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  • Forum gestartet am: Dienstag 10.10.2006
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  • Link zum Originaltopic: The ABBA members accents when singing/talking
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Re: The ABBA members accents when singing/talking

Musen - 19.09.2010, 19:23
The ABBA members accents when singing/talking
In the Frida section we discuss her pronunciation in "Morning has broken".
Perhaps I´m obsessed with the accent issue because I suffer from mine...
Because I´m no native english speaker I can´t hear ABBAs accent when singing but I would love to hear what you natives hear!

Re: The ABBA members accents when singing/talking

dizzymoe33 - 20.09.2010, 00:42

Personnally I love the Swedish accent I think it is actually quite sexy. If Agnetha and Frida sung without their accents I think it would have changed the style of the songs they would have sounded like everyone else who sings in English. So I am glad they didn't try and hide their accents when they were singing. And I like how Frida sounds in her new song, I have no problems with it. :wink:

Re: The ABBA members accents when singing/talking

Fire&Ice - 20.09.2010, 00:51

To my foreign ears, Benny has always sounded the most relaxed in his American English.

Re: The ABBA members accents when singing/talking

TK - 20.09.2010, 00:52

I like it when a singer uses his/her own accent. Nothing worse than a fake American twang. The real accent makes the performance more authentic and personal, if you ask me.

Re: The ABBA members accents when singing/talking

Geordiegirl - 20.09.2010, 07:33

When speaking both of the guys had very little accent, with Benny's having a very slight American sound to it (what we English call a mid-Atlantic accent), where as Bjorn speaks with very little accent of any kind.
Both A & F have always spoken with a far stronger accent, which always sounds wonderful to my ears. I am not sure about Agnetha, but I get the impression with Frida that her priroty was always to use the correct words to ensure that her meaning could not be misunderstood rather than loosing her accent. As I have said on the Frida thread the changes that have happened to her accent appear to have happened entirely naturally. It is still strong but different. As I have said this is no bad thing, I think both A & F's accents are lovely.

When singing, I haven't heard anything in English by Agnetha that was done prior to ABBA, but Frida did do some tracks & her accent was very strong & cute. During the ABBA years I think B & B took a lot of time to try to ensure that the accents were as slight as possible, as they probably believed that if they were strong it could reduce the music's accessibility. Strong accents can certainly affect the rhythm and phrasing of a song.

With A & F's post ABBA stuff their accents weren't too strong on Wrap Your Arms Around Me & Something's Going On, although they are slightly stronger than the ABBA recordings. On Shine, Eyes Of A Woman & I Stand Alone the accents are slightly stonger. Again, as I have said on the Frida thread her post 1990 recordings show her accent being even stronger (but not so much on Dancing Queen with the Real Group), this also goes for Agnetha on My Colouring Book.

As I have said there accents are no problem, they always sound cute with them and it makes the recordings seem more natural and intimate.
Gill

Re: The ABBA members accents when singing/talking

Huffy - 20.09.2010, 11:02

I love the way the girls sing words like "music" and "loser" - words that most natively-English-speaking people would sing with a "zzz" sound (like a bee buzzing), but A&F sing them with a "sss" sound, (like a snake hissing).

(not exactly the most flattering of comparisons, I realize.) :wink:

But honesty, like others who have posted already, I find their accents to be just another feature among the many that set ABBA's music apart and give it its distinctive flavour. I wouldn't want it any other way.

Having said that, I do wonder sometimes whether most Swedish people can even make the "zzz" sound if they tried? I mean, what do Swedish folks do when they have to speak (in English) a sentence like "I don't want to lose any of my loose papers"? Do they say the "s" in "lose" and the "s" in "loose" the exact same way? In the U.S., we have to pronounce the former with the "zzz" sound and the latter with the "sss" sound, since each pronunciation conveys a different meaning.

Granted, if the above sentence were said to me using only "zzz" sounds, or only "sss" sounds, I could still figure out what the person was trying to convey, but it might take me an extra second!

Re: The ABBA members accents when singing/talking

Musen - 20.09.2010, 11:22

Thank you everyone, very interesting!!
Can anyone please write some examples of pronunciation errors for me to listen to!?
When I listen to ABBA or A & F singing in german which is my native language I can hear the accent. I am not into Agnethas german singles a lot but I remember when I first listened to them how surprised I was because there were almost no audiable accent. I assumed she was very good in german but I never could verify it by myself ( I´ve tried to speak german to her when meeting her in the 80ies but never got an answer). Nowadays I think she had great help of her former fiancee.
ABBAs songs in german are very polished, obvious they had help with the language.
When Björn was talking german in the ABBA days his accent was very strong and his language skills quite low but he knew a lot of words.

