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  #1  
Old 11-13-2012, 02:04 AM
yelimS yelimS is offline
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English as a Scandinavian language?

I've no idea why I couldn't find their paper online (only this), but linguistics professors Jan Terje Faarlund (Oslo) and Joseph Emonds (Palacky) claims it is. According to them, Middle English represents too much of a break with Old English for a direct relationship to be plausible. Also, the similarities with Scandinavian languages are found where things normally don't change - in the most commonly used words and syntax.

Some commonly used words that seem to derive from Scandinavian languages:
Anger, awe, bag, band, big, birth, both, bull, cake, call, cast, cosy, cross, die, dirt, dream, egg, fellow, flat, gain, get, gift, give, guess, guest, hug, husband, ill, kid, law, leg, lift, likely, link, loan, loose, low, mistake, odd, race, raise, root, rotten, same, seat, seem, sister, skill, skin, skirt, sky, steak, though, thrive, Thursday (and the rest), tight, till, trust, ugly, want, weak, window, wing, wrong

Some examples of syntax:

* Sentence structure (subject - verb - object, as opposed to Old English, ending with the verb)
* Prepositions allowed at the end of a sentence
* Group genitives (The Queen of England's hat)
* Split infinitive (I promise to never do it again)

I know this is a bit vague without any paper to refer to, but any thoughts?
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  #2  
Old 11-13-2012, 02:43 AM
Tapioca Dextrin Tapioca Dextrin is offline
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The abstract sounds very odd.

AFAIK, the biggest change in the English language began around AD900, when Old English changed from being inflected (like Latin) to non-inflected. This coincides with the settlement of the Vikings in Northern Britain. It seems to have arisen as a trade language in the borderlands and it just spread.

The idea that some sort of radical change occurred in the 12th century is going to be hard to prove. We don't have a lot of English Literature from that period. I'm not aware of anything other than the Anglo Saxon Chronicle which is pretty easy to understand without having to invent a Post Norman German invasion.
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  #3  
Old 11-13-2012, 05:09 AM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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Well, there was the "minor" matter of what happened in 1066 and thereafter, when French was the official court language, and English absorbed thousands of French words. That is what led to what we commonly call Middle English, as distinguished from Old English.

Yes, Old Norse had a significant influence on Old English, but not to the degree that Norman French did. And there is some thought that, partly because ON and OE were mutually intelligible to some extent, that OE became much less inflected due to contact between speakers of the two languages. And yes, many loan words came into English due to the extensive contact between the two peoples. These cognates are often easily recognizable (shirt/skirt and ship/skiff) due to the sh/sk sound differences in English vs Scandinavian languages.

But English is a West Germanic language (along with German and Dutch) while the Scandinavian languages are members of the North Germanic branch. One could make a stronger case that English is a Romance language than it is a Scandinavian language.

Last edited by John Mace; 11-13-2012 at 05:13 AM..
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  #4  
Old 11-13-2012, 05:17 AM
Monty Monty is offline
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Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
One could make a stronger case that English is a Romance language than it is a Scandinavian language.
One of my college instructors actually believed that English is a Romance language. She also believed that Buddha was born about 400 yeas after Jesus. Luckily for me, she wasn't one of my Linguistics professors. She was simply insane and those were just manifestations of her insanity. I wonder if she finally went full-blown and had to be let go.
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  #5  
Old 11-13-2012, 05:32 AM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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Originally Posted by Monty View Post
One of my college instructors actually believed that English is a Romance language. She also believed that Buddha was born about 400 yeas after Jesus. Luckily for me, she wasn't one of my Linguistics professors. She was simply insane and those were just manifestations of her insanity. I wonder if she finally went full-blown and had to be let go.
Just to be clear, I am not making that claim. I am contrasting that claim with the claim that English is a Scandinavian language, which it isn't.
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  #6  
Old 11-13-2012, 06:21 AM
Monty Monty is offline
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Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
Just to be clear, I am not making that claim. I am contrasting that claim with the claim that English is a Scandinavian language, which it isn't.
I know. You simply reminded me of that lunatic whose class I had to suffer through for an entire semester.
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  #7  
Old 11-13-2012, 07:21 AM
amanset amanset is offline
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Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
Well, there was the "minor" matter of what happened in 1066 and thereafter, when French was the official court language, and English absorbed thousands of French words. That is what led to what we commonly call Middle English, as distinguished from Old English.
Not just words, but sentence structure too. English fits in a middle ground between Scandinavian languages and the Romance languages in several areas, often employing both forms of sentence structure.

