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Insular Scandinavian languages:   Faroese   Icelandic   Norn (†)    Greenlandic Norse
Greenlandic Norse
(†)

Extinct Norn was spoken in Orkney, Shetland
Shetland
and Caithness
Caithness
in what is now Scotland
Scotland
until the 19th century. Extinct Greenlandic Norse
Greenlandic Norse
was spoken in the Norse settlements of Greenland
Greenland
until their demise in the late 15th century.

The North Germanic languages
Germanic languages
make up one of the three branches of the Germanic languages, a sub-family of the Indo-European languages, along with the West Germanic languages
Germanic languages
and the extinct East Germanic languages. The language group is sometimes referred to as the "Nordic languages", a direct translation of the most common term used among Danish, Swedish, Faroese, Icelandic and Norwegian scholars and laypeople. In Scandinavia, the term "Scandinavian languages" refers specifically to the generally mutually intelligible languages of the three continental Scandinavian countries, and is thus used in a more narrow sense as a subset of the Nordic languages, leaving aside the insular subset of Faroese and Icelandic. Danish, Norwegian and Swedish are also referred to as Continental Scandinavian
Continental Scandinavian
or Nordic languages, while Faroese and Icelandic are grouped together as Insular Scandinavian or Nordic languages. The term Scandinavian arose in the 18th century as a result of the early linguistic and cultural Scandinavist movement, referring to the people, cultures, and languages of the three Scandinavian countries and stressing their common heritage. The term " North Germanic
North Germanic
languages" is used in comparative linguistics,[2] whereas the term "Scandinavian languages" appears in studies of the modern standard languages and the dialect continuum of Scandinavia.[3][4] Approximately 20 million people in the Nordic countries
Nordic countries
speak a Scandinavian language as their native language,[5] including an approximately 5% minority in Finland. Languages belonging to the North Germanic language tree are also commonly spoken on Greenland
Greenland
and, to a lesser extent, by immigrants in North America.

Contents

1 Modern languages and dialects 2 History

2.1 Distinction from East and West Germanic 2.2 Features shared with West Germanic 2.3 North Germanic
North Germanic
features 2.4 Middle Ages

3 Demographics 4 Classification

4.1 Mutual intelligibility 4.2 Vocabulary 4.3 Language boundaries 4.4 Family tree 4.5 Classification difficulties 4.6 Written norms of Norwegian

5 See also 6 References 7 References 8 External links

Modern languages and dialects[edit] The modern languages in this group are:

Danish

Jutlandic
Jutlandic
dialect

North Jutlandic East Jutlandic West Jutlandic South Jutlandic

Insular Danish Bornholmsk dialect

Swedish[6]

South Swedish dialects

Scanian

Göta dialects Gotland
Gotland
dialects Svea dialects

Dalecarlian dialects

Elfdalian

Norrland
Norrland
dialects

Jämtland
Jämtland
dialects

East Swedish dialects

Finland
Finland
Swedish Estonian Swedish

Norwegian

Bokmål
Bokmål
(written) Nynorsk
Nynorsk
(written) Trønder dialects ( Norway
Norway
and parts of Sweden) East Norwegian dialects ( Norway
Norway
and minor parts of Sweden) West Norwegian dialects North Norwegian dialects

Faroese Icelandic

History[edit] Distinction from East and West Germanic[edit] The Germanic languages
Germanic languages
are traditionally divided into three groups: West, East and North Germanic.[7] Their exact relation is difficult to determine from the sparse evidence of runic inscriptions, and they remained mutually intelligible to some degree during the Migration Period, so that some individual varieties are difficult to classify. Dialects with the features assigned to the northern group formed from the Proto-Germanic language
Proto-Germanic language
in the late Pre-Roman Iron Age in Northern Europe. At last around the year 200 AD, speakers of the North Germanic
North Germanic
branch became distinguishable from the other Germanic language speakers. The early development of this language branch is attested through runic inscriptions. Features shared with West Germanic[edit] The North Germanic
North Germanic
group is characterized by a number of phonological and morphological innovations shared with West Germanic:

The retraction of Proto-Germanic ē (/ɛː/, also written ǣ) to ā.[8]

Proto-Germanic *jēran ‘year’ > Northwest Germanic *jāran >:

North Germanic
North Germanic
*āra > Old Norse
Old Norse
ár; and West Germanic
West Germanic
*jāra > Old High German
Old High German
jār, Old English
Old English
ġēar [jæ͡ɑːr]; vs. Gothic jēr.

The raising of [ɔː] to [oː] (and word-finally to [uː]). The original vowel remained when nasalised *ōn [ɔ̃ː] and when before /z/, and was then later lowered to [ɑː].

Proto-Germanic *geƀō ‘gift’ [ˈɣeβɔː] > Northwest Germanic *geƀu >:

North Germanic
North Germanic
*gjavu > with u-umlaut *gjǫvu > ON gjǫf, and West Germanic
West Germanic
*gebu > OE giefu; cf. Goth giba (vowel lowering).

Proto-Germanic *tungōn ‘tongue’ [ˈtuŋɡɔ̃ː] > late Northwest Germanic *tungā > *tunga > ON tunga, OHG zunga, OE tunge (unstressed a > e); vs. Goth tuggō. Proto-Germanic gen.sg. *geƀōz ‘of a gift’ [ˈɣeβɔːz] > late Northwest Germanic *geƀāz >:

North Germanic
North Germanic
*gjavaz > ON gjafar, and West Germanic
West Germanic
*geba > OHG geba, OE giefe (unstressed a > e); vs. Goth gibōs.

The development of i-umlaut. The rhotacism of /z/ to /r/, with presumably a rhotic fricative of some kind as an earlier stage.

This change probably affected West Germanic
West Germanic
much earlier and then spread from there to North Germanic, but failed to reach East Germanic which had already split off by that time. This is confirmed by an intermediate stage ʀ, clearly attested in late runic East Norse at a time when West Germanic
West Germanic
had long merged the sound with /r/.

The development of the demonstrative pronoun ancestral to English this.

Germanic *sa, sō, þat ‘this, that’ (cf. ON sá m., sú f., þat n.; OE se, sēo, þæt; Goth sa m., so f., þata n.) + proximal *si ‘here’ (cf. ON si, OHG sē, Goth sai ‘lo!, behold!’);

Runic Norse: nom.sg. sa-si, gen. þes-si, dat. þeim-si, etc., with declension of the 1st part;

fixed form with declension on the 2nd part: ON sjá, þessi m., OHG these m., OE þes m., þēos f., þis n.

Some have argued that after East Germanic broke off from the group, the remaining Germanic languages, the Northwest Germanic languages, divided into four main dialects:[9] North Germanic, and the three groups conventionally called "West Germanic", namely

North Sea Germanic
North Sea Germanic
(Ingvaeonic languages, ancestral to the Anglo-Frisian languages
Anglo-Frisian languages
and Low German) Weser-Rhine Germanic
Weser-Rhine Germanic
(Low Franconian languages) Elbe Germanic
Elbe Germanic
(High German languages)

Under this view, the properties that the West Germanic languages
Germanic languages
have in common separate from the North Germanic languages
Germanic languages
are not inherited from a "Proto-West-Germanic" language, but rather spread by language contact among the Germanic languages
Germanic languages
spoken in central Europe, not reaching those spoken in Scandinavia. North Germanic
North Germanic
features[edit] Some innovations are not found in West and East Germanic such as:

Sharpening of geminate /jj/ and /ww/ according to Holtzmann's law

Occurred also in East Germanic, but with a different outcome. Proto-Germanic *twajjôN ("of two") > Old Norse
Old Norse
tveggja, Gothic twaddjē, but > Old High German
Old High German
zweiio

Word-final devoicing of stop consonants.

Proto-Germanic *band ("I/he bound") > *bant > Old West Norse batt, Old East Norse bant, but Old English
Old English
band

Loss of medial /h/ with compensatory lengthening of the preceding vowel and the following consonant, if present.

Proto-Germanic *nahtuN ("night", accusative) > *nāttu > (by u-umlaut) *nǭttu > Old Norse
Old Norse
nótt

/ɑi̯/ > /ɑː/ before /r/ (but not /z/)

Proto-Germanic *sairaz ("sore") > *sāraz > *sārz > Old Norse sárr, but > *seira > Old High German
Old High German
sēr. With original /z/ Proto-Germanic *gaizaz > *geizz > Old Norse geirr.

General loss of word-final /n/, following the loss of word-final short vowels (which are still present in the earliest runic inscriptions).

Proto-Germanic *bindanaN > *bindan > Old Norse
Old Norse
binda, but > Old English
Old English
bindan. This also affected stressed syllables: Proto-Germanic *in > Old Norse í

Vowel breaking of /e/ to /jɑ/ except after w, j or l (see "gift" above).

The diphthong /eu/ was also affected (also l), shifting to /jɒu/ at an early stage. This diphthong is preserved in Old Gutnish
Old Gutnish
and survives in modern Gutnish. In other Norse dialects, the /j/-onset and length remained, but the diphthong simplified resulting in variously /juː/ or /joː/. This affected only stressed syllables. The word *ek ("I"), which could occur both stressed and unstressed, appears varyingly as ek (unstressed, with no breaking) and jak (stressed, with breaking) throughout Old Norse.

Loss of initial /j/ (see "year" above), and also of /w/ before a round vowel.

Proto-Germanic *wulfaz > North Germanic
North Germanic
ulfz > Old Norse
Old Norse
ulfr

The development of u-umlaut, which rounded stressed vowels when /u/ or /w/ followed in the next syllable. This followed vowel breaking, with ja /jɑ/ being u-umlauted to jǫ /jɒ/.

Middle Ages[edit]

The approximate extent of Old Norse
Old Norse
and related languages in the early 10th century:   Old West Norse dialect   Old East Norse dialect   Old Gutnish   Old English   Crimean Gothic   Other Germanic languages
Germanic languages
with which Old Norse
Old Norse
still retained some mutual intelligibility

