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Thread: Danish/Swedish/Norwegian/Dutch: mutual intelligibility

  1. #1
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    Danish/Swedish/Norwegian/Dutch: mutual intelligibility

    hallo, i would like to know wich of these germanic language is better to learn to understand or to learn faster the others.

    example if i learn danish can i ll learn faster norwegian and then swedish?? or what is better to learn first?

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    Re: danish, swedish, dutch or norwegian

    I asked the same question in another site similar to this one and I've got this answer. This person is from Norway


    Norwegian, swedish and danish
    90% of the words in swedish is also in the norwegian. we don`t always understand each other, and norwegians understand the two other languages better.

    Fig. A. an understanding of spoken language

    Norwegians understand 88% of the spoken swedish language
    understand 73% of the spoken danish language

    Swedes understand 48% of the spoken norwegian language
    understand 23% of the spoken danish language

    Danes understand 69% of the spoken norwegian language
    understand 43% of the spoken swedish language

    Fig. B. An understanding of the written language

    Norwegians understand 89% of the written swedish language
    understand 93% of the written danish language

    Swedes understand 86% of the written norwegian language
    understand 69% of the written danish language

    Danes understand 89% of the written norwegian language
    undestand 69? of the written swedish language.

    We in Norway undestand the danish written language best. the norwegian bokmål has developed from the danish language and we have seen the language from 100-150 years ago. all of the big writers in Norway used the danish language.

    Another person told me this:

    "Norwegian is Danish spoken in Swedish"

    Norwegian + phonology - vocabulary = swedish

    Norwegian - phonology + vocabulary = danish

    I guess this helps a bit.

  3. #3
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    Re: danish, swedish, dutch or norwegian

    I would not recommend you to try to learn Swedish. It´s really hard to learn if you´re not raised with it. I´m from Sweden myself, and everyday I find out more stupid things with our language. The grammar is with thousands of exceptions, so there´s no idea to learn the "rules".
    I like my language, but it´s hard for foreigners to learn.

    Interesting that statistic about the Scandinavian languages...

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    Re: danish, swedish, dutch or norwegian

    I would recommend Swedish, because the spelling is much more faithful to the pronunciation (and the opposite is also true, obviously). Danish is somewhat like English in this regard. And I also like the two Swedish tones.

    I cannot say anything about Norwegian, unfortunately, only that I don't have a problem with it when it's written, especially Bokmål, which indeed looks very much like Danish.
    Jazyk

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    Re: Danish/Swedish/Norwegian/Dutch: mutual intelligibility

    Yes, they differ about as much from each other as Castellano does from Valenciano. Pronounciation-wise and acoustically I also think that Swedish will be the easier one. They have a very distinct pronounciation. What seem a bit funny to you is the intonation. Danish on the other hand is more monotonous.

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    Re: Danish/Swedish/Norwegian/Dutch: mutual intelligibility

    I would recommend Norwegian (Bokmål) first, Swedish second. If you learn Bokmål you will be able to understand most written Danish, and, then if you listen to Danes enough (enough=a lot!) you might even be able to catch on to some spoken Danish.

    I had studied Norwegian a bit before the first time I ever sang in Danish, and, foolish me, it was in front of an audience that had real Danes in it. One elderly gentleman came up to me afterwards and commented "Ah, you sang Danish with a Norwegian accent, you had clear sounds!". That's the trouble with that "gentle, muffled language" (a famous compliment of that language): it seems to have few clear sounds!

    Over the last ten years I have gotten used to singing in Danish and, although I do not do it well or very accurately, it is a noble struggle because of the many wonderful songs in that language which have enriched my repertoire and my life. Hardly anyone sings them (or even knows them) except Danish singers. But I'm still glad I started with Norwegan.

    Also, if you learn Norwegian and even come across a bit of Nynorsk (the "other" main dialect) you will have a little more luck with at least written Icelandic should you want to go to Iceland, a trip I would definitely recommend--a most fascinating country and culture.

    Dutch I cannot speak about.....or speak in, or even sing in.

  7. #7
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    Re: Danish/Swedish/Norwegian/Dutch: mutual intelligibility

    I would recommend that you start with Swedish (I promise that I'm not bias ). Here are my reasons:

    1. Swedish is the biggest/most spoken language of all of the Scandinavian languages (spoken by over 9 million people in Sweden and appr. 1 million in Finland).

    2. I've been to Norway and Denmark and Swedish has helped me countless times (Norwegian is easier to learn if you know Swedish, Danish is much harder but if you speak Swedish in my dialect [“Skånska”] it’s much easier!).

