Skip to comments.Linguist Makes Sensational Claim: English Is a Scandinavian Language
Posted on 11/29/2012 2:59:29 PM PST by Renfield
"Have you considered how easy it is for us Norwegians to learn English?" asks Jan Terje Faarlund, professor of linguistics at the University of Oslo. "Obviously there are many English words that resemble ours. But there is something more: its fundamental structure is strikingly similar to Norwegian. We avoid many of the usual mistakes because the grammar is more or less the same.
Faarlund and his colleague Joseph Emmonds, visiting professor from Palacký University in the Czech Republic, now believe they can prove that English is in reality a Scandinavian language, in other words it belongs to the Northern Germanic language group, just like Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, Icelandic and Faroese. This is totally new and breaks with what other language researchers and the rest of the world believe, namely that English descends directly from Old English. Old English, or Anglo-Saxon, is a West Germanic language, which the Angles and Saxons brought with them from Northern Germany and Southern Jylland when they settled in the British Isles in the fifth century....
(Excerpt) Read more at sciencedaily.com ...
Muzzies will make the claim it is a Muzzie language!
I always thought it was Germanic tho there are a lot of Latin root words too.
Despite the fact that there are a lot of free words, I failed German in college.
I think it’s easier to support the idea that tribes broke off from Germany and went to Britain and Scandanavian than from Scandinavia to Britain.
“From this day on, the official language of San Marcos will be Swedish.”
His noticing some similar words is two things. Norwegian is a separate branch on the north Germanic tree. (some Angles spread north into Scandinavia, just as some spread to the British Isles. So of course there are similarities.
The other thing is that mouch more recently that the Angle’s migrations, Vikings raided and spread much influence in Britian. They left DNA, words, and technology.
But English is not accurately described as descended from Norwegian. Separate tree, with later contacts sharing a few words. And of course, as always, English readily incorporates the new words, as it did with French, Spanish, Latin, etc. This is the strength of English. No rules, and we absorb and grow.
In many cases this is how we wound up with two words for the same thing. “Sick” and “ill” are an example. One is old English, the other is Norse. So we just started using both.
Every time I say “Hinga Dinga Durgen”, the kiddies wish me a Happy Leif Erikson Day.
As the offspring of an English teacher....I thought that was common knowledge. Of course, there was a huge impact of French on Old English after the Norman invasion.
You may be interested.
Second response: he has an interesting point about the grammar or syntax. But that tends to become simplified over time. Who's to say that a "West Germanic" language didn't adopted a simpler grammar on its own -- or through later influence by North Germanic invaders? If English vocabulary is much closer to Dutch than to Norwegian, wouldn't that make English a West Germanic language (whatever later changes it went through)?
Be all that as it may, Scots (Lallans, not Gaelic, though there was some influence there as well) was heavily influenced by Scandinavian Vikings, as was English (only more so).
This works for languages and economies.
It’s not so far out. English is a mix of German (through the Saxons), French (through the Normans), Latin (through language of the scholars and the Church), and Scandinavian (through the Danes who settled in Eastern England, and indirectly through the Normans).
Yes. I was skeptical till I read this paragraph.
The two researchers show that the sentence structure in Middle English -- and thus also Modern English -- is Scandinavian and not Western Germanic. "It is highly irregular to borrow the syntax and structure from one language and use it in another language. In our days the Norwegians are borrowing words from English, and many people are concerned about this. However, the Norwegian word structure is totally unaffected by English. It remains the same. The same goes for the structure in English: it is virtually unaffected by Old English."
That's a very powerful point. German word order is very different from English and the word order in English does not seem to have been affected by its heavy exposure to the Romans or the Normans though the vocabulary was. Very interesting theory, indeed.
The categories are something we (in a way) create.”
Kant? Is that you? I thought you were long dead!
One of my least favorite dates is 1066.
Leif Edison made the first functioning light bulb by passing an electrical current through a herring. I’ll never forget those words as the Norwegians landed on the moon.....”The Herring has landed.”
I lived on Jylland, Denmark between October 1960 and December 1961 and in Copenhagen for another two years and became totally fluent in Danish. I always found it interesting when speaking with farmers in remote villages in that their dialect sounded more like English than Danish.
Norwegian and Danish are virtually the same written language but the Danish is in the throat and Norwegian is closer to the lips, hence the accents are totally different. It takes me a week of listening to Norwegian for my ear to begin to hear the language.
Fabulous people and great places. Their politics stink.
I had to take German as a requirement for my course of college studies. I had a prof. from Germany who was not easy to understand. I passed with a good grade but have often wondered if it would have been easier learning if I had a German speaking English prof.
I was always taught that the moon was made of Gjetost.
Who was Alexander Graham Bellski?
I not only failed German in College, I flunked Latin in high school. I wasn’t a very good student but I think those are the only two classes I failed.
