Post by wugi
Does anyone know where Swedish got its frea-, er, weir-, well, special
sound from shown by the various spellings sj, skj, stj, sk ?
My Hugo (otherwise a good label) 'Swedish in three months' says, as I
had expected, "pronounced like SH in SHALL".
So when we visited Sweden, in 2005 or so, and I was buying some
sandwiches and wanted one with ham, I said to the waiter "mé shinka".
She didn't have a clue what I was asking for! I had to return to English
ham, and then asked her how *she* called that. The answer sounded
something like "HWing-ka", with a quite breathy fricative voiceless H
and an English-like W.
Since then it 'hits' me now and again in Swedish films or series.
Station ~ "staHWo:n" and alike. Special indeed :^O
Not knowing Swedish I can still say a word on the variations of the expressive
letter S from the angle of my alternative approach to early language. Greek
sigma has cognates in sign signal signature significant, in German sagen
English say, Magdalenian SIG for sign and inverse GIS for gesture. A hissing
Sss can warn, a softer Shh ask for silence. The strong phoneme was ideal
for the branching of words via minor sound shifts and vocal shadings. D-words
and T-words can have comparative forms in S-words, for example DIG for finger,
Latin digitus, has a comparative form in the above SIG, and inverse GID for
give and get in GIS. TYR for the one who overcomes in the double sense of
rule and give became emphatic Middle Helladic Ss Ey R Sseyr on the Phaistos
Disc (Derk Ohlenroth) Doric Sseus (Wilhelm Larfeld) Homeric Zeus. Many English
words have S-versions in German that appears to be an emphatic language,
water Wasser eat essen hot heiss heat Hitze sweet süss nut Nuss better besser
great gross greet grüssen, and so on and onner. Magdalenian PAD means activity
of feet German Füsse, the comparative form PAS everywhere (in a plain), here,
south and north of me, east and west of me, in all five places, Greek pas pan
'all, every' pente penta- 'five'. Inverse DAP means activity of hands and
the comparative form SAP everywhere (in space), here, south and north of me,
east and west of me, under and above me, in all seven places, accounting for
English seven German sieben French sept Latin septem and Greek - hepta,
shifting from S to the softer H (while the sigma remains in sophia 'wisdom'
Latin sapientia 'wordly wisdom' acquired by exploring the world in all seven
places). If I got you wright and not rong the Swedish S pronounced hW might be
another softening of the sharp S on the way from the Stone Age to the Early
For the puzzling ways of migration and language spreading see David Reich,
Who We Are and How We Got Here, Oxford 2018, a demanding read but highly
rewarding. The Ice Man 'Oetzi' came from Sardinia. Sardinian famers
contributed to the European genome as of 5,000 years ago, also in southern
Sweden. Ad hoc hypothesis: maybe they brought a whistling language with
them that has a remote echo in the modulation of the sigma phoneme?