Talk:Scandinavian languages

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(inserted for readability Rursus dixit. (mbork3!) 15:59, 17 April 2010 (UTC))

This article is NOT about the language group known as North Germanic, but about the Scandinavian language, a separate language spoken in Scandinavia (in three slightly different but mutually intelligible forms, or dialects: Danish, Norwegian and Swedish). Though related to other North Germanic languages (Icelandic and Faroese), Scandinavian is not mutually intelligible with them. Clearly the Scandinavian language needs its own article.

Cite a linguistic source if you want to keep insisiting on this claim. They're the same thing and Faroese and Icelandic is still in the same family (as is Norwegian still a Western Scandinavian language). See the EB article North Germanic languages for some clarification.
Peter Isotalo
Norwegian, which is my native language, is not a West North Germanic language (only minority language Neo-Norwegian may be considered so, the majority language is a descendant of Danish). Scandinavian and Icelandic/Faroese are not the same thing, they are different languages. Scandinavian is the mutually intelligible language(s) spoken in Scandinavia, which does not include Iceland and the Faroe Islands. Scandinavian and Icelandic/Faroese are completely unintelligible.
Where are your sources? Is this something you have actually referenced from linguistic literature or is it your personal opinion? If it is the latter, please read Wikipedia:Cite your sources. Unveriafiable edits are not what Wikipedia is for. I would also like it if you read the link I pasted.
I would also very much like some reference for this idea about the different Norwegian standard languages belonging to seperate branches of the North Germanic languages. It frankly seems rather far-fetched to me, even if Danish has had a major influence. This matter does however not in the least change the fact that North Germanic languages and Scandinavian languages are synonyms. They do not require separate articles, so please make your additions to North Germanic languages instaead.
Peter Isotalo 19:05, Jun 22, 2005 (UTC)
Dear anonymous user. Whoever you are, you need to understand that there are certain standards of verifiability that need to be followed for all Wikipedia articles. If you want to claim something that is obviously controversial, you need to support it with some sort of source material. A book, article or news article on linguistics perhaps. Your current claims are completely unsupported and are even in disagreement with a source I've linked to on the matter (the EB article on North Germanic languages) and I can quote further sources on the classification matter if you feel that it's needed. The much smaller EB article on Scandinavian languages confirms the very same classification.
Please support your edits if you want them kept. If you feel that you need to discusss the issue of Scandinavian language classification you're more than welcome to discuss the matter at my talkpage.
Peter Isotalo 19:13, Jun 23, 2005 (UTC)
Since the article keeps being reverted despite a lack of any references (and with one good reference contradicting the current info) I've put up the {{disputed}} sign. I've also contacted Mark Dingemanse who is an admin and experienced wikilinguist to help settle the dispute.
Peter Isotalo June 30, 2005 01:04 (UTC)

I've reviewed the issue at the request of Peter Isotalo. I'm sorry in advance for the long-windedness. I've found several things. First, concerning terminology. I've done some searches at the Linguistic and Language Behaviour Abstracts database, which is fairly representative of usage of the terms among linguists. "Scandinavian languages" seems to be the winner here, they even have a category descriptor for it. When searching in abstracts of articles, "Scandinanavian languages" yields 128 publications, whereas "North Germanic" or "Northern Germanic" yields 73. The aforementioned category has 140 publications in it. However, there are some definitional problems; what is called 'Scandinavian languages' in these publications need not be the same as what we're talking about here. In fact, in quite a few cases it most probably isn't; see below.

Second, concerning the internal classification of this branch. We are looking at two ways of classifying the languages here. Peter Isotalo represents the genetic-linguistic perspective: modern standard Danish, Swedish, Norwegian (both Dano-Norwegian and New Norwegian), Icelandic and Faroese share a common ancestor and together they form the North Germanic languages. To this might be added that, from a genetic perspective, the North Germanic group is divided into 'East Scandinavian' (Danish+Swedish) and 'West Scandinavian' (Icelandic+Faroese+Norwegian). (The details of Neo/Dano-Norwegian are not relevant in this context).