After the Proto-Norse and Old Norse
Old Norse
periods, the North Germanic languages developed into an East Scandinavian branch, consisting of Danish and Swedish; and, secondly, a West Scandinavian branch, consisting of Norwegian, Faroese and Icelandic and, thirdly, an Old Gutnish branch.[10] Norwegian settlers brought Old West Norse to Iceland
Iceland
and the Faroe Islands
Faroe Islands
around 800. Of the modern Scandinavian languages, written Icelandic is closest to this ancient language.[11] An additional language, known as Norn, developed on Orkney
Orkney
and Shetland
Shetland
after Vikings
Vikings
had settled there around 800, but this language became extinct around 1700.[5] In medieval times, speakers of all the Scandinavian languages could understand one another to a significant degree, and it was often referred to as a single language, called the "Danish tongue" until the 13th century by some in Sweden[11] and Iceland.[12] In the 16th century, many Danes and Swedes still referred to North Germanic
North Germanic
as a single language, which is stated in the introduction to the first Danish translation of the Bible and in Olaus Magnus' A Description of the Northern Peoples. Dialectal variation between west and east in Old Norse however was certainly present during the Middle Ages and three dialects had emerged: Old West Norse, Old East Norse and Old Gutnish. Old Icelandic was essentially identical to Old Norwegian, and together they formed the Old West Norse dialect of Old Norse
Old Norse
and were also spoken in settlements in Faroe Islands, Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man, and Norwegian settlements in Normandy.[13] The Old East Norse dialect was spoken in Denmark, Sweden, settlements in Russia,[14] England, and Danish settlements in Normandy. The Old Gutnish
Old Gutnish
dialect was spoken in Gotland
Gotland
and in various settlements in the East. Yet, by 1600, another classification of the North Germanic
North Germanic
language branches had arisen from a syntactic point of view,[5] dividing them into an insular group (Icelandic and Faroese) and a continental group (Danish, Norwegian and Swedish). The division between Insular Scandinavian (önordiska/ønordisk/øynordisk)[15] and Continental Scandinavian (Skandinavisk)[16] is based on mutual intelligibility between the two groups and developed due to different influences, particularly the political union of Denmark
Denmark
and Norway
Norway
(1536–1814) which led to significant Danish influence on central and eastern[citation needed] Norwegian dialects ( Bokmål
Bokmål
or Dano-Norwegian).[4] Demographics[edit] The North Germanic languages
Germanic languages
are national languages in Denmark, Iceland, Norway
Norway
and Sweden, whereas the non-Germanic Finnish is spoken by the majority in Finland. In inter-Nordic contexts, texts are today often presented in three versions: Finnish, Icelandic, and one of the three languages Danish, Norwegian and Swedish.[17] Another official language in the Nordic countries
Nordic countries
is Greenlandic (in the Eskimo–Aleut family), the sole official language of Greenland. In Southern Jutland
Southern Jutland
in southwestern Denmark, German is also spoken by the North Schleswig Germans, and German is a recognized minority language in this region. German is the primary language among the Danish minority of Southern Schleswig, and likewise, Danish is the primary language of the North Schleswig Germans. Both minority groups are highly bilingual. Traditionally, Danish and German were the two official languages of Denmark–Norway; laws and other official instruments for use in Denmark
Denmark
and Norway
Norway
were written in Danish, and local administrators spoke Danish or Norwegian. German was the administrative language of Holstein
Holstein
and the Duchy of Schleswig. Sami languages
Sami languages
form an unrelated group that has coexisted with the North Germanic
North Germanic
language group in Scandinavia
Scandinavia
since prehistory.[18] Sami, like Finnish, is part of the group of the Uralic languages.[19] During centuries of interaction, Finnish and Sami have imported many more loanwords from North Germanic languages
Germanic languages
than vice versa.

Language Speakers Official Status

Swedish 9,200,000*  Finland,  Sweden,  European Union, Nordic Council

Danish 5,600,000  Denmark,  Faroe Islands,  European Union, Nordic Council

Norwegian 5,000,000  Norway, Nordic Council

Icelandic 358,000  Iceland

Faroese 90,000  Faroe Islands

Elfdalian 3,500

Total 20,251,500

* The figure includes 450,000 members of the Swedish-speaking population of Finland

Classification[edit]

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The present-day distribution of the Germanic languages
Germanic languages
in Europe: North Germanic
North Germanic
languages   Icelandic   Faroese   Norwegian (partially national boundaries)   Swedish (partially national boundaries)   Danish (partially national boundaries) West Germanic
West Germanic
languages   Scots   English   Frisian   Dutch (partially national boundaries)    Low German
Low German
(partially national boundaries)   German Dots indicate a few of the areas where multilingualism is common.

