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Thread: Scandinavia vs. Norden and the Baltic Region/The Difference Between Scandinavian, Nordic and Baltic

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    Scandinavia vs. Norden and the Baltic Region/The Difference Between Scandinavian, Nordic and Baltic

    Is there a difference? And does it make any difference? To a Scandinavian, yes. To almost anyone else, no.

    THE DESIGNATION SCANDINAVIA IS AN AMBIVALENT ONE. It is often taken to mean all of northern Europe, from the North Atlantic islands in the west to the Russian border in the east and the German border in the south. This is often the case in English-language and continental-European usage. In the area itself, however, Scandinavia is usually taken to mean only Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Sometimes the word is used geographically about the Scandinavian peninsula, and thus encompasses only Norway and Sweden. Usually, however, the term is intended to include Denmark as well.

    In this usage, Scandinavia contrasts with Norden, which is an established and institutionalized designation for the five independent countries Finland (including the self-governing territory of Åland), Sweden, Denmark (including the self-governing territories of the Faroe islands and Greenland), Norway and Iceland. Norden is the (mainland) Scandinavian term, while it is Nordurlönd in Icelandic and Pohjoismaat in Finnish, both these terms meaning "northern countries." The adjective for Norden is nordisk (Nordic in English), which is contrasted to skandinavisk (Scandinavian).

    In linguistic connections, nordisk is often used to mean North Germanic (Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Faroese and Icelandic), while skandinavisk only includes the mutually intelligible languages Norwegian, Swedish and Danish. One may also include Finnish, Sámi or even Greenlandic in the concept nordiske språk (Nordic languages), but then the concept is based on a territorial delimitation and not a genetic one.

    I shall give a short historical outlook on the use of the terms Norden and Scandinavia, and then draw some conclusions on present-day usage.

    NORDEN IS, OF COURSE, DERIVED FROM NORD (NORTH). It seems to have been taken from-or at least inspired by-German, where the direction adverbs nord, etc. take the suffix -en when they are nominalized and used in a general sense of areas lying in the indicated direction. "In the north," therefore, is im Norden in High German and in het noorden in Dutch. In Old Scandinavian, there is an adverb, nordan, meaning "from the north" (and correspondingly, in the other direction adverbs, the suffix -an thus had an ablative function). But fyrir nordan meant "in the north." Possibly, the word Norden represents a contamination between the old (fyrir) nordan and the German im Norden.

    Whatever the case, the word Norden was taken into use in Danish and Swedish, and later in Norwegian, with the general meaning "areas to the north," much the same way as in German and Dutch. Only gradually, a fixation of these areas covered by the word developed, to the Scandinavian peninsula and adjacent areas (Denmark, Finland) and culturally related areas in the North Atlantic (Iceland and the Faroe islands-both belonging to Denmark until well into the 20th century, the Faroes still under Danish sovereignty). The development of the pan-Nordic ideology, based on a feeling of a common identity between these peoples in contrast to the outside world, contributed to this fixation. In fact, Norden more and more grew into a proper noun, designating a clearly delimitated area. During the 20th century, this development received a forceful boost through the institutionalization of Nordic cooperation, with organizations like the Nordic Council, the Nordic Council of Ministers, Nordic language cooperation, lots of Nordic networks both in the governmental and the private areas, the introduction of the passport-free Nordic zone, etc.

    It is a fact that the societies in question had a very parallel development, and therefore they are still often viewed as a unity by the world at large. The different choices of international cooperation frameworks (in other words, the different relations to NATO and, in particular, the European Union) have not as yet led to a major split between the countries, although some have feared the threat of such a split.

    It is interesting to look at the parallel words (in their Norwegian Bokmål forms) Syden (the south), Vesten (the west) and Østen (the east). These have also been fixed, but to a lesser degree. Syden is used about an area roughly corresponding to Mediterranean Europe, normally in a holiday context where it is contrasted against the winterly north. Vesten was originally the North American "Wild West," but later-on a global scale-it took on the meaning "the West," in contrast to the Communist "east" and more recently to the Muslim world and the rest of Asia. Østen means "the Orient," often associated with a romantic picture of the area. Traditionally, then, these -en words stand for vaguely delimited areas, or rather, they represent ideas and associations connected to certain parts of the world. This also applies to Norden, which was a typical romantic concept in the 19th century. Consider its use in the Swedish national anthem: Du gamla, du fria, du fjällhöga nord (You ancient, you free, you mountain-high North) ending with: Ack, jag vill leva, jag vill dö i Norden! (Oh, I want to live, I want to die in Norden!).