Let's take the name of the second Star Wars prequel:

French: L'attaque des clones
Danish: Klonernes angreb

The first of those translates directly as "The Attack of the Clones", the second as "The Clone's Attack". Those are the correct ways of writing it in those two languages, but in English we can happily flip between the two.

Basically, English is a mutt.
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  #8  
Old 11-13-2012, 07:46 AM
Monty Monty is offline
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Basically, English is a mutt.
Basically, aren't all languages?
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  #9  
Old 11-13-2012, 10:04 AM
amanset amanset is offline
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Basically, aren't all languages?
Well yes, but I'd argue that English is to a greater extent and more recently than many other languages, definitely when compared against languages where there are national/government agencies regulating the language, such as what happens in France and the Nordic countries.
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  #10  
Old 11-13-2012, 11:19 AM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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Originally Posted by amanset View Post
Well yes, but I'd argue that English is to a greater extent and more recently than many other languages, definitely when compared against languages where there are national/government agencies regulating the language, such as what happens in France and the Nordic countries.
Yes, as I noted in another thread on this subject, we English speakers are unusual in Europe in that there isn't another language that is even loosely mutually intelligible with our own. There might be a few language isolates (like Basque) that fall in the same situation, but not the major languages. Even Finnish has Estonian (and vice versa).
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  #11  
Old 11-13-2012, 12:10 PM
smiling bandit smiling bandit is offline
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Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
Yes, as I noted in another thread on this subject, we English speakers are unusual in Europe in that there isn't another language that is even loosely mutually intelligible with our own. There might be a few language isolates (like Basque) that fall in the same situation, but not the major languages. Even Finnish has Estonian (and vice versa).
Some would make the argument for Friesian.
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  #12  
Old 11-13-2012, 12:40 PM
jayjay jayjay is offline
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Originally Posted by Monty View Post
Basically, aren't all languages?
Yes, but, as James Nicoll famously quipped,

Quote:
“The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that the English language is as pure as a crib-house whore. It not only borrows words from other languages; it has on occasion chased other languages down dark alley-ways, clubbed them unconscious and rifled their pockets for new vocabulary.”
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  #13  
Old 11-13-2012, 01:06 PM
solosam solosam is offline
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+1 jayjay

It'll take a lot more than a couple of loan words to convince me, especially when dealing with a language as notoriously inclusive as English.
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  #14  
Old 11-13-2012, 01:07 PM
Latro Latro is online now
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Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
Yes, as I noted in another thread on this subject, we English speakers are unusual in Europe in that there isn't another language that is even loosely mutually intelligible with our own. There might be a few language isolates (like Basque) that fall in the same situation, but not the major languages. Even Finnish has Estonian (and vice versa).
????
Finns and Estonians don't understand each other.
Italians and Spanish can understand each other reasonably well but just about anybody else can't, even if their languages are closely related.
English is as germanic as dutch and modern german, like estonian is related to finnish, but we can't understand each other. Being related, it does make it easier to learn the language.

Last edited by Latro; 11-13-2012 at 01:08 PM..
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  #15  
Old 11-13-2012, 03:52 PM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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Originally Posted by Latro View Post
????
Finns and Estonians don't understand each other.
Italians and Spanish can understand each other reasonably well but just about anybody else can't, even if their languages are closely related.
English is as germanic as dutch and modern german, like estonian is related to finnish, but we can't understand each other. Being related, it does make it easier to learn the language.
There is some degree of mutual intelligibility between Finnish and Estonian, but note that English has only "Scots". Link.
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  #16  
Old 11-13-2012, 03:59 PM
Latro Latro is online now
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link

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As a native Finn, I can understand some phrases when I overhear Estonians and vice versa, but communication is quite impossible.
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  #17  
Old 11-13-2012, 04:11 PM
Latro Latro is online now
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Besides english doesn't have "Scots". They speak english. True scottish is a gaelic language.

But I suspect you know all this and are just having us on.
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  #18  
Old 11-13-2012, 04:21 PM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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Besides english doesn't have "Scots". They speak english. True scottish is a gaelic language.

But I suspect you know all this and are just having us on.
Nope.
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  #19  
Old 11-13-2012, 04:22 PM
robert_columbia robert_columbia is offline
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Originally Posted by yelimS View Post
...
Some examples of syntax:
...
* Prepositions allowed at the end of a sentence
...
Everyone knows that a preposition is an acceptable thing to end a sentence with.
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  #20  
Old 11-13-2012, 04:26 PM
robert_columbia robert_columbia is offline
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Besides english doesn't have "Scots". They speak english. True scottish is a gaelic language.

