• Sweden edition
 
Swedish chef actually speaks Norwegian: report

Swedish chef actually speaks Norwegian: report

Published: 29 Aug 2012 11:17 GMT+02:00
Updated: 29 Aug 2012 11:17 GMT+02:00

Hurdy gurdy gurdy” and “bork bork bork.”

These are the two gibberish phrases most people tend to use when imitating a Swede - and it’s all thanks to the Swedish Chef from The Muppets.

However, Slate magazine in the US has looked deeper into the character’s accent and come to the conclusion that the rambunctious chef is actually speaking a language more similar to that spoken by people in Sweden’s neighbour to the west – Norway.

Stockholm University linguistics professor Tomas Riad explains that the language of the chef certainly might sound Scandinavian, but that the intonation is actually far closer to Norwegian than any Swedish dialect.

“I can see where it comes from, but it doesn’t sound like Swedish to me,” he told the paper, adding that Norwegian has two tonal peaks in the spoken language, making it sound more “sing-songy”.

Incidentally, the same tonal peaks can be found in some Swedish dialects, particularly that of Stockholm, but Riad claims it is far more pronounced in Norwegian.

Swedes living outside of Sweden don’t always take kindly to comments about the chef however, with some people not understanding that the character is just speaking untranslatable nonsense.

“When Swedes go abroad, they become zealous protectors of the Swedish brand,” Michael Moynihan, an American married to a Swede told Slate.

“Something as insignificant as the Swedish Chef is like a slap in the face.”

While the argument may never cease when it comes to the origins of the chef’s accent, The Muppets writer Jerry Juhl may have spilled truth in 2005, according to one article he wrote for Muppetcentral.com.

He claimed that Muppets creator Jim Henson did indeed spend “a couple of weeks” listening to Learn Swedish tapes in order to “perfect his babble.”

The Local/og

twitter.com/thelocalsweden

Related links:

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

13:18 August 29, 2012 by karex
I love the Muppets. Actually, The Swedish Chef has always sounded more Danish than Swedish to me... :)
16:39 August 29, 2012 by expatjourno
People the world over love the Swedish chef. I don't see why Swedes would be upset by it. But yes, the lilt sounds more Norwegian to me.
20:54 August 29, 2012 by Social Hypocrisy
Were not mad, just misunderstood... honest!
22:36 August 29, 2012 by Mark S.
It's an American TV show from the 1970s. If you pay close attention, you will find that the Swedish Chef sounds like an *American*. It is close enough to Swedish for an American audience to get the joke. Most Americans can't tell the difference between Swedish, Norwegian, and Danish anyway.
23:16 August 29, 2012 by calebian22
"Most Americans can't tell the difference between Swedish, Norwegian, and Danish" And why would they want or need too? The are three languages that are worthless anywhere in the world other than in the inclimate north.
10:26 August 31, 2012 by Borilla
@#5 - The word is "inclement". Don't you have spell check? If you are going to disparage the languages of certain countries, at least talk about countries whose economies are not doing substantially better than those whose first language is English.
19:49 August 31, 2012 by dizzymoe33
I love the Swedish Chef!!! Does it really matter what he sounds like? It is all in good fun!
10:05 September 1, 2012 by J Jack
The Scandic chef.
22:02 September 1, 2012 by sergisr
Oh my...! I've wasted my time watching the Swedish Chef's videos thinking I was learning Swedish. Hurdy gurdy språk talar jag börk?
19:24 September 3, 2012 by nuke
This is not news - I was told this back in the 70s, so it must have been common knowledge then.
10:42 September 4, 2012 by slh
What if I told you that the Swedish chef is based on an actual Swedish chef... with sing songy dialect: http://abcnews.go.com/International/story?id=8265512&page=1#.UEW-adbN-Yk I might be biased in since I'm from the same part of Sweden though.
00:29 November 9, 2012 by arri
I've just to read this, however what I find amusing is watching the roll about what language a Muppet speaks. That's a tad comical. Thanks for the laugh ;-)
Today's headlines
Race to be scrapped from Swedish legislation
Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag meets children in Husby, Stockholm. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

Race to be scrapped from Swedish legislation

The Swedish government announced that it plans to remove all mentions of race from Swedish legislation, saying that race is a social construct which should not be encouraged in law. READ  