In historical linguistics, the North Germanic
North Germanic
family tree is divided into two main branches, West Scandinavian languages (Norwegian, Faroese and Icelandic) and East Scandinavian languages (Danish and Swedish), along with various dialects and varieties. The two branches are derived from the western and eastern dialect groups of Old Norse respectively. There was also an Old Gutnish
Old Gutnish
branch spoken on the island of Gotland. The continental Scandinavian languages (Swedish, Norwegian and Danish) were heavily influenced by Middle Low German during the period of Hanseatic expansion. Currently, English loanwords are influencing the languages. A 2005 survey of words used by speakers of the Scandinavian languages showed that the number of English loanwords used in the languages has doubled during the last 30 years and is now 1.2%. Icelandic has imported fewer English words than the other North Germanic
North Germanic
languages, despite the fact that it is the country that uses English most.[20] Another way of classifying the languages — focusing on mutual intelligibility rather than the tree-of-life model — posits Norwegian, Danish, and Swedish as Continental Scandinavian, and Faroese and Icelandic as Insular Scandinavian.[4] Because of the long political union between Norway
Norway
and Denmark, moderate and conservative Norwegian Bokmål
Bokmål
share most of the Danish vocabulary and grammar, and was nearly identical to written Danish until the spelling reform of 1907. (For this reason, Bokmål
Bokmål
and its unofficial, more conservative variant Riksmål are sometimes considered East Scandinavian, and Nynorsk
Nynorsk
West Scandinavian via the West-East division shown above.[21]) However, Danish has developed a greater distance between the spoken and written versions of the language, so the differences between spoken Norwegian and spoken Danish are somewhat more significant than the difference between their respective written forms. Written Danish is relatively close to the other Continental Scandinavian
Continental Scandinavian
languages, but the sound developments of spoken Danish include reduction and assimilation of consonants and vowels, as well as the prosodic feature called stød in Danish, developments which have not occurred in the other languages (though the stød corresponds to the different tones in Norwegian and Swedish, which are tonal languages). However, Scandinavians are widely expected to understand some of the other spoken Scandinavian languages. Many people[who?] may have some difficulty, particularly with elderly dialect speakers, but a lot of people[who?] can understand the languages, as they appear in radio and television, of the other Scandinavian countries. Sweden
Sweden
left the Kalmar Union
Kalmar Union
in 1523 due to conflicts with Denmark, leaving two Scandinavian units: The union of Denmark–Norway
Denmark–Norway
(ruled from Copenhagen, Denmark) and Sweden
Sweden
(including present-day Finland). The two countries took different sides during several wars until 1814, when the Denmark- Norway
Norway
unit was disestablished, and made different international contacts. This led to different borrowings from foreign languages ( Sweden
Sweden
had a francophone period), for example the Old Swedish word vindöga ‘window’ was replaced by fönster (from Middle Low German), whereas native vindue was kept in Danish. Norwegians, who spoke (and still speak) the Norwegian dialects derived from Old Norse, would say vindauga or similar. The written language of Denmark- Norway
Norway
however, was based on the dialect of Copenhagen
Copenhagen
and thus had vindue. On the other hand, the word begynde ‘begin’ (now written begynne in Norwegian Bokmål) was borrowed into Danish and Norwegian, whereas native börja was kept in Swedish. Even though standard Swedish and Danish were moving apart, the dialects were not influenced that much. Thus Norwegian and Swedish remained similar in pronunciation, and words like børja were able to survive in some of the Norwegian dialects whereas vindöga survived in some of the Swedish dialects. Nynorsk
Nynorsk
incorporates much of these words, like byrja (cf. Swedish börja, Danish begynde), veke (cf. Sw vecka, Dan uge) and vatn (Sw vatten, Dan vand) whereas Bokmål
Bokmål
has retained the Danish forms (begynne, uke, vann). As a result, Nynorsk
Nynorsk
does not conform the above model,[clarification needed] since it shares a lot of features with Swedish. According to the Norwegian linguist Arne Torp, the Nynorsk
Nynorsk
project (which had as a goal to re-establish a written Norwegian language) would have been much harder to carry out if Norway had been in a union with Sweden
Sweden
instead of with Denmark, simply because the differences would have been smaller.[22] Mutual intelligibility[edit] See also: Germanic languages
Germanic languages
§ Vocabulary comparison The mutual intelligibility between the Continental Scandinavian languages is asymmetrical. Various studies have shown Norwegian speakers to be the best in Scandinavia
Scandinavia
at understanding other languages within the language group.[23][24] According to a study undertaken during 2002–2005 and funded by the Nordic Cultural Fund, Swedish speakers in Stockholm
Stockholm
and Danish speakers in Copenhagen
Copenhagen
have the greatest difficulty in understanding other Nordic languages.[20] The study, which focused mainly on native speakers under the age of 25, showed that the lowest ability to comprehend another language is demonstrated by youth in Stockholm
Stockholm
in regard to Danish, producing the lowest ability score in the survey. The greatest variation in results between participants within the same country was also demonstrated by the Swedish speakers in the study. Participants from Malmö, located in the southernmost Swedish province of Scania
Scania
(Skåne), demonstrated a better understanding of Danish than Swedish speakers to the north. Access to Danish television and radio, direct trains to Copenhagen over the Øresund Bridge
Øresund Bridge
and a larger number of cross-border commuters in the Øresund Region
Øresund Region
contribute to a better knowledge of spoken Danish and a better knowledge of the unique Danish words among the region's inhabitants. According to the study, youth in this region were able to understand the Danish language
Danish language
(slightly) better than the Norwegian language. But they still could not understand Danish as well as the Norwegians could, demonstrating once again the relative distance of Swedish from Danish. Youth in Copenhagen
Copenhagen
had a very poor command of Swedish, showing that the Øresund connection was mostly one-way. The results from the study of how well native youth in different Scandinavian cities did when tested on their knowledge of the other Continental Scandinavian
Continental Scandinavian
languages are summarized in table format,[23] reproduced below. The maximum score was 10.0:

City Comprehension of Danish Comprehension of Swedish Comprehension of Norwegian Average

Århus, Denmark N/A

3.74

4.68

4.21

Copenhagen, Denmark N/A

3.60

4.13

3.87

Malmö, Sweden

5.08

N/A

4.97

5.02

Stockholm, Sweden

3.46

N/A

5.56

4.51

Bergen, Norway

6.50

6.15

N/A

6.32

Oslo, Norway

6.57

7.12

N/A

6.85

Faroese speakers (of the Insular Scandinavian languages group) are even better than the Norwegians at comprehending two or more languages within the Continental Scandinavian
Continental Scandinavian
languages group, scoring high in both Danish (which they study at school) and Norwegian and having the highest score on a Scandinavian language other than their native language, as well as the highest average score. Icelandic speakers, in contrast, have a poor command of Norwegian and Swedish. They do somewhat better with Danish, as they are taught Danish in school. When speakers of Faroese and Icelandic were tested on how well they understood the three Continental Scandinavian
Continental Scandinavian
languages, the test results were as follows (maximum score 10.0):[23]

Area/ Country Comprehension of Danish Comprehension of Swedish Comprehension of Norwegian Average

Faroe Islands

8.28

5.75

7.00

7.01

Iceland

5.36

3.34

3.40

4.19

Vocabulary[edit] The North Germanic languages
Germanic languages
share many lexical, grammatical, phonological, and morphological similarities, to a more significant extent than the West Germanic languages
Germanic languages
do. These lexical, grammatical, and morphological similarities can be outlined in the table below.

