Talk:Scandinavia/Archive 1

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From the article Nordic countries (I have not written this): "In loose usage, the term Scandinavia is sometimes used as a synonym for Nordic countries. Strictly, however, Scandinavia only includes Sweden, Norway and Denmark. "

This is a very good article: Scandinavian languages

Quoted from

The word "Scandinavia" presents a bit more difficulty. In Nordic languages, the meaning is quite clear:

Sweden, Denmark, Norway (and sometimes Iceland)
-- the ancient lands of the Norsemen.

The Scandinavian peninsula, on the other hand, is usually simply understood as comprising Norway and Sweden, despite the unclear border to the Kola peninsula. The northernmost part of Finland is of course also situated on the Scandinavian peninsula.

But in English, alas, there seems to be no standard usage. This is mainly due to the fact that English lacks a simple and clear term for the five countries, and the word "Scandinavia" tends to be used for that purpose instead. The term "Nordic countries", in its current definition, is a rather recent invention, its meaning is still a bit obscure especially to non-Europeans, it's awkward to use and to some people it carries unpleasant connotations of the Aryan "Nordic race". Therefore, you will find that it's quite common to define the word "Scandinavia" in English like this:

[Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English]
  1. of the countries Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland in northern Europe, or their people or languages.

On the other hand, it is not uncommon to use the word "Scandinavia" in its more limited definition. An example:

[The Concise Oxford Dictionary]
  1. a native or inhabitant of Scandinavia (Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Iceland).

And some encyclopaedias put it like this:

[The Random House Encyclopaedia]
  1. region of northern Europe consisting of the kingdoms of Sweden, Norway and Denmark; culturally and historically Finland and Iceland are often considered part of this area.

Despite the term being rather clear for the Scandinavians themselves, disputes remain about how the term would be understood and derived in English. If the word is understood as a geographic term, how can then Denmark be included - as most do. If instead it's deduced from the area where the languages are quite similar North-Germanians, should Iceland logically be excluded?

Answer to your question "If the word is understood as a geographic term, how can then Denmark be included"
Because Denmark is a part of Scandinavia, as Scandinavia is defined. Denmark has always been a part of the cultural and political region, and Norway, Denmark and Sweden also have their language in common. For instance, Finnish is a Finno-Ugric language, and entirely unrelated with the Germanic Scandinavian language (in three very similar and mutually intelligible variants: Danish, Norwegian and Swedish).

Scandinavia: Norway, Denmark and Sweden. And just Norway, Denmark and Sweden. From Aschehoug og Gyldendals Store Norske Leksikon (the leading Norwegian encyclopedia): Skandinavia, betegnelse dels for den skandinaviske halvøy, dels for Danmark, Norge og Sverige, helst i historisk sammenheng.

Yes, in Norwegian. But this is the English language part of the Wikipedia.
--Ruhrjung 17:41, 10 Oct 2003 (UTC)

Scandinavia is Scandinavia, also in English, just like the British Islands are the British Islands. To include non-scandinavian countries is incorrect; they do not belong to the geographical Scandinavia nor to the cultural region. I have mentioned the other term, the Nordic countries which also includes the non-scandinavian countries Finland and Iceland, and this is enough. EOD! Anon

I have never heard a definition of Scandinavia anywhere else that includes only Norway and Sweden. I would suggest an introduction saying something like "Scandinavia is a region in Northern Europe that includes Denmark, Norway and Sweden. In English the term is sometimes used to describe all of the Nordic countries." That seems a bit more concise than the rather long definition used in the current article, but still points to the Noridc countries as the precise term when including Finland and Iceland.-- Gustavf 13:35, 11 Oct 2003 (UTC)

You must have misunderstand, Gustav. No one says Scandinavia only includes Norway and Sweden. Scandinavia is Norway, Sweden and Denmark. The first paragraph is not written by me, but I think it's correct that the original geographical definition is the Scandinavian Peninsula=Norway and Sweden. Denmark do not belong to the Scandinavian Peninsula. Scandinavia is btw named after Skanderna, a mountain range (only) in Sweden/Norway. But truly, Denmark belongs to the region called Scandinavia, just not in the strictly geographical meaning.

I have added a new paragraph (the third) in the article:

"Geographically Scandinavia is the Scandinavian Peninsula which contains Norway and Sweden. The cultural/political region Scandinavia also includes Denmark.
The term the Nordic countries has a different meaning and includes the three Scandinavian countries Norway, Sweden and Denmark plus the non-scandinavian countries Finland and Iceland.
In loose usage, the term Scandinavia is sometimes incorrect used as a synonym for Nordic countries. Strictly, however, Scandinavia only includes Sweden, Norway and Denmark. "


I reverted to the last edit by Rmhermen.

Sweden and Denmark are not Baltic, and to say "Norway wasn't an independent state until 1905" ist just pure nonsense. And if someone consider Scandinavia "Baltic" (why not British or American?), they should return to school or be teached by Wikipedia. Anon

Heine, a mirror would do you good. See the dictionary definitions above, see the usage in the rest of the Wikipedia. Why not under Timber? Maybe it's time for you to return to school and learn more English. The usage in English might be wrong seen from a Norwegian horizon, but that does not change the usage.
(It would also be a good idea, if you sign your contributions to the discussion. I moved two of your paragraphs to a chronologically more appropriate location above.)
--Ruhrjung 07:18, 13 Oct 2003 (UTC)

Well, then we in Norwegian maybe could say that America is a part of Africa, or something, just because we don't know better? I don't think so, and your "encyclopedias" no not impress me - some of them simply are wrong. And I think you, rather than me, should have a look on the usage of "Scandinavia" in the rest of the Wikipedia. Ende der Diskussion. Anon
What should this article be about? I think that making clear the different menaings of the word Scandinavia should be a prime objective. -- Gustavf 11:12, 13 Oct 2003 (UTC)

I like the bulleted list added by Ruhrjung. Clear and concise. -- Gustavf 10:13, 31 Oct 2003 (UTC)

this is generally considered incorrect, at least in Scandinavia

Of the more ridiculous claims I've seen, this was one of the funniest.

