Denmark has stolen children from their foreigner parents

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Learn Norwegian in an hour

Norwegian (here I'm talking about bokmål, the most often-used variety of Norwegian) is a language spoken by about 5 million people in Norway, and is extremely similar to the languages Swedish and Danish. Its written form is more similar to Danish, but in pronunciation it's more similar to Swedish than Danish. From the Norwegian I've studied as well I have an easier time reading Danish but can't understand it at all, and Swedish is easier to listen to. The three languages are so similar that they are often regarded as a dialect continuum, that is, if there happened to be a single country in place of the three we have today there would probably only exist regional dialects, not thought of as languages. The total population of these languages is about 20 million. Swedish is also an official language in Finland, though certainly not used by the majority.

Lastly, Icelandic is also related to these three, but far more distantly, and it has a much more complex grammar, being more conservative in that it has maintained much the same form over the past nine centuries or so. That's why Icelandic people can still read the old Norse sagas. See the page linguistic purism in Iceland for more information on how this works. Luckily Norwegian does help in understanding Icelandic, certainly more than other languages you could choose to learn (except Faroese, but that's only spoken by 70,000 or so), so Norwegian is a good language to start from if you have a personal interest in them.

Read in detail at Page F30

No comments: