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Which Scandinavian language to study?

 Language Learning Forum : Skandinavisk & Nordisk Post Reply
169 messages over 22 pages: << Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ... 19 ... 21 22 Next >>
Aquila123
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Norway
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201 posts - 262 votes 
Speaks: Norwegian*, English, Italian, Spanish
Studies: Finnish, Russian

 
 Message 145 of 169
29 December 2013 at 1:23pm | IP Logged 
If you learn one Scandinavian Language, you can easily learn to read the other two also, so the whole of the Scandinavian litterature gets open to you.

For a Norwegian, Swedish is just like another Norwegian dialect and so is also Norwegian for a Swede, especially at the writtel level. Spoken Danish is somewhat more difficult, but not written Danish.

Edited by Aquila123 on 29 December 2013 at 1:24pm

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Solfrid Cristin
Heptaglot
Winner TAC 2011 & 2012
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Norway
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Speaks: Norwegian*, Spanish, Swedish, French, English, German, Italian
Studies: Russian

 
 Message 146 of 169
29 December 2013 at 3:11pm | IP Logged 
tractor wrote:
Medulin wrote:
I can clearly hear the difference between a clear speech used on NRK
news and slurred speech
used in Norwegian movies. It is not only a difference in speed, but in diction (quality) as well.

The diction is horrible in recent Norwegian films. I guess it is meant to sound as natural as possible. In the
seventies
and eighties, on the other hand, they used to speak in a very theatrical and artificial way. That was actually a
lot
worse to listen to.


I second that. It used to be really bad to listen to - it sounded like they were on stage - and now I cannot even
understand or hear what they are saying. Depressing.
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Iván
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Spain
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 Message 147 of 169
07 January 2014 at 1:30pm | IP Logged 
Currently I'm thinking of learning a Scandinavian language. I've always been interested
in learning Swedish, since it has more speakers than Danish and Norwegian. Although,
some people have recommended me learn Norwegian instead. They told me I'd be able to
understand Danish if I spoke Norwegian, whereas if I spoke Swedish, Danish would be
more difficult to understand. Besides, Norwegian has a simpler grammar than Swedish,
but as far as I'm concerned, Swedish has as many dialects as Norwegian, but it is much
more standard and if you learn rikssvenska, you'll be understood almost everywhere.

So, the point is:

Norwegian: Simpler grammar. Less speakers. Get to understand Danish and
Norwegian. Way too many dialects.
Swedish: Harder, but still easy grammar. More speakers. Standard form.

What do I do? I mean, I know it's up to me, but I would like to get some advice from
you before choosing.       

Edited by Iván on 07 January 2014 at 1:31pm

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eyðimörk
Triglot
Senior Member
France
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Speaks: Swedish*, English, French
Studies: Breton, Italian

 
 Message 148 of 169
07 January 2014 at 2:14pm | IP Logged 
Iván wrote:
They told me I'd be able to understand Danish if I spoke Norwegian, whereas if I spoke Swedish, Danish would be more difficult to understand.

Er... are you aiming for advanced native-like fluency and how good are you at understanding languages that are similar but not the same? For example, you clearly have a good command of the modern English language. Is the same true of Chaucerian English? If you've never read Chaucer, here's an example:

      In surrye whilom dwelte a compaignye
      Of chapmen riche, and therto sadde and trewe,
      That wyde-where senten hir spicerye,
      Clothes of gold, and satyns riche of hewe.
      Hir chaffare was so thrifty and so newe
      That every wight hath deyntee to chaffare
      With hem, and eek to sellen hem hire ware.


How you do with this sort of thing matters, because while I personally find Chaucer easy to follow I have native English friends who are completely lost when faced with such minor differences. On the other hand, a near-native command of the language is often necessary to be able to work out the differences. You get away with more in writing, but you certainly need a very high level to understand the spoken differences. Immigrants who have spent their entire lives, or almost their entire lives, in Scandinavian countries do worse on mutual comprehension tests.

Unless you intend to be almost perfectly fluent in the language in question, and expect to spend much time with native (unsubtitled) Danish materials/people (in which case I ask: why aren't you learning Danish instead?), I wouldn't advise you to let mutual intelligibility across borders affect you much. You don't magically and automatically gain access to multiple languages without hard work and exposure just because you start learning a Scandinavian language.* But you can, after some time, gain access to multiple languages with less effort.