We Scandinavians might be very, very convinced about our role as leaders of the world, but the size of the English speaking world (outside of Scandinavia) seems here to have been diminished by several magnitudes.--Family Olofsson 16:38, 23 Mar 2004 (UTC)

To see it re-inserted within less than 24 hours makes one wonder if this is sort of a playground, or what? --Family Olofsson 11:23, 24 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Icelandic and Faraoe language

The Icelanders and Faroes does not speak speak Scandinavian languages, except when they speak Danish (mostly as a foreign or second language). While Icelandic and Faroe language are North Germanic and related to the languages of the Scandinavian countries, the Scandinavian languages Danish, Swedish and Norwegian are since mediaeval times actually more influenced by Low Saxon than their Old Norse basis. These three languages are mutually intelligible and may be considered one single language. However, it's not possible for the speakers of Danish, Swedish and Norwegian to understand Icelandic or Faraoe language. I do not agree that Faraoe and Icelandic should be called "Scandinavian", because Scandinavian rather is a mix of Low Saxon and Old Norse and a separate group of languages, to which the two insular languages do not belong more than modern English. 16:20, 25 Mar 2004 (UTC)

However, in English language, in particularly within academia, North Germanic languages and Scandinavian languages are synonymous.
--Ruhrjung 17:58, 25 Mar 2004 (UTC)

We should use a map which includes the whole of Denmark also, not only Sweden and Norway. It is also much more important to include the North German areas that have belonged to Denmark and Sweden (and in a wide degree influenced Scandinavian culture) than irrelevant parts of Eastern Europe.

Icelandic and Faroese not Scandinavic languages?

Excuse my laughter, but if there are good old Scandinavian languages, so are they:

  1. Icelandic
  2. Faroese

What is happening here? Linguistics by school atlas? -- Arne List 23:50, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)

"Scandinavian" is referring to the language of the Scandinavian countries. Iceland and the Faroe Islands are not Scandinavian countries (although mostly colonized with people of Scandinavian origin), and their language is not intelligible with Scandinavian. Scandinavian today is something totally different than the language spoken in the Norse countries thousand years ago, which Icelandic and Faroese originated from. 60-70 % of the vocabulary in Scandinavian is of Low and High German origin, not of Old Norse origin.

Icelandic and Faroese are North Germanic languages, but do not belong to the Scandinavian branch of those.

Greenland and Iceland

Since the term at its broadest includes Iceland and Denmark, can we please have a map that also shows (a) Iceland, and (b) all of Denmark including Greenland, which may be autonomous in certain respects but is nevertheless just as much an integral part of Denmark as, say, Tasmania is to Australia. JackofOz 01:39, 30 May 2004 (UTC)

I still don't understand why Iceland is left out. -AnonymousCoward

Answer: this article has mainly been written by Scandinavians. In the countries speaking Scandinavian languages, i.e. Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland, "Scandinavian" is used for only three of them: Sweden, Norway and Denmark. The reason why Iceland is left out is that Icelandic is not comprehensible to mainland Scandinavians. The mutual intelligibility between Norwegians, Swedes and Danes create a sense of community, and "Scandinavia" is a fitting label for this community. Since Iceland and Finland are very Scandinavian too, but generally don't share this language bond, Scandinavians have inventend the name Nordic to include Finns and Icelanders.--Wiglaf 12:39, 31 Jul 2004 (UTC)

With regard to Greenland, I believe very few, if any, Scandinavian would argue Greenland to be a part of Denmark — except for in the strictest theoretical meaning of "being a part of". Hint: consider the difference between "the Kingdom of Denmark" and "Denmark" or the "lands of Denmark". /Tuomas 11:23, 3 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Frankly, I wasn't even thinking of Greenland when I wrote "Denmark".--Wiglaf 14:39, 3 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Greenland's head of state is Queen Magrete II, is under Danish protectorate, use the Danish currency and Danish is tought in Greenlands elementary schools... I'd say that's pretty much being a part of the country, despite having home rule. And yes, I've been there myself.

Perhaps you should go back there and try to find a native that considers Greenland to be a part of Scandinavia, now there's a challenge. I think the geographic definitions in this article are fine as they are, emphasizing that Scandinavia is strictly speaking just three countries but also mentioning that the term is often (incorrectly) used to include Iceland and Finland. However, I can't find these alternative meanings in the English encyclopedias that I have access to without standing up (Microsoft Encarta & Britannica Online), both of them agree that Scandinavia is just Denmark, Sweden and Norway. --Biekko 17:24, 27 Aug 2004 (UTC)

That still doesn't change the fact that Greenland is part of Denmark, does it? Doh.

Others than some ultra-nationalist Danes and some ignorant foreigners would make a distinction along the line that "Denmark" and "the state of Denmark" are not exactly the same thing — with Greenland belonging to the latter. --Johan Magnus 14:19, 4 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Yes, geographical Denmark and the state of Denmark are not the same thing. Denmark also had colonies in India.