    3. Last but not least, Swedish grammar isn't that hard as people think that it is. The verbs are very easy to learn, because they only have one form in the present (and all other forms too by the way ). But pronunciation is hard!!! That will take you a while to learn, you may even have to live here .

    So, that's my opinion. Hoppas ingen från Norge eller Danmark tar illa upp!!!

    GOOD LUCK WITH WHATEVER YOU CHOOSE!!!

    robbie

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    Re: Danish/Swedish/Norwegian/Dutch: mutual intelligibility

    Quote Originally Posted by robbie_SWE
    ...

    ...Danish is much harder but if you speak Swedish in my dialect [“Skånska”] it’s much easier!).

    ....


    GOOD LUCK WITH WHATEVER YOU CHOOSE!!!

    robbie
    You are probably right if you are talking about the Eastern regions of Denmark - because there they are used to hearing that dialect. But I don't think you would find many people in Jutland that would understand more than about 10%. (Many Swedes have trouble too). However, I aggree that it probably makes easier for you to understand Danish.

    This is not meant to downgrade “Skånska” - I actually like that dialect. I have lived for several years in Copenhagen and even worked for a while in the town that even leading Swedish newspapers have elected "Sweden's most boring town". So you probably know which one I mean.

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    Re: Danish/Swedish/Norwegian/Dutch: mutual intelligibility

    I have tried to learn Norwegian a bit, and en passant a bit of Swedish/Danish, but I can tell you that there is hardly any mutual intelligibility between these three languages and Dutch. Of course you see resemblances and especially in written Norwegian you can understand quite a lot, but the spoken languages sound so immensely different that I can assure you that learning Dutch will not help you really much learning these others.
    The only language for which Dutch will really be of much use, would be German, which is very similar to Dutch.

  10. #10
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    Re: Danish/Swedish/Norwegian/Dutch: mutual intelligibility

    sehr interessant...ich denke dass ich werde Swedisch lernen!! weil mehr Leute in Skandinavien (besonders in Finnland) Swedisch sprechen!!

    but in norway and danmark do they know swedish??

  11. #11
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    Re: Danish/Swedish/Norwegian/Dutch: mutual intelligibility

    First of all, what you should not start with is not Danish, even if it would satisfy my petty nationalist soul a great deal ;-). Danish pronunciation and spelling is extremely difficult for foreigners to learn, I guess especially for Italian and Spanish speakers who are used to much more transparency between written and spoken language (my Spanish girlfirend is currently trying to undertake the feat and she is NOT happy about it ) .

    To me, swedish pronunciation is just as insane, if not more, although the spelling is easier.

    Norwegian bokmål on the other hand is easy to spell (as mentioned it's pretty much like Danish, just spelled as it's spoken!) and the sounds come closer to 'latin' pronunciation. I guess the intonation could be a bit diffucult, though.

    The grammar is pretty simple in all of the three.

    If your objective is to master all the three languages I would pick norwegian bokmål first, since this is almost an 'intermediate' between Danish and Swedish, and easier to learn (I would assume). Then you can proceed to whichever you want.

    If you want to just know one and improvise when you meet speakers of the other two (as we do here in Scandinavia, even if we often know English better ) I would probably recommend Swedish, since this is the bigger one. But since Denmark is the nicest country, maybe you should choose Danish

    The intelligibility between scandinavian languages and Dutch is, as mentioned, pretty non-existent.

    Og til slut en lille hilsen til alle mine skandinaviske brødre!

    Andreas, Copenhagen

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    Re: Danish/Swedish/Norwegian/Dutch: mutual intelligibility

    I am really pleased to find my opinions about learning bokmål first seconded by a real Dane. His Spanish girlfirend has my EVERY sympathy. As far as his "Denmark is the nicest country", I have too many friends in Norway to agree with this without being unkind to people who have been so kind to me.

  13. #13
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    Re: Danish/Swedish/Norwegian/Dutch: mutual intelligibility

    When Norwegians, Danes and Swedes converse with each other do they normally do so in English, a language that I assume most educated people of these nationalities speak?

  14. #14
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    Re: Danish/Swedish/Norwegian/Dutch: mutual intelligibility

    When scandinavians meet we almost always start off in our respective languages. This can seem a bit pointless though, since most of us (young people) understand English better than other scandinavian languages, but for me it just seems stupid to speak english to a swede or a norwegian. If it's completely necessary, we could switch to English. I guess that, if I went to fx Stockholm (far from Denmark), not many people would understand me, and I would have to use English.