Frida possibly started to learn german after she met her father in 1977 and moved to Switzerland in 1984 where people use a very dialectic german which can´t be understood by most of the germans. I talked to her in german when meeting her several times in 1992 and she spoke fluently with the most adorable accent typical for swedes. No traces of swiss german though.
When listening to Frida´s and Dan Daniell`s "Lieber Gott" I can hear her sing with the accent as well. You can hear it in the words "warum" "dich", "mich" and "nicht". Swedes usually can´t produce the sound of the german R and CH neither Z.

Re: The ABBA members accents when singing/talking

Pabs - 20.09.2010, 11:41

Huffy wrote: I love the way the girls sing words like "music" and "loser" - words that most natively-English-speaking people would sing with a "zzz" sound (like a bee buzzing), but A&F sing them with a "sss" sound, (like a snake hissing).

I was told that there is no fricative "s" sound in Scandinavian languages. The fricative "s" sound is the English "z", or "zz" sound. In a nutshell, this fricative sound ("zz") is produced when you do "sssss", while at the same time using your vocal chords (as you do the "ssss"-ing).

As the sound is non-existent in Swedish, they can't say e.g., "using" with the zz sound, pronouncing it "you-sing", instead. The proper way to pronouce that word in English is "you-zing".

In Fernando, the girls can't do the z sound in "eyes", so it sounds like "I could see it in your "ice" how proud you were..."

I like these little tell-tale mispronunciations, I must admit.

Pablo

Re: The ABBA members accents when singing/talking

Musen - 20.09.2010, 11:53

Pabs wrote:

I was told that there is no fricative "s" sound in Scandinavian languages.

Pablo
I can verify that! Swedes can´t pronounce the german Z either. Like when they say Zermatt it sounds in german ears like "sehr matt" which means very weak and that´s quite funny. Frida can´t manage it either but obviously better than the average swede. With my bilingual daughters I train them to say " Zehn Ziegen ziehen zehn Kilo Zucker zum Zoo".

Re: The ABBA members accents when singing/talking

Fire&Ice - 20.09.2010, 11:55

Huffy wrote: but A&F sing them with a "sss" sound, (like a snake hissing).

(not exactly the most flattering of comparisons, I realize.) :wink:

:lol: But you see, in phonetics, the fricative "s" (as well as /z/ and other fricative sounds) are referred to as the hissing sounds.

Musen wrote: I am not into Agnethas german singles a lot but I remember when I first listened to them how surprised I was because there were almost no audiable accent.

I haven't listened to her German singles, but no wonder she had no accent. Her English accent is very mild and her pronunciation is very very good. (apart from "s" etc)

Re: The ABBA members accents when singing/talking

Musen - 20.09.2010, 12:49

Fire&Ice wrote:

I haven't listened to her German singles, but no wonder she had no accent. Her English accent is very mild and her pronunciation is very very good. (apart from "s" etc)
Can you compare Frida´s and Agnetha´s english accents please?

Re: The ABBA members accents when singing/talking

Huffy - 20.09.2010, 13:13

Pabs wrote: I was told that there is no fricative "s" sound in Scandinavian languages. The fricative "s" sound is the English "z", or "zz" sound. In a nutshell, this fricative sound ("zz") is produced when you do "sssss", while at the same time using your vocal chords (as you do the "ssss"-ing).

Very interesting. Never realized I was using my vocal cords when doing a "zzz", whereas with a "sss" sound, there's no cord activity at all - just air whistling past the front teeth. Fascinating. I mean, I knew there was a difference, but I thought I was just "buzzing" the air between my tongue and teeth somehow...

Pabs wrote: As the sound is non-existent in Swedish, they can't say e.g., "using" with the zz sound, pronouncing it "you-sing", instead. The proper way to pronouce that word in English is "you-zing".

In Fernando, the girls can't do the z sound in "eyes", so it sounds like "I could see it in your "ice" how proud you were..."

That's what I'm talkin' about! :love4:

BTW, I want to personally thank you, Pablo and Ivana, for introducing me to the word "fricative". You see, regardless of its existing meaning, I've decided tonight to adopt it as my new personal curse word. It just has that sort of quality to it: "My [fricative] car won't start!!" "We lost the [fricative] game!!" "I don't give a [fricative] anymore!" :x :D

Re: The ABBA members accents when singing/talking

Pabs - 20.09.2010, 14:39

Huffy wrote: I've decided tonight to adopt it as my new personal curse word.

:lol: Knock yourself out, buddy! :thumbup:

Pablo

Re: The ABBA members accents when singing/talking

billydog - 22.09.2010, 06:08

[quote="Musen"] Fire&Ice wrote: Can you compare Frida´s and Agnetha´s english accents please?

