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?