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Author Topic: English is a Scandinavian Language  (Read 12967 times)


  • Guest
Re: English is a Scandinavian Language
« Reply #15 on: December 19, 2012, 06:37:08 PM »
I think I have seen this semicommunication in action. I went to the Roskilde rock festival in '99, and in speaking to Danes one of my friends spoke Swedish slightly slower and more clearly than he normally would and used some archaic words and some Swedish dialectal words. Likewise the Danes spoke slightly slower and more clearly than they normally would.

I think a possible problem here, certainly a problem for me, is one of terminology and nomenclature. It's easy to decide to believe that a pre-conquest Englishman could talk to a Frisian, or an Old Low Franconian speaker, even an OHG speaker, but with a Norse or proto norse speaker it's harder to believe as linguists have defined the languages in question as belonging to different sub families.

I got the Heliand a while back, and after a while trying to get used to the whacked out spelling, was able to read it fairly easily with just my knowledge of OE. I can read only the simplest ON. The decision to start learning ON, however, was prompted not by visions of Kirk Douglas in a horned hat, but by the knowledge that I'd already done over half the work of learning the language by learning OE.


  • Guest
Re: English is a Scandinavian Language
« Reply #16 on: December 19, 2012, 11:02:27 PM »
Linguists who like divergent trees classify languages by their ancestral histories. These however often mask complex interactions with neighbouring languages. Even in North Frisia in Jutland, north of the river Eider, several north frisian dialects exist with sometimes, quite different words:

English: water
German: Wasser
Danish: vand
Mooring:  waader
Fering: weeder
Sölring: weeter
Halunder: weeter
Frysk: wetter

English: wheat
German: Weizen
Danish: hvede
Mooring:  wiitje
Fering: wiaten
Sölring: weeten
Halunder: weat
Frysk: weet / weit

English: drink
German: trinken
Danish: drikke
Mooring:  dränke
Fering: drank
Sölring: drink
Halunder: drink
Frysk: drinke

English: spade
German: Spaten
Danish: spade
Mooring:  glou
Fering: rofel
Sölring: gluuv
Halunder: spaod
Frysk: leppe, lodde

Whereas many words are very similar, some like spade are quite different. I would hazard a guess though that two people speaking different north frisian dialects would be familiar with them all and simply accept any of the varieties. I guess too it is the same with word order or grammar. In Lancashire people tend to say, 'shall we not', 'can we not', 'will we not' whereas a few miles across the border in Yorkshire it is 'shan't we', 'can't we', 'won't we'. I tend to think this is what the linguists call 'accomodation'. They're Lancastrians afterall, basically Yorkshire but gone a bit funny.