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Why not just one Scandinavian language?

 Language Learning Forum : Skandinavisk & Nordisk Post Reply
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tractor
Tetraglot
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Norway
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 Message 9 of 69
01 March 2010 at 9:43am | IP Logged 
Paskwc wrote:
Without going too far off-topic, I've always found the expression "a language is a dialect with an army" a bit strange. It might have been relevant in the contexts of early nationalism in a European surrounding but maybe not today. Looking at the likes of Morocco and Jamaica may illustrate this.

It is right on spot for the Scandinavian languages: a dialect continuum broken up by national borders.
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tractor
Tetraglot
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 Message 10 of 69
01 March 2010 at 9:46am | IP Logged 
ruskivyetr wrote:
Making the Scandinavian language as a whole language would create a good solid language with about 30 million speakers. This creates a world language that is considered a lot stronger than a language with 10 million speakers.

30 million speakers do not create a world language.


Edited by tractor on 01 March 2010 at 9:46am

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taKen
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 Message 11 of 69
01 March 2010 at 11:34am | IP Logged 
There are about 6000 languages in the world today, 5000 of those languages are spoken
by less than 100 000 people. Even with "only" 10 million people speaking a language
like Swedish, it's still pretty big.

Uniting Danish, Swedish and Norwegian won't happen anytime soon. Even if it might be a
good idea for some, I don't see the actual inhabitants of Scandinavia being too happy
about it. There's just too much national pride. And no way if the Danes would accept an
etymologically true writing system! :P

You've also got to take into consideration that even in mainland Scandinavia there are
two different sub-groups of Germanic languages: West Scandinavian languages and East
Scandinavian languages. To illustrate my point I'll give you an example of the first
person singular pronoun:

Old Norse: Ek, iak

West Scandinavian (About 4,5 million)

Icelandic: Ég (although the pronunciation here more resembles Danish "jeg")
Faroese: Eg
Norwegian Nynorsk: Eg

East Scandinavian (About 16 million)

Danish: Jeg
Swedish: Jag
Norwegian Bokmål: Jeg

In my view, coming up with a common writing system for all of Scandinavia would
inevitably result in East Scandinavian domination.

This is just one of several examples I could give to illustrate the possible
difficulties of such a project. The beautiful Old Norse diphthongs would also lose
ground, since, as I assume, majority would rule.

As you might see, a lot of history would be lost if we suddenly were to along with such
a venture, even if it at first would just be in writing.
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ruskivyetr
Diglot
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 Message 12 of 69
01 March 2010 at 1:56pm | IP Logged 
tractor wrote:

30 million speakers do not create a world language.


My point was that it would create a stronger union between the three countries and
possibly unite them not to a point of one "Scandinavian" country, but to a point where
their size is regarded as one larger instead of three smaller in Europe. Regardless of
what people say, 10 million speakers is small in Europe when you have German being
the most spoken language in the European Union, with English second, and French
third, and all of these languages being not very far away.

taKen wrote:
There are about 6000 languages in the world today, 5000 of those
languages are spoken
by less than 100 000 people. Even with "only" 10 million people speaking a language
like Swedish, it's still pretty big.

Uniting Danish, Swedish and Norwegian won't happen anytime soon. Even if it might be
a
good idea for some, I don't see the actual inhabitants of Scandinavia being too happy
about it. There's just too much national pride. And no way if the Danes would accept
an
etymologically true writing system! :P

You've also got to take into consideration that even in mainland Scandinavia there are
two different sub-groups of Germanic languages: West Scandinavian languages and
East
Scandinavian languages. To illustrate my point I'll give you an example of the first
person singular pronoun:

Old Norse: Ek, iak

West Scandinavian (About 4,5 million)

Icelandic: Ég (although the pronunciation here more resembles Danish "jeg")
Faroese: Eg
Norwegian Nynorsk: Eg

East Scandinavian (About 16 million)

Danish: Jeg
Swedish: Jag
Norwegian Bokmål: Jeg

In my view, coming up with a common writing system for all of Scandinavia would
inevitably result in East Scandinavian domination.

This is just one of several examples I could give to illustrate the possible
difficulties of such a project. The beautiful Old Norse diphthongs would also lose
ground, since, as I assume, majority would rule.

As you might see, a lot of history would be lost if we suddenly were to along with such
a venture, even if it at first would just be in writing.



I understand the national pride in the Scandinavian three, but I think that they should
at least try to reform Danish Swedish and BOKMÅL. I didn't say anything about western
Scandinavian languages either. Faroese is too different from Danish to reform it to
anything that would make it anymore intelligible. All people on the Faroe Islands learn
Danish in school, right? And Icelandic would still be Icelandic. I'm just talking about
Swedish, Danish, and Norwegian.
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tractor
Tetraglot
Senior Member
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Studies: French, German, Latin

 
 Message 13 of 69
01 March 2010 at 2:14pm | IP Logged 
ruskivyetr wrote:
tractor wrote:

30 million speakers do not create a world language.

