Common Scandinavian

Discussion in 'Nordic Languages' started by Hulalessar, Oct 22, 2007.

  1. Hulalessar Senior Member

    Andalucía
    English - England
    I live in Spain and know a few Scandinavians who live here. Quite often Swedes will talk to Danes, Danes to Norwegians and so on. They all seem to get along fine understanding each other (although one Swede told me he always speaks in English when he goes to Copenhagen). I sometimes ask what language they are speaking. Sometimes they laugh and say "Scandinavian!" and other times that each is speaking in their own language. Sometimes they say that they speak their own language, but modify it a bit.

    Information is rather conflicting. Now I know that a designation of a way of speaking is as much political as anything and it is sometimes said that there is only "Scandinavian", but I am interested to know what the relationship is between the languages of Sweden, Norway and Denmark.

    If you look at a language tree you see that Swedish is classed with Danish as "East Scandinavian" whilst Norwegian is classed as "West Scandinavian". However, mention is often made of "classical Dano-Norwegian" - apparently the language that Ibsen wrote in. Further, when you read about Norwegian the terms Nynorsk, Bokmål, Riksmål and Landsmål come up.

    I have heard Norwegian described as "Danish spoken in Swedish" - suggesting that it has similar sounds to Swedish (and to me the two do indeed sound the same) but there must be some significant differences if one is classed as Western and the other as Eastern Scandinavian.

    Is there any significant diglossia in any parts of any Scandinavian country so that a spoken form in one country resembles the written form in another?

    It is all very confusing. Can anyone enlighten me?
     
  2. Tjahzi

    Tjahzi Senior Member

    Umeå, Sweden
    Swedish (Göteborg)
    Hello Hulalessar!

    You seem to have summed it all up pretty well. The continental Scandinavian languages, that is, Swedish, Danish and Norwegian, are indeed similar enough to the degree that speakers of these languages can communicate with each otehr withing having to speak any other language than their own.

    I think the information that might confuse you is the classification of Norwegian as a "West Scandinavian" language. This is a etymological and classical distinction and is indeed correct based on those premises. However, having been separated from its West Scandinavian siblings, Icelandic and Faroese, Norwegian has, for obvious reasons, become quite influenced by Swedish and Danish, and what has influenced Danish and Swedish has influenced Norwegian as well. With this in mind, one might as well group the Scandinavian languages in a "continental group", consisting of Swedish, Danish and Norwegian, and an "insular group", consisting of Icelandic and Faroese. What makes this distinction more accurate is that Norwegian has, as mentioned, been influenced in a way similar to that of Swedish and Danish, unlike Icelandic and Faroese, which are much preserved. So in short, no, the difference between the "East Scandinavian" languages Swedish and Danish and the "West Scandinavian" language Norwegian is not that big actually.

    Your information about oral and written understanding among the languages is also correct. The written languages of Norwegian and Danish are very similar (the Norwegian is based on Danish) which the actuall sounds of Norwegian is more similar to the sounds of Swedish rather than Danish. This is also the reason why the form of communication with lowest degree of understaning among these languages is spoken Danish to Swedes (and as a native Swede, I can confirm this). In fact, Norwegians understand the three languages better than both Swedes and Danes, despite the latter ones, officially, belonging to the same subdivsion! The (english) wkipedia article on "Scandinavian languages" presents some more information regarding this issue.

    You might also want to check out this thread on mutual Scandinavian intelligibility. http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=256094
     
  3. Sepia Senior Member

    High German/Danish
    Yes that is not too unusual and sometimes it really makes communication/conversation flow more freely.

    There was, however, an almost official attempt of creating a Scandinavian language going on around 1980. I don't know how long they actually tried - or maybe they have not given up yet.

    The idea was to construct an artificial mix of all three languages to make it clearly comprehensible to all three groups. This was to be used mainly in printed information directed towards all three nations. It was used extensively in the brochures from the Danish Tourist Board/Dansk Turistråd (which is a dept. of "Handelsministeriet"). In my opinion it looked more like a light mix of Norwegian and Danish rather than an interscandinavian mix. I cannot believe that the Swedes found that easier to understand than real Danish or Norwegian.
     
