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Author Topic: UiO linguist makes sensational claim - English is a Scandinavian language  (Read 4176 times)

Arizona Hot

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tomos

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Re: UiO linguist makes sensational claim - English is a Scandinavian language
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2012, 04:10:40 AM »
I'm no linguist, but I do manage conversational German. As they say, English and German sentence structure are very different.
i.e. it makes sense to me. German and English have a *lot* of words in common - but maybe these are also common words between 'West-Germanic' and Scandinavian languages (which are Germanic as well AFAIK).

German grammer is great fun for a native English speaker (probably for Scandinavians too).
Mark Twain wrote an entertaining text about the German language (I've only read excerpts from it).
Here's a quote:
Quote
The Germans  have  another  kind  of parenthesis,  which  they make  by
splitting  a  verb in two  and putting  half of it at the  beginning  of  an
exciting chapter and the OTHER HALF at  the end  of it. Can any one conceive
of  anything more confusing than that? These  things  are  called "separable
verbs." The German grammar is blistered all over with  separable verbs;  and
the  wider the  two portions of one of them are spread apart, the better the
author  of the crime  is pleased  with his  performance.  A favorite  one is
REISTE AB -- which means departed. Here is an example which  I culled from a
novel and reduced to English:
     "The trunks  being  now  ready,  he DE-  after kissing  his mother  and
sisters,  and once  more  pressing to his  bosom his  adored Gretchen,  who,
dressed in simple white muslin, with a single tuberose in the ample folds of
her rich brown hair, had tottered feebly  down  the stairs, still  pale from
the terror and excitement  of the past evening,  but longing to lay her poor
aching head yet once again upon the breast of him whom she loved more dearly
than life itself, PARTED."

http://lib.ru/INPROZ...MARKTWAIN/german.txt
or, probably easier to read here:
http://www.crossmyt....nghebr/awfgrmlg.html
Tom

Dormouse

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Re: UiO linguist makes sensational claim - English is a Scandinavian language
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2012, 04:16:48 PM »
The whole concept seems pretty daft to me.

Quote
"...Modern English is a direct descendant of the language of Scandinavians who settled in the British Isles in the course of many centuries, before the French-speaking Normans conquered the country in 1066," says Faarlund.  "...The Danelaw was under the control of Scandinavian chiefs for half a century."

The Normans were Scandinavians who conquered Normandy and then spoke French. They ruled England for centuries, always speaking French (and brought a lot of French speaking settlers with them).

English was formed out of many languages including the North German (Scandinavian), West German (Anglo-Saxon) and French. There are many ways of constructing sentences in English, and this is one of the main differences with other languages such as German where the rules tend to be more rigid. All the quoted examples could be phrased differently, and the typical German word order would be understood, even if might not be the most common construction in English. Even now, dialects in different parts of England will use different ways of saying the same thing.

tomos

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Re: UiO linguist makes sensational claim - English is a Scandinavian language
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2012, 04:50:00 PM »
^ I get what you're saying, but I suspect that's simply a lack of depth/detail in the article -
I cant comment about the Skandinavian sentence structure as I'm not familiar with it - but as a native English speaker, I can say that the German sentence structure is fundamentally different.
Tom

TaoPhoenix

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Re: UiO linguist makes sensational claim - English is a Scandinavian language
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2012, 05:16:16 PM »
Roughly what I am getting from all this is that the profs are valuing structure over words. What if it was Scandinavian structure with Germanic & French words?

tomos

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Re: UiO linguist makes sensational claim - English is a Scandinavian language
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2012, 06:43:39 PM »
What if it was Scandinavian structure with Germanic & French words?

English words are mainly of 'West-Germanic', Scandinavian ('North-Germanic'?), and French origin.
I'm not sure of proportions.
(I couldnt answer your question either way.)