But I suspect you know all this and are just having us on.
Laddie, ya dinna ken wha yer saying.
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  #21  
Old 11-13-2012, 07:59 PM
dropzone dropzone is offline
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Laddie, ya dinna ken wha yer saying.
*head in hands* I pity some of my co-workers when they have to call Glasgow. They haven't had decades of PBS viewing to help them.
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  #22  
Old 11-13-2012, 08:57 PM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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Everyone knows that a preposition is an acceptable thing to end a sentence with.
That is something up with which we cannot put!
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  #23  
Old 11-14-2012, 01:23 AM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is offline
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Originally Posted by Tapioca Dextrin View Post
The abstract sounds very odd.

AFAIK, the biggest change in the English language began around AD900, when Old English changed from being inflected (like Latin) to non-inflected. This coincides with the settlement of the Vikings in Northern Britain. It seems to have arisen as a trade language in the borderlands and it just spread.
It's not fair to say that the inflection system vanished in the 10th century as you suggest. Through at least the early ME period, a considerable number of inflections remained that would later be lost, like in the title of the tract Ancrene Wisse, which translates roughly as "Knowledge of Anchoresses", the word ancrene being inflected for the genitive plural. In general monosyllabic nouns of native origin kept more vestiges of the case system. As Old French vocabulary began to enter the language, the French declension tended to be followed for those word. It's safe to say that ME was still considerably more inflected than Modern English (NE), if not nearly as much as OE.

Quote:
The idea that some sort of radical change occurred in the 12th century is going to be hard to prove. We don't have a lot of English Literature from that period. I'm not aware of anything other than the Anglo Saxon Chronicle which is pretty easy to understand without having to invent a Post Norman German invasion.
While there wasn't a Post Norman invasion, contacts between the British Isles and Scandinavia continued to flourish through the centuries. All these countries were navigating the North Atlantic extensively in search of fishing grounds; there was a great deal of interaction between the English and the other countries, occasionally skirmishes and piracy if one side thought the other was encroaching on its trade or fishing rights. It's hard to imagine that the Norse influence on the language ceased after the Normans took over.

I'll have to go back and check my ME textbook to be sure, but IIRC the 12th century is about when many Danish words came to replace many cognates. For example OE aeg ("egg") had become ey by the early ME period as the terminal palatal fricative was lost. But in the late ME period egg, a Danish loanword, had replaced it. IIRC (once again) in Chaucer you can see both forms of the word for egg, presumably depending on the region from which each of the pilgrims came and hence the dialect.

The influence of Nordic languages on English should not be underestimated.
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  #24  
Old 11-14-2012, 01:29 AM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is offline
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Originally Posted by John Mace View Post

But English is a West Germanic language (along with German and Dutch) while the Scandinavian languages are members of the North Germanic branch. One could make a stronger case that English is a Romance language than it is a Scandinavian language.
Not Scandinavian specifically, of course. But as significant as the influence of Norman French may be in terms of vocabulary, the Germanic quality of English pretty much steamrollered the Romance qualities of the loanwords, particularly with regard to pronunciation.
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  #25  
Old 11-14-2012, 04:30 AM
2square4u 2square4u is offline
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Let's take the name of the second Star Wars prequel:

French: L'attaque des clones
Danish: Klonernes angreb

The first of those translates directly as "The Attack of the Clones", the second as "The Clone's Attack".
<Minor nitpick>
"Klone[B]rne]s[/B angreb" tranlates directly as "The Clones' Attack". If it were "The Clone's Attack", the Danish title would be "Klonens angreb".

Klonernes = The Clones' (plural genitive)
Klonens = The Clone's (singular genitive)
</Minor nitpick>
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  #26  
Old 11-14-2012, 04:40 AM
Latro Latro is online now
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Laddie, ya dinna ken wha yer saying.
That's just a dialect. Plus I think ken is used wrongly here..
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  #27  
Old 11-14-2012, 04:46 AM
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That's just a dialect. ...
No -- since most English speakers would have trouble understanding Scottish, I think it's a separate language.
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  #28  
Old 11-14-2012, 04:51 AM
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I should not post at work, sorry.
Hadn't read John's link yet. Apparently Lowland Scot is, debatably, regarded as 'Sister Language'to english.