  4. Tjahzi

    Tjahzi Senior Member

    Umeå, Sweden
    Swedish (Göteborg)
    Interesting information Sepia! I never heard anything about that project. How did you find out about it, do you know any more about it, do you still have an "Onterscandinavian" text sample?

    I did some googling, and although failing to find out anything about any "Interscandinavian langauge" project, I found a very interesting link to a page thoroughly explaining the understanding and relation between the Scandinavian languages.

    http://ancilla.unice.fr/~brunet/pub/ulla.html
     
  5. Sepia Senior Member

    High German/Danish

    I never really took it too seriously, but if you send a request about information on Denmark in Danish from the tourist board you may have luck that some of the old "Scancinavian" texts are still in circulation. Or write a letter to some of the top brass and ask them. I only became aware of it because I used to work with the Danish Tourist Board for a short while.
     
  6. Pteppic Senior Member

    Oslo, Norway
    Norway, Norwegian
    Regarding Norwegian being a western-Scandinavian language, that's only partially true. For more than 400 years we were a part of Denmark, and Danish was the official writing standard, which of course led to extensive Danish influence on official Norwegian language, and the urban elite all spoke Danish with a Norwegian twist. Out in the rural areas, though, the influence was much more moderate. Today, Swedes and Danes usually have no problem understanding Norwegians from the Oslo area, but with people who speak a different (Western Scandinavian) dialect, they have more difficulties.

    And now the riksmål/bokmål/nynorsk/landsmål thing. Norway has two official writing standards, Bokmål and Nynorsk. The former is based on the Danish spoken, as I said above, by the educated classes in the 19th century (basically Danish with Eastern Norwegian pronunciation and a few minor local differences). The latter was developed in the 1840s and -50s by Ivar Aasen, who wanted a written standard based on dialects, where the original Norwegian language was better preserved. It was given status of official writing standard in 1889. Until 1929, Nynorsk was known as Landsmål, though the name is still in used today. For a long time the goal of the authorities was to merge the two standards, and several language reforms were introduced to this end. After a the reform of 1938, though, the more conservative adherents to both writing standards had had enough, and simply refused to comply with the reform. Today, "Riksmål" usually refers to pre-1938 Bokmål standard (with some marginal differences), while pre-1938 Nynorsk is called Høgnorsk.
     
  7. Hulalessar Senior Member

    Andalucía
    English - England
    A very interesting paper.
     
  8. sdr083

    sdr083 Senior Member

    Atlantis
    Norwegian (NN)
    You might find it interesting that all the Swedes I have spoken to tell me they generally find it easier to understand Western Norwegian dialects. I found it strange at first, but then thought it could have something to do with the fact that Eastern Norwegian dialects have been more influenced by Danish. Just a theory. Lived with two Finland-Swedes over the last year and the only words I used that they didn't understand, the other Norwegian speaker also had trouble with :D (I'm from Indre Sogn). It surprises me that test results show that Norwegians only understand 88% of what is said in Swedish. In a year I only had to ask for an explanation twice... Personally I'd much rather be spoken to in pure Swedish or Danish than some interscandinavian mixture.
    As for written Interscandinavian, how about the Danish-Norwegian or Danish-Swedish-Norwegian used on the back of the shampoo bottles and food products sold in all three contries? :)
     
  9. Pteppic Senior Member

    Oslo, Norway
    Norway, Norwegian
    Well, I've had the opposite experiences - Swedes who were grateful I was from Oslo, having had to talk to some people from Rogaland earlier that day, and not understanding a word. That being said, I have often noticed that a lot of forms used in conservative Nynorsk (and Høgnorsk) are very similar to Swedish ones (ei visa, flere visor, alle visone a.s.o.).

    I have to admit I don't really see the point of inter-Scandinavian.
     