US aircraft 'violates' Swedish airspace

US aircraft 'violates' Swedish airspace

A mystery airplane that passed over Swedish airspace recently has been revealed as an American aircraft, sources revealed on Thursday. READ  

Elite schools stripped of 'special' privileges

Elite schools stripped of 'special' privileges

Sweden's three elite boarding schools can no longer charge tuition fees, the government announced on Thursday, in a string of changes following a two-year review. READ  

Bildt lays out four steps to Gaza peace
Photos: TT

Bildt lays out four steps to Gaza peace

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt stated that there are four steps to achieving peace in Gaza, and that it begins with removing the blockade - which has "played into Hamas' hands". READ  

Malmström snags EU commissioner post again

Malmström snags EU commissioner post again

Cecilia Malmström has been nominated to be the European Commissioner for another five years, Sweden's prime minister announced on Thursday. READ  

Stockholm Pride 2014
In Pictures: Stockholm's Historic Pride Party
Conchita Wurst belts out a ballad. Photo: Rebecca Jacobs

In Pictures: Stockholm's Historic Pride Party

With Stockholm's Pride Week in full swing, The Local's Rebecca Jacobs heads on down to the traditional Historic Party to take in the colours, Conchita, and the community. READ  

Two to hospital after Stockholm fire

Two to hospital after Stockholm fire

Two people were taken to hospital in the early hours of Thursday morning after a fire began in their central Stockholm apartment. READ  

Salmonella prompts Coop hamburger recall
Photo: Jim Cole/TT

Salmonella prompts Coop hamburger recall

Swedish supermarket chain Coop has recalled its in-store brand of fresh hamburger meat after a routine check revealed traces of salmonella in the meat. READ  

What's On in Sweden
Photo: Roger Vikström/TT

What's On in Sweden

It's Pride Week in Stockholm. Find out more about the celebrations (including the biggest Pride Parade in Scandinavia) as well as plenty of other activities in Sweden's three biggest cities. READ  

Sweden resumes aid to 'anti-gay Uganda'
Hillevi Engström and protesters against Uganda's anti-gay laws. Photos: Maja Suslin/Ben Curtis/TT

Sweden resumes aid to 'anti-gay Uganda'

Sweden has resumed sending development aid funds to Uganda, after suspending payouts back in March due to "anti-gay legislation". READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Stockholm Pride bars Sweden Democrats
National
Gender neutral pronoun 'hen' enters dictionary
Society
Top ten cafes in Stockholm
People-watching
Gallery
People-watching - Stockholm Pride
Photo: Henrik Trygg/Imagebank Sweden
Society
Sweden worst in EU at getting foreigners jobs
Blog updates

31 July

Calling a speedo a speedo (Blogweiser) »

"There are a lot of speedos on Europe’s beaches. Some European males are evidently more comfortable sporting small, stretchy suits on public beaches than I would be. I accept it may be nice to have swimwear that’s not long and cumbersome. A speedo is maybe also good for tanning. But strolling around town in a..." READ »

 

27 July

Approaching Stockholm (Around Sweden in a kayak) »

"I woke up in the comfort of my own little cabin on Eva and Rolf’s boat, it was 7:30am and I was feeling a bit groggy after a couple of beers with all the lovely locals the night before. The previous day had really taken its toll on my body and I was very stiff and..." READ »

 
 
 
Lifestyle
Stockholm Pride kicks off
Analysis
The top six ways the US and Sweden differ
National
Swedish youth suicides hit 25-year high
National
Politician reported for selling 'negro ball'
National
Police turn blind eye to Swedish 'slave trade'
Gallery
Stockholm Pride: Allsång på Skansen with Conchita Wurst
Skatteverket
Sponsored Article
Introducing... ID cards and permits in Stockholm
Gallery
People-watching, June 26th - 28th. Get inside Stockholm's hottest nightclubs
Gallery
Top ten Swedish taboos
Society
Seven-year-old Swede cycles to Berlin
Politics
'Gaza conflict needs help, not empty rhetoric'
Society
Swedes voted 'most beautiful' in the Nordics
Business & Money
Sweden demands EU clarity on Bitcoin tax
National
Swedish organic sales enjoy 'amazing' growth
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
Society
What's On in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching July 23
National
Swedish cops elect not to shoot 'angry elks'
Business & Money
New alcohol retail rules threaten micro-breweries
Gallery
People-watching Båstad
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

750
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se