One of the anti-immigrant party’s most prominent names in the area, Arvid Frandsen, was actually born in southern Jylland in Denmark, a region where a particularly rare dialect is spoken.
According to Frandsen, not even his wife understands him when he speaks his native dialect.
Although he’s lived in Sweden since 2000 and does his best to speak the more common Copenhagen dialect of Danish, Frandsen’s colleagues on the council have complained repeatedly about his decision to speak Danish during council meetings.
Council chair Christine Melinder of the Moderate Party told the local Skånska Dagbladet newspaper back in November that she had a hard time understanding Frandsen.
“We’ve told Arvid several times, but he doesn’t care,” the Left Party’s Lasse Björklund told the newspaper.
Frandsen’s dialect has been a constant source of frustration for his fellow council members, prompting an outburst by Social Democrat Gabriel Barjosef during a council meeting last autumn following comments by his Danish-speaking colleague.
“I can’t understand what he says!” Barjosef screamed, according to Skånska Dagbladet, prompting murmurs of agreement from fellow council members.
Barjosef told the newspaper he was considering demanding that interpreters attend meetings where Frandsen is scheduled to speak.
“This is a question of democracy and it’s strange that a Sweden Democrat would choose not to learn Sweden. The Sweden Democrats think that all immigrants should assimilate or be driven out,” he said.
Frandsen claimed he had been advised by a language consultant to continue speaking Danish, adding that he finds learning Swedish difficult.
“It’s not that I don’t want to learn; it’s just hard for me,” he told the newspaper in January.
Frandsen also said that, as a Dane, he wasn’t offered to enroll in a state-sponsored Swedish for Immigrants (Svenska för invandrare – SFI) language class.
“If I’d come here from Pakistan, I would have been thrown in an SFI class, but they don’t do that for Danes or Norwegians,” he said.
However, Frandsen has now finally agreed to attend an intensive Swedish language class in attempt to rid his lexicon of the most indecipherable southern Jylland idioms.
“It feels good to be enrolled in a Swedish course,” he told the newspaper.
Editors Note: a previous version of this article contained several details which could not be substantitated and have since been removed.