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Sweden Democrat made to take Swedish lessons

The Local/dl · 7 Feb 2011, 11:14

Published: 05 Feb 2011 12:31 GMT+01:00
Updated: 07 Feb 2011 11:14 GMT+01:00

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One of the anti-immigrant party's most prominent names in the area, Arvid Frandsen, was actually born in southern Jylland in Denmark, a region where a particularly rare dialect is spoken.

According to Frandsen, not even his wife understands him when he speaks his native dialect.

Although he's lived in Sweden since 2000 and does his best to speak the more common Copenhagen dialect of Danish, Frandsen's colleagues on the council have complained repeatedly about his decision to speak Danish during council meetings.

Council chair Christine Melinder of the Moderate Party told the local Skånska Dagbladet newspaper back in November that she had a hard time understanding Frandsen.

"We've told Arvid several times, but he doesn't care," the Left Party's Lasse Björklund told the newspaper.

Frandsen's dialect has been a constant source of frustration for his fellow council members, prompting an outburst by Social Democrat Gabriel Barjosef during a council meeting last autumn following comments by his Danish-speaking colleague.

"I can't understand what he says!" Barjosef screamed, according to Skånska Dagbladet, prompting murmurs of agreement from fellow council members.

Barjosef told the newspaper he was considering demanding that interpreters attend meetings where Frandsen is scheduled to speak.

"This is a question of democracy and it's strange that a Sweden Democrat would choose not to learn Sweden. The Sweden Democrats think that all immigrants should assimilate or be driven out," he said.

Frandsen claimed he had been advised by a language consultant to continue speaking Danish, adding that he finds learning Swedish difficult.

"It's not that I don't want to learn; it's just hard for me," he told the newspaper in January.

Frandsen also said that, as a Dane, he wasn't offered to enroll in a state-sponsored Swedish for Immigrants (Svenska för invandrare – SFI) language class.

"If I'd come here from Pakistan, I would have been thrown in an SFI class, but they don't do that for Danes or Norwegians," he said.

Story continues below…

However, Frandsen has now finally agreed to attend an intensive Swedish language class in attempt to rid his lexicon of the most indecipherable southern Jylland idioms.

"It feels good to be enrolled in a Swedish course," he told the newspaper.

Editors Note: a previous version of this article contained several details which could not be substantitated and have since been removed.

The Local/dl (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

13:05 February 5, 2011 by Rick Methven
Maybe he should be sent to SFI and sit there with the 'other' Immigrants
13:37 February 5, 2011 by calebian22
He would be an even more staunch supporter of SD after sitting in SFI for a term or two.
13:57 February 5, 2011 by Kaethar
Well, that's ironic. Most dialects of Danish are perfectly understandable to the (non-isolated) Swede but there are one or two that just sound like nonsense. :P
14:03 February 5, 2011 by Nemesis
He should be made to goto SFI in Eslöv.

It would be pure entertainment:)

I can just imagine him sitting next to Iraqi's, Afghani's and Somali's, telling them were he is from and what his job is:)
14:20 February 5, 2011 by dammen
I agree SFI is a joke

It is not those who attend the class that are the problem - the teachers have no real training, and were so bigoted that I left my class in disgust
14:31 February 5, 2011 by Swedesmith
My SFI teacher in Borgholm was wonderful....considering what she had to work with.
14:32 February 5, 2011 by ITkiwi
Am surprised at the anti SFI comments - I had a f#$kin blast at mine and found the majority of fellow students there for the same purpose as me - to learn swedish.

I made many acquaintances and even a few friends from various different ethnicities I would not have otherwise had the opportunity to - particularly now that I'm working.

Need to keep an open mind and not be so quick with the generalizing sweeping statements.
15:13 February 5, 2011 by shame, shame
This is funny. Begs the question - just how "Swedish" are the nationalist "Sweden Democrats"?
15:21 February 5, 2011 by ITkiwi
p.s. My SFI teacher was awesome
15:31 February 5, 2011 by Rick Methven
Is that awesome as in a great teacher, or awesome as in drooling at the mouth beautiful?
15:45 February 5, 2011 by ITkiwi
I was meaning as in great teacher but truth be told - she was very beautiful also ;-)
16:38 February 5, 2011 by UScitizen
I had so much trouble learning Swedish that SFI put me in a class by myself.... just me and the teacher. Now I don't feel so bad. There were some great teachers there and some really nice immigrants from all countries. I agree with ITkiwi.... It was a great time.
16:43 February 5, 2011 by calebian22
Nothing wrong with SFI. Just the attitude of most of the students, at least in mine, proved over and over again the reason SD has come to prominence.
17:32 February 5, 2011 by Iraniboy
Lol! It says a lot about those who couldn't understand him and voted for him :D

'...and the fellow council members often used the occasions to visit the toilet'

When can they go to toilet and have a break after he learns Swedish? :D Maybe they should ask him to drop the course :D
17:40 February 5, 2011 by Juan Harry Bush

I'll refraise the comment then : )

SFI is joke. I suggest it's best to take private lessons, You'll learn in a much better inviornment. If You happen to speak good English, and live in a large city such as Stockholm, a person can live their entire life without speaking a word of Svenska.

