Thursday, September 15, 2005

Language gap grows in Scandinavia

I've written a little bit about the differences between the Scandinavian languages before:

Swedes take time to learn Danish

For my non-Scandinavian readers: The Scandinavian languages are similar and closely related, but you still make a mistake if you think they are "all the same". As a rule of thumb, educated Scandinavians should be able to read each other's languages (that's why I frequently quote Swedish or Danish newspapers), but it is a bit more complicated when it comes to spoken dialects. It is not unusual for Swedes and Danes in particular to switch to English because they have a hard time understanding each other.

This trend has actually been increasing. It is easier switching to English, instead of going the extra mile to understand each other's languages:

Language gap grows in Scandinavia

English is fast becoming the lingua franca of the Nordic countries. Young people choose to communicate in English rather than try to understand each other in their native Swedish, Norwegian, and Danish languages, according to a study initiated by the Nordic Culture Fund in 2002. The study was the first of its kind to comprehensively study linguistic developments in the Nordic countries. Norwegians and Swedes were more likely to resort to using English when they meet Danes, according to professor Jørn Lund, the head of the Danish Language and Literature Society. The increasing difficulty for Scandinavians to understand each other across borders can be attributed to a number of factors according to Arne Torp of Oslo University. Young people from the three countries speak English when they meet each other on holiday, for example. In addition, spoken Danish continues to move steadily away from its written form.


At September 15, 2005 8:40 PM, Blogger nouille said...

Perhaps it's because if a Swede learns Danish it doesn't help him/her to communicate anywhere outside of Scandanavia, English does. Even your singers/bands who want a wider audience sing in English.

I am grateful for Fjordman's abilities to read,write and speak English, this helps me to understand him and his country better.


Post a Comment

<< Home