  10. Tjahzi

    Tjahzi Senior Member

    Umeå, Sweden
    Swedish (Göteborg)
    Haha, I must say, your Norwegian-ness makes you biased on the Interscandinavian issue. :p

    Trust me, I for one would definatly prefer it if the Danes could at least fix their pronounciation.:D
     
  11. Pteppic Senior Member

    Oslo, Norway
    Norway, Norwegian
    That's a possibility, I suppose :p

    Danish pronunciation is indeed a chapter unto itself. But as long as they speak slowly and don't count, it's not too difficult to understand them. Of course, should we really need an inter-scandinavian language, there's no need to make one up - we could just use Norwegian, since it's sort of the middle language, anyway :D
     
  12. Sepia Senior Member

    High German/Danish
    I know what you mean - monotonous, snapping off endings etc. Sometimes I wish they'd adapt the written language to how people really speak. I don't mean bullshit reforms like writing mayonnaise with a "j" and an "æ" - "majonæse" - because I never ever heard anyone pronounce that with an "e" at the end.

    I mean really radical reforms. Nobody pronounces "jeg" the way it is written. And the pronoun "de/De" - why do they still have an "e"? My issue is not making it easier for the Swedes to understand - I just wonder what would happen. Would such a reform make the Danish language drift further away from the others, or what would happen? Or would the opposite happen?
     
  13. duckie

    duckie Senior Member

    Copenhagen
    Denmark
    What would the point be in making the written language more like the spoken? That's what they do in Norway.. is that a big win for the Norwegians somehow? I can see it may be somewhat advantageous to people who have a hard time with spelling, but how does it change anything in terms of making it easier to understand spoken Danish?

    Besides, I like that the written language shows a historical continuity, I find that it's often easier to trace the words to their original language than in Norwegian, because the spelling hasn't changed as much.

    If you wish to change how Danish is pronounced the logical place to do that is exactly there, rather than to change how it's written!
     
  14. Sepia Senior Member

    High German/Danish
    I don't want to change the pronounciation. I'd like to adjust the spelling to the pronounciation, like it has been done several times before in various languages, including Danish. The most drastic changes that took place what Danish is concerned, were the ones in 1955 or so. What I'd wish would happen, is that people in general would learn to spell their own language better. Just take a look into any Danish forum that does not happen to be populated by language experts, you'll know what I mean.

    However, that is not the point here. My point was an imaginary experiment: What would happen if ...? Would the three related language groups and its speakers come closer together, or would they drift further apart?
     
  15. Tjahzi

    Tjahzi Senior Member

    Umeå, Sweden
    Swedish (Göteborg)
    They would definatly drift further apart. As a Swede, I can't understand spoken Danish because the phonology is too different. The reason I do fine with written Danish is that I can read it and derive the Swedish meanings of most words. If the spelling was changed, I would lose that option too. I reckon the same would go for Norwegians because their phonology is much closer to that of Swedish than that of Danish.
     
  16. duckie

    duckie Senior Member

    Copenhagen
    Denmark
    Tjahzi is probably right.. as it is now, I think it's very easy to read across the three languages, other than the Danish numbers few words seem to cause any significant problems.

    Weren't the changes you speak of made in 1948? The aa became å, and 'kunne, skulle, ville' were no longer spelt 'kunde, skulde, vilde', and much more drastic, nouns were no longer capitalized (which has nothing to do with spelling though).

    I like the way Danish is spelt, it's similar to English in that imported words only very slowly have their spelling altered.. from an aesthetic viewpoint I enjoy Danish spelling more than Norwegian. I wonder if Danes really have a significantly harder time with their spelling than other Scandinavians?
     
  17. Hulalessar Senior Member

    Andalucía
    English - England
    Some interesting points about written language. Knowing Spanish I can understand some written Portuguese, but if Portuguese were written as it sounded the comprehension would drop dramatically. Etymological spellings do have their advantages!
     
  18. Wilma_Sweden

    Wilma_Sweden Moderatös

    Lund, Sweden
    Swedish (Scania)
    I couldn't agree more about the spelling, phonetic spelling doesn't help at all. I don't think Danes have a harder time than anyone else. If you start reading Swedish online communities or blogs, you will see that a devastating number of Swedes can't spell to save their lives either... The same sad story is of course true of any English-language online communities - those who can spell are either professional writers, teachers etc, or non-native speakers... ;)

    Spanish is the most consistent language I know in terms of phonetic spelling, and I definitely love it! I'm wondering whether the Spanish-speaking world is equally plagued by spelling errors?

    /Wilma
     
  19. Sepia Senior Member

    High German/Danish
    Then it was '48 - those are the changes I mean.