Last edited by Latro; 11-14-2012 at 04:53 AM..
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  #29  
Old 11-14-2012, 05:59 AM
Baron Greenback Baron Greenback is offline
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That's just a dialect. Plus I think ken is used wrongly here..
No, that's a correct use of ken, ye ken?

Last edited by Baron Greenback; 11-14-2012 at 06:02 AM..
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  #30  
Old 11-14-2012, 06:37 AM
Monty Monty is offline
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That's just a dialect. Plus I think ken is used wrongly here..
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No -- since most English speakers would have trouble understanding Scottish, I think it's a separate language.
And we now rejoin the ongoing saga of What is a dialect? What is a language? In today's episode, we will hear "Oh, that's just a dialect" and "It can't be a dialect of my language, I didn't understand it at all." Be sure to tune in tomorrow for the riveting argument about dialects with Armies and Navies.

Last edited by Monty; 11-14-2012 at 06:38 AM..
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  #31  
Old 11-14-2012, 07:01 AM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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And we now rejoin the ongoing saga of What is a dialect? What is a language? In today's episode, we will hear "Oh, that's just a dialect" and "It can't be a dialect of my language, I didn't understand it at all." Be sure to tune in tomorrow for the riveting argument about dialects with Armies and Navies.
Yeah, but at least politics is never involved.
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  #32  
Old 11-14-2012, 08:02 AM
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Yes, as I noted in another thread on this subject, we English speakers are unusual in Europe in that there isn't another language that is even loosely mutually intelligible with our own.
I thought English was a Western Germanic language like Dutch or Frisian? I certainly know that puzzling things out in written Dutch wasn't very tough, even though I don't have any training at all in Dutch.

The hard part wasn't really the structure, it was the vocabulary and pronunciation of words.

For example, the word "koken" in Dutch is roughly pronounced and means the same thing as " cookin' " in English, and I'd have never known that without a Dutch friend explaining that to me.
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  #33  
Old 11-14-2012, 08:38 AM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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Originally Posted by bump View Post
I thought English was a Western Germanic language like Dutch or Frisian?
See post number 3.

Quote:
I certainly know that puzzling things out in written Dutch wasn't very tough, even though I don't have any training at all in Dutch.

The hard part wasn't really the structure, it was the vocabulary and pronunciation of words.

For example, the word "koken" in Dutch is roughly pronounced and means the same thing as " cookin' " in English, and I'd have never known that without a Dutch friend explaining that to me.
Well, there are lots of cognates, but English and Dutch just aren't close enough for any real level of mutual intelligibility. That's somewhat subjective, of course, but I think it's a fair assessment.
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  #34  
Old 11-14-2012, 03:14 PM
Ramanujan Ramanujan is offline
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It's hard to imagine that the Norse influence on the language ceased after the Normans took over.
especially considering the normans were partly nordic themselves.
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  #35  
Old 11-14-2012, 03:44 PM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is offline
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As Old French vocabulary began to enter the language, the French declension tended to be followed for those word.
Hey look, I think we just lost another inflection.
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  #36  
Old 11-14-2012, 03:51 PM
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Well, there are lots of cognates, but English and Dutch just aren't close enough for any real level of mutual intelligibility. That's somewhat subjective, of course, but I think it's a fair assessment.
Danish and Dutch are actually fairly close. Closer than Danish and German I think. Anyway, English is of course a Danish dialect. An ugly one, but still. We love all our children. Even the ugly skanky ones like English.

Last edited by Rune; 11-14-2012 at 03:55 PM..
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Old 11-14-2012, 04:18 PM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is offline
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especially considering the normans were partly nordic themselves.
I don't think this is a valid claim if we're just talking about the language. IIRC the Normans quickly adopted the French language and pretty much forgot their own Nordic speech, within a century or so after they received the Duchy. True, some words of Norse origin were assimilated, and many of them can still be heard in Normandy today, but that's not the same thing at all.
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Old 11-14-2012, 04:39 PM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is offline
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Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
Yes, as I noted in another thread on this subject, we English speakers are unusual in Europe in that there isn't another language that is even loosely mutually intelligible with our own. There might be a few language isolates (like Basque) that fall in the same situation, but not the major languages. Even Finnish has Estonian (and vice versa).
Forgive me if this has already been pointed out, but shouldn't any two given languages be non-intelligible between themselves, by definition?