However, in the smaller townships, the inhabitants are stuck in a timewarp, not to mention being narrow minded, but You can find this in any country.

As far as SFI, it was quite uncomfortable to sit in a room of some who may be insurgents, given the nature of recent world events, or where they may be from from. Not to mention the attitude when You ask them how they like living in Sweden, as the majority of responses is negative "I Don't Like It Here".

The correct response is "If You Don't like It Here, Then Don't Let The Door Hit Your Back Side On The Way Out".

Just Sayin' : - )
17:52 February 5, 2011 by jimmy1988
Well everyone have to make sacrifices in order to do better in life. I dont see where is the problem of taking Swedish Lesson´s.
18:38 February 5, 2011 by ITkiwi
There were a few in my class who disliked most things swedish - in particular living in Sweden but they were given very little opportunity to spout nonsense and were challenged by most when they did. They were definitely in the minority.

It makes sense that your SFI experience is dependent on which kommune you attend SFI within so can understand that it's not all milk and honey for all.
18:56 February 5, 2011 by Douglas Garner
I studied at SFI Gävle. Just like with anything and anywhere else, I found some teachers and classes that I learned quickly from and others that I did not.

It helps to remember that everyone has their own way of learning, and what helps me may not work for you. I made quite a few friends through SFI, and we by no means agree as to who our favorite teachers were for just this reason.

Regarding my fellow students... I also was concerned about offending persons with significant cultural difference than my own (USA), but we ended up having so much fun sharing with each other as the months went on, that I believe I have become a much more open person as a result. (not very Swedish, I will admit... but hey, I'm from the states, so what do you expect!)

Regarding our Swedish Democrat who cannot speak proper Swedish... I think it is a wonderful irony and points out some of the basic flaws of their party platform. Perhaps they will learn through this, or will receive even less credibility than they currently have.
18:56 February 5, 2011 by blursd
I can see that ... I have extended family members from southern Jylland, and half the time when they say things I sit there with a look on my face of, "Hvad?" Sometimes I'll even ask myself, "are they speaking the same language as me?"

My family originally comes from a small town in southern Jylland, but all my immediate family were born and raised in Copenhagen -- When I first moved to Sweden I encountered some problems with people understanding me when I spoke Danish (even with a Copenhagen accent). Took a couple months, but thankfully Swedish and Danish are very similar (compared to say ... English and Spanish).

Even though the Scandinavian languages are "mutually intelligible" (for the most part) it's rather bad form to move to Sweden and not learn Swedish.
19:33 February 5, 2011 by truthworthy
lol , yes please send him to the SFI classes.
19:43 February 5, 2011 by mikewhite
... or awesome as in frightening ...?
20:03 February 5, 2011 by truthworthy
For me SFi was snap, the teachers were helpful i finished the course in 3 months. But I also realized that many people had problems there not because of the teachers but because of their lack of basic education from their country. I also applaud the efforts of the government to encourage people to study quicker.

The situation of Somalis are mostly understandable because the country has had 20 years of civil war were education infrastructure was destroyed, all the people I met there wanted to finish SFI quickly and find jobs just like anyone else.
00:31 February 6, 2011 by Nemesis
You do realise I went to Eslöv this weekend and went to the various pubs

They now all know about this:)

I goto bed now,as I am pissed after my first ever Eslöv pub crawl.

I can safely say no one has ever done this one before. Who would pub crawl in Eslöv? Also am glad I am not working tomorrow as I am really pissed.

Night. lovely people:)))
07:19 February 6, 2011 by LordSqueak
I would argue that 'Rinkebysvenska' is a lot more understandable, than Scanian.
10:29 February 6, 2011 by UScitizen
Wow! I feel sorry for the guy, even though I don't support the Swedish Democrats since I'm an immigrant also. But it seems like a lot of The Local readers can't understand anything I say either. When they see that I've made a post, maybe they should go to the toilet instead of trying, and failing, to say something witty and clever to make themselves feel superior to me!!
18:25 February 6, 2011 by enkelt
SFI is a joke here in sweden the government should try to came up with other methods to help those in such classes its pure insanity as my friends told me , sitting with an Afghani who can not write his/her name and most of them are just there helpleslly
08:55 February 7, 2011 by flintis
This should apply to 90% of the population of Skåne, either that or they should be taught not to talk while they're eating.
09:16 February 7, 2011 by Traitor
This article is based on a joke. Dagens Svenskbladet is not a real newspaper. They make up news to be funny.
09:52 February 7, 2011 by technoviking
For all the SFI bashing... at least the Swedish government is nice enough to provide the service for people who want to try to learn the language which is one of many generosities offered to immigrants.

