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Which Scandinavian language to study?

 Language Learning Forum : Skandinavisk & Nordisk Post Reply
169 messages over 22 pages: 1 24 5 6 7 ... 3 ... 21 22 Next >>
Senior Member
Joined 5550 days ago

177 posts - 218 votes 
Speaks: Danish*

 Message 17 of 169
06 November 2009 at 2:58am | IP Logged 
LanguageSponge wrote:
Nobody will be bothered if you speak any of the
languages in any of the other countries, as long as you speak clearly.

In which case, my choice will just be a question of which will be easier to learn
considering I am a native English speaker and speak German more or less fluently. I
imagine that the grammar of the Scandinavian languages is largely the same, at least in
Danish, Norwegian and Swedish and perhaps Icelandic? I assume that Finnish grammar is
very different? I assume that the vast majority of vocabulary is related to German
and English?



Knowing English and some German will definitely get you far when learning danish. No
doubt about it.

2 persons have voted this message useful

Joined 5350 days ago

7 posts - 16 votes
Speaks: Swedish*, English
Studies: Icelandic

 Message 18 of 169
30 December 2009 at 12:18pm | 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.

Not Icelandic...

I imagine that the grammar of the Scandinavian languages is largely the same, at least in Danish, Norwegian and Swedish and perhaps Icelandic?

If you believe Icelandic grammar is close to the others you are in for a BIG surprise.


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.

If you are an extraordinary polyglot perhaps. Unfortunately I am not. My dictionary is falling apart. I believe the vocabulary distance is about the same as German to Swedish.

A lot of Icelandic people can speak Danish or another Scandinavian language.

If by "a lot" you mean a large minority. This is a true dialogue from my last visit to the biggest bookshop in Reykjavik (actors are me, and a young saleswoman).

Me: "Mig langar í glæpasögu á Íslensku."
She: "Oh, let´s speak English."
Me: "Nej. Har du någon nyutkommen deckare på isländska?"
She: "Speak English, please."
Me: "Nope! Þú lærðir dönsku í skólanum. Talaðu bara dönsku!"
She: "No, I can't. But English is just fine."
Me: "Nej, jag tänker inte prata engelska. Jag vill köpa en deckare. En kriminalroman."
She: "What? English please!"
Me: "Nei, ég neita að gera það!"
She: "But I can't understand Swedish!"

At this point an older woman in the bookshop ended the fars:

Woman: "Ég tek þetta. Get ég aðstoðað þér?"
Me: "Já, takk."

8 persons have voted this message useful

Senior Member
Joined 5426 days ago

112 posts - 180 votes 
Speaks: Spanish*, English, French
Studies: Italian

 Message 19 of 169
31 December 2009 at 3:53am | IP Logged 
Someone who really knows about it can tell me if the Scandinavian languages are closer than Spanish and portuguese? just wanna know how close they really are.
1 person has voted this message useful

SwedenRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 6689 days ago

4250 posts - 5710 votes 
Speaks: Swedish*, English
Studies: German, Spanish, Russian, Dutch, Mandarin, Esperanto, Irish, French
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 Message 20 of 169
31 December 2009 at 12:53pm | IP Logged 
Swedish/Norwegian/Danish are very close, probably a lot closer than Spanish/Portuguese. You just have to tune you ears to the sound of the other language in order to understand it.
7 persons have voted this message useful

Winner TAC 2012
Joined 5627 days ago

5460 posts - 6006 votes 
1 sounds
Speaks: German*, DutchC1, EnglishB2, French, Italian, Spanish, Esperanto
Studies: Latin, Danish, Norwegian, Turkish
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 Message 21 of 169
31 December 2009 at 2:52pm | IP Logged 
I find written Danish and written Norvegian very closely related!

1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 5618 days ago

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

 Message 22 of 169
31 December 2009 at 3:53pm | IP Logged 
This is right Fasulye. Parts of Norway belonged to Denmark for a while and the period happened to co-incide with the exact time that they decided to standardise the writing. But the speech has always been closer to Swedish.

´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´ ´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´ ´´´´´´´´´´´´´´

Scandinavian language fun!

Norwegian refuses to take a Mayday call from a Danish person because of the very complicated Danish number system... (we had it before from Lizzern, but it's so funny!)