That's a difficult question Musen. What I remember of ABBA being interviewed on a few UK tv shows during their years together, I always felt Agnetha had a stronger accent but, I think that was emphasised due to the fact she really stuggled with english at time and seemed less confident than Frida. Usually she kept the answers fairly short when she was asked a direct question while Frida seemed more confident in elaborating and going into greater detail.
Their accents when singing in english I have always found very charming and most of the english recordings are fine. I don't see any major pronunciation errors that bother me much anyway 8)

S x

Re: The ABBA members accents when singing/talking

Fire&Ice - 22.09.2010, 08:57

billydog wrote:
I always felt Agnetha had a stronger accent but, I think that was emphasised due to the fact she really stuggled with english at time and seemed less confident than Frida. Usually she kept the answers fairly short when she was asked a direct question while Frida seemed more confident in elaborating and going into greater detail.


I had the other impression, Stuart. When singing, I thought Agnetha had a closer accent to what a native speaker would have (American English), while Frida's has always been stronger.
Also, I thought Agnetha was more confident in interviews and gave more details than Frida. Frida was particularly shy around 76-77 and seemed to me she was happy when reporters would leave her alone.

Re: The ABBA members accents when singing/talking

Musen - 22.09.2010, 13:00

Different opinions are great I believe and in this subject it might be no "true" answer.
I was surprised when Fire&Ice wrote that Agnetha´s accent in singing is very mild because when talking she never became "good in English" while Frida improved her language skills through the ABBA- years and especially later on. She seems to be very talented and motivated for learning languages. I would love to know how her accent is when talking french! I would like to believe it´s her bilingual background (swedish/norwegian) that makes it easy for her to learn languages. The reason of her not being able to talk english in the earlier years was that she only had lower education and dropped out of school early when giving birth to Hans.
I suspect Agnetha never wanted to improve her English skills there where other priorities in her life like the children.

Re: The ABBA members accents when singing/talking

Huffy - 22.09.2010, 18:42

Well, I have to say, the moments when Agnetha has to ask Frida for help with a word, during an interview, are just sooooo adorable. She's so earnest and vulnerable in those moments, I just wish I could give her a big hug and tell her how much I appreciate her efforts to get the words right. The thought that she might be all nervous and embarrassed (while she struggles for a word) just makes my heart swell up more with adoration.

(also because, as I sit here like a schmuck, watching these sweet people work so hard to get my language right, I know I wouldn't be able to utter a single solitary Swedish sentence to save my life!)

Re: The ABBA members accents when singing/talking

johnny59 - 22.09.2010, 19:44

Musen wrote: "Zehn Ziegen ziehen zehn Kilo Zucker zum Zoo".

:rotfl2:

And as a revenge they then let you say "Sjuhundrasjuttiosju sjösjuka sjuksköterskor"?

:lol:

Re: The ABBA members accents when singing/talking

Musen - 22.09.2010, 20:06

And as a revenge they then let you say "Sjuhundrasjuttiosju sjösjuka sjuksköterskor"?

:D :D But I trained to say that already in the 80ies! When I was 12 I decided to move to Sweden and started to learn the language, by the way I had a lot of help from "Ensam"...

Re: The ABBA members accents when singing/talking

Epic - 22.11.2012, 21:29

I am wondering if they have differing Swedish accents? You know like country accent, city accent, North/South etc. Can any Swedish forum members notice the accents of the individual Abba members based on where they are from in Sweden? :?:

Re: The ABBA members accents when singing/talking

abba_babete - 23.11.2012, 03:39

My English teacher said that I have a 'British but slightly North-European accent', and she said it's probably because I always learnt English with ABBA songs and other British acts. Although I can recognize their accents in some solo songs (like Agnetha's Here For You Love, at the verse "I'm at your door now"), my pronunciation is similar in most of the cases :lol:
Edit: I'm learning a bit of Swedish with some songs and an Argentinian friend who's teaching me. I have no idea of my accent!

Re: The ABBA members accents when singing/talking

wickedyeah - 23.11.2012, 10:43

Epic wrote: I am wondering if they have differing Swedish accents? You know like country accent, city accent, North/South etc.
Didn't some early critic comment on Agnetha's Småland accent? My Swedish is dreadful but to me, Agnetha's sounds different from the other three. That's probably entirely in my head though.

Re: The ABBA members accents when singing/talking

dizzymoe33 - 23.11.2012, 20:19

I had read that Agnetha had said that when she is talking with her sister on the phone she slips back to her Småland accent.
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