    In my student residence (dorm, kollegium) we have a couple of swedes and I know a norwegian living here. As far as I know they have all been speaking their own languages all the time they've been in Denmark, and this works just fine. In the beginning of course with some difficulty, but after some time (a month?) we get used to hearing eachother and they're no problems. After a longer time most swedes and norwegians here begin speaking a 'Danish-friendly' version of their languages (with some hard words changed, less slang, and maybe a modified pronunciation), and two of our swedes actually speak a pretty flawless Danish.

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    Re: Danish/Swedish/Norwegian/Dutch: mutual intelligibility

    Alexandro, I hope you have realised by now that Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish are closely related languages (somewhat like Italian and Spanish, or even like Spanish and Portuguese, from what I understand), but Dutch is a different matter. While all four languages are related, Dutch is much closer to German, or even English, than to the Scandinavian languages.

    One advantage of learning Swedish is that you can use it in parts of Finnland, too. On the other hand, Dutch is closely related to Afrikaans, which is spoken in South Africa. And some forms of Nowegian are very, very similar to Danish...

    Not an easy choice!
    Deuparth gwaith yw ei ddechrau.

  16. #16
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    Re: Danish/Swedish/Norwegian/Dutch: mutual intelligibility

    Ja...dutch is really similar to german, i can understand few dutch reading!!

    I have realised that swedish is most spoken in skandinavian countries, with norwegian i can understand more danish and swedish but it is not the more spoken, danish maybe at least of the three...

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    Re: danish, swedish, dutch or norwegian

    Quote Originally Posted by vuelta
    I would not recommend you to try to learn Swedish. It´s really hard to learn if you´re not raised with it. I´m from Sweden myself, and everyday I find out more stupid things with our language. The grammar is with thousands of exceptions, so there´s no idea to learn the "rules".
    I like my language, but it´s hard for foreigners to learn.

    Interesting that statistic about the Scandinavian languages...
    Oh please... I learnt Swedish as a foreign language, that was my first Scandinavian language and I am still alive , believe it or not. I even did my studies in it. An d quite frankly, I am upset when I hear somebody being so critical of their own language. The pronunciation is difficult at times but not deadly, the Danish pron is far worse. (Icelandic not counted - that`s the worst of all!!) I think Norwegian would be the easiest, it combines the best features and is relatively fit for your poor articulation organs. Plus, you will understand Danish and Swedish better than if you know one of these and try to cope with other Scandinavian languages.

    For myself, I sometimes am baffled and speak Swedish in terms of vocabulary, but with Danish grammar and Norwegian pronunciation - i am therefore every Scandinavian`s worst nightmare!! I never managed to pick up the Danish pronuciation but then I haven`t worked so hard on it and Danes understand me anyway. I also know Icelandic but practically never speak it.

  18. #18
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    Re: Danish/Swedish/Norwegian/Dutch: mutual intelligibility

    So generalizing, Norwegian appears to be the safest bet.
    Correccions en qualsevol idioma sempre són agraïdes.

  19. #19
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    Re: Danish/Swedish/Norwegian/Dutch: mutual intelligibility

    Quote Originally Posted by panjabigator View Post
    So generalizing, Norwegian appears to be the safest bet.
    It of course depends on what you're planning to use it for (i.e. if you're moving to Sweden, Swedish will be the best choice ), but learning Norwegian bokmål and the Eastern dialect, you'll have a good opportunity to also understand spoken Swedish (but perhaps not skånska ) and written Danish. So I don't think it's the worst choice you could take (biased? me? ).

    Oh, and about Danish being incomprehensible, this clip can perhaps illustrate (performence by three of the best known comedians over here)
    Любовь — это слово из четырёх букв

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    Re: danish, swedish, dutch or norwegian

    Quote Originally Posted by vuelta View Post
    I would not recommend you to try to learn Swedish. It´s really hard to learn if you´re not raised with it. I´m from Sweden myself, and everyday I find out more stupid things with our language. The grammar is with thousands of exceptions, so there´s no idea to learn the "rules".
    I like my language, but it´s hard for foreigners to learn.

    Interesting that statistic about the Scandinavian languages...
    When I was about 20 I had to learn Swedish fast (I had a reason then). I am Russian and I knew English and German. I was able to understand movies in a few weeks and I found Swedish and Norwegian extremely easy after German and English. I haven't used Swedish and Norwegian since but I think you are too hard on your language
    Анатолий أناتولي 阿纳托利 アナトーリー 아나톨리 अनातोली อานาโตลี آناتولی

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