The anonymous editor (who should consider registering and signing his posts, by the way), advocates a more descriptie (synchronic) perspective: on the one hand, we find the mainland Scandinavian languages, and on the other, the 'Island' languages Faroese and Icelandic. It is true that the latter two are largely unintelligible to speakers of mainland Scandinavian languages. This is attributed to the fact that Icelandic and Faroese are the most conservative of the modern Scandinavian languages. The mainland Scandinavian languages on the other hand have had plenty of time to influence each other and have several shared innovations that are not found in the 'Island' languages.

These two perspectives are both valid ways to look at the internal classification of these languages. In fact, both perspectives definitely need to be covered in our article(s). I'll leave it to editors more at home in this area to decide whether we should have separate articles or not. My preference, if that matters, is to have one article in which both perspectives are explained. The way Brittanica solves it, is to have a short article under the title 'Scandinavian languages' explaining that, technically, these are the North Germanic languages, whereas from a contemporary point of view it makes sense to talk about the mainland Scandinavian languages as opposed to the island Scandinavian languages. Their article on North Germanic languages is much more substantive and contains the bulk of what there is to know about those languages, their history, and their classification. In Wikipedia terms, this might equate to a disambiguation at Scandinavian languages and an extensive article at North Germanic languages.

Finally, I would strongly advise against the term 'Scandinavian language' (singular) as advocated by the anonymous editor. We are talking about a cluster of closely related languages here; some would call it a Sprachbund. But since genetically and historically, Norwegian (or some part of it) is closer to the island languages, it makes no sense to speak of one Scandinavian language. — mark 30 June 2005 14:03 (UTC)

Thank you for replying, Mark. I wasn't familiar with the synchronic/diachronic terminology before, for one thing. Both seem to have merit depending on the context. What I'm wondering, though, is if they should have separate articles or just be redirects to North Germanic languages. I think we could certainly fit it all in the main article and let them be expanded if needed. Any suggestions?
Peter Isotalo July 3, 2005 22:20 (UTC)
The classification of Norwegian as "West Scandinavian" or more properly "West North Germanic" only applies to Neo-Norwegian, a minority language constructed in the late part of the 19th century and spoken by some 10 % of the Norwegians, mostly in rural areas. The majority language, Standard Norwegian, is developed from Danish and is clearly an East Scandinavian language. Until 1907 it was nearly identical to Danish, and it has only changed slightly since then.
Scandinavia is a geographical region which includes Norway, Denmark and Sweden. It does not include Iceland and the Faroe Islands. The Scandinavian countries share a common culture and a common language, and this language is usually called Scandinavian in Scandinavia. I see no reason to include Icelandic and Faroese when we do have a more proper term, North Germanic, which covers both the three languages spoken in Scandinavia, and the insular languages spoken outside Scandinavia.
Concerning the question of whether Scandinavian is one or more languages, I would say both views are correct. From a pan-Scandinavian viewpoint, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish are one language, Scandinavian. See Scandinavia: "Most dialects of Danish, Swedish and Norwegian are mutually intelligible, and Scandinavians can with little trouble understand each other's standard languages as they appear in print and are heard on radio and television. The reason they are traditionally viewed as different languages, rather than dialects of one language, is that they each have their "army and navy", being spoken in separate countries.". (contributed by anonymous user 21:08 July 5 2005, signed by Peter Isotalo)
The user above who states Neo-Norwegian is spoken (sic) by a certain percentage of the population makes a very common mistake that only helps to confuse the picture for an outsider. As in any language, very, very few people outside TV or radio speak any of the two or three standard languages of Norway, be it Neo-Norwegian (nynorsk) or Dano-Norwegian (bokmål/riksmål). Spoken Norwegian consists mainly of a dialect continuum, with ~200 dialects discernible to scholars. Very often you have the situation of neighbours speaking the same dialect but use different written standards. BjarteSorensen 09:44, 28 July 2005 (UTC)
I'd also like to point out that describing Nynorsk/Bokmål as a spoken languages is very misleading, since they are merely written standards, not a languages in themselves. SIL's classification in this instance should be considered deviant and non-relevant as a source.
Peter Isotalo 11:53, 28 July 2005 (UTC)
The terms used for the two branches are West/East Scandinavian, not West/East North Germanic. The latter term is really only used when refering to the group as a whole. I can quote Språk och skrift i Europa, a book published by the Swedish Language Council as using this terminology, though nordiska språk is the most commonly used in Swedish.
Could you cite a linguistic source that supports your claim about a single Scandinavian language? I have never read anything by a contemporary linguist that actually supports the classification of Danish, Norwegian and Swedish being a single language called "Scandinavian". It's true that these languages are more or less mutually intelligible and that this is the most reasonable criteria for a language, but what constitutes a single language varies considerably. Good examples are Hindi and Urdu or Croatian Serbian. Both are (as far as I know) even more similar than the Mainland Scandinavian languages, but are still fully accepted by linguists as being langauges rather than dialects, to a great extent that they use different orthographies and, in fact, different writing systems. There's also a political, social and cultural aspect to it that does not always agree fully with the stricter linguistic theories.
I would appreciate if you explained where you've gotten the information about the two Norwegian standard languages belonging to separate branches of the historical East/West-classification from. Is it an accepted theory among Norwegian linguists? I'm also enclined to disagree with you about Norwegian being nearly identical to Danish. It depends slightly if you're refering to the spoken or written languages. Yet, I would still say that Norwegian is today far closer to Swedish in terms of grammar, phonology and vocabulary than it is to Danish. Moreover, the article Scandinavia doesn't explain the fact that Danes and Swedes have a pretty hard time understanding one another and that it does require some practice (especially if you're non-native speaker).
Peter Isotalo July 5, 2005 20:14 (UTC)

