otherwise updated, like outsource in business (older Swedish expression would be lägga ut (på entreprenad)). English has a high status in the business world in Sweden, and English words might "sound better". In computing English words are often used until a Swedish term is introduced and has had time to become established.

Examples include: briefa (to brief someone) and maila/mejla (to e-mail someone) where the ending -a, which is the common ending of a Swedish verb, has been added. Such slips easily happen when working with English software. English words may be imported with or without adjustments. Compared to other languages, for example German, Swedish has however relatively few English loanwords. In other words, most terms in sports, computing, and business do have Swedish names, for example: dator (computer), skrivare (printer), ledarskap (management), marknadsföring (marketing), mjukvara (software), hårdvara (hardware), etc.

In several fields, for example in science and business studies, English literature and magazines are widely used for education and research at university level. English words thus have a way of being used by Swedes even when there is a Swedish alternative. There is also a strong influx of phrases from primarily American pop-culture, such as "shit happens", which are used for recognition rather than clarity. The term Swenglish normally refers to the overuse of English loanwords.

See also

External links

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