• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3
World says 'yes' to bonkers Swedish sound
The Local's Oliver Gee takes language lessons in Umeå. Photo: The Local

World says 'yes' to bonkers Swedish sound

The Local · 16 Jan 2015, 13:44

Published: 16 Jan 2015 13:44 GMT+01:00

Shooting the video in temperatures of -5C after a long night at the festival put on by Umeå to celebrate the end of its year as a European Capital of Culture, I'll be honest, former Deputy Editor Oliver Gee (who's now based at The Local France) and I had no idea our report would be such an international success.
 
We knew those of you who are regular readers of The Local would love it, just as you've snapped up our stories about other Swedish quirks, from having to hug your boss to not sharing alcohol at parties. And don't get Oliver started on the word Göteborg.
 
But we couldn't have predicted that in just seven days our film - made on a smartphone - would have got almost 900,000 hits, been all over newspapers and social media in Sweden after an initial report by SVT and featured in international media ranging from the UK's Daily Mirror to Australia's News.au and Fox News in the US.
 
"The way people in one town in Sweden say 'Yes' is absolutely bonkers," wrote Irish news site entertainment.ie on Thursday, while backpacker site Travelpulse said "those folks might as well be saying 'sure, that will be just fine' in Klingon."
 
If you still haven't seen the video (and why not?), rather than saying 'ja' like most Swedes do, people living in northern Sweden make a noise that is a kind of gasp that could suggest the person listening to you is either impressed, shocked or a bit chilly.
 
 
A quick trawl through the comments section below the video on YouTube suggests that above all, the video is popular because it made people laugh.
 
"This is hilarious to me! I brought my American boyfriend to the north of Sweden where I'm from and he thought my Dad had a breathing problem when he said yes this way," said one post.
 
While Swede Olag Johansson quipped that the title of video was misleading, dubbing it instead "the most awesome sound".
 
On Reddit, a site which collates viral stories, another commentator joked that in northern Sweden, having (good) sex with someone might sound like "an asthma attack." 
 

A snapshot of our coverage on Google News. Photo: The Local
 
Speaking to The Local on Friday, the mayor of Umeå Marie-Louise Rönnmark said:  "Umeå always surprises! Umeå is a fantastic place where humour creates a certain kind of confidence. People are welcome here!".
 
Another contact at the tourist office, who did not want to be named, joked that she could envisage thousands showing up in the city and asking locals to make the sound.
 
Frederick Lindengren, Artistic Director of Umeå 2014, said: "'Schwup' is the answer to many big questions," adding that it could even help "boost international diplomacy." No we're not sure what he means either. We told you those people in northern Sweden were rather unusual.
 
Story continues below…
Some of The Local's news team in Umeå: Editor Maddy Savage (left), intern Mimmi Nilsson and reporter Oliver Gee. Photo: The Local
 
Here at The Local we're especially proud that we shot the video on a smartphone, proving that our small but rapidly growing news brand doesn't need expensive equipment or camera crews to make the kind of content that our unique international audience enjoys watching.
 
"It's great that Oliver's video has made people around the world so curious about the wonderful Swedish language," said our Managing Editor James Savage on Friday.
 
"The Local is all about bridging different cultures, and what better way to connect with people than learning to say 'Yes'? Our nine European sites will be doing many more videos like this in the months to come."
 

For more news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Today's headlines
Sweden murder probe after refugee centre death
One person had been detained and other potential witnesses were being questioned. Photo: TT

Swedish police on Sunday launched a murder investigation after a young woman was found dead at a shelter housing asylum-seekers.

Sweden trials electrified highway for trucks
The truck draws power as it moves at speeds of up to 90km/h (56mph) while putting out no emissions. Photo: Scania AB

The Swedish truck firm Scania, in partnership with German engineering company, Siemens, is developing the world’s first “eHighway”, a four kilometre stretch of highway north of Stockholm.

Brexit vote
Sweden opposition cools talk of 'Swexit' poll
Anna Kinberg Batra, of the largest opposition party, the Moderates. Photo: TT

"This is a sad day for the British and for Europe."

