Lur wrote:Is this person calling "Swedish" only to some sort of standard? If they're all the same language wouldn't Swedish just be the dialect or wherever this name comes from?
I've become against the idea of nation states but I don't see how that would have to be with this.
Traditionally, they form a dialect continuum without any clear-cut borders, and the dialectal differences within the countries are larger than between the four standards (Norwegian has two), and of course, if you look at the dialects on different ends on this continuum, they're not very mutually intelligible... So if you want to make yourself understood to a speaker of another national variety, if you do speak a genuine dialect, you need to tone that down a bit and talk more like you write. This is generally not a problem for Sweden Swedes and Danes, the majority of those have abandoned their dialects and now speak a regional variety of the standard language instead, but in Norway the attitude is that you may write either Bokmål or Nynorsk, but you always speak your dialect. In Finland, genuine dialects are also doing well, but their speakers can usually switch to Standard Finland Swedish at the drop of a hat.
That's another thing, these days there are sharp borders following the ones on the map. Not only are Swedes and Danes abandoning their dialects, the dialects themselves have slowly crept closer and closer to each country's respective standards since at least the introduction of radio, but it may very well have started in the mid-19th century when elementary school became universal and compulsory. Even in Norway this has at the very least influenced vocabulary.
If you want to narrow the definition of "Swedish" down to just the most normative version of the standard language, it still very much exists as its own thing, there is nowhere in the entire country where it's historically been the everyday speech, so you can't argue that it's really Uppsalamål or something. It came into existence as a sort of mix, and then gained a bunch of artificial traits, and yet, it's nowadays the mother tongue of at least a few hundred thousand. And yeah, if we add all the regional versions, we're talking a majority of the inhabitants of Sweden.
Uppsala = Sweden's fourth largest city and situated 65 km or so north of Stockholm. It houses Sweden's oldest university, and the way they speak Standard Swedish is as close to the norm as you're ever going to get with a living language. I'm actually not sure if anyone there still speaks the traditional dialect or if it's completely dead.