The sense of entitlement here is truly nauseating...

Perhaps it's the students, not the service that's a joke and we'd be better without both.
16:23 February 7, 2011 by Juan Harry Bush

SFI is provided by the Swedish government to ensure they can get a job. Speak no Svenska, Get no Job. So unless someone plans on living off the welfare system, they'd better learn the lingo.

And. Yes, the "Guests" seem to think this country owes them a living, as well as make demands that Sweden change it's Scandinavian Culture to their ways.
19:02 February 7, 2011 by rohermoker
In the Us this type of out right lnaguage'is is not permitted, cannot they make some toye of arangement or an interperter?
20:11 February 7, 2011 by Tanskalainen
I knew an old gentleman from Saeby DK who couldn't understand some southern Danes but he could understand Norwegians any day of the week and could even read Norwegian books and understand them even though he never set a foot in Norway!
09:25 February 8, 2011 by Beef
"If I'd come here from Pakistan, I would have been thrown in an SFI class, but they don't do that for Danes or Norwegians," he said.

What an idiot!!! Everyone is entitled to SFI! I went as a Brit and had a great time and am now fluent in Swedish!

What racist nonsense... I'm so glad that this so called party keeps shooting themselves in the foot!

@Kaether, it's not ironic.. Surely his brand of Danish is much harder to understand than Swedish, even with the strongest of foreign accents!

This is just plain ridiculous!
13:08 February 9, 2011 by Veronika_A
Oh the ignorance, the ignorance...

First of all, The Local is making a fool of itself by calling the regional variety South Jutish a "particularly rare dialect".

Secondly, this immigrant speaks Danish. But is Danish alien to Scania?

And thirdly, under Swedish law, any immigrant who speaks Danish or Norwegian is automatically ineligible to receive free Swedish tuition for immigrants (SFI). And consequently, cannot be awarded the special "SFI-bonus" of up to 12,000 kronor. Another thing this Danish immigrant is exempt from is the special "Starta eget-bidrag för invandrare".

Talk about "Gilla Olika" - do I detect a touch of "Vi & Dom" mentality here, perhaps?
13:14 February 9, 2011 by Veronika_A
Seems to me you're the clueless idiot around here, Beef.
17:04 February 9, 2011 by Rick Methven
"Secondly, this immigrant speaks Danish. But is Danish alien to Scania?"

His brand obviously is. Or maybe he is just unintelligible in any language.

Also funny seeing an immigrant in an anti-immigration party:LOL
15:52 February 11, 2011 by Puffin
"It's not that I don't want to learn; it's just hard for me," he told the newspaper in January.


Excuses excuses - not acceptable

"If I'd come here from Pakistan, I would have been thrown in an SFI class, but they don't do that for Danes or Norwegians,"

Err yes they do - I attended a Swedish class with a Dane who had special dialect that noone could understand (not even my Danish husband)

I attended SFI with a Swedish citizen who did not speak Swedish

So more excuses from the SD member ....
22:36 February 13, 2011 by wotist
Whenever I read an article in the local where a source for that article is given, I try to find the original and read that. What I've found is that the local does two types of translations:

1. Google translate - Quick, cheap and frequently unintelligible.

2. Employ a translator - To add value the one translating add fictional words and even whole sentences to the original article. Every article is "spiced up" with controversial quotes that are pure fiction invented by the local.

To see someone on here criticize someone for something that the local has made up would be amusing if it weren't for the fact that the local is the only source some people have for Swedish news.

At first I thought that the local had an "anti-racist" agenda and that that was the reason for "spicing up" articles about the Sweden Democrats. But that theory doesn't seem to hold water as there seems to be as many articles that are spiced up resulting in inciting racism as there are working against it.

I guess creating controversy for the sake of maximizing their page views is what the local is all about. Journalistic integrity isn't something you'll find in articles on this site.

Ah well...
16:13 February 18, 2011 by Nemesis
He is not attending SFI in Eslöv.

Where is this guy learning Swedish?

Is he getting special preferential treatment because he is in the Sweden Democrats?
01:30 February 21, 2011 by alecLoTh
Seems like you dont rerally have to be Swedish or democratic to join - just be white
12:56 March 13, 2011 by mieoux
"One of the anti-immigrant party's most prominent names in the area, Arvid Frandsen, was actually born in southern Jylland in Denmark"

Wow, this is some serious hypocrisy. Or is it really that SD is quite ok with immigrants if they are white?
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