I think that Mark and Peter Isotalo are being a bit too harsh on this article. By the standard criteria of what constitutes a language and a dialect, there is a Scandinavian language. The Danish-Swedish difficulty argument is not a valid argument since exactly the same can be said about German and English dialects. We all know that the theory of several Scandinavian languages is more a political statement than a linguistic theory. I also often hear people say that they speak Scandinavian when talking to fellow Scandinavians. Consequently, I support the existence of this article.--Wiglaf 8 July 2005 08:31 (UTC)

Here [1] is a link to the Nordic Council, which says the same thing as this article and I quote it right here:

Likartade levnadsvillkor, historiska erfarenheter och en kulturell samhörighet är viktiga orsaker härtill. Det skandinaviska språket förstärker samhörighetskänslan och - inte minst - gör umgänget praktiskt.

So, there you have a quote from an official site of the Nordic council where Per Unckel says that the Scandinavian language strengthens the feeling of community.--Wiglaf 8 July 2005 08:42 (UTC)

But the problem is that the idea about "the standard of what constitutes a language and a dialect" does not really exist. To accept that there are several Mainlan Scandinavian languages and that most linguists as well as speakers view them as separate languages is no stranger than claiming that Urdu and Hindi are separate languages. We are not taking a political decision here and quoting the Nordic Council is just not relevan. What the poor intelligibility between Danish and Swedish has to do with anything, I don't know, since I brought it up as an argument against the two-fold classification of the two Norwegian standard written languages, and not to prove that they're separate languages.
Just the simple fact that there are many authoritive dictionaries between the individual Mainland Scandinavian languages, that they have separate orthographies and separate alphabets, differing grammar, their own phonologies and (most importantly) separate standard languages is more than enough to settle this issue. Unless someone can prove the existance of commmon Scandinavian grammar, phonology, orthography, standard language and linguists to back this, there is no common Scandinavian language except in the idealistic statements of politicians and neo-Scandinavists.
Peter Isotalo 8 July 2005 10:29 (UTC)
The term 'Scandinavian languages' is by some used in a wider sense as a synonym to 'North Germanic languages.'
Peter, are you sure that you don't have personal feelings in this matter. It is a fact that they are often called one and the same language [2][3][4][5], etc.--Wiglaf 8 July 2005 10:52 (UTC)
Moreover, you cannot brush away this discussion as a political rather than linguistic discussion. The split of Urdu and Hindi just confirms the fact that dialects often become labelled as languages through politics. Compare with Serbo-Croatian.--Wiglaf 8 July 2005 11:09 (UTC)
Please try not to turn this into something personal, because it's really just insulting. If anything, I'm an internationalist (just check my user page) and I am definetly in favor of upholding the intelligibility of the Mainland Scandinavian languages. But I am not in favor of letting this bias be explained as accepted fact in an article like this.
You're using very general statements by politicians in a context of Nordic cooperation where the main idea is to avoid resorting to English when communicating with fellow Scandinavians and a somewhat questionable Google search for prata skandinaviska ("speak Scandinavian") as evidence of a Scandinavian language. I can't see how that is possibly a reasonable reference and definetly not compatible with Wikipedia:Cite your sources. This is a linguistic article and should reference linguistic soruces, not political statements about language issues which is really not applicable to this context. Examples ike Hindi and Urdu are political constructions, true, but they are so established that they are more or less accepted by linguists. As for Serbocroatian, it is most often recognized as an alternative classification even in mainstream literature and encyclopedias. If this is true for Scandinavian, please show us some references.