Last edited by Spectre of Pithecanthropus; 11-14-2012 at 04:40 PM..
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  #39  
Old 11-14-2012, 04:50 PM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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Danish and Dutch are actually fairly close. Closer than Danish and German I think.
I doubt it, unless there was a lot of borrowing between the two. Dutch and German share a common ancestor, if you will, closer in time than either does with the Scandinavian languages.

Quote:
Anyway, English is of course a Danish dialect. An ugly one, but still. We love all our children. Even the ugly skanky ones like English.
I don't know if you're being serious or not, but English is not a Danish dialect.

SoP: In an ideal world, yes. But what gets defined as a "language" (as Monty noted upthread) is contentious, and not so clear cut in the real world.
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Old 11-14-2012, 05:00 PM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is offline
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Danish and Dutch are actually fairly close. Closer than Danish and German I think. Anyway, English is of course a Danish dialect. An ugly one, but still. We love all our children. Even the ugly skanky ones like English.
Presumably you have to love the words we got from you, words like "ugly" and "skanky".

I don't know enough Danish to say good morning, but from what I do know it does bear some phonological similarities to Dutch, perhaps more so than to German. I think a major factor is that both languages have lost (or never had) the "-en" or "-n" ending for infinitives and strong past participles. In Dutch this ending is still required for correct spelling, but is rarely pronounced. Then, too, Dutch uses many more plurals in "-s" than German does, which makes it similar also to English in its general cadence. Yet notwithstanding all this, Dutch is more closely related to Standard German than to English.
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Old 11-14-2012, 05:09 PM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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Presumably you have to love the words we got from you, words like "ugly" and "skanky".

I don't know enough Danish to say good morning, but from what I do know it does bear some phonological similarities to Dutch, perhaps more so than to German. I think a major factor is that both languages have lost (or never had) the "-en" or "-n" ending for infinitives and strong past participles. In Dutch this ending is still required for correct spelling, but is rarely pronounced. Then, too, Dutch uses many more plurals in "-s" than German does, which makes it similar also to English in its general cadence. Yet notwithstanding all this, Dutch is more closely related to Standard German than to English.
Depends on how you measure relatedness. Dutch shares a more recent common ancestor with English, but English has borrowed so many Latinate words (mostly from French, but not solely from there) that it seems more different from Dutch than German does.

Also, keep in mind that Dutch and German form a pretty good Dialect Continuum. Low German (Plattdüütsch) is quite close to Dutch, and the two tend to blend into each other as one moves from The Netherlands into German.

Last edited by John Mace; 11-14-2012 at 05:09 PM..
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  #42  
Old 11-14-2012, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by 2square4u View Post
<Minor nitpick>
"Klone[B]rne]s[/B angreb" tranlates directly as "The Clones' Attack". If it were "The Clone's Attack", the Danish title would be "Klonens angreb".

Klonernes = The Clones' (plural genitive)
Klonens = The Clone's (singular genitive)
</Minor nitpick>
Yeah, that was a screw up on my part. I speak Swedish, so I know about how to do a plural of the definite form of a noun in the Scandinavian languages. I just wasn't paying attention to what I wrote.

(in case you are wondering, I chose Danish instead of Swedish for my example as I sometimes feel I talk about living here too often and I don't want to end up like that defines me, like maybe it does some other people here...)
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  #43  
Old 11-15-2012, 10:11 AM
Latro Latro is online now
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Danish and Dutch are actually fairly close. Closer than Danish and German I think. Anyway, English is of course a Danish dialect. An ugly one, but still. We love all our children. Even the ugly skanky ones like English.
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Depends on how you measure relatedness. Dutch shares a more recent common ancestor with English, but English has borrowed so many Latinate words (mostly from French, but not solely from there) that it seems more different from Dutch than German does.

Also, keep in mind that Dutch and German form a pretty good Dialect Continuum. Low German (Plattdüütsch) is quite close to Dutch, and the two tend to blend into each other as one moves from The Netherlands into German.
I'm currently entering some danish translations for our website and it is indeed quite similar. Something I hadn't noticed listening to the language, maybe because the Danes have lost the ability to pronounce vowels.
But the written thing is close to dutch
German still 'feels' closer although they started to move away from proper pronounciation already in the 3rd/ 4th century with their silly consonant shifts.