    The modern use of Norden as a precise designation of a group of five countries is from this viewpoint a break with the past, although the word represents not only a geographic area, but also a particular ideology (focusing on pan-Nordic, not least spiritual, unity).

    The adjective nordisk (Nordic) is more recent than Norden. It also had a more general meaning originally, "northern European" in contrast to the more southern peoples. One could talk about a "Nordic race," in accordance with a racist ideology popular before the Nazi regime in Germany took it into use in this meaning and thus made this usage impossible for non-Nazis. Still, one can talk about being a nordisk type or having a nordisk utsjånad (Nordic appearance or Nordic look), i.e., a fair complexion, blond or fair hair and blue eyes.

    In other contexts, however, the word is strictly delimited to the concrete territorial meaning, pertaining to the five countries of Norden. Linguistically, nordisk is mostly used synonymically with "North Germanic," which is a language-genetic term covering Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Faroese and Icelandic (and extinct languages such as Norn and Old Norse). It may also, however, have an areal meaning which transcends the genetic boundaries between different language families, thus including also the non-Germanic languages Finnish, Sámi and partly Greenlandic.

    THE NAME FORM SCANDINAVIA IS LATIN, and it seems to date from classical Roman times. Its designation was rather vague, as is to be expected, considering the very limited knowledge and thus the hazy imagination the Romans had about these northern areas far beyond the borders of the prevailing civilization at the time. It is also found in shorter forms, such as Scandza, which was used by the Gothic historian Jordanes in the sixth century to designate the northern homeland of the Goths. The origin of the name appears to be Germanic, in fact Proto-Scandinavian. We can reconstruct the form skadinaujo, which in Latin would give "Scandinavia," into which word form an extra "n" was inserted as a phonetic device before the "d." The meaning of skadinaujo is not altogether clear, but it is a usual Germanic compound with the last constituent as the nucleus. Aujo seems to have meant "low land bordering on water" or "land surrounded by water; island." This Proto-Scandinavian word later developed into Old Norse ey (modern Norwegian øy, Swedish ö, Danish ø). The dual meaning lived on in Old Norse, but in the modern language, "island" is the only meaning. (In fact, the first syllable of the English "island" is the same word, and also the Dutch aland and the Old Norse eyland.) As to the first constituent, skadin-is often taken to mean "danger" or "damage" (cf. English scathe, and modern Scandinavian shade "damage")-the idea being that the coastal area concerned was risky or dangerous for passing ships. An alternative hypothesis is to associate the word with the Old Norse mythological (goddess) name Skadi.

    The name had been associated with the southern Swedish region Skane (Scania). In fact, this name form would be a completely regular phonetic development of skadinaujo. The background would then be that this name in its Proto-Scandinavian form, actually designating only the present Skane, by continental Germanic peoples-and ultimately by the Romans-would be taken to designate the whole northern area, of which one had, as indicated above, a very diffuse image. Once accepted and used in this understanding-replacing or rivaling the earlier Thule-it was preserved in writing and conventionalized, whereupon it lived on until taken into use in the modern vernaculars a couple of centuries ago.

    The modern use of Scandinavia in the area itself seems to have been consolidated during the 19th century, and the dominant meaning was Norway, Sweden and Denmark. In the standard Norwegian dictionaries (Bokmålsordboka and Nynorskordboka, both appearing in 1986 and later revised) we find under skandinavisk both "the Scandinavian countries," defined as "Norway, Sweden and Denmark," and "the Scandinavian Peninsula," defined as "Norway and Sweden." Secondarily, Finland might be included. In English, where the word Norden never has taken root, Scandinavia has become a general term for Northern Europe, i.e., the five countries concerned-as in the BBC English Dictionary (1992): "Scandinavia is the region in northern Europe that contains the countries of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, and the Faroe Islands." In the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary (1989), however, only Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Iceland are mentioned, probably based on linguistic criteria.

    In the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (1969), however, they have acknowledged the multiplicity of meanings of the word and given four different definitions: 1. the Scandinavian Peninsula (made up of Norway and Sweden); 2. the northwestern European countries of Norway, Sweden and Denmark; 3. these countries and Iceland considered as a linguistic and cultural unit; and 4. broadly, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Finland and the Faeroe Islands.

    This is the most insightful treatment I have seen of the word in any dictionary. It would seem that the usage in English has passed from senses 1 and 2 to 4 in modern times, while meaning 2 is still the most common in Scandinavia itself.

