Easiest Scandinavian language to learn?

thomas   Thu Aug 09, 2007 7:27 pm GMT
no, it is not a scandinavian language, but it is a language spoken in the scandinavian peninsula.. even though only a small part of finland is part of the peninsula.

but if you refer to scandinavian languages as languages, which are spoken in the scandinavian peninsula, then danish would not be a scandinavian language. and that is way too far out.
OïL   Thu Aug 09, 2007 8:21 pm GMT

When Scandinavians of various nationalities meet on neutral ground (e.g. during their vacation in Spain) they use to converse in a more or less common language, trimming out specific idioms that would impair 100% intelligibility. They call that "vi talar skandinaviska', they don't say "nordgermanska" or "North Germanic"!

Scandinavia consists of Sweden+Denmark+Norway+Iceland, Finland isn't part of it. Scandinavia+Finland is called (by Scandinavians) "Norden". The adjective 'nordisk' is applied to the whole region, 'scandinavisk' to Scandinavia only.

However some things are Scandinavian in Finland (the Swedish minority, much of the history cause Finland has been for centuries a Swedish dominion, the way of life), some other things are definitely not (the Finnish language and culture).

Remember that there is in Finland a minority of ca 6% Swedish speaking people, mostly located along the coasts (in Helsinki/Helsingfors and especially in the Vasa area and Åland archipelago). This minority was still ruling in the 20's-30's. Best known "Finns" of the previous century were actually members of that minority: Sibelius, Elias Lönnrot, fieldmarshall Mannerheim to name a few.

To avoid confusion between the ethnically Finnish population and any citizen of Finland, whatever its mother language, Swedish has two different sets of words: "finne", "finsk", and "finländare", "finländsk".

(French operates a similar distinction between "finnois" and "finlandais". I think that your Spanish also does. English doesn't, though "finlandish" increasingly shows up)
Earle   Thu Aug 09, 2007 10:20 pm GMT
""vi talar skandinaviska" That strong bond is very evident. I spent an evening with a friend originally from Iceland recently and he discovered that I was shortly going on holiday to Norway and stopping in Trondheim for a couple of days. He had friends in the Trondheim area and emailed them, copying me, to introduce us. Although I understand and read Norwegian fairly well, I can't say the same for Icelandic. However, I had no problem reading the email because it was very simplified and the Icelandic words included had easy cognates in Norwegian. He told me also that they do this commonly in conversing with each other from different countries...
thomas   Fri Aug 10, 2007 12:34 am GMT
okay, earle, det lyder spændende. åbenbart vil islændingende også gerne være en del af det fællesskab som vi har i skandinavien.. jeg har faktisk også gået i skole med en fra island. de taler rimelig godt dansk deroppe.
Native Korean   Fri Aug 10, 2007 12:47 am GMT
Actually, the term "Scandinavia" itself is vague.
Generally, "Scandinavia" includes Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

Plus, Finnish is not even Indo-European language.
It's Uralic language and is totally different from Danish, Norwegian or Swedish.
That's why most people don't consider Finnish as Scandinavian language.
Earle   Sat Aug 11, 2007 2:18 am GMT
I'd say his scandinavian was simpler than yours... :)
Verpat   Sat Aug 11, 2007 11:43 am GMT
<< To avoid confusion between the ethnically Finnish population and any citizen of Finland, whatever its mother language, Swedish has two different sets of words: "finne", "finsk", and "finländare", "finländsk". >>

Hi OïL,

I read in certain travelling books that in Finland, they refer to the Swedish language spoken in Finland by local Swedes as "Finland Swedish" in English. Could you please post additional information about this?

BTW, I hope you don't mind if I ask you if you're French or Swede because it seems to me that you're equally fully knowlegeable about the language and culture of the two.

Thanks a lot!
Earle   Sun Aug 12, 2007 2:18 am GMT
Well, Thomas, I finally realized you were using Danish orthography and dug out my Langenscheit Lilliput dictionary. I ran your remarks by my Icelandic friend. He said he'd rather upchuck than speak Danish, after so many centuries of his people having to ask Danes before they could use the toilet. In fact, he sent this paragraph:

"When Christian the Danish king came it Iceland in the late 30ties and travel to Thingvellir to see the country, they made traveling toilet carried with four person for the King to relief him self. And this was about 40 miles by foot. The Icelander have to use the bushes and hills to do theyr job."

Nevertheless, I'll be visiting your country this coming week and leaving a few dollars behind...
OïL   Sun Aug 12, 2007 6:50 am GMT

There have been Sw. Viking settlements for at least 2,000 years along Finland's coasts, so the language to some extent evolved on its own, especially during the 110 years of isolation after Finland was passed over to the Russian empire (from 1809 to 1919). On the other hand the Bothnian Sea isn't very wide, Finlands Swedes are in continuous contact with Swedish TV's and MSM. The local accent is easily recognisable, quite different from the mainland Swedish sing-song accent, it betrays some influence from the Finnish prosody and some vowels are pronounced differently.
But basicallly it's still the same language, with no more diffrence than between, say, estuary English and Irish English.

"I hope you don't mind if I ask you if you're French": I am.
Native Korean   Sun Aug 12, 2007 10:10 am GMT
I think it's good to learn Norwegian!

This is the excerpt from the article of wikipedia.
[Studies have shown that speakers of Norwegian generally understand both Danish and Swedish far better than Swedes or Danes understand any of the other languages.]
Nottelichtigsleitungen   Tue Aug 14, 2007 3:27 pm GMT
Definitely it is Swedish which is the easiest and the most useful of all three because Swedish is not only the official language of Sweden but also of Finland.But in terms of mutual intelligibility you should definitely learn Norwegian.

But I think that there is no need to learn none of these three and even Finnish, because these countries' people already speak at least one foreign language which is generally English. So don't bother learning these four and even Dutch... Learn Spanish or French instead...
jessica   Tue Aug 14, 2007 5:14 pm GMT
i took german 3 years in middle school, 2 years in high school and then a refresher course in college. i would not say im fluent but i can hold a conversation and know enough to get along fairly well.

i am much more knowledgable in germanic languages than the romance languages and know a little russian also. would this make it easier for me to learn a scandinavian language?
thomas   Wed Aug 15, 2007 6:47 pm GMT
jessica, any knowledge about germanic languages would help you dealing with a scandinavian one
Guest   Wed Aug 15, 2007 9:25 pm GMT
I believe the grammar of the Scandinavian languages is much simpler than German, and not much more complicated than that of English, so in that respect they shouldn't be too difficult if you know German.