Then I happened to see this very old classic when I went to get the previous one.
Fleksnes gets German TV in Norway with his special method... ! (1970s)
1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
mindofthelinguist.woRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 5897 days ago

176 posts - 210 votes 
Speaks: Norwegian*, English, Dutch, French
Studies: German, Icelandic

 Message 23 of 169
08 January 2010 at 9:08pm | IP Logged

A classic!

Edited by taKen on 08 January 2010 at 9:12pm

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Super Polyglot
Joined 6483 days ago

9078 posts - 16473 votes 
Speaks: Danish*, French, English, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish, Esperanto, Romanian, Catalan
Studies: Afrikaans, Greek, Norwegian, Russian, Serbian, Icelandic, Latin, Irish, Lowland Scots, Indonesian, Polish, Croatian
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 Message 24 of 169
09 January 2010 at 2:00pm | IP Logged 
If you want to see how written Norwegian should have looked like then read the New Norwegian messages from TaKen. But even Bokmål is slowly crawling away from the almost pure Danish writing that was used in the 1800s. And hurray for that. It makes Norwegian worth studying.

In fact ALL of Norway was in a union with Denmark from around 1400, where Margrethe I established the Kalmar union on behalf of her young son Oluf - and kept it alive in spite of his untimely death. I can understand why Norwegians may see this as a time where they were 'under' Denmark - in principle it was a union between two equal partners, but with the king and the government mostly sitting in Copenhagen Norway had probably reason to feel neglected. Around 1660 the Trøndelag was for a time occupied by Sweden. And in 1814 Norway minus the Atlantic areas was forced to enter in a personal Union with Sweden (rather ironical, given that the Swedish king was a native Frenchman named Bernadotte who had just managed to switch sides in time). Again this was in principle a union on equal terms, but with the power safely placed in Sweden.

And now we have a situation where there are four countries with each its own Scandinavian language plus a number of more or less comprehensible dialects. It has been said that a language is a dialect with an army and a fleet, but nowadays it is as important to have to power over the local TV. And the four countries (plus Finland) don't do any attempt to lessen the gap between the corresponding four languages. The result is that we now se Scandinavians running around and speaking English to each other. But this is deeply lamentable because with the exception of Icelandic (and Faroese) this lamentable situation is only the result of unimaginative language and media politics. The problems of understanding are not caused by big differences, but only of lack of exposure. And unfortunately I don't see any will to change this.


Hvis man vil se hvordan skrevet norsk BURDE havde set ud, så læs TaKen's budskaber på nynorsk. Men selv bokmål kryber stille og roligt væk fra det næsten rene danske skriftsprog der blev brugt i 1800tallet. Og hurra for det. Det gør norsk værd at studere.

Faktisk var HELE Norge i union med Danmark fra omkring 1400, hvor Margrethe grundlagde Kalmarunionen på vegne af sin unge søn Oluf - og holdt den i live på trods af hans ubelejlige død. Jeg kan forstå hvorfor nordmænd kan se dette som en tid hvor de var 'under' Danmark - i princippet var det en union mellem to lige parter, men med kongen og regeringen mestendels siddende i København havde Norge nok grund til at føle sig marginaliseret. Fra omkring 1660 var Trøndelagen for en tid besat af Sverige. Og fra 1814 blev Norge minus de atlantiske territorier tvunget til at indgå i en union med Sverige (ret ironisk, i betragtning af at den svenske kong Bernadotte var en indfødt franskmand, der bare var smart nok til at skifte side i tide). Igen var dette i princippet en union på lige fod, men med magten solidt plantet i Sverige.

Og nu har vi så en situation, hvor der er fire lande med hver sit skandinaviske sprog plus et antal mere eller mindre forståelige dialekter. Man har sagt at et sprog er en dialekt med en hær og en flåde, men i vore dage er det lige så betydningsfuldt at have magten over TV. Og de fire lande (plus Finland) gør ikke noget forsøg på at mindske svælget mellem de tilsvarende sprog, - og resultatet er at vi kan se skandinaver rende rundt og tale engelsk til hinanden. Men dette er meget beklageligt, for med undtagelse af islandsk (og færøsk) er denne jammerlige situation udelukkende et resultat af fantasiforladt sprog- og mediepolitik. Forståelsesproblemerne skyldes ikke store forskelle, men blot mangel på eksponering. Og desværre ser jeg ingen vilje til at ændre dette.

Edited by Iversen on 10 January 2010 at 2:14pm

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