Peter Isotalo 8 July 2005 14:25 (UTC)
I'll just summarize the beef I have with this article right now:
  • Scandinavian languages is not just used by "some" as a synonym for North Germanic languages. It's by far the most common interpretation of the term. The current description is definetly fringe.
  • The references made by Wiglaf are substandard. They link to general statements about a Scandinavian language, but these are mostly made in contexts where this is used to express a form of modern Scandinavism, but not any kind of factual presentation of how this language would look like. The Google search scores a mere 8 hits, all of which are non-linguistic, and two of which write "Scandinvian" within quotes.
  • Scandinvian has no no commonly agreed-upon grammar, orthography or phonology. Political construction or not, the three national languages are widely accepted as separate languages while "Scandinavian" is not; neither dictionaries nor encyclopedias mention it in articles and the majority of the Scandinavians themselves definetly perceive their own speech as languages, not dialects.
Peter Isotalo 8 July 2005 14:48 (UTC)
The problem here is "convention". Swedish, Danish and Norwegian are languages by convention because Swedes and Danes used to hate each other and the Norwegians had a nationalistic surge. They have never been defined as languages by scholarly analysis or scholarly agreement. Linguists are aware of this and don't care very much, anyway. Well, go ahead with your point of view, but don't ask me to help out with any relating articles anymore. I'll stay away from anything relating to Scandinavian languages, because I am apparently completely incompetent in the field, bye.--Wiglaf 8 July 2005 14:59 (UTC)

I would just like to point out that even if many (me included) holds the opinion that Scandinavian is one language with three different standards, the subject of the article is "Scandinavian languages", not "Scandinavian language". The term Scandinavian is universally accepted in Scandinavia as the umbrella term for Norwegian, Danish and Swedish, even if considered different languages.

Wiglaf, please stop pouting. It's not helping and it doesn't become you.
You're perfectly welcome to have your way, but please do it in the proper article. We might even move the page here, but only if you reference it properly. Having separate articles without references is not encyclopedic.
Peter Isotalo 8 July 2005 17:26 (UTC)
I'm not Wiglaf, and I see no reason not to have an article dealing with the language(s) of Scandinavia. It's perfectly fine to also have an article about North Germanic languages, a different subject, but it's not ok to deny the language of Scandinavia, which has more than 20 million speakers, its own article. This seems more and more like anti-scandinavism to me, or at least ignorance about Scandinavia. Do you have a problem with Scandinavia, Mr. Isotalo?
Again, take a look at my user page and my bias. Claiming that I'm an anti-Scandinavist when I'm firmly stating to be an internationalist is probably not going to reflect poorly on me.
If you've not taken the chance to check out our policy on referencing articles on the numerous occasions which I have presented you with links, I ask that you do it this time. Reading Wikipedia:Verifiability is also recommended. These explain why you can't insert controversial information into an article without proper references. Opinion alone will not swing it in this instance. Please provide a reference and respect our policies. I have listed this article dispute at RfC for now in hope that it will help resolve the disagreement.
Peter Isotalo 9 July 2005 02:03 (UTC)

Let's recap. The dispute here is currently whether the actual article, Scandinavian languages, should not be a redirect but rather have it's own article. If we set aside what content the article should contain for a second and focus on the actual redirect. Peter thinks Scandinavian languages evolved from the North/West Germanic group of languages, which Mark seems to comfirm is correct. The anon is opposing this view, stating that it is not the case, which Mark again seem to confirm, albeit in a reserved manner.

