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Thread: The Making of the Scandinavian Languages

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    Senior Member Catterick's Avatar
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    The Making of the Scandinavian Languages

    The origins of Scandinavian languages.

    The Scandinavian languages of Danish, Swedish and Norwegian are mutually intelligible, and have been so throughout their existence. In the terminology of Heinz Kloss they are not recognized as separate languages because of linguistic distance (Abstand), but because they are Ausbau languages that function as offcial and administrative languages of the respective national states (Kloss 1978: 207). This shows the truth in the quip popularized by Max Weinrich that a language is a dialect with an army and a navy. However, the Scandinavian languages have diverged from a single parent language, and in the oldest medieval sources no distinction is made between them. This is an attempt to trace their development towards recognition as separate languages.

    This process rests on metalinguistic ideas rather than linguistic structure, ideas that are intertwined with conceptions of national identities and oppostions. Winge (2006: 47) claims that language in the pre-national world was‘primarily a means of communication. […] Only with the development of national identity did language become part of national heritage, inspiring the need to assert its uniqueness’. This claim will be investigated through a discussion of available metalinguistic information in medieval and early modern sources, and it seems clear that metalinguistic ideas were indeed closely linked to the emergence of modern states. It should be mentioned at the outset that my point of view is that of a Norwegian, and whereas I know the primary sources for Norwegian, I depend on secondary sources for Swedish and Danish. Nonetheless, this question can only be considered in a pan-Scandinavian context, by bringing together results from different national research traditions.
    https://www.academia.edu/30342415/Th...vian_Languages

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    What I have hear about this Norse langauages they are dialect side by side the Low German dialects (Nederlandisc, Plattdüütsch) are different languages to compare the Standard German. The Austro-Bavarian dialect are too. I cannot understand the Low German nor the Austro-Bavarian, only some word are known, because the language of the Germans of Hungary is descended from the Austro-Bavarian too, but with the Swabian, Hessian, Saxon impacts it was another dialect. Nowadays if a German here speaks German (because many of us have only the identity without the language), he speaks the Standard German.

    Once in Budapest the Sziget Festival by a concert I heard German-like speech, but I cannot understand, firstly I believed that it is some German dialect, but somebody told me that this is Scandinavian (I do not remember which was).

    Side by side in Hungary the consensus is that one Hungarian language exists with dialects, however 15 years ago in a montainous area near 20 km to capitol Budapest I heard an old lady who spoke so strong dialect that I understood just words. Moreover the Transylvanian village Hungarian is so hard to understand, well, the language of the younger generationts assimilates to the standard Budapest Hungarian or to the Romanian.

    "Remember that, even when those who move you be kings or men of power, your soul is in your keeping alone. When you stand before God, you cannot say, "But I was told by others to do thus,"or that virtue "was not convenient at the time." This will not suffice."
    /King Baldwin IV in the Kingdom of Heaven/

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