I apparently am not very good at verbal learning or whatever it is called.
I am still glad I took Latin as a lot of what I learned has stayed with me. My old Latin teacher, Emmabelle Jones would be shocked I bet.
Even more noted in the case of the ON rein and the OE deer
“whenever you have things grouped together based on similarity it’s always possible for somebody to suggest a different way if grouping them”
Not when historical causation is involved. Then matters of chronology as well as similarites intrude. English cannot be a Scandinavian language if the Ur-form of it already existed before those who spoke it came into extended contact with Scandanavians. It’s well known that both English and the various Scandanavian languages derive from German, and that Germans went en masse to England and the Scandanavians countries before Scandanavians had extended contact with the English.
Did you actually READ the article?
No one is claiming a different history than what is known: England is Anglo-Saxon & Norman, after those 2 groups invaded—and the native Britons moved off to Wales, or intermarried with the Germans and Normans...
HOWEVER, right before the Norman conquest, England was ruled by Denmark for around 30 years—and the researchers claim sentence structure and grammar in English is more similar to Scandinavian languages than it is to German. The researchers are claiming that the basic structure of the LANGUAGE has more in common with Scandinavian languages than German—not anything weird about our history.
I will say that of non-native English speakers, the Scandinavians are the best. I’ve known Swedes that sounded just like Americans.
They told me it was because American movies are not dubbed into Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, as they are in German—so everyone grows up hearing American-accented English in movies from the time they are small children.
It is a mix of all those, and more, but German is first.
I notice that he says Middle English was a product of the merger of Old English and the Scandinavian language spoken in England. I always understood that Norman French was the greatest factor in the shift from Old to Middle English.
Middle English raynder ( e ) < Old Norse hreindȳri, equivalent to hreinn reindeer + dȳr animal (cognate with deer) "
What, like no other language ever uses more than one word to describe the same thing? Of course there are rules. Maybe more or less strict than other languages, but without rules everyone would sound like a postmodern novel and no one would know what the heck anyone else was talking about.
Not much of a linguist, I’d say.
English is a mix of French, German, and Hebrew, where do they get the scandinavian?
We don’t say himmel, ciel or shamayim, but rather sky.
I hope this doesn’t impact my ability to use the word ‘knave’ in my everyday venacular.
Where did all those French words come from and what can we do about them?
I recently went to Copenhagen on business and prepped with a How to Speak Danish book and CD and was surprised at how difficult it was. I easily learned Spanish later in life after having taken French in high school but Danish is at a whole other level. It’s not the grammar but the pronunciation, which is brutal. In fact I would generally agree with this guy’s theory that the grammer is remarkably similar to English. English is sort of like a scandinavian language with a simplified accent. The Danes I know had no problem learning English but I found it much tougher the other way around.
* English and Scandinavian can have a preposition at the end of the sentence.
“But why the inhabitants of the British Isles chose the Scandinavian grammar is something we can only speculate on,” says Jan Terje Faarlund.
(adopting mechanical voice...) Resistance is futile; your language will be assimilated.
Barry Farber, radio guy, suggests learning Norwegian first. He says it’s easier than Danish or Swedish, and once you know Norwegian, picking up those other languages won’t be so hard. Some people say Swedish is easier, but Norwegians have less trouble understanding the other Scandinavian languages than Swedes or Danes do.
English is part a)Celtic by way of the natives of the British Isles (at the time of the Romans), b)Latin by way of the Romans, c)Germanic by way of the Angles, d)Germanic by way of the Saxons, e)Germanic-Scandanavian by way of the Norse, f)Germanic-Frankish-Latin-French-Norse by way of the Normans, e)with adoptions by other sources as well.
English will be the world language, as it has already proven itself the most adaptable langauge - it readily absorbs words from everywhere while maintaining an “English” core.
>>> passed with a good grade but have often wondered if it would have been easier learning if I had a German speaking English prof.<<<
I have my doubts that it would have mattered.
Yes grammar and conjugation of verbs is very simple but they speak with a “kartoffler i halsen” (potato in throat). Once you begin to hear it is relatively easy to understand but speaking is another matter. I had only been there for three months when all of a sudden I started to understand. I was doing conjugation flashcards everyday and memorizing paragraphs attempting the perfect accent. Suddenly it happened.
I listen to a Danish Jazz station every day to hear the language regularly. Went there for Christmas four years ago.
Ah, so Norwegian is sort of the entry point and the hub. Sounds like good advice.
Yep, that’s it.
Cut out all of the extra vowels and send them to the vowel deficient Eastern Europeans.
Yup, and the first speaker of said language will be claimed as a homo by the left.
Is it part of a song by any chance? If so, please post it.
Oh, they’ll surrender eventually.
As Norway and the Danes once ruled England this is possible—Remember King Canute?
To be fair, early English bears little resemblance to modern day English.
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