[Wikipedia-l] nn (Norw. Nynorsk) wikipedia

Olve Utne utne at nvg.org
Tue Sep 14 05:52:43 UTC 2004

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 
> closely
> >
> > 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).

Hello Lars,
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 
written language.

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 
following goals:

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,



Olve Utne

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