At Tue Sep 14 02:15:23 UTC 2004, Lars Aronsson wrote:
Neil Harris wrote:
I was told by a Norwegian that the Scandanavian
languages are all so
Perhaps the nearest equivalent might be "Scots" vs. "English".
If I speak Swedish in the streets of Oslo, I will make myself understood
but the locals will treat me as a speaker of a foreign language. With
English (British or American) in the streets of Glasgow, I'm not a foreign
speaker. Therefore I think Scots would be analogous to Nynorsk, and
Nynorsk now has its own Wikipedia (nn.wikipedia.org
with 151 articles).
I fail to quite see your logic, but I will be happy to listen to your
explanation of what you mean.
In the mean time -- here are some of my thoughts on the subject of accent
vs. dialect/language and on the place of Nynorsk within the major lineages
of post-Mediaeval written Scandinavian:
"English", the way the term is usually used, is a language which has a
uniform grammar, including syntax -- but which has a number of minor
variant spellings (e.g., UK, Australia, Eire, Canada, USA) and a standard
basic pronunciation which has a range of actual *accents* (e.g., somewhat
simplified, of London, Cardiff, Manchester, Glasgow, Belfast, Dublin,
Toronto, New York, Seattle, Sidney, Auckland, Praetoria, etc.).
Different from accents sre the *dialects* of English, which may have more
or less profound differences in deep-level phonology, morphology, syntax,
and vocabulary. Dialects of English include Cockney, Yorkshire, Geordie, US
"Black English", and -- according to one view, Lowlands Scots.
Scots (in th Lallands/Lowlands variety) has been viewed as a separate
language in former times, and this view has been re-emerging in modern times.
People in Glasgow, Edinburg, Aberdeen, etc., have grown up in a system
where "English", albeit with a Scottish *accent" (rolling R's, narrow
diphthongs, neutralised vowel quantity, etc.), has been the standard language.
Of course, if you arrive in Glasgow with your London or Dublin or New York
accent of the common English language, people will recognise you as a
speaker of this common English language.
But this has no bearing in itself on the nature of Scots -- which is a
language or (set of) dialect(s) (depending on your poitical as well as
linguistic reasons...), rather than an accent of standard English.
When you speak Swedish in Oslo, you are most likely to be understood pretty
well. But you are also likely to be sociologically classified as a speaker
of a Language with a Different Name. That this language of Sweden happens
to be more similar to local accents/dialects of Oslo than to a number of
Swedish dialects is a fact that is as true as it is sociologically
What bearing this again has on the identity of Nynorsk versus Scottish is
not quite clear to me.
What is interesting, though, is that morphologically, Nynorsk is actually
closer to Swedish than to Bokmål. The same actually goes, to some extent,
for vocabulary. When working on the NN Wikipedia, it often strikes me how
many of the differences between Nynorsk and Bokmål happen to at the same
time be similarities between Nynorsk and Swedish.
Another fact that needs to be considered in this respect, is the fact often
that Bokmål/Riksmål/Danish actually forms a complete written-language
continuum and is often, quite naturally, seen as variants of the same
Linguistically speaking: Within the dialect continuum of Scandinavia, there
seems to be three major separate written language lineages: Danish, Nynorsk
and Swedish. Bokmål/Riksmål as a written code arose gradually from Danish
and has moved slowly in the direction of Nynorsk. (There is also, of
course, the separate lineage of Dalmål -- which is about as different from
any of the other contemporary Scandinavian written language lineages as
Faeroese, Icelandic or Old Norse are...)
Politically/sociologically speaking, the languages of Scandinavia can also
be grouped into three, but from this perspective, Bokmål belongs with
Nynorsk rather than with Danish.
All this being said, I personally believe that it should be a long-term
goal to coordinate the Scandinavian wikipedias as closely as possible, and
that it would be desirable in the long run to build an integrated system
where each user selects their language [yes, this is descriptively correct
English grammar, and has been for many centuries] interface, AND that
preferred language/s for articles can also be set as a separate user
Until this happens, I believe that we are all best served with the
1) Build up the article database for each of the four main forms
of written Scandinavian;
2) Coordinate the contents to the extent practically possible; and
3) Work on improving and coordinating the user interfaces
to make each of these as well-written and mutually intelligible
within the given linguistical and stylistical constraints
as practically possible.
Bästa hälsningar / Beste helsing / Best regards,