Brexit vote
Swedish PM swats aside calls for EU renegotiation
"Sweden will now lose an important partner in the EU," Löfven said. Photo: TT

Left Party calls "totally irresponsible."

Brexit vote
'Devastated' - Brits in Sweden shocked by Brexit vote

Expat Brits in Sweden have reacted with shock, despair and uncertainty to the result of the EU referendum in the UK which was won 52-48 by the Leave campaign.

Brexit vote
'A morning of sorrow': Sweden reacts to Brexit vote
Photo: TT

The former Swedish EU minister, Birgitta Ohlsson declared that it was 'a morning of sorrow', after British voters opted to leave the European Union on Thursday.

The Local Recipes
How to make Karin's delicious Midsummer cake
Karin's cake. Photo: swedishfood.com

"We are very tolerant of other cultures except when it comes to strawberries."

Sweden named the world's 'most reputable' country
The flag of the world's most reputable country – at least according to one report. Photo: Fredrik Sanberg/TT

Sweden has been ranked as the most reputable country in the world by a new report. Find out why.

Why most students don't finish Swedish for Immigrants
More students are taking Swedish for Immigrants classes, but completion rates are low. Photo: Pontus Lundahl

Only four in ten students finished their courses at Sweden's state-funded Swedish for Immigrants classes in 2015, according to new statistics from a national agency.

Swedish police nab drunk-driving lawnmower man
Lawnmowers: dangerous, in the wrong hands. Photo: Hasse Holmberg/TT

A man in southern Sweden is at risk of having his licence revoked after drunkenly driving a motorized lawnmower.

Sponsored Article
How to find student housing in Malmö: 5 tips
Culture
How do Swedes celebrate Midsummer?
Sponsored Article
'Sweden gives artists the space to follow their dreams'
Culture
Coming soon: Sweden’s smelly fermented fish
National
Assange lawyer: Sweden should recognize UN opinion
Blog updates

17 June

Queen’s Birthday Stockholm 2016: 9th June. 90th Birthday. 900 Guests! (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"What do you do when you read that the Queen’s 90th Birthday in London will be…" READ »

 

10 June

i lördags, på lördag – time phrases for present, past and future (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hejsan! Swedish time phrases can be difficult to master. It takes a lot of practice to…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
5 reasons you should try dating with The Inner Circle
Private
The Local Voices
Why is this Syrian dentist who hugs like a Swede worried about undies?
Sponsored Article
The man behind Sweden's biggest music festival
Swedish nationalist 'shot and ate' lion and giraffe
Analysis & Opinion
'Sweden's residency revamp is harmful and inhumane'
Photo: The Local
The Local Voices
UNHCR boss: 'It's hard to start your life without your family'
Sponsored Article
US expats: Have you met your tax deadlines?
Politics
VIDEO: Brits in Europe say why UK should stay
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Photo: Marko Risović
The Local Voices
World Refugee Day: Searching for safety in Europe - in pictures
National
Is Swedish nationalists’ foreign food ban bananas?
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Gallery
Property of the week: Söråker
Sponsored Article
Malmö: Home to the best food in Sweden?
International
Poll shows huge support for EU in Sweden
The Local Voices
How a Syrian scuba diver mobilized Sweden's biggest asylum centre
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Sport
Zlatan: 'If we'd been fighting for real, he'd be in hospital'
Sponsored Article
VIDEO: Why Malmö is the world's 6th best city for biking
The Local Voices
Orlando reflections: Is it possible to be gay and Muslim?
Sponsored Article
5 reasons you should try dating with The Inner Circle
Sweden to go ahead with migrant age tests
Sponsored Article
US expats: Have you met your tax deadlines?
Gallery
People-watching: June 17th-19th
Sponsored Article
Stockholm school celebrates Nepal Project success
National
Will you be hit by changes to Sweden's residency laws?
Sponsored Article
6 simple travel hacks that will make your life easier
The Local Voices
Why an Iraqi who won Swedish lottery won't quit his restaurant job
Gallery
People-watching: Midweek revellers
National
Why this pizzeria is giving elderly Swedes free meatballs
3,313
jobs available
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:
psdmedia.se