v29: sjöodjur

I’ve heard a number of times that Swedish is a difficult language because of the sje-sound (/ɧ/). I find this a little unfair: I think it’s relatively straightforward to learn how to pronounce the sje-sound, whereas I can’t imagine learning other coarticulations such as those of Igbo (which don’t have nice IPA symbols).

Nevertheless, /ɧ/ features in Swedish tongue-twisters, and in this word I only recently found: sjöodjur (sea-monster). Apart from the difficulty in pronounciation, the morphology caught me. Sjö=sea, and djur=animal, but in this case -o- doesn’t mean opposite of, but abnormal instance of. So two distinct but related meanings for o-. SAOB tells you all about it. As well as odjur = abnormal animal = monster, another good example is ogräs = abnormal grass = weed.

Published in: on August 13, 2010 at 19:11  Leave a Comment  
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