Last edited by Latro; 11-15-2012 at 10:12 AM..
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Old 11-15-2012, 10:36 AM
Fake Tales of San Francisco Fake Tales of San Francisco is offline
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And we now rejoin the ongoing saga of What is a dialect? What is a language? In today's episode, we will hear "Oh, that's just a dialect" and "It can't be a dialect of my language, I didn't understand it at all." Be sure to tune in tomorrow for the riveting argument about dialects with Armies and Navies.
You don't know how sick I am of hearing the word 'arbitrary' when listening to lecturers/linguist speakers on this subject. But they're right! The distinction between a language and a dialect is largely arbitrary. Trying to categorise it all just ends up in a battle of semantics.

Last edited by Fake Tales of San Francisco; 11-15-2012 at 10:36 AM..
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Old 11-15-2012, 01:29 PM
Ramanujan Ramanujan is offline
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I don't think this is a valid claim if we're just talking about the language. IIRC the Normans quickly adopted the French language and pretty much forgot their own Nordic speech, within a century or so after they received the Duchy. True, some words of Norse origin were assimilated, and many of them can still be heard in Normandy today, but that's not the same thing at all.
well, we're talking about old norman here, which was indeed very much a french-based language, but surely contained many more loan words and shared more structure with nordic languages than modern norman. much of it would have been unintelligible to speakers of french (though surely moreso to speakers of nordic languages), and one imagines anglo-norman might have facilitated communication between the normans in england (and those who adopted their language) and the nordic peoples they came into contact with. so, i contend that the nordic heritage of the normans could very well have slowed the decrease in influence the nordic languages had on english.

also: i was agreeing with you, and mostly just being glib.
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Old 11-15-2012, 01:34 PM
Ramanujan Ramanujan is offline
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regarding dutch and german: according to wikipedia (for what that's worth), danish is a north germanic language having more in common with norse and swedish than either german or dutch. i don't speak these languages (or even fully grasp the morphology of the scandinavian languages), so i can't really provide much first-hand knowledge on the topic, but that was always my impression, anyway. does anyone have reason to believe wikipedia is wrong here?
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Old 11-15-2012, 03:49 PM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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regarding dutch and german: according to wikipedia (for what that's worth), danish is a north germanic language having more in common with norse and swedish than either german or dutch. i don't speak these languages (or even fully grasp the morphology of the scandinavian languages), so i can't really provide much first-hand knowledge on the topic, but that was always my impression, anyway. does anyone have reason to believe wikipedia is wrong here?
No, they are right. See post #3 in this thread.
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Old 11-15-2012, 03:59 PM
Rune Rune is offline
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I'm currently entering some danish translations for our website and it is indeed quite similar. Something I hadn't noticed listening to the language, maybe because the Danes have lost the ability to pronounce vowels.
But the written thing is close to dutch
German still 'feels' closer although they started to move away from proper pronounciation already in the 3rd/ 4th century with their silly consonant shifts.
The similarity is more pronounced when written than in spoken language.

Due to perhaps some Dutch peasants that a Danish king in the early sixteen century imported to live in an area outside Copenhagen, Dutch was commonly understood in Copenhagen into the nineteenth century, which can be understood by reading Ludvig Holberg (E.g., a page of Holberg); but more broadly the similarity is due to Plattdüütsch (Plattysk) which had a big influence on Danish during the Middle Ages, so that today 40% of Danish is derived from Plattdüütsch.

Last edited by Rune; 11-15-2012 at 04:00 PM..
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Old 11-15-2012, 04:50 PM
Monty Monty is offline
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Originally Posted by Fake Tales of San Francisco View Post
You don't know how sick I am of hearing the word 'arbitrary' when listening to lecturers/linguist speakers on this subject. But they're right! The distinction between a language and a dialect is largely arbitrary. Trying to categorise it all just ends up in a battle of semantics.
Ah, I see that I didn't waste my time getting this here Linguistics degree hanging on my wall.

By the way, you don't know how tired I am of hearing "Semantics" used as an insult. I know you didn't use it as such, but be patient, friend; it shall soon happen that someone else wanders into the thread and does such a thing.
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Old 11-20-2012, 01:11 AM
2square4u 2square4u is offline
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shouldn't any two given languages be non-intelligible between themselves, by definition?
By that definition, there's only one Scandinavian language (or a multitude, depending on attitude). If we overlook the more - um - distinctive dialects (e.g. sønderjysk, skånsk or vossamål) and only consider the standardized languages, the three Scandinavian languages are definitely not non-intelligible between themselves. At least for a person of average intellect and good will.
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