Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Swedish language

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Swedish language[edit]

A comprehensive and well-rounded description of the Swedish language. Personally I'm especially fond of the dialect map with its many sound samples and the extensive history section. This is mostly a self-nomination, but has certainly been a collaborative effort.

I'd like to thank Alarm, Fred and Wiglaf for their additions to the article, bish for her tireless copyediting and mark and mav for their insightful comments and creative criticism at the reguest for peer review. I would also like to thank everyone who made solid groundwork on the article before I got here; users like Steverapaport, Johan Magnus, Ruhrjung and Tuomas. And special thanks to IceKarma who provided the dialect map and the vowel chart.

Peter Isotalo 21:29, May 26, 2005 (UTC)

  • Support, seems accurate and complete. I had to stop to do bits of copyediting while reading through, though. Fredrik | talk 22:16, 26 May 2005 (UTC)
  • Support, this has to be one of the very best resources on the web on the subject. Disclosure: yes, I copyedited it, but only from the viewpoint of the ignorant. Thank you for the nice compliment, Peter. (It was better before Fredrik's vote, I guess. ;-)) Bishonen | talk 02:20, 27 May 2005 (UTC)
  • Comment: The dialect map is an excellent idea. Let me read the article completely before voting. -- Sundar (talk · contribs) 04:28, May 27, 2005 (UTC)
    • Support. Excellent article. Comment:Though personally I'm not against long articles, this one is too long (~45K). Should consider condensing and exporting sections to satellite articles. -- Sundar (talk · contribs) 05:08, May 27, 2005 (UTC)
  • Definite support, also noting that while I think subarticles would be nice to have, I don't consider it necessary to reduce the article size; 45KB is not unreasonable for an article on this topic, in my view. Everyking 05:30, 27 May 2005 (UTC)
    • We've had language FACs ranging from around 20 to 80k previously, so I have to agree. No section has been overlooked, but neither has any of them been focused on more than is appropriate. / Peter Isotalo 17:17, May 27, 2005 (UTC)
  • comment - a veritable smörgåsbord of information, interesting and very readable - great work. A couple of things I'd like to see though:
  • Intro: perhaps a brief explanation of what's meant by prosody - I know readers can go to the link, but would be useful just to have a couple of words here as well.
  • Geographic distribution: would be nice to have a link or a cite for the claim of Swedish-speaking communities in South America
  • Former language minorities: similarly, a citation for details about the Swedo-Ukrainians would be nice, especially as there are 'no reliable reports' on their number.
  • Both riksvenska and rikssvenska appear - I'm guessing the latter is correct but not sure
  • The 'sje-sound' is described as a 'difficult and complex issue', but I don't see what the issue exactly is. Also, somehow describing for English speakers what this sound is would be very helpful.
  • Phonotactics - unlike the rest of the article I am baffled by this bit. What do all the C-subscripts mean? And some of the jargon could be reworded more generally, like 'morpheme-initially'
  • Would it be desirable to mention how Swedish pronunciation of letters differs from English? Eg sk -> sh, y -> u, g -> y etc.
Once those things are looked at, I'm sure I'll be able to give the article my fyll suppåt :) Worldtraveller 13:51, 27 May 2005 (UTC)
Much oblige for your pointers, Worldtraveller.
I added a source for the number of Ukrainian Swedes, though it seems hard to find any written references for the amount of native speakers. I had to call and ask the chairman of the "Old Swedes"-association myself to get a figure of native speakers that was "around 20" and I made the phonotactic section a bit less oblique. As for the Swedes in South as well as North American, I've had my doubts about this myself and when Googling for it, I could find no information, so I hid it with a request for someone to provide references.
As for the infamous "sje"-sound, the wording is very intentional. The complexity surrounding the pronunciation of this sound (and especially the phoneme) is very complicated from a phonetic perspective. At least two doctoral dissertations have been written on the subject and the issue of the exact vocalization of the sound seems quite uncertain as per Ladefoged and Maddieson. It would simply not be possibly to go into any detail because it would turn the article into phonetics cruft. More information is available at voiceless dorso-palatal velar fricative and Swedish phonology.
I have intentionally avoided any attempts to map orthography to pronunciation since it's usually a great way of getting bogged down in minutiae, over-ambitious generalizations and plenty of contradictions. To make comparisons to even more inconsistent English spelling doesn't seem worth the effort. I believe it would only serve to reinforce popular, but very questionable and confusing ideas about orthography being anything but a very rough and all too often misleading approximation of spoken language.
Peter Isotalo 17:17, May 27, 2005 (UTC)
Great, many of my points are now answered, but I still have a couple of thoughts: first, I'm still a little bit unsure as to what the issue is with the sje-sound - hard for me as a non-linguist to understand how entire doctoral theses could be written about one sound! Would it be possible to add more detail about this?
And second, I'm still a tiny bit confused by the phonotactics section: is it really saying one syllable can have six consonants? And what defines the nucleus of a syllable? Worldtraveller 11:56, 31 May 2005 (UTC)
The nucleus of any syllable is a vowel (as far as I know). And, yes, a single-morpheme syllable in Swedish can have up to six consonants, for example: skrämts, supine passive form of skrämma ("frighten, scare").