Language Sentence

English It was a humid, grey summer day at the end of June.

Frisian It wie in stribbelige/fochtige, graue simmerdei oan de ein fan Juny.

Afrikaans Dit was 'n vogtige, grou somer dag aan die einde van Junie.

Dutch Het was een vochtige, grauwe zomerdag eind juni.

German Es war ein feuchter, grauer Sommertag Ende Juni.

Swedish Det var en fuktig, grå sommardag i slutet av juni.

Danish Det var en fugtig, grå sommerdag i slutningen af juni.

Norwegian (Bokmål) Det var en fuktig, grå sommerdag i slutten av juni.

Norwegian (Nynorsk) Det var ein fuktig, grå sumardag/sommardag i slutten/enden av juni.

Icelandic Það var rakur, grár sumardagur í lok júní.

Faroese Tað var ein rakur/fuktigur, gráur summardagur síðst í juni.

Language boundaries[edit] Given the aforementioned homogeneity, there exists some discussion on whether the continental group should be considered one or several languages.[25] The Scandinavian languages (in the narrow sense, i.e. the languages of Scandinavia) are often cited as proof of the aphorism "A language is a dialect with an army and navy". The differences in dialects within the countries of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark
Denmark
can often be greater than the differences across the borders, but the political independence of these countries leads continental Scandinavian to be classified into Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish in the popular mind as well as among most linguists. The generally agreed upon language border is, in other words, politically shaped. This is also because of the strong influence of the standard languages, particularly in Denmark
Denmark
and Sweden.[25] Even if the language policy of Norway
Norway
has been more tolerant of rural dialectal variation in formal language, the prestige dialect often referred to as "Eastern Urban Norwegian", spoken mainly in and around the Oslo
Oslo
region, is sometimes considered normative. The influence of a standard Norwegian is nevertheless less so than in Denmark
Denmark
and Sweden, since the prestige dialect in Norway has moved geographically several times over the past 200 years. The organised formation of Nynorsk
Nynorsk
out of western Norwegian dialects after Norway
Norway
became independent of Denmark
Denmark
in 1814 intensified the politico-linguistic divisions. The Nordic Council
Nordic Council
has on several occasions referred to the (Germanic) languages spoken in Scandinavia
Scandinavia
as the "Scandinavian language" (singular); for instance, the official newsletter of the Nordic Council is written in the "Scandinavian language".[26] The creation of one unified written language has been considered as highly unlikely, given the failure to agree upon a common standardized language in Norway. However, there is a slight chance of "some uniformization of spelling" between Norway, Sweden
Sweden
and Denmark.[27][28] Family tree[edit]

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All North Germanic languages
Germanic languages
are descended from Old Norse. Divisions between subfamilies of North Germanic
North Germanic
are rarely precisely defined: Most form continuous clines, with adjacent dialects being mutually intelligible and the most separated ones not.

Germanic languages
Germanic languages
division including West and East Scandinavian languages and dialects

Proto-Norse

West Scandinavian

Greenlandic Norse
Greenlandic Norse
(extinct) Icelandic Faroese Norn (extinct) Norwegian

Vestlandsk
Vestlandsk
(Western and Southern Norway)

Arendalsk dialect (no) ( Arendal
Arendal
region) (influenced by Danish pronunciation) Bergensk dialect (no) ( Midhordland
Midhordland
district) (heavily influenced by Danish and Low German) Sogn
Sogn
dialect ( Sogn
Sogn
district) (has some wide similarities with Old West Norse, Faroese and Icelandic) Jærsk dialect (no) ( Jæren
Jæren
district) (influenced by Danish pronunciation) Valle dialect (no) (Upper Setesdal
Setesdal
district) (one of the dialects with the best preservation of Old West Norse) other dialects

Nordnorsk (no) (Northern Norway)

various dialects

Østlandsk (no) (Eastern Norway)

Bohuslänska dialect (sv) ( Bohuslän
Bohuslän
province) (influenced by Swedish in retrospective) Toten dialect (no) ( Toten district) Valdris
Valdris
dialect ( Valdres
Valdres
district) Vikværsk dialect (Viken historical district) other dialects

Trøndersk (Trøndelag)

Härjedalska dialect (sv) (Härjedalen) Jamtlandic dialects
Jamtlandic dialects
( Jämtland
Jämtland
province) (disputed, but has a larger linguistic similarity with the Trøndersk dialect in Norway)

East Scandinavian

Danish

Insular Danish (Ømål) East Danish (Bornholmsk along with former East Danish dialects in Blekinge, Halland
Halland
and Skåne (Scanian dialect) as well as the southern parts of Småland, now generally considered South Swedish dialects) Jutlandic
Jutlandic
(or Jutish, in Jutland)

Northern Jutlandic

East Jutlandic West Jutlandic

Southern Jutlandic
Jutlandic
(in Southern Jutland
Southern Jutland
and Southern Schleswig)

Urban East Norwegian
Urban East Norwegian
(generally considered a Norwegian dialect)

Swedish

Sveamål (Svealand) Norrland dialects (Norrland, including Westrobothnian
Westrobothnian
and Kalix) Götamål (Götaland) Swedish dialects in Ostrobothnia
Swedish dialects in Ostrobothnia
( Finland
Finland
and Estonia)

Gutnish (Gotland)

other dialects

Dalecarlian (Dalarna), including Elfdalian
Elfdalian
(which is considered a separate language from Swedish, Älvdalen
Älvdalen
locality)[29]