    What spelling is concerned, I have the impression that many Danes have just as bad problems spelling their own language as the Anglophones have. I don't know if the Swedes have similar problems - didn't seem quite as bad, I thought.
     
  20. Hulalessar Senior Member

    Andalucía
    English - England
    With Spanish, when you know the rules, you can certainly pronounce every word you see, but you cannot necessarily spell every word you hear.

    There seems to be a universal rule that if a word can be misspelled it will be misspelled. In Spanish there is much confusion between b and v; words beginning je- and ji- and often written ge- and gi-; h being silent is often omitted and sometimes put in where it does not belong; y can replace ll and vice versa; in areas of seseo c/s before i and z/s before a,o or u can be a problem; a final s is often missing here in Andalucía; sometimes l and r are confused.
     
  21. duckie

    duckie Senior Member

    Copenhagen
    Denmark
    Italian is extremely phonetically consistent too (don't know anything about Spanish).. but I don't know if Italians have an easier time spelling as a result. Theoretically they should have I suppose, but it seems that other factors tend to come into play regarding spelling (excluding ridiculously difficult words that are hard to memorize of course)..

    Sepia, but as you can see, those changes in 1948 did not change spelling at all (save for three words). Danish spelling has slowly evolved as far as I know. It certainly has in the past century. It is almost as free in that respect as English, there is no institute that lays out hard rules on how new words are supposed to be spelt, rather they are formed through general use, and then the most commonly used forms are usually picked as being the 'proper' spelling. Therefore, the 'correct' spelling of some words slowly changes when there is enough pressure inside the applied language itself to do so. In some countries there are language institutes that actively work to shape the language, the most drastic example is probably Iceland where all new words are being forced into an Icelandic style. France has a similar program (not really sure how it works in Norway, could someone expand here?).
     
  22. Sepia Senior Member

    High German/Danish
    Like I said - what I had in mind was something radical and not hing like what has been seen before. And once again I'd like to point out:

    An imaginary experiment - what would happen if ...? Would it bring the 3 central Scandinavian languages further apart or vice versa. I do not want to discuss whether it would be "good" or "bad", or easier, or not. That would not be within the topic of this thread anyway. Just, would the effects of such a reform make us drift more apart? Obviously - it has been mentioned several times by the Swedes participating in this and other similar threads - the main problem that they have with Danish is "sloppy" pronounciation, while they are able to read the language pretty well. So obviously there is a discrepancy between the way we are spelling Danish and the way we speak. There definitely is, no doubt about that. But whether the tag "sloppy" is justified or not, that is the way it is. So if the written language was actually adjusted to phonetically describe what is really being pronounced, the tag "sloppy" would definitely not be justified, because that would actually be the language - period!

    But that, of course, would have some ramifications.
     
  23. duckie

    duckie Senior Member

    Copenhagen
    Denmark
    I think the pronounciation is sloppy. Compared to British English, German, and Italian even the more well-pronounced Danish tends to be sloppy. It's easy to notice this when you encounter people in Denmark who really have beautifully articulated pronounciation, or you could listen to the pronounciation in Danish television and films from 50+ years ago (although it often sounds stiff, the pronounciation is much clearer simply because they are trying harder).

    Of course, even with better pronounciation Danish itself is (typically) not melodic like Swedish and Norwegian. And I reckon that if one expects a certain melodic rhythm that isn't there it becomes more difficult to tune into the sound and flow of the language.
     
  24. Tjahzi

    Tjahzi Senior Member

    Umeå, Sweden
    Swedish (Göteborg)
    Sepia has a point I'd say. Just as one can decide to label Danish as "sloppy", one can decide to explain this "loose pronounciation" with their "superior listening skills". My comment regarding Danish pronouncition on last page was just meant as a strereotype joke. ;)

    However, I believe that the inconsistencies between spoken and written Danish might prevent Swedes from understanding spoken Danish. For example, I don't know when the "stöd" is coming, and in which words, so when it does, I'm totally unprepered and usually don't grasp it at all. Simply because it is not expressed in written language (or at least not in a way that I can reckognize it).

