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Politeness and Intelligibility in Scandinavia



     Dwight Peterson, who lived and worked in the South Cone of Latin America and who was married to a Swede, reports:
     My ex-wife, who is Swedish and resides in Sweden, tells me that the formal (Ni), as opposed to the familiar (Du) is increasingly coming back into usage and she has no reason why this is. She is from Central Sweden and resides in Stockholm. She can converse with Norwegians with no problem and read their language easily. She can read Danish easily but cannot understand when Danes speak. Swedes from the south of Sweden in Skone have less trouble understanding Danish. She cannot, however, read nor understand Icelandic when spoken.
     I lived in Uruguay and Argentina for 10 years and I would say that the familiar form (vos) was used almost 90% of the time instead of (tu). Also verbs are accented differently there. For example, instead of Como andas, it is Como anDAS or que queRES etc. But that is another subject.

Ronald Hilton - 12/2/99


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