Classification difficulties[edit] The Jamtlandic dialects
Jamtlandic dialects
share many characteristics with both Trøndersk and with Norrländska mål. Due to this ambiguous position, it is contested whether Jamtlandic belongs to the West Norse or the East Norse group.[30] Elfdalian
Elfdalian
( Älvdalen
Älvdalen
speech), generally considered a Sveamål dialect, today has an official orthography and is, because of a lack of mutual intelligibility with Swedish, considered as a separate language by many linguists. Traditionally regarded as a Swedish dialect,[31] but by several criteria closer to West Norse dialects,[29] Elfdalian
Elfdalian
is a separate language by the standard of mutual intelligibility.[32][33][34][35] Traveller Danish, Rodi, and Swedish Romani are varieties of Danish, Norwegian and Swedish with Romani vocabulary or Para-Romani known collectively as the Scandoromani language.[36] They are spoken by Norwegian and Swedish Travellers. The Scando-Romani varieties in Sweden
Sweden
and Norway
Norway
combine elements from the dialects of Western Sweden, Eastern Norway
Norway
(Østlandet) and Trøndersk. Written norms of Norwegian[edit] See also: Norwegian language
Norwegian language
conflict Norwegian has two official written norms, Bokmål
Bokmål
and Nynorsk. In addition, there are some unofficial norms. Riksmål is more conservative than Bokmål
Bokmål
(that is, closer to Danish) and is used to various extents by numerous people, especially in the cities and by the largest newspaper in Norway, Aftenposten. On the other hand, Høgnorsk (High Norwegian) is similar to Nynorsk
Nynorsk
and is used by a very small minority. See also[edit]

Comparison of Norwegian Bokmål
Bokmål
and Standard Danish Ingvaeonic languages Low Franconian languages Gender in Danish and Swedish High German languages Scanian dialect Svorsk East Germanic languages West Germanic
West Germanic
languages South Germanic languages

References[edit]