    On the other hand, altering Danish spelling and/or orthography would most likely decrease Swedes' ability to understand written Danish more than it would help them understand the spoken language.:(
     
  25. Sepia Senior Member

    High German/Danish
    This, of course sounds stiff because it was almost a "foreign language" they had to master to be allowed to appear on television. Ever known anyone personally who natively spoke like that? For those, who don't know what we are talking about: It is the Danish equivalent to "BBC-English". A mixture of something totally artificial and a dialect that was spoken in the Center of Copenhagen. The part, where the banks and insurance companies have their offices now and where they closed down the church in the late 80es because there were only 9 persons left actually living in that parish! I personally have known one person who genuinely spoke like that - that is the old lady with the big hat in the painting an the end wall of a tavern by the name of "Skindbuksen" (Lille Kongensgade, Copenhagen). Maybe it is still there. The way she spoke sounded beautiful. But when the number of students aiming to become Danish teachers, directly out of university, attempt to imitate that dialect it sounds cheap.

    Come on, you can't base the standard of a language one a dialect that is dead and gone.
     
  26. duckie

    duckie Senior Member

    Copenhagen
    Denmark
    Actually the dialect in question is irrelevant, I simply used the example of old tv/radio to show that well pronounced Danish is easier to understand. Clearly pronounced language also tends to sound more beautiful to my ears, but that is of course subjective.

    Yes, I know several people who pronounce Danish very clearly, not to mention all the people who simply pronounce it more clearly than average. I always enjoy this, both because I think it makes the language more beautiful and because it's easier to understand.

    So yes, I really think that Danes have a horrible tendency to be sloppy about pronouncing their native language (I'm no exception, though I try not to).
     
  27. duckie

    duckie Senior Member

    Copenhagen
    Denmark
    I think it's fair enough to use the term 'sloppy' because the mouth simply does less work (in the same sense that rural dialects tend to evolve), which means there is less distinction between each sound, which in turn means a degradation of the spoken language.

    I'm not a big fan of the Danish language so I have few qualms criticizing things I dislike about it :)
     
  28. Tjahzi

    Tjahzi Senior Member

    Umeå, Sweden
    Swedish (Göteborg)
    I see your point too, duckie. However, I find it hard to believe that any language would put in more of an effort than what is required when speaking? If Danes can communicate clearly using less phonems, that's just a good thing, ehh?

    Personally, I do share your view, Danes do appear a bit "sloppy" to me. Why leave out the sounds we bother pronouncing? Nonetheless, my logic, presented above, makes it hard for me to be fully against this.
     
  29. duckie

    duckie Senior Member

    Copenhagen
    Denmark
    I think Danes generally communicate less clearly than they would if they were more careful in their pronounciation though. It's possible to understand what someone says when they're mumbling, but it's a lot easier if they speak out clearly! How one uses language is very much a cultural thing, it's a matter of appreciation I guess.
     
  30. Hulalessar Senior Member

    Andalucía
    English - England
    I am aghast - if not b-ghast - at all this talk about sloppy talk. There is no such thing as sloppy or lazy ways of speaking. Every generation talks about the sloppy speech habits of (particularly) the young. It was ever thus.

    Anyway, all you Scandinavians speak beautiful English - why don't you just use that when you move about Scandinavia!:)

    I have been told I speak BBC English and (slightly disconcertingly) that my voicemail messages sound like a 1930's public information film.
     
  31. duckie

    duckie Senior Member

    Copenhagen
    Denmark
    Lol! Well, having Danish as my native language, everytime I've encountered other languages in studying contexts the implicit theme about pronounciation has been 'one can't be as sloppy as in Danish'! Of course there are sloppy ways of speaking; when people mumble so you don't understand a word they're saying they're being sloppy (or incapable in some cases).

    I am personally happy speaking English with other Scandinavians, but there is often a perception that we should be able to communicate fine inter-Scandinavian style, it's often frowned upon to use English instead. It probably has something to do with the wish to preserve culture and language, not having to rely on an 'outside' language.. As soon as someone is from outside Scandinavia everyone speaks English without a second thought, so it's a peculiar phenomenon.
     
  32. Sepia Senior Member

    High German/Danish
    Nice what you are saying about Scandinavian English, but the sloppyness mentioned was about Danish pronounciation, ok.