* to us natives it sometimes seems that way, so we tell learners that it's automatic, but we have the advantage of advanced fluency and, often, enormous amounts of exposure to different ways of pronouncing our joint Scandinavian tongue, whether nationally or internationally. Even then, I'm personally dissatisfied with the amount of conscious effort I have to put into understanding Danes and Norwegians, so one of my goals for this year is actually to expose myself to much more Danish/Norwegian media.

Edited by eyðimörk on 07 January 2014 at 2:17pm

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Aquila123
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Norway
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Speaks: Norwegian*, English, Italian, Spanish
Studies: Finnish, Russian

 
 Message 149 of 169
07 January 2014 at 2:25pm | IP Logged 
Well, if you learn Norwegian bokmål, you will easily be able to understand written Danish. You will understand written and Spoken Swedish, but with some difficulty in the beginning.

If you learn Swedish, you will understand spoken and written Norwegian, and written Danish, but with some difficulty in the beginning.

Spoken Danish is more difficult to understand with the base in Norwegian or Swedish.

Danish has the easiest grammar, but it is very difficult to learn to speak it and understand it when it is spoken. You probably will end up speaking something that sounds like Norwegian, and not Danish. With Danish as base it will be easy for you to understand written Norwegian and probablky spoken Norwegian. You will have some more problem with Swedish.

The most difficult aspect with Swedish is the plural of nouns. You probably have to learn it separately for each noun. Norwegian has 3 genders, while Danish and Swedish have 2.The feminine gender can mostly be avoided in the bokmål standard, but it is very much alive in the dialects.

Norwegian and Swedish have phonemic tone differences that should be mastered. Danish has something called "stød" or "push" instead. This fenomenon sounds like you clip the stressed vowel in two parts with a rapid clottal constriction, but without making two syllables of it. It is not like a normal glottal stop, even though it is described like that sometimes.

Edited by Aquila123 on 07 January 2014 at 2:43pm

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prz_
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 Message 150 of 169
07 January 2014 at 2:51pm | IP Logged 
If you think about job in Scandinavia, currently the best choice is definitely Norwegian.
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Iván
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Spain
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Speaks: Spanish*, Catalan*, English
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 Message 151 of 169
07 January 2014 at 3:16pm | IP Logged 
Thank you very much for your quick replies!

I think understanding other Scandinavian languages depends on how much effort one puts
on it. If one is used to hear Danish, one will surely understand it regardless of the
fact that one's mother tongue is Norwegian or Swedish.

I read my post again and it really seems like I'm more interested in understanding
Danish that in learning a Scandinavian language. In that case, I'm sorry, but I prefer
Swedish and Norwegian. So yeah, let's excluse Danish, shall we? No hard feelings,
Danish speakers.

Swedish has a harder, yet easy grammar compared to Norwegian, doesn't it? At least,
Norwegian has a clearer way of forming the plural of the nouns, right? But then again,
I read that if you are really aiming for advanced native-like fluency in Norwegian, you
shouldn't learn Bokmål, but a dialect instead. Besides, Swedish is much more standard.
However, as eyðimörk said above, I shouldn't worry about mutual intelligibility if I'm
just getting started in learning a Scandinavian language.       
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Medulin
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Croatia
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 Message 152 of 169
07 January 2014 at 4:33pm | IP Logged 
Aquila123 wrote:


Norwegian and Swedish have phonemic tone differences that should be mastered. .


Swedish has only 300 word pairs that contrast only in tone (e.g. tomten, anden etc),
Norwegian Bokmaal has 10x more of them (3000 contrasting word pairs) because Bokmaal merged -or, -ar and -er into -er only. (and dialects have even more because of contrasts like rota f [definite] ~ rota v [preterit]).

The Swedish tonal system is more obvious from the spelling, for example:
-ar present forms get 2nd tone, -er present forms get 1st tone.

In Bokmaal there is no way of knowing which -er forms take which tone,
unless you use Nynorsk as help (not practical for a beginner), so elsker gets tone 2 in Bokmaal because it's elskar in Nynorsk, but heter gets tone 1 in Bokmaal because it's heter in Nynorsk.

In Swedish:
-ar present ---> 2älskar---> att 2älska
-er present ---->1heter ----> att 2heta

As for grammar difficulties, I'd say Swedish is between Nynorsk and Bokmaal.
In Southern Swedish, more often than not both -er and -ar plurals are pronounced as -ar,
(like in Bergen Norwegian in which people pronounce jeg elskER deg as if it were Nynorsk: eg elskAR deg).

Edited by Medulin on 07 January 2014 at 4:51pm



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