^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "North Germanic". Glottolog
Glottolog
3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.  ^ Gordon, Raymond G., Jr. (ed.), 2005. Language Family Trees Indo-European, Germanic, North. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Fifteenth edition. Dallas, Texas: SIL International ^ Scandinavian Dialect
Dialect
Syntax. Network for Scandinavian Dialect Syntax. Retrieved 11 November 2007. ^ a b c Torp, Arne (2004). Nordiske sprog i fortid og nutid. Sproglighed og sprogforskelle, sprogfamilier og sprogslægtskab. Moderne nordiske sprog. In Nordens sprog – med rødder og fødder. Nord 2004:010, ISBN 92-893-1041-3, Nordic Council
Nordic Council
of Ministers' Secretariat, Copenhagen
Copenhagen
2004. (In Danish). ^ a b c Holmberg, Anders and Christer Platzack (2005). "The Scandinavian languages". In The Comparative Syntax Handbook, eds Guglielmo Cinque and Richard S. Kayne. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. Excerpt at Durham University Archived 3 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine.. ^ Leinonen, Therese (2011), "Aggregate analysis of vowel pronunciation in Swedish dialects", Oslo
Oslo
Studies in Language 3 (2) Aggregate analysis of vowel pronunciation in Swedish dialects]", Oslo
Oslo
Studies in Language 3 (2); Dahl, Östen (2000), Språkets enhet och mångfald., Lund: Studentlitteratur, pp. 117–119; Lars-Erik Edlund "Språklig variation i tid och rum" in Dahl, Östen & Edlund, Lars-Erik, eds. (2010), Sveriges nationalatlas. Språken i Sverige.Stockholm: Kungl. Vitterhets historie och antikvitets akademien, p. 9 ^ Hawkins, John A. (1987). "Germanic languages". In Bernard Comrie. The World's Major Languages. Oxford University Press. pp. 68–76. ISBN 0-19-520521-9.  ^ But see Cercignani, Fausto, Indo-European ē in Germanic, in «Zeitschrift für vergleichende Sprachforschung», 86/1, 1972, pp. 104–110. ^ Kuhn, Hans (1955–56). "Zur Gliederung der germanischen Sprachen". Zeitschrift für deutsches Altertum und deutsche Literatur. 86: 1–47.  ^ Bandle, Oskar (ed.)(2005). The Nordic Languages: An International Handbook of the History of the North Germanic
North Germanic
Languages. Walter de Gruyter, 2005, ISBN 3-11-017149-X. ^ a b Lund, Jørn. Language Archived 15 August 2004 at the Wayback Machine.. Published online by Royal Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Version 1 – November 2003. Retrieved 13 November 2007. ^ Lindström, Fredrik; Lindström, Henrik (2012). Svitjods undergång och Sveriges födelse. Albert Bonniers Förlag. ISBN 978-91-0-013451-8. , p. 259 ^ Adams 1895, pp. 336–338. ^ Article Nordiska språk, section Historia, subsection Omkring 800–1100, in Nationalencyklopedin
Nationalencyklopedin
(1994). ^ Jónsson, Jóhannes Gísli and Thórhallur Eythórsson (2004). "Variation in subject case marking in Insular Scandinavian". Nordic Journal of Linguistics (2005), 28: 223–245 Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 9 November 2007. ^ Heine, Bernd and Tania Kuteva (2006). The Changing Languages of Europe. Oxford University Press, 2006, ISBN 0-19-929734-7. ^ The Nordic Council's/ Nordic Council
Nordic Council
of Ministers' political magazine Analys Norden offers three versions: a section labeled "Íslenska" (Icelandic), a section labeled "Skandinavisk" (in either Danish, Norwegian or Swedish), and a section labeled "Suomi" (Finnish). ^ Sammallahti, Pekka, 1990. "The Sámi Language: Past and Present". In Arctic Languages: An Awakening. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Paris. ISBN 92-3-102661-5, p. 440: "the arrival of a Uralic population and language in Samiland [...] means that there has been a period of at least 5000 years of uninterrupted linguistic and cultural development in Samiland. [...] It is also possible, however, that the earlier inhabitants of the area also spoke a Uralic language: we do not know of any linguistic groups in the area other than the Uralic and Indo-Europeans (represented by the present Scandinavian languages)." ^ Inez Svonni Fjällström (2006). "A language with deep roots" Archived 5 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine..Sápmi: Language history, 14 November 2006. Samiskt Informationscentrum Sametinget: "The Scandinavian languages are Northern Germanic languages. [...] Sami belongs to the Finno-Ugric language family. Finnish, Estonian, Livonian and Hungarian belong to the same language family and are consequently related to each other." ^ a b "Urban misunderstandings". In Norden this week – Monday 01.17.2005.The Nordic Council
Nordic Council
and the Nordic Council
Nordic Council
of Ministers. Retrieved 13 November 2007. ^ Victor Ginsburgh, Shlomo Weber (2011). How many languages do we need?: the economics of linguistic diversity, Princeton University Press. p.42. ^ http://www.uniforum.uio.no/nyheter/2005/03/nynorsk-noe-for-svensker.html ^ a b c Delsing, Lars-Olof and Katarina Lundin Åkesson (2005). Håller språket ihop Norden? En forskningsrapport om ungdomars förståelse av danska, svenska och norska. Available in pdf format. Numbers are from Figure 4:11. "Grannspråksförståelse bland infödda skandinaver fördelade på ort", p.65 and Figure 4:6. "Sammanlagt resultat på grannspråksundersökningen fördelat på område", p.58. ^ Maurud, Ø (1976). Nabospråksforståelse i Skandinavia. En undersøkelse om gjensidig forståelse av tale- og skriftspråk i Danmark, Norge og Sverige. Nordisk utredningsserie 13. Nordiska rådet, Stockholm. ^ a b Nordens språk – med rötter och fötter ^ Hello Norden newsletter's language of publication is described as skandinaviska (in Swedish) ^ The Scandinavian Languages: Their Histories and Relationships ^ Finlandssvensk som hovedspråk (in Norwegian bokmål) ^ a b Kroonen, Guus. "On the origins of the Elfdalian
Elfdalian
nasal vowels from the perspective of diachronic dialectology and Germanic etymology" (PDF). Department of Nordic Studies and Linguistics. University of Copenhagen. Retrieved 27 January 2016. In many aspects, Elfdalian, takes up a middle position between East and West Nordic. However, it shares some innovations with West Nordic, but none with East Nordic. This invalidates the claim that Elfdalian
Elfdalian
split off from Old Swedish.  ^ Dalen, Arnold (2005). Jemtsk og trøndersk – to nære slektningar Archived 18 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine.. Språkrådet, Norway. (In Norwegian). Retrieved 13 November 2007. ^ Ekberg, Lena (2010). "The National Minority Languages in Sweden". In Gerhard Stickel. National, Regional and Minority Languages in Europe: Contributions to the Annual Conference 2009 of Efnil in Dublin. Peter Lang. pp. 87–92. ISBN 9783631603659. Retrieved 6 March 2013.  ^ Dahl, Östen; Dahlberg, Ingrid; Delsing, Lars-Olof; Halvarsson, Herbert; Larsson, Gösta; Nyström, Gunnar; Olsson, Rut; Sapir, Yair; Steensland, Lars; Williams, Henrik (8 February 2007). "Älvdalskan är ett språk – inte en svensk dialekt" [ Elfdalian
Elfdalian
is a language – not a Swedish dialect]. Aftonbladet (in Swedish). Stockholm. Retrieved 7 March 2013.  ^ Dahl, Östen (December 2008). "Älvdalska – eget språk eller värsting bland dialekter?" [ Elfdalian
Elfdalian
– its own language or an outstanding dialect?]. Språktidningen (in Swedish). Retrieved 16 May 2013.  ^ Zach, Kristine (2013). "Das Älvdalische — Sprache oder Dialekt? (Diplomarbeit)" [ Elfdalian
Elfdalian
— Language or dialect? (Masters thesis)] (PDF) (in German). University of Vienna.  ^ Sapir, Yair (2004). Elfdalian, the Vernacular of Övdaln. Conference paper, 18–19 juni 2004. Available in pdf format at Uppsala University online archive Archived 22 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.. ^ LLOW – Traveller Danish

References[edit]

Adams, Charles Kendall (1895). Johnson's Universal Cyclopedia: A New Edition. D. Appleton, A. J. Johnson.  Jervelund, Anita (2007), Sådan Staver Vi . Kristiansen, Tore m.fl. (1996), Dansk Sproglære . Lucazin, M (2010), Utkast till ortografi över skånska språket med morfologi och ordlista. Första. revisionen (PDF), ISBN 978-91-977265-2-8  Outlined Scanian orthography including morphology and word index. First revision. Maurer, Friedrich (1942), Nordgermanen und Alemannen: Studien zur germanischen und frühdeutschen Sprachgeschichte, Stammes- und Volkskunde, Strasbourg: Hünenburg. Rowe, Charley. The problematic Holtzmann's Law in Germanic. (Indogermanische Forschungen Bd. 108, 2003). Iben Stampe Sletten red., Nordens sprog – med rødder og fødder, 2005, ISBN 92-893-1041-3, available online, also available in the other Scandinavian languages.