My point was that it would create a stronger union between the three countries and
possibly unite them not to a point of one "Scandinavian" country, but to a point where
their size is regarded as one larger instead of three smaller in Europe. Regardless of
what people say, 10 million speakers is small in Europe when you have German being
the most spoken language in the European Union, with English second, and French
third, and all of these languages being not very far away.

30 million is still small. And really, the number should be around 20 million, not 30.

ruskivyetr wrote:
I understand the national pride in the Scandinavian three, but I think that they should at least try to reform Danish Swedish and BOKMÅL. I didn't say anything about western Scandinavian languages either. Faroese is too different from Danish to reform it to anything that would make it anymore intelligible. All people on the Faroe Islands learn Danish in school, right? And Icelandic would still be Icelandic. I'm just talking about Swedish, Danish, and Norwegian.

If you reform Norwegian Bokmål so it's spelling gets closer to Swedish and Danish, you would make it more different from Norwegian Nynorsk, and thus make things more complicated for Norwegians. A great many reforms have already been made over the last 150 years in order to make Bokmål less Danish and more Norwegian.
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cordelia0507
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 Message 14 of 69
01 March 2010 at 10:56pm | IP Logged 
Issues of national pride.

The three countries are like siblings who love each other yet have history of conflicts, bullying, big-brother/little-brother complex.. and much more.

Norway has once belonged to both Sweden and Denmark and they are the most patriotic Scandinavians. They'd probably see it as a step back to unify the language with Swedish/Danish. Even though everyone else in Scandinavia loves Norway and delights in its recent success and have no interest at all in dominating Norway.

Denmark is more continental and has been in many a war with Sweden in the past. Although there is absolutely no serious problem any more, I doubt they'd embrace the idea of Swedish words and spelling to being introduced (to a degree) into Danish.

Finland and Iceland also have complex relationships and language ties with the others - a separate chapter.

BUT YES - THIS IS WHAT WE OUGHT TO DO....
It's logically right for hundreds of reasons and our grandchildren would thank us for it.

Yet we'd quabble about it ad infinitum and every single word (spelling, really) would become an issue of national pride...I can't see it happening any time soon, SADLY.

People are idiots, really. We have MUCH MORE in common than we what sets us apart. Scandinavia is an oasis of stability, peace, welfare, social justice, high ideals and awesome nature in an increasingly crazy and inhospitable word.

English WILL EVENTUALLY knock out all languages in Europe if its progression is not stopped. Starting of course with smaller languages like..... OURS.

I'd rather use a bit of Danish spelling and Norwegian vocabulary to save my language (OUR language) from inevitable DOOM.

Ok, go on start nitpicking about the details of this now, all the while English is doing its Trojan horse trick all across Scandinavia...!

And when your grand kids start speaking to you in English... then consider, did it really matter whether we had to start calling korv "pölse" or spell sjuttonde as syttene.....?





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ruskivyetr
Diglot
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 Message 15 of 69
01 March 2010 at 11:39pm | IP Logged 
cordelia0507 wrote:


English WILL EVENTUALLY knock out all languages in Europe if its progression is not
stopped. Starting of course with smaller languages like..... OURS.



Doubt it. Even though many people speak English, a country won't switch it's national
language. Plus, America's economic future is looking quite dim which will allow for
other countries to prosper and allow for world languages that will increasingly become
more important. English isn't even the most spoken language in the EU. German is, and
it's not like monolingual people who don't speak English are going to allow their
country to switch languages. You would be surprised at how nationalistic Europeans
can be. One of my closest friends is Polish and she says that she would never give up
Poland or Polish, no matter what happened. She always says she misses home because
she cannot visit Poland again until she gets her green card out of fear that she will not
be able to return. No European languages are going anywhere, and if Scandinavians are
so close as you say Cordelia, none of your languages (except maybe some dialects) are
going anywhere. However, a unified language would create a more ideal situation to
keep the Nordic languages strong.
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cathrynm
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 Message 16 of 69
02 March 2010 at 1:28am | IP Logged 
Really, don't change anyone's language or spelling. Just come up with a name -- "Scandinavian Language"? Then when movie or videogame companies do translations, they could dub each of the characters based on a cultural stereotype. Pick Danish for one character, Swedish, accent for another. With English language movies we have some characters with an English accent, others with an American accent. It's not a problem.

With a larger potential market more products would be translated, and if some people can't understand other Scandinavian languages, they'll learn soon enough. If the mutual intelligibility is how you guys describe, eventually everyone will be able to understand through passive exposure.   

Edited by cathrynm on 02 March 2010 at 1:32am



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