    As a linguistic term, the tendency internationally is to use Scandinavian in the meaning "North Germanic." In Scandinavia itself, it normally denotes the three closely related and mutually intelligible or semi-intelligible languages Norwegian, Swedish and Danish. But internationally, thus, Icelandic and Faroese are also included, so that the word becomes synonymous with the Scandinavian nordisk. In this usage, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish are often singled out under the term Mainland Scandinavian. Some modern linguists within Scandinavia have taken up this practice and use fastlastlandsskandinavisk, a direct translation of the English term, where we traditionally use simply skandinavisk.

    However, this term has other connotations, too. Skandinavisk is often used about mixed forms of Danish, Norwegian and Swedish employed in inter-Nordic communication. In Iceland, this term is used for their own speech to Scandinavians. This is often a mixed variety, although most often based on Danish, which most Icelanders have learned at school. Danish on an Icelandic (and Faroese) phonetic substratum, in fact, may sound quite Norwegian-like to the ears of Scandinavians, and more intelligible to Norwegians and Swedes than Danish proper in many cases. When this speech by Icelanders is called skandinaviska, this usage implies that Icelandic is not Scandinavian.

    TO CONCLUDE, NORDEN AND NORDIC are quite precise terms, but rare and perhaps not very suitable in English. Scandinavia(n) is definitely ambiguous, and the best advice is to be aware of this and make it clear how one uses the term. In Scandinavia itself, we will probably continue to distinguish between the broad concept Norden-nordisk and the more narrow Skandinavia-skandinavisk. But it is unlikely that such a usage will become general in English. Therefore, the best advice might be to use Scandinavia(n) with the broadest meaning generally, but to distinguish between Scandinavian and Nordic in more specialist contexts where precision is necessary.

    Writer Lars S. Vikør is Professor of Scandinavian Linguistics at the University of Oslo, Norway, and editor-in-chief of Norsk Ordbok (Norwegian Dictionary), a scientific dictionary on Nynorsk and the Norwegian dialects.





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    Sv: Scandinavia vs. Norden

    Skanderna is a mountain chain in Sweden and Norway. Skandinavien denotes Sweden, Norway And Denmark. The skandinaviska peninsula denotes Sweden and Norway.

    Finland is not a part of Skandinavien, but is sometimes and sometimes not counted as a part of Norden, depending on definitions.

    As far as I know Finns are not germanic. They are finn-ugrian.

    Denmark probably counts as skandinavisk since Danes are ethnically and racially similar to Swedes and Norse.

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    Re: Scandinavia vs. Norden

    Geographically Scandinavia is Sweden and Norway. Ethnically Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland. This is how I've always seen it.

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    Sv: Scandinavia vs. Norden

    Scandinavia is Norway, Sweden and Denmark. The term "Norden" also includes Iceland and Finland. Icelanders are "more Scandinavian", so to say, feel more Scandinavian, but if you go by the definition of the term Scandinavia, it's - as mentioned above, only Norway, Sweden and Denmark.

    I wonder why you don't count Denmark in, SubGnostic.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blutwölfin View Post
    I wonder why you don't count Denmark in
    Because it's not located on the Scandinavian peninsula.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gere View Post
    Finland is not a part of Skandinavien, but is sometimes and sometimes not counted as a part of Norden, depending on definitions.
    It's always considered a part of Norden (Nordic countries) by everybody, and it's usually considered a part of Scandinavia by everybody living outside the Nordic countries.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gere View Post
    As far as I know Finns are not germanic.
    The Finnish language is obviously not a Germanic language. This is probably the billionth time this self-evident fact has been mentioned on this forum.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gere View Post
    They are finn-ugrian.
    And the Swedes are Indo-European. The Swedes are as close to the Iranians as the Finns are to the Hungarians.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gere View Post
    Denmark probably counts as skandinavisk since Danes are ethnically and racially similar to Swedes and Norse.
    The Finns are ethnically and racially similar to Swedes, Norwegians and Danes. There is no more difference between the Swedes and the Finns than between the Swedes and the Norwegians or between the Swedes and the Danes.
    Neither assimilation nor integration will solve the problems. The only thing that would work from my point of view would be separation. And this separation should be done on a global level, not on a communal level. The western countries here, the islamic countries there. And a very tall border between the two worlds please.

    -- Valkyrie

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    Re: Scandinavia vs. Norden

    The Finns are ethnically and racially similar to Swedes, Norwegians and Danes. There is no more difference between the Swedes and the Finns than between the Swedes and the Norwegians or between the Swedes and the Danes.
    Not again, please. Stay on topic.
    I wonder why you don't count Denmark in, SubGnostic.
    If you define Scandinavia by the mountain range or the peninsula, Denmark isn't a part of it. I hope you didn't miss my cultural definition.