External links[edit]

Wikisource
Wikisource
has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Scandinavian Languages.

Middle Low German
Low German
influence on the Scandinavian languages Scandinavian-only words Scandinavian loans in Old and Middle English, and their legacy in the dialects of England
England
and modern standard English Most similar languages to Danish

v t e

Germanic languages
Germanic languages
and dialects

West Germanic

Anglo- Frisian

Anglic

English

dialects Yola Fingallian

Scots

Frisian

East Frisian

Saterland Frisian Wangerooge Frisian Wursten Frisian

North Frisian

Söl'ring Fering Öömrang Heligolandic Mooring Halligen Frisian Strand Frisian Eiderstedt Frisian

West Frisian

Clay Frisian Wood Frisian

Low German

East Low German

Mecklenburg-Western Pomeranian

Mecklenburgish West Pomeranian

Brandenburgisch East Pomeranian-West Prussian

Western East Pomeranian Eastern East Pomeranian Bublitzisch Pommerellisch

Central Pomeranian

West Central Pomeranian

Low Prussian

Mennonite Low German

West Low German

Dutch Low Saxon

Stellingwarfs Tweants Gronings Drèents Gelders-Overijssels

Achterhooks Sallaans Urkers

Veluws

Northern Low Saxon

East Frisian Low Saxon Schleswigsch Holsteinisch Hamburgisch Ollnborger North Hanoveranian Dithmarsch Emsländisch

Westphalian Eastphalian

Low Franconian

Standard variants

Dutch Afrikaans

West Low Franconian

Hollandic West Flemish

French Flemish

Zeelandic East Flemish Brabantian Surinamese Dutch Jersey Dutch Mohawk Dutch Stadsfries Bildts Yiddish
Yiddish
Dutch

East Low Franconian

Meuse-Rhenish

Limburgish

Southeast Limburgish

South Guelderish

Transitional

Low Dietsch

High German

 

German

Namibian German Namibian Black German Brazilian German Unserdeutsch Barossa German Belgranodeutsch Parana Volga German

Yiddish

Eastern Western Litvish Poylish Ukrainish Galitzish Scots Yiddish Alsatian Yiddish Klezmer-loshn Ganovim Balagole Katsoves Lachoudisch

Yenish Rotwelsch

Lotegorisch

Central German

West Central German

Central Franconian

Ripuarian

Colognian

Moselle Franconian

Luxembourgish Transylvanian Saxon Hunsrückisch

Rhine Franconian

Lorraine Franconian Palatine

Volga German Pennsylvania German

Hessian

Amana

East Central German

Thuringian Upper Saxon Lusatian-Neumarkish

Berlinerisch

Silesian High Prussian Wymysorys Pragerisch

High Franconian

South Franconian East Franconian

Main Franconian Vogtlandian

Upper German

Alemannic

Low Alemannic

Alsatian Coloniero

High Alemannic

Swiss German

Highest Alemannic

Walser German

Swabian

Bavarian

Northern Bavarian Central Bavarian

Viennese German

Southern Bavarian

South Tyrolean Cimbrian Mòcheno Hutterite German

Langobardic

Standard German

German Standard German Austrian Standard German Swiss Standard German

North Germanic

West Scandinavian

Norwegian

Bokmål

Bergensk Kebabnorsk Sognamål Trøndersk Valdris Vestlandsk Vikværsk

Nynorsk

Elfdalian Insular Scandinavian

Faroese Icelandic Gronlandsk Norn

East Scandinavian

Swedish

Åland Estonian Finlandic Gotlandic Jamtlandic Kalix Kiruna Luleå Norrland Ostrobothnian Småländska South Swedish

Scanian

Stockholm Rinkeby Uppländska Västgötska Westrobothnian

Danish

Bornholmsk Gøtudanskt Insular Danish Jutlandic South Jutlandic Perkerdansk

Dalecarlian

East Germanic

Gothic

Crimean Gothic

Burgundian Vandalic

Italics indicate extinct languages Bold indicates languages with more than 3 million speakers Languages between parentheses are varieties of the language on their left.

v t e

Philology of Germanic languages

Language subgroups

North East West — Elbe Weser-Rhine North Sea

Northwest Gotho-Nordic South

Reconstructed

Proto-Germanic Proto-Germanic grammar Germanic parent language

Historical languages

North

Proto-Norse Old Norse Old Swedish Old Gutnish Norn Greenlandic Norse Old Norwegian Middle Norwegian

East

Gothic Crimean Gothic Vandalic Burgundian

West

Old Saxon Middle Low German Old High German Middle High German Frankish Old Dutch Middle Dutch Old Frisian Middle Frisian Old English Middle English Early Scots Middle Scots Lombardic

Modern languages

Afrikaans Alemannic Cimbrian Danish Dutch English Faroese German Icelandic Limburgish Low German Mennonite Low German Luxembourgish North Frisian Norwegian Saterland Frisian Scots Swedish West Frisian Yiddish

Diachronic features

Grimm's law Verner's law Holtzmann's law Sievers' law Kluge's law Germanic substrate hypothesis West Germanic
West Germanic
gemination High German consonant shift Germanic a-mutation Germanic umlaut Germanic spirant law Ingvaeonic nasal spirant law Great Vowel Shift

Synchronic features

Germanic verb Germanic strong verb Germanic weak verb Preterite-present verb Grammatischer Wechsel Indo-European ablaut

Language histories

English (phonology) Scots (phonology) German Dutch Danish Icelandic Swedish

Authority control

LCCN: sh85117963 GND: 4120035-4 SUDOC: 027399737 BNF:

.