Again, about the sje-sound, have you read the two other articles? I am still very hesitatant to elaborate on this issue. What with the qualified reference, I think that would suffice as to the claim of its complexity. Do you have any suggestions as to what aspect should be explained? Is it perhaps just a matter of rewording?
Peter Isotalo 19:31, May 31, 2005 (UTC)
OK, I was just being a bit dense reading the phonotactics section and not appreciating that the V represented a vowel (it's a very abstruse connection I'm sure you'll agree:)). Hope you don't mind, I reworded that sentence a little bit, hopefully it's still accurate but more foolproof. As for the sje-sound, I'm sure just a little bit of rewording would do the trick - you say it's "still debated among phoneticians", but what exactly are they debating? What are the differing opinions? Worldtraveller 11:23, 1 Jun 2005 (UTC)
A good rewording as far as I can see. I've noticed that it's really easy to get caught up in overly linguistic typology as a self-taugh amateur...
Whether the alleged simultanous velar and alveolar articulation of the "sje"-sound is actually physically possible is as far as I know not been resolved. Ladefoged and Madiesson (1996) have claimed that it was unlikely, but I've not seen any references to responses and the IPA still has the ɧ, despite the objections. And Ladefoged is as far as I know a very influential figure in the IPA. Adding to this complexity is the fact that most of the realizations are labialized, in some cases even labiodentally so. Off the top of my head I could imitate at least five different pronunciations of /ɧ/, that while sounding fairly similar (especially to non-natives) are articulated very differently.
Peter Isotalo 20:15, Jun 1, 2005 (UTC)
  • Comment: I have to say that I really hate that "lawngreen" color. Paul August 15:23, May 27, 2005 (UTC)
  • Enthusiastic support I love the samples, also think the table in "Consonants" is great :-) However, I do have a condition on the support, as the following need to be addressed:
    1. "As of 2002, about 5.6% of the total population are Swedish speakers, according to official statistics." - reference please
    2. "The Swedish linguist Ulla-Britt Kotsinas, who is a scholar frequently cited on the subject of Rinkeby Swedish, argues that these varieties are primarily spoken by teenagers from suburbs where immigrants and immigrant descendants are concentrated. According to her, these varieties are best to be understood as expressions of youth culture: The language is a marker of belonging to a certain subculture and at the same time of opposition against a perceived mainstream non-immigrant culture that seems not to value the immigrant descendants." - reference please - Ta bu shi da yu 08:12, 30 May 2005 (UTC)
Eventhough Raul generously promoted the article, I'm going to adress this one pronto.
Peter Isotalo 13:00, Jun 2, 2005 (UTC)
  • OBJECT! For one thing the box at the top of the screen lukes like PUKE! My what a nasty color. Table of contents is way too complicate for this country boy. Box of vowels and constants looks wierd on my browser. And im going to watch grass grow. Its more exciting than this article. -GENERAL ENDICOTT RULES!
    • Unactionable objections. A look at the user's talk page makes one suspect his/her intent. -- Sundar (talk · contribs) 05:54, Jun 1, 2005 (UTC)
      • Though I am an avid fan of fellatio, I took the liberty of striking Endicott's objection after receiving this on my talk page. / Peter Isotalo 14:51, Jun 1, 2005 (UTC)
  • Support. -- ALoan (Talk) 09:58, 1 Jun 2005 (UTC)
  • Support. Great article, and my remarks on Peer Review have all been adressed. One minor quabble though: under Phonotactics, I would not only expect to read about the possible syllable structures, but also about the most common kinds of syllables ('canonical syllable structure') — open or closed, what kind of onsets are most common, etc. — mark 15:03, 1 Jun 2005 (UTC)
    • And I should add that I have no problems with the size; I thinks it's reasonable. — mark 15:04, 1 Jun 2005 (UTC)
      • As with Tbsdy's minor objection, this will be addressed later today. Peter Isotalo 13:00, Jun 2, 2005 (UTC)
  • Support, an excellent article. However, I'd like to see either explanation or removal of this apparent non sequitur: "The introduction of mandatory education in Swedish was chiefly intended as a step to avoid further Finlandization." - Mustafaa 17:36, 1 Jun 2005 (UTC)
  • Support, although I am partial as one of the cited contributors ;-).--Wiglaf 17:47, 1 Jun 2005 (UTC)
  • Object to this excellent article on two grounds:
  • The infobox is too bright. As I posted at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Languages: "Although I cannot source this claim, I recall from my studies of human-computer interaction that a small patch of bright colour on an otherwise monochome screen such as one full of text will hold the reader's eye so strongly as to interfere with their ability to assimulate the text. The choice of such bright colours in the infobox is hindering readability. --Theo (Talk) 18:48, 1 Jun 2005 (UTC)
    • I can't really accept this as an actionable objection since it's part of a widely accepted infobox standard. Please discuss changes of the standard at Project Languages. / Peter Isotalo 20:15, Jun 1, 2005 (UTC)
    • The featured article criteria calls for the article to follow the standards set by the relavant wikiproject, which this article does. Take your objection to the project page and try to convince them, but this objection here is markedly invalid. →Raul654 11:14, Jun 2, 2005 (UTC)
      • OK, I have withdrawn that part of my objection. I understood the infobox standard to be a proposal. I had not appreciated that it had been accepted as policy. --Theo (Talk) 11:27, 2 Jun 2005 (UTC)
  • The various assertions such as the ratios of Swedish speakers among various populations need specific sources. --Theo (Talk) 18:48, 1 Jun 2005 (UTC)
    • Looks like they're referenced to me. Anything missing? / Peter Isotalo 20:15, Jun 1, 2005 (UTC)
      • I have now inserted comments to show where I seek sources in that section. --Theo (Talk) 11:27, 2 Jun 2005 (UTC)
  • Support: An excellent article, plenty of colour, nice length. Wragge 21:19, 2005 Jun 1 (UTC)