PS I've no vested interest in the article. I've read a fair bit about the evolution of the English language but not really -whats-the-word- 'scholarly' stuff :-[
There's influence from all the mentioned countries - whether it gets called Germanic or North Germanic doesnt make any difference to me one way or the other!
Tom

TaoPhoenix

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Re: UiO linguist makes sensational claim - English is a Scandinavian language
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2012, 07:56:26 PM »
I dunno, it all feels "late" to me. Science, I get, each discovery builds on one ten years ao. English has basically been stable since like 1650, so *now* someone decides to compare Scandinavian structure to English? Really?!

barney

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Re: UiO linguist makes sensational claim - English is a Scandinavian language
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2012, 08:14:14 PM »
Personally, I like Yoda's sentence structure  :P.
Since English is a living language, its vocabulary and sentence structure changes over time.  (Ever looked at Elizabethan English?  Or Chaucer's writings?)  What was taught as formal English when I was in pre-through-high school would be laughable today - half a century later - and the authorized structure has changed since then, as well.  Methinks the report is more a snapshot than a profile.

tomos

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Re: UiO linguist makes sensational claim - English is a Scandinavian language
« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2012, 08:16:47 PM »
I dunno, it all feels "late" to me. Science, I get, each discovery builds on one ten years ao. English has basically been stable since like 1650, so *now* someone decides to compare Scandinavian structure to English? Really?!

lol, I know what you mean.
The title is very tabloidy too ;)

If what they argue is the case, it must be common knowledge. But probably not considered reason enough to change the categorisation. The academic world OTOH, can be very conservative and attached to their theories, and in this case, their categorisations. Still seems like a bunch of semantics to me.
Tom

Arizona Hot

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Re: UiO linguist makes sensational claim - English is a Scandinavian language
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2012, 10:11:13 AM »
What I got out of it was that English is a lot more Scandinavian than we thought.

Curt

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Re: UiO linguist makes sensational claim - English is a Scandinavian language
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2012, 11:40:43 AM »
What if it was Scandinavian structure with Germanic & French words?

English words are mainly of 'West-Germanic', Scandinavian ('North-Germanic'?), and French origin.
I'm not sure of proportions.
(I couldnt answer your question either way.)

PS I've no vested interest in the article. I've read a fair bit about the evolution of the English language but not really -whats-the-word- 'scholarly' stuff :-[
There's influence from all the mentioned countries - whether it gets called Germanic or North Germanic doesnt make any difference to me one way or the other!

Danish - the oldest Scandinavian language still in existence - contains a lot of German and French words from various periods in time. In the 17'th century it was modern to speak French, so a lot of French words were adopted (including my own family name), but in the 18'th century the same thing happened with German as supplier.

However, it hasn't changed the basics; Danish and English are VERY similar constructed - I don't have to think very much in order to write this post, I almost translate directly from Danish to English. If I was to translate into German, I would first have to think hard, because the basic construction is quite different. I remember from my childhood, it was said that when fishermen from he most western part of Denmark went on land in England, they could quite easily understand what was said. The Danish language includes several thousand English words, and the English a few thousand Danish words.

Historically, Denmark and England have been closely connected from approx year 850 when a man came from "England-to-be". His son was the actual founder of the Kingdom of Denmark and Norway: Harold Bluetooth.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2012, 12:06:41 PM by Curt »

tomos

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Re: UiO linguist makes sensational claim - English is a Scandinavian language
« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2012, 12:24:34 PM »
 :up: nice to hear from the source Curt :)
Tom

Curt

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Re: UiO linguist makes sensational claim - English is a Scandinavian language
« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2012, 05:39:10 PM »
-rather than from the horse -:)

Shades

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Re: UiO linguist makes sensational claim - English is a Scandinavian language
« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2012, 05:05:09 AM »
Was it not the trading between North European countries that ultimately led to a language form and structure understood by all? When I (native Dutch) keep listening/reading to the nordic languages, I do get what has been said without translation.

People always told me that this became possible, because of the active trading between North-Europeans.

Curt

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Re: UiO linguist makes sensational claim - English is a Scandinavian language
« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2012, 01:07:22 PM »
I feel the original linked story is telling too little about actual history: Gorm, the English man who came to Denmark (and who's son became king of all of Denmark and Norway), was accepted as king of a small part of Denmark. Important detail: He did not fight his way to become a ruler of foreign territory, but was accepted as the new king - meaning, he must have been speaking a language that was easy for the Danes to understand; you don't elect a leader you don't know what is saying. So, already 1200 years ago English and Danish were quite similar. I think the linked post should have reflected this a lot more.

-------
Regarding Shades words:
I cannot understand the spoken Dutch, but we (Danes and Netherlanders) do have several words in common. And I too have noticed that it is quite possible for me to read Dutch - but only because I also know the German language.