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    The Difference Between Scandinavian and Nordic

    Scandinavian and Nordic

    What exactly is "Scandinavia"? and what are the "Nordic countries"? is there any difference between these two terms?

    The difference between being Scandinavian and Nordic

    Have you ever been corrected in Finland when you called a Finn "Scandinavian"? Or perhaps this has happened to you in Iceland? Is Denmark a Nordic country? Are the Danes actually Scandinavians?

    Although in the rest of the world the words "Scandinavian" and "Nordic" are happily used in similar manner and are interchangeable, in northern Europe they are not. Europeans love to
    magnify even the smallest difference between neighbouring countries and you will probably be corrected if you don't use the words in their appropriate context. The problem comes when even northern Europeans can't agree themselves on the meaning of "Scandinavian" and "Nordic"...


    Where is Scandinavia?

    Greeks and Romans were the first to write about Scandinavia. They had a vague knowledge
    about what they called "an island on the edge of the civilized world", populated by the barbarian tribes from Germania.

    Geographically speaking, the Scandinavian peninsula is a territory shared by Norway, Sweden and northern Finland.
    The Scandinavian countries would therefore only be Norway and Sweden.

    Linguistically, Swedish, Norwegian and Danish have a common word called "Skandinavien" which refers to the ancient territories of the Norsemen, and for most people in these three countries "Scandinavia" consists only of Sweden, Norway and Denmark. This one is considered to be the most commonly accepted definition of "Scandinavia".

    However, Iceland was also a Norse territory and Icelandic belongs to the same linguistic family as Swedish, Norwegian and Danish. And so does the Faroe islands. Therefore, you will find some people for which Scandinavia is Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland.

    And finally, Swedish language is also spoken in Finland and reciprocally, Finnish and Sami languages are spoken in Sweden and Norway. Again, we have a new definition of Scandinavia, which would include Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Finland.

    Culturaly and historically, the north of Europe has been the political playground of the kingdoms of Sweden, Denmark and Norway. Finland was a part of the kingdom of Sweden and Iceland belonged to Norway and Denmark. Besides a common history, politically and economically these five countries have followed a similar model known as the Nordic welfare state since the 20th century. One more time, these five countries are perceived as an unity by some and therefore called by the same name: "Scandinavia".


    What are the "Nordic countries"?

    In such a state of linguistic and geographical confusion, the French came to help us all and invented the term "Pays Nordiques" or "Nordic Countries", which has become the most standard term to bring together Scandinavia, Iceland and Finland under the same umbrella.

    The creation of the Nordic Council in 1956 gave us another new word to define the cultural affinity of our five countries: "Norden". Norden is commonly used in the Nordic countries, although this term is rather unknown in English.


    The Baltic countries and Greenland

    The Baltic countries are the three young Baltic republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Neither the Baltic countries nor Greenland are considered as Scandinavian or Nordic. However, there is a close relation between the Nordic countries and the Baltics and Greenland:

    The Baltic republics have been strongly influenced, culturally and historically, by the Scandinavian countries. Lithuania, Latvia, and particularly Estonia, are very proud of the cultural heritage received from Scandinavia and there is a wish for close co-operation on both sides of the Baltic sea.

    The same applies to Greenland, a territory which is closer to America than to Europe, but that belongs politically to the kingdom of Denmark. Half of Greenland's historical and cultural heritage is Scandinavian and therefore these strong ties often bring Greenland together with the Nordic countries.



    Source:
    http://www.scandinavica.com/culture/society/nordic.htm

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    Where does Gotland fit in here?
    Hurrah!,Hurrah! for Southern Rights
    Hurrah,Hurragh for the Bonnie Blue Flag
    that Bears a Single Star

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    To put it bluntly, this article is rubbish. You can call a Finn scandinavian but to call them Nordic is fighting words. Estonia considers themselves to loosely have some relation with Finland but they, Lithuana and Latvia don't care about Scandinavia or Germania. And Greenland is a territory of Denmark full of boozing natives and a handful of Danes.

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    In Scandinavian, Scandinavia equals Norway, Sweden, Denmark and the Nordic countries equals Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland.

    If you assume Scandinavia is a latinization of a proto-Norse word, you seem to get skadinaujo with a probable meaning of dangerous coastal area. Etymologically, skadinaujo presumably would've developed into Skánøy which would've developed into Skåne, the modern name for the southern-most tip of what is now Sweden, which is likely the location which the word originally refered to, and which has areas that fit the name. I haven't really looked for überserious sources for this, I probably will one day, but it seems very plausible to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Boernician View Post
    Where does Gotland fit in here?
    Sweden is divided into provinces/counties and Gotland is simply one of them, not autonomous or anything like that.

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