Considering the article is just a redirect, I'd like all three disputants here to come up with a short list of points of what the article, if created, could contain. As Mark suggests, maybe there should be an article which is based on a compromise between the two different viewpoints. It should also contain a clear reference to the North Germanic article, as despite what the anon editor is saying, it is clearly related in some way.

Please provide some points on what should constitute the article, complete with references. Anything which isn't, won't be included. That should be an acceptable compromise, and perfectly in concordance with Wikipedia policies for verifiability. Also, keep it civil, precise and to the point.

Peter, the anon editor (who should consider registering and signing his/her posts) and myself are all scandinavians. We might hate the swedish (the bastards!) but we love their women! Please keep this in mind too. :) Inter\Echo 19:48, 11 July 2005 (UTC)

There seems to be little interest among the editors to discuss this. If this situation changes, please notify me on my talk page, but I will leave this page watched so I will probably see it. Inter\Echo 10:45, 16 July 2005 (UTC)
Thank you for helping out, Inter.
Peter Isotalo 11:12, 16 July 2005 (UTC)

Inter has misinterpreted what I said. Clearly the Scandinavian languages are North Germanic languages. But "Scandinavian" is not a synonym to North Germanic languages, but, as the website of the Nordic Council states, the name of the languages which are spoken in Scandinavia (Denmark, Norway and Sweden). That excludes two small North Germanic languages, namely Icelandic and Faroese. As such, Scandinavian is a sub-group (consisting of three mutually intelligible languages) of North Germanic.

I have nothing against including various viewpoints in this article, and clearly there should be a visible link to North Germanic languages at the top, as in "The term 'Scandinavian languages' is by some used in a wider sense as a synonym to 'North Germanic languages.'". What I object to is to make this article into a redirect to North Germanic languages and totally ignore the Scandinavian languages as a group. anon 06:34, 21 July 2005 (UTC)

Okay. Who is opposed to this view, and why? Inter\Echo 12:09, 21 July 2005 (UTC)
Ok, this is very simple: there is no such thing as "Scandinavian languages" separate from the North Germanic languages. "Scanindavian" in a linguistic classification context is a synonym for "North Germanic". One can use either one in most (con)texts, but in an article that is intended to describe it as a branch of the Germanic languages, it is most appropriate to use "North Germanic", especially as the title. When speaking of the internal classfication of this group "Scandinavian" is used, such as "West Scandinavian" or "Mainland Scandinavian", depending on which form of classification you wish to use (diachronic or synchronic). This can be confirmed by refering to the following sources, which all are completely unanimous in their definitions:
Not one of these sources show even a modicum of support of the theory that the Mainland Scandinavian languages are refered to as simply "Scandinavian languages" as a way to separate them from the Insular Scandinavian languages.
Despite the claims of the anonymous user, the Nordic Language Council's view on this does not differ. At least not accoring to the link that has been provided from the current article. Only in a specifically non-linguistic geopolitical context could "Scandinavian" (very tentatively) be used to term the three Mainland Scandinavian languages, but would then have to be taken very literally. That is, "languages spoken in Scandinavia", which is under no circumstances proper, encyclopedic usage. A good comparison would be to claim that there are "Australian languages" and that these would include all languages spoken in Australia; i.e. utter nonsense.
This is not only getting to be very tedious and time consuming, but outright disruptive. The anonymous user has now several times been asked to provide proper sources for his claims and has mangaged to produce none whatsoever; only an extremely biased interpretation of the opinions of the Nordic council. For the last time, provide any kind of reasonable source to support the claim or take this elsewhere, because this has no merit and seems to be merely an expression of modern Scandinavism; a very nice concept, but in reality a completely unsupported fringe opinion, preferably described in a separate article on Scandinavism. I'm giving you a week to come up with the barest minimum of references, then I'm going to revert on account of a complete lack of verifiabilty, and I encourage other users to do the same.
Peter Isotalo 09:03, 23 July 2005 (UTC)
Very well. Sources have been offered, let's hear some other sources claiming something else. If no such sources can be put forth, I'd suggest sticking with the redirect. Inter\Echo 17:54, 23 July 2005 (UTC)

