Tonight on TV saw another appearance of Sweden’s extremely fine movie reviewer Andrea Reuter. Now, funnily enough, many Swedes would not agree with me that this marvellous woman was attractive. This is not due to her bone structure, or her face, or her choice of clothes, or her daring 1930s hairstyle, but because of the simple fact that she has a Finnish accent.
Figure 1: Spot the funny accent
The Swedes have a BIG problem with Finnish accents. A HUGE problem. There is no belief that will unite Swedes more than this one – that the Finnish accent is ugly. For the life of me, I can’t understand why. To me, Finnish sounds like any other foreign accent – foreign. And when compared to the Swedish accent, it’s actually more interesting. It’s more unusual, a bit harsher and sexier and (nerd fact alert!) one of the languages that Tolkien based his Elvish tongues on.
But Swedes hate it. Normal, clear-minded, free-thinking people will happily try to convince me that there is an inherent ugliness in Finnish. It’s just NOT NICE, they will shout; it’s TOO FOREIGN, and not at all like Swedish which just sounds normal, completely devoid of any accent. Yeah, right…
When you dig deep enough into this, you discover that it has something to do with Finnish children’s programs that Swedes were exposed to in the 70s, or perhaps due to the substantial number of Finnish drunks rolling about Stockholm (substantially fewer in number, it should be noted, than the Swedish drunks), or due to the simple fact that Swedes, in this one area, are irretrievably biased and will never have their minds changed. We can all make fun of the Finnish accent as much as we like because it is ugly and crude and, well, that’s all there is to it.
Keep all of this in mind as you watch the marvellous Andrea strut her funky stuff on Swedish TV, and tell me which of the ladies in the room has the funniest accent. Because as far as I and the rest of the world outside Sweden can tell, it’s even money.