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Thomas Leigh:

> I've wondered about this. I've studied Swedish a bit, and in the
> textbooks they always give /S/ for words like sjö, sjuk, stjärna,
etc.,
> as well as the ending -tion. And this is how the speakers on the tapes
> (for those textbooks which come with tapes) pronounce it as well. Yet
> every Swede I've actually met has said /x/. I've wondered how
widespread
> that pronunciation really is, and why the textbooks never tell you
about
> it. It seems a curious sound change -- I wonder how it occurred. Also,
> it sounds to my ear that where the textbooks say you should say /ç/
> (köpa, tjuv, etc.) the Swedes I've met have all said /S/.

The 'proper' pronunciation of |sj| |stj| etc. is the "simultaneous
[S] and [x]" plus it should be labialized. To my ears, this sounds
more like [s`] than [S], but I guess [S] is easier for anglophones.
(And how on earth are you supposed to pronounce [S] and [x] at the
same time!?)

If you prononce |sj| like this, you're either gay (of the feminine
kind) or from Norrland (the north of Sweden) or from a 50's black
and white movie. I pronounce it [M\_0] (which is probably what the
voiceless velar approximant would be with x-sampa), but apparently
some people have [x] as well.

I don't know how this change came to be.

Regarding |tj| as in |tjej| 'girl' and |k| as in |kina| 'China',
its 'proper' pronunciation is [s\], an alveolo-palatal fricative
(I think). You say [S] but place the tip of your tongue against
the back of your lower teeth. (I think they have this phoneme in
Chinese as well.). It is definitely *not* [C] as in German.

Most younger people use [S] though, afaict.

I think your teach-yourself tapes are either very old or very
normative. In any case, start saying [x] and [S] instead of
[S] and [C]. :)

||| daniel

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danielandreasson @ swipnet.se | http://home.swipnet.se/escape