First of all I would like to applaud everyone with their involvement in this issue. I hope that I can help put some more light to the issue. I will do this by quoting a whole paragraph that really summarises what's been discussed above, from a chapter written by H G Simonsen and K K Christensen in the book Innføring i lingvistikk (Universitetsforlaget, 2000): Lingvistikk: det vitenskapelige studiet av språk. This book is a book on introductory linguistics used widely in the Norwegian tertiary education system:

Latin utviklet seg over tid til så ulike språk som for eksempel moderne italiensk, fransk, spansk og portugisisk; urnordisk til dansk, svensk og norrønt, som igjen ble til færøysk, islandsk og norsk. Mens eksempelvis fransk og spansk har endret seg så mye på hver sin side at de ikke lenger er innbyrdes forståelige, er det mindre forskjeller mellom dagens svensk, dansk og norsk, slik at de egentlig språklig sett fremdeles kan sies å være dialekter av samme språk. Her er det snarere politiske enn språklige grunner til at vi sier vi har med tre forskjellige språk å gjøre.

This source, is stating that the Norwegian language shares genetic make-up with the insular Nordic languages unlike Swedish and Danish, but also that today Norwegian, together with Swedish and Danish, is, linguistically speaking, a dialect of the same language. The reason we are talking about different languages in that context is political rather than linguistic.

Crystal, David has been quoted as a reference above from his entry for Scandinavian in The Cambridge Dictionary of Language. I don't know if this entry is identical to his Penguin edition of "Dictionary of language and languages", however, here, in addition to making the distinction between West and East Scandinavian languages, he also writes the following:

Today, Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish are largely mutually intelligble (though their status as separate languages is firmly maintained by the different peoples on cultural and historical grounds).

So, although I do not find the current (anonymously) reverted revision of the article as particularly encyclopaedic, I believe there is some merit in discussing all this in an article called Scandinavian languages. Again referring to Crystal in his entry for "Germanic", he actually makes a distinction between North Germanic and Scandinavian languages, in that the latter excludes the literary variety of Old Icelandic (Old Norse). So I vote for a merging of the articles North Germanic languages and Scandinavian languages to be placed under the latter title, and a short article discussing the definition of North Germanic languages with links to the respective articles. BjarteSorensen 09:30, 28 July 2005 (UTC)

I accidently miswrote the title of my source because I confused it with The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language, also by David Crystal. I apologize for causing any confusion and I have now corrected the mistake. Here are the relevant passages from the articles "Germanic" and "Scandinavian" from Crystal's book. All underlining is mine.
  • North Germanic includes the Scandinavian languages of Swedish and Danish (East Scandinavian) and Norwegian, Icelandic and Faroese (West Scandianvian), along with the older states of these languages (Old Norse), notably the literary variety of Old Icelandic.
  • Scandinavian A group of languages forming the North Germanic branch of the Germanic family, traditionally divided into East Scandinavian (Swedish and Danish) and West Scandinavian (Norwegian, Icelandic and Faroese). A more recent classification distinguishes Mainland Scandinavian (Swedish, Danish and Norwegian) from Insular Scandinavian (Icelandic, Faroese). The older states of these languages are called Old Norse - known especially from the Icelandic sagas.
(The quote concering the mutual intelligibilty mentioned by Bjarte comes three sentences below this passage.)
I think you need to not only re-read the text you've cited, Bjarte, but also try to reference the other sources. They are still all in complete agreement about the two terms being synonymous. I insist that this article is still unmerited as anything other than a redirect. Keeping them separate would be nothing but original research and could be very confusing to our readers.
Peter Isotalo 11:53, 28 July 2005 (UTC)
Thanks for your reply, Peter! You request me to reference the other sources, but I'm not sure if I understand what other sources you are talking about. As to your request for me to re-read the text I cited, I have done so, and still come to the conclusion that Prof Crystal seems to make a (very slight) distinction between the two terms. But I'm far from certain, and I certainly don't understand quite the significance of making this a distinction. Maybe we could e-mail him and ask if he would like to contribute to the discussion? He looks like a friendly guy. You seem to think that I disagree with you, I certainly don't, I'm just trying to look at the issue from as many perspectives as possible. :) BjarteSorensen 12:21, 28 July 2005 (UTC)
I'm refering to the sources given directly below the reference to David Crystal's dictionary entry. And then there's the synonym definition. Please don't insist on the distinction. Read the underlined quotes and compare it to your post above. Nothing is excluded from either of the terms.
Peter Isotalo 21:17, 28 July 2005 (UTC)
But Peter, what you have underlined is just exactly what I read, and is indeed confirming my suspicion that Crystal says there is a slight difference, and this is exactly what I was referring to in the first place (I just couldn't be bothered to quote all of it). He says that The Scandinavian languages older states are called Old Norse, which doesn't necessarily mean he means Old Norse is included in the definition Scandinavian languages, and in the entry for North Germanic he talks about this being the Scandinavian languages (ie its own entity) along with the older states, along meaning in addition. Also, I find it strange why there are two separate entries in the dictionary if he thinks they are entirely synonymous. I find it a little hard to talk about this with you, your language is not exactly harmonious, so I think I will leave the debate here, as I've done my best debating it in a civilised manner. BjarteSorensen 22:10, 28 July 2005 (UTC)
Oh, I think we've both been very civil. There aren't two entries, though. One entry is for "Germanic" and the other is for "Scandinavian", which he explains to be synonymous to "North Germanic" in both these entries. And interpreting "along" as meaning "in addition" doesn't changed the meaning either; it's just another way of saying "including this or that". Thanks for giving your opinions on the matter, though. I hope you decide to scrutinize the other sources as closely as you scrutinized Crystal's texts.
Peter Isotalo 03:43, 29 July 2005 (UTC)

