English is a Scandinavian language
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But I have often wondered why Dutch sounds so familiar to me, a native speaker of English.
And over the years I've wondered at the many similar or same words between English & Norwegian. One missing from the list in the article is datter (daughter)...isn't that a Scandinavian word?
Are English & the Scandinavian languages unique in their word order?
Scandinavian words in English have typically been explained by borrowing, say from the conquerors.
My impression is that English as it evolved retained much of the syntax of its Scandanavian roots, with only a little admixture of Welsh (as per Tolkien's 'English and Welsh' lecture), but that subsequently its vocabulary was greatly expanded by, particularly, Norman French (typically, the formation of plurals by the addition of s) and Latin (via Norman French as well as the Church), then, following the literal expansion of horizons from the 15th century and the centuries-long dabbling with Empire, many more loan words from other cultures and languages. (In fact, just look at the vocabulary in that last sentence and estimate how much of it, especially the nouns and the occasional adjective, is Latin-derived; my guess is that most Scandinavian and Germanic languages nowadays also have a similar indebtedness to Latin.)
It now continues to evolve, not only in its main areas of everyday use in the Americas, the Antipodes and back home in the British Isles, but also in its various permutations such as Hinglish in India or pidgin English on the east Pacific rim, and txtspk among its written forms. If only we could look into the future and see where it's all taking us: would be recognise it as English in, say, a century to come, or will it be as unintellibible to most of us as is Chaucerian English or the language of Beowulf?
Yes, this is what the authors of that article are saying, and this is the novum in the proposition, that English must be considered as a language with North Germanic roots and not West Germanic, which has been the received truth since we started to investigate these things 200 years ago.
However, I suspect that the difference between roots and influence may not be as simple as has been traditionally thought -- I think this is the view that most historical linguists are getting around to.
So in the end, I'm not sure that claiming that the roots of Modern English are either North or West Germanic is the whole truth. They might very well be both.
Regarding Chaucer and Beowulf: Chaucer is a breeze to understand compared to the Beowulf poet. Any gifted student can learn to read Chaucer in a few days if they put their mind to it, whereas Old English has to be learned as a foreign language. There is a huge gap in English between 1000 AD and 1200 AD.
(And please do not edit 'unintellibible' - that was a wonderful word!) :)
Unintellibible! Thanks! (Pot calling kettle and all that...)
Just read and enjoyed this, as much for the rant as the argument:
Given the number of times in the history of English that there were 2 or more languages influencing each other, I would suspect that the same thing applies.
*Do you know Torpenhow Hill? Four language's words for "hill" stuck together - from when the first invaders said to a native "What's that called?" and he looked at them funny and said, "Uh, it's a howe..." "Ok, Pen Howe." (or maybe pen was first, not sure. Tor and Hill are the later ones, I know).
'Pen' probably first, for chronological reasons: Brythons in Cumbria before the ?Angles/?Scandinavians.
Every so often some idiot makes claims like this one.
"Have you considered how easy it is for us Norwegians to learn English?" asks Jan Terje Faarlund, professor of linguistics at the University of Oslo. "Obviously there are many English words that resemble ours. But there is something more: its fundamental structure is strikingly similar to Norwegian. We avoid many of the usual mistakes because the grammar is more or less the same.
"Faarlund and his colleague Joseph Emmonds, visiting professor from Palacký University in the Czech Republic, now believe they can prove that English is in reality a Scandinavian language, in other words it belongs to the Northern Germanic language group, just like Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, Icelandic and Faroese. This is totally new and breaks with what other language researchers and the rest of the world believe, namely that English descends directly from Old English. Old English, or Anglo-Saxon, is a West Germanic language, which the Angles and Saxons brought with them from Northern Germany and Southern Jylland when they settled in the British Isles in the fifth century."
"Scandinavian languages" in non-technical English, identifies the same set as "languages of Scandinavia", and as the national language of Finland, Finnish is clearly in that set.