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Which Scandinavian language to study?

 Language Learning Forum : Skandinavisk & Nordisk Post Reply
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cordelia0507
Senior Member
United Kingdom
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Speaks: Swedish*
Studies: German, Russian

 
 Message 1 of 169
30 October 2009 at 7:32pm | IP Logged 
Many people have a hard time deciding which Scandinavian / Nordic language they would like to study.

In this thread we help people make their minds up by explaining what the differences and the similarities are between the Scandinavian languages. We also explain the high degree to which they are mutually intelligeble, as well as the positive feelings of Scandinavians towards fellow Nordic people, regardless of their origin.


Edited by cordelia0507 on 07 July 2010 at 2:34am

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administrator
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 Message 2 of 169
30 October 2009 at 8:06pm | IP Logged 
Do you think it would make sense to day Swedish is the one to go for? Largest number of speakers, close to Danish and Norwegian, ABBA and way easier than Finnish that belongs to a whole different group.
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Fasulye
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 Message 3 of 169
31 October 2009 at 3:26am | IP Logged 
administrator wrote:
Do you think it would make sense to day Swedish is the one to go for? Largest number of speakers, close to Danish and Norwegian, ABBA and way easier than Finnish that belongs to a whole different group.


This would have have been also my conclusion plus Swedish seems to be easier to learn than Danish, if I wasn't born in the border region of Denmark/Germany and wouldn't live in Denmark's neighbour country. So in my case the fact that I live in Germany plays a role to choose Danish.

Edited by Fasulye on 31 October 2009 at 3:28am

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cordelia0507
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 4024 days ago

1473 posts - 2176 votes 
Speaks: Swedish*
Studies: German, Russian

 
 Message 4 of 169
31 October 2009 at 10:28am | IP Logged 
FX, Fasulye --- you are both right!

---------------------------------------------

I think Fasulye is making the right choice
to learn Danish. It's admirable to learn the language of smaller neighbouring countries and I know how successful you've been with Dutch.

But if you decide to venture further North:

Written Norwegian looks very similar to Danish (but the pronounciation is a bit different). People in the Southern part of Sweden (Skåne) are very used to Danish and understand it absolutely fine. They have a quite unique dialect there and pronounce the Rs in the same way as people in Denmark do.

Once you get to Stockholm, as a Danish speaker, you can still read all signs and communicate with people. But people are less used to hearing Danish. Some people get confused if the discussion moves on to complicated subjects. But if both parties make an effort to speak slowly and clearly, then there's no problem.

You couldn't really use Danish very much in Finland I think... But you can still read all the signs in Swedish (everything is dual-signed there). This makes a lot of difference because Finnish 95% impossible to guess or improvise.

As far as I know, there is no problem with speaking Danish in Norway. Most people would understand you, most of the time.

-------------------------------------

As for FX's comment: Well, yes, Sweden is the biggest economy in this region. But all the other countries are very successful too. The population of SWeden is about twice that of any of the other countries. But Sweden is sensitive of pushing the Swedish language too hard. It might bring up old historical grievances of the other countries.. Sweden is no longer interested in dominating this area, only in being an equal with the other countries.

Truth is, for a learner from another European country it doesn't really matter which of the languages he picks. The challenge will be to become better at that language than the level of local peoples English skills.

If somebody is moving to Scandinavia - then obviously he should learn the language where he'll be staying. Else just pick the one that appeals the most.

Icelandic IS definitely a Scandinavian language and CAN be understood by a Scandinavian who makes an effort to familiarise himself with it. But personally I don't really understand it very well at all --- although I am sure I could change that if I wanted. A lot of Icelandic people can speak Danish or another Scandinavian language.

Finnish - well..... that's a whole different story. Luckily for other Scandinavians there are signs in Swedish everywhere in Finland, and most Finns can understand Swedish to some level - varying from Basic to Native.. This is very appreciated of course and it's part of the reason behind the excellent relations between the two countries.





Edited by cordelia0507 on 31 October 2009 at 12:10pm

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Fasulye
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 Message 5 of 169
31 October 2009 at 12:44pm | IP Logged 
cordelia0507 wrote:
FX, Fasulye --- you are both right!

---------------------------------------------

I think Fasulye is making the right choice
to learn Danish. It's admirable to learn the language of smaller neighbouring countries and I know how successful you've been with Dutch.

But if you decide to venture further North:

Written Norwegian looks very similar to Danish (but the pronounciation is a bit different). People in the Southern part of Sweden (Skåne) are very used to Danish and understand it absolutely fine. They have a quite unique dialect there and pronounce the Rs in the same way as people in Denmark do.

Once you get to Stockholm, as a Danish speaker, you can still read all signs and communicate with people. But people are less used to hearing Danish. Some people get confused if the discussion moves on to complicated subjects. But if both parties make an effort to speak slowly and clearly, then there's no problem.

You couldn't really use Danish very much in Finland I think... But you can still read all the signs in Swedish (everything is dual-signed there). This makes a lot of difference because Finnish 95% impossible to guess or improvise.

As far as I know, there is no problem with speaking Danish in Norway. Most people would understand you, most of the time.


Thank you for this clarification, Cordelia. Your post is very informative and gives me a good orientation. Now I know that Danish could help me in the South part of Sweden as well. Unless I find some sponsor, I will not be able to visit Scandinavia anyway. It is an exeption for me that my Esperanto group will pay for me the participation of the UK in Kopenhagen in 2011. I will count it as a succes, if I can at some point in the future read the Danish and Swedish threads here fluently. So I really appreciate having this new subforum.

Fasulye
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Amoore
Senior Member
Denmark
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177 posts - 218 votes 
Speaks: Danish*

 
 Message 6 of 169
31 October 2009 at 3:23pm | IP Logged 
Learn one of them, and it will be a simple task to learn to speak and understand
all of them - Danish, Norwegian, Swedish and Icelandic.

If someone just picked out one of these languages and started spending the same amount
of time learning it as some spend time writing, reading about choosing and figuring out
which language to learn, they would learn one of them VERY well within less that 1
year, and afterwards they could learn the next within months.

You already learn the other two when learning your first. In my very subjective
opinion.


I am a native speaker and have both Icelandic and Norwegian friends. Norwegian - no
problem. Reading Norwegian is some times easiere for a dane to read than danish. I have
read a lot of Norwegian litterature. Icelandic is a little more difficult, but it is
not impossible and it is definitely one of the languages I am going to learn very soon
since I feel, as a Danish speaker, I understand a lot already.

So learn scandinavian language, and the rest of them are almost for free.



Edited by Amoore on 31 October 2009 at 3:26pm

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Juan M.
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Colombia
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 Message 7 of 169
31 October 2009 at 4:13pm | IP Logged 
administrator wrote:
Do you think it would make sense to day Swedish is the one to go for? ... ABBA


That would be a reason not to study it. ;-)

About the topic of this thread, I have often wondered and asked about it, but have not really seen or read anything upon which one could make such a decision from the point of view of the learner interested primarily in literature and scholarship.
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cordelia0507
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 4024 days ago

1473 posts - 2176 votes 
Speaks: Swedish*
Studies: German, Russian

 
 Message 8 of 169
02 November 2009 at 12:13pm | IP Logged 
Juan - there is no clear cut-answer, that's why you haven't seen any comprehensive answer. It depends at what your interest in the Scandinavian region is..

Depending on whether you are intersted in a certain historic era (Vikings or something else) or if your interest is business-related (if so, what area of business).

If anybody needs help to make up his/her mind we'll try to answer your questions.


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