    The stereotypical joke mentioned above was of course exactly that: a stereotypical joke. But most stereotypes at least reflect a part of the truth. I regularly deal with a lot of other Germans who did not, like me, learn Danish in their early childhood. And understanding spoken Danish is really their greatest problem. Many of them learned from a German guy - a marvelous translator of literature by the way - who learned Danish in the North of Jutland. When they meet people from, say Aarhus, fine, no problem. People from Copenhagen who generally speak faster and cut off al lot of endings of words - serious problems. I only use the word "sloppy" about this because the joker up thread used it (in another thread). But what they are doing is similar to what happened to the French language and made it what it is today - or what New Yorkers are doing to the English language. The way people used to talk on television is a product of nothing less than linguistic fascism: To be allowed to appear on Danish television one had to pass the socalled microphone test, even if you were only a guest star singing songs to jazz music!!! Only this way of speaking was allowed. Certain phonems were obligatory - especially those that you'd normally not hear in the boroughs Vesterbro or Noerrebro. Whatever the purpose of this was, it practically excluded working class people, if they did not learn to speak this way. That is why it sounds stiff and not genuine.

    It is related to the dialict around Kongens Nytorv, but hardly anyone speaks that way. The Queen herself (but not her sons) is close to speaking that way.

    Question to the non-Danish Scandinavians:

    Do you understand the Danish Queen well, when she is speaking Danish?
     
  33. duckie

    duckie Senior Member

    Copenhagen
    Denmark
    The queen speaks somewhat 'affected'.. but she does articulate.
     
  34. Hulalessar Senior Member

    Andalucía
    English - England
    The same as our queen!
     
  35. Hulalessar Senior Member

    Andalucía
    English - England
    When broadcasting first started it was in the hands of the wrong people!

    BBC radio announcers had to wear evening dress.

    Lord Reith, the first director general of the BBC, famously said, "The British public knows what it wants and is not going to get it."
     
  36. Hulalessar Senior Member

    Andalucía
    English - England
    I meant to mention that there was a study made where many different varieties of English were played to non-English speaking Russians. They were quite unable to tell which were the "high" and which the "low" varieties and did not find any one variety more pleasing than another. It would be interesting to know what they would make of different Scandinavian varieties. It is noteworthy that the English are unable to tell the social class of anyone from Ireland from the way they speak and find all varieties of Irish English equally euphonous.

    Another question.

    Do the people of Bergen have a distinct way of speaking? I have heard one or two Norwegians say the dialect is strange.
     
  37. timesofmist New Member

    Estonian
    Ah, the danish way of pronouncing. It has been pretty painful experience for me thus far. Don't get me wrong, i really like they way danish is spoken. I prefer it to, for example, swedish, which has some weird characteristics to it, like the so called ''singing tone''.... up and down.. up and down.. Some say it's beautiful, true, it is, but at the same time i find the more neutral and flowing way of pronouncing more appealing. As is the case with norwegian.
    Anyway, where i'm getting at, is that it's really hard to learn how to listen danish at first. I have studied the language about a year (agreed, not much), and well, i'd say that it's a lot more easier for me to understand spoken norwegian which i have never studied before! Listening to spoken danish needs some really good ''hearing-capabilities''. I haven't developed these so far. : (

    I'd have to agree that modern danish is somewhat like french, where a certain part of the words just goes missing in the pronounciation-process. Not always, but frequently.
    As a native speaker of estonian, it's pretty harsh at the beggining, because, you see.. finnish, estonian and f.e swedish are rather dry languages - with some exceptions, usually you speak what you read and the pronounciation is clearer. But danish.. yeah.. i have some hard times ahead. : )

    Have a good morning btw.
     
  38. Tjahzi

    Tjahzi Senior Member

    Umeå, Sweden
    Swedish (Göteborg)
    Great post timesofmist!

    I really agree with your point of view. I can form the Danish sounds (even without a heated potato in my mouth! :D), the problem is that I can't decode them very well nor can I tell from a written text when they appear. Danish is indeed similar to French in that sense.