To me, as a Norwegian, it is obvious that Scandinavian is a language contintinuum, not shared by Icelandic and Faroese. The few faroese I've met, have spoken to me in obvious school Danish, and with the Icelandic I mostly speak English (some of them apologize for forgetting their school Danish, though). Danish is easy to read, but the speech takes a bit of getting used to (but with an effort...). Oral Swedish is easy to understand, but I wouldn't read a Swedish novel, too hard with the ä and ö spread all over. Earlier, I used to buy things FROM Swedes in my job, and they all understood me. Now I'm selling TO swedes, and they don't seem to understand me as well. Which probably shows that this is an attitude thing. The same goes when I call someone in Denmark, and they kindly request me to speak English, since they don't "understand Swedish too well". Recently, I've been adressed in phone calls from Sweden in heavily accented English (I always imagine the female one as classical Swedish blondes). Obviously, understanding other Scandinavian languages has no prestige throughout Scandinavia. So in the future, we will be truly separate languages after all? Knut/Tromsø

Norwegian, Faroese and Icelandic were one and the same around 1200 AD, and Swedish and Danish were also one and the same. Between Norwegian/Faroese/Icelandic and Danish/Swedish there was, however, a clear distinction. So the Western Nordic and Eastern Nordic distinction made sense back then. However, today ALL Norwegians, including those writing nynorsk and speaking western dialects, understand Swedish and Danish better than they understand Faroese and Icelandic. So Norwegian should today be considered Eastern Scandinavian. Another thing is that people from Western Norway are the ones that understand the islanders the best... Halldor Kiljan Laxness, the Icelandic Nobel prize winner, called Nynorsk an "evil parody of Icelandic".

Observe the appeal above the edit box:
"remember to sign your posts by typing four tildes (~~~~)"
so that we: 1. can identify who said what, 2. see what date it was written. An advice: writing long monologues will generally not persuade, only make other editors more woodenly resistant. Be brief! Provide sources! Rursus dixit. (mbork3!) 16:22, 17 April 2010 (UTC)


Språkrådet uses Scandinavian languages as a terminological synonym to Continental North Germanic languages (Fakta om språk: Vilka inhemska språk finns i Norden?). I know of no linguist source objecting to this term. There are independent sources defining "Scandinavian languages" similarly (semantix: Skandinaviska språk). That dictionary entry also claims that many sources confuses "Scandinavian languages" with "Nordic languages", while I claim that the confusion is in term vs. substantive construct: "Scandinavian languages" per term is defined to be Danish, Norwegian (?!!) and Swedish, while "Scandinavian languages" per specification of "languages" relates to 'languages' that in a way are 'Scandinavian', which means associated to the geographical area of 'Scandinavia'. Rursus dixit. (mbork3!) 16:22, 17 April 2010 (UTC)