    It's also ironic, but very logical, that you find spoken Norwegian easier to understand. Swedish/Norwegian/Finnish/Estonian have rather similar orthographies, and more important I believe, we all stress every syllable fairly much (resulting in them being easy to distinguish). I believe this might be related to the fact that our languages (Finnish and Estonian in particular) tend to have words with multiple syllables, of which all are of great importance. I'm of course refering to inflections and conjugations here. English, for example, has been going towards a state where the words are becoming more numerous as well as shorter, hence dropping a syllable here or there is not that much of a problem (which would explain all the mute letters in English). If you dropp a letter or two at the end of a word in Swedish/Norwegian/Finnish/Estonian, it can drastically alter the meaning.

    Anyhow, good day to you all!
     
  39. duckie

    duckie Senior Member

    Copenhagen
    Denmark
    timesofmist, if you're not in Denmark but wish to listen to Danish you can try dr.dk - lots of programs and live radio to listen to for free :)
     
  40. timesofmist New Member

    Estonian
    Thanks duckie!
     
  41. duckie

    duckie Senior Member

    Copenhagen
    Denmark
    I just tried watching some tv shows there and the quality at the highest setting is pretty good, it's just a bummer they haven't included a captioning option (which is normally available on the regular broadcast)..
     
  42. Prometo

    Prometo Senior Member

    Bohemia
    USA English
    I can form the Danish sounds (even without a heated potato in my mouth! :D)

    Funny you should say that. I've have heard the same comment (that Danish sounds like you have a hot potato in your mouth) from many Swedish speakers... :)

    As far as a Common Scandinavian language is concerned, it is clear that it would be essentially an ADDITIONAL, constructed tongue, based on the standard languages of the region. And of course I am all for that.

    However you pronounce Danish or spell Norwegian or whatever would be immaterial - Scandinavian would have its own sounds and orthography, again based on its target languages of genesis.

    Someone said that this project embodies a respect for Nordic patriotism and regional pride, as well it should. To have to resort to English is a disgrace; you would agree if you REALLY UNDERSTOOD the globally hegemonic English-speaking linguistic ethos...
     
  43. duckie

    duckie Senior Member

    Copenhagen
    Denmark
    A disgrace?

    Gee. I just like to communicate. I think it's a shame if language issues holds back communication. I don't understand a word they say on Bornholm. Is that a disgrace too?
     
  44. Tjahzi

    Tjahzi Senior Member

    Umeå, Sweden
    Swedish (Göteborg)
    Actually, I didn't pick that example randomly. :p
     
  45. Pteppic Senior Member

    Oslo, Norway
    Norway, Norwegian
    Well, the Bergen dialect is fairly recogniseable, but so are the dialects of Rogaland, Sørlandet, Sogn og Fjordane, Sunnmøre, Romsdal, Nordmøre/Trøndelag and Nordnorge (It'd probably take me a bit longer to distinguish between Nordland, Troms and Finnmark, to be honest). And the same goes for Østfold/Vestfold and Toten. The vally dialects tend to sound more alike to me, because I rarely meet people from there (who speak their local dialects, at least). I can usually tell they're from the central part of Southern Norway, I just can't pinpoint the exact vally.

    I don't find the Bergen dialect particularly strange - some of the dialects from historically more isolated places in Trøndelag, Sogn or Setesdalen (to name a few) are virtually incomprehensible.

    Oh and the hot potato thing - it's not just the Swedes who think that. :D
     
  46. Sepia Senior Member

    High German/Danish

    Those who say so obviously never understood the joke with the hot potato - or they hav no idea whatsoever what the language sounds like.

    But she is one of the few people left who actually grew up in this area while that dialect still was alive, and who still lives there. (However I'd still like to know if any of the Swedes here can understand her well.) Even though she articulates distinctly, I could point out several words that are pronounced in a way that has little to do with the written language.

    People speaking that dialect are, just like the most of the people who pronounced the Y in "cykel" as an "i", almost extinct. I could only mention one of my aquaintance - he is far over 90 years old. This is simply not Danish the way anybody really speaks any more.
     
  47. Prometo

    Prometo Senior Member

    Bohemia
    USA English
    I don't understand a word they say on Bornholm. Is that a disgrace too?

    : ) Let's not match apples with oranges. I'm not familiar with the islanders but I can be fairly certain that they don't look down on practically the whole rest of the world and the languages thereof.

    It wouldn't be a disgrace to use their bornholmsk dialect for international communication because in their low status they would feel humbly honored rather than smug, and appreciated rather than arrogantly feeling they deserve the distinction...


     
  48. duckie

    duckie Senior Member

    Copenhagen
    Denmark
    Well you talked about 'Nordic patriotism' as if I somehow ought to be able to understand other Scandinavians perfectly. I find that attitude silly, although it is very prevalent here. I don't feel a greater need to learn spoken Swedish than other languages that I would like to learn. So when I'm talking to Swedes (or Norwegians) and we don't understand each other I don't see anything 'disgraceful' whatsoever about simply picking a language that we're both fairly proficient at. It could be German or Japanese or whatever. It just happens to be that English is the de-facto standard so most everyone here speak it reasonably well, and that is a very good thing in my opinion.

    When Scandinavians speak English with one another they do so simply to communicate, it has nothing to do with arrogance. From your perspective perhaps it's arrogant that English speaking countries 'expect' English to be the de-facto language, but from my perspective it's simply wonderful to have an international language! Communication is what really matters.
     
  49. Prometo

    Prometo Senior Member

    Bohemia
    USA English
    When Scandinavians speak English with one another they do so simply to communicate, it has nothing to do with arrogance. From your perspective perhaps it's arrogant that English speaking countries 'expect' English to be the de-facto language, but from my perspective it's simply wonderful to have an international language! Communication is what really matters.

    With this you have shown more about your own Nordic nature of general charm, grace and guilelessness than the objective truth of the cultural barbarism, gall and rapaciousness that characterizes monolingual Anglophones. To you, it's about communication. To them it's about domination.

    Of course it's simply wonderful to have an international language, and Scandinavian would be an excellent step in that direction. First, it would largely replace English as the koine of the region (along with its nefarious linguistic expansionism). Also it would do a number on the global arrogance of the superpower and its lackeys. A small gesture in imperial terms, to be sure, but someone has to start somewhere. After all, the so-far, apparent "failure" of Scandinavian as a lingua franca can be attributed to the onslaught of English in northern Europe and elsewhere.

    Not only by communication alone does man live, but by dignity and self-respect as well.

    Well you talked about 'Nordic patriotism' as if I somehow ought to be able to understand other Scandinavians perfectly. I find that attitude silly, although it is very prevalent here.

    Sorry, that is not what I meant, but that the cultures of the several peoples, nations and communities of this part of Europe and the islands north of it must be preserved. If a common Scandinavian can accomplish that then there is nothing silly about the venture. The danger with SOME foreign languages is that they are here to obliterate the indigenous; while Scandinavian would be respectful of local tradition, lifestyle, world view, etc., global English, for one, would not be. For example, how many areas are celebrating Halloween this year that were not doing so five years ago?

    I don't feel a greater need to learn spoken Swedish than other languages that I would like to learn. So when I'm talking to Swedes (or Norwegians) and we don't understand each other I don't see anything 'disgraceful' whatsoever about simply picking a language that we're both fairly proficient at. It could be German or Japanese or whatever. It just happens to be that English is the de-facto standard so most everyone here speak it reasonably well, and that is a very good thing in my opinion.

    I respect your opinion, of course, and here you sound like a quite reasonable fellow or lady. But I'm not forgetting the national intimacy of Denmark with England. Why, even your flags look kind of similar, don't they? The English are descendants of the Dane and Shakespeare had an inordinate interest in Danish rot. You follow England in turning up your nose at the Euro. And everybody knows Denmark is trying hard to emulate the UK as a bigot's paradise. My opinion is that here we should all move to a de-facto Scandinavian standard instead.
     
  50. duckie

    duckie Senior Member

    Copenhagen
    Denmark
    Erh.. I will leave your last paragraph alone, I think you are quite mistaken though.

    As for English being a threat to Scandinavian (language) culture, I think that is not a threat from without, but rather from within. Not in he general spoken language, but more in the international mindedness of specialized educations, where English increasingly replaces Danish because it's simply the most practical language when cooperating with the rest of the world in a number of fields.

    I don't see this conspiracy that you apparently do; in an increasingly interwoven world there needs to be a common way to communicate, and English is a good language choice for this purpose. Latin has had that role in the past, as has French to some degree. I much prefer it be English for its simplicity as it ensures a higher level of communication, but essentially it doesn't matter which language is used.
     

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