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Re: Scandy (Danish/Norwegian/Swedish)

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  • David
    Hi Bjørn, I would guess that Icelanders and Faeroers learn Danish because they were both part of the kingdom of Denmark until quite recently. (I m unsure of
    Message 1 of 15 , Feb 1, 2010
      Hi Bjørn,

      I would guess that Icelanders and Faeroers learn Danish because they were both part of the kingdom of Denmark until quite recently. (I'm unsure of the exact status of the Faeros now. Iceland has been an independent republic since WW2). All those poor Danish teachers would loose their jobs or need to re-train. Also I'm sure there's still some benefit to knowing Danish in those countries. There'd be a lot of legal documents and title deeds and journals and logs that date back to the Danish period. Some might be of historical interest and some would still be legally relevant.

      I find it interesting that a common scandinavian language hasn't seriously been attempted let alone completed. I'm sure that there have been attempts. In fact the first conlang that I attempted was a mixed scandinavian language which I tried when I was 16. I was at the time playing a Science fiction role playing game called "Traveler 2300". It was set in the 24th century and the Nordic states had united and the official language was "Scandinavian". (I don't think that the authors gave any consideration at all to what happened to Finnish)

      However, I have yet to see a serious and professional attempt at a common Scandinavian. One that could be respected and not mauled to pieces by linguistic scholars. I wonder even if the governments of the scandinavian/nordic countries should be tossing a little money at the issue. Just for feasibility studies and to find out if it's worth bothering with. It would be a nice cushy job for some academics.

      There are a lot of conlangs out there, some complete, some-half arsed.
      Some have been competent and significant enough to be heard of by many people (in conlanging circles I mean) I don't just mean the big 3 of Esperanto, Ido, Interlinga. But lots of conlangers have heard of Wenidyk, Quenya, Slovio, Toki Pona, Lojban, LFN, Occidental or Novial. But I can barely name any common/standardized scandinavian languages. I know someone on the Germaniconlang group started something a while back. Called "Samskandinavsk". But it never got beyond the vaguest sketch of a concept.

      Surely if what we want to do with Folksprak is practical or sensible, then creating a common scandy conlang should be much much easier! The 3 or 4 continental scandy languages have far more in common than trying to unite English, German, Dutch and the Scandy languages. It's likely to produce a compromise language that is genuinely instantly intelligible to speakers of Danish, Swedish, Bokmal and Nynorsk. To a higher degree than Interlingua is instantly partially intelligible to speakers of most Romance languages (and somewhat intelligible to most other participants in the Western European Sprachbund).

      Or to put it another way. If nobody can make even a half-arsed compromise scandy tongue, then what hope is there to make Folksprak, where the source languages are far more divergent?



      Actually there is one Scandinavian conlang that is very successful as far as conlangs go. So successful that it is an official language of a nation of 5 million people. One with perhaps half a million people who would call it their first language.

      I am talking of course about Nynorsk. It's not normally listed as a conlang. But it has conlang features. It didn't come about spontaneously and chaotically and reach the form it is today by chance. It was a contrived, artificial standard created by one individual. It created a form of language that didn't exist before.
      But if Nynorsk could be created, a language uniting the 4 standard scandy languages should be feasible too. Or not? Quite obviously there are massive political and social hurdles! What are the potential LINGUISTIC hurdles to overcome?

      I can imagine that one big issue is of false friends. There are lots of words that are of a common origin but have acquired different meanings in the different languages. When one sees that Danish and Swedish have different words for a concept, it doesn't always mean that they don't still have the same words.
      See the example of the word for "boy". Danish as dreng. Swedish has pojke, Norwegian has gutt. It's just a matter of deciding to use one of the 3, right? Let's decide to go for the Swedish "pojke" because Swedish has more speakers. Or maybe you could mush the words together in a crossword. Make a crossword such as *pronget. BUT you can't overlook the fact that Swedish ALSO has "dräng", and Norwegian ALSO has "dreng" but they mean something rather different from Danish dreng. So you can't simply decide: Samskandinavsk has "pojke", therefore it doesn't have "dreng".
      So our common Scandy language might still have a *dræng word, but what should the meaning be??




      --- In folkspraak@yahoogroups.com, "nordslesviger" <nordslesviger@...> wrote:
      >
      > Danish speakers know of course that nobody outside Scandinavia understand Danish, so they have to be ready to speak at least one of the big foreign languages - normally English. But the attitude of some speakers of English and French are a bit annoying, because they seem to think that all people ought to speak their language.
      >
      > However here in Denmark a lot of Danes are quite intolerant towards people who don't speak Danish fluently. So at home Danes are no better than people from UK or France.
      >
      > It is interesting that mostly a language needs a state and an army to be seen as a language. Languages without a state tend to be seen as dialects.
      >
      > Here in Denmark dialects are fast disappering. Even languages like Frisian and Low Saxon are extinct. Only High German, which has a state, is protected as a minority language here in Denmark.
      >
      > Regards
      >
      > Bjørn
      >
    • nordslesviger
      ... You are right. The reason I don t understand why they continue to learn Danish is, that in my opinion it is a waste of time to learn Danish. Better spend
      Message 2 of 15 , Feb 1, 2010
        --- In folkspraak@yahoogroups.com, "David" <parked@...> wrote:
        > I would guess that Icelanders and Faeroers learn Danish because they were both part of the kingdom of Denmark until quite recently.

        You are right. The reason I don't understand why they continue to learn Danish is, that in my opinion it is a waste of time to learn Danish. Better spend the time on a much bigger language like English, Spanish or German.

        > (I'm unsure of the exact status of the Faeros now.

        Faero Islands are still part of the kingdom but have a sort of home rule.

        > I find it interesting that a common scandinavian language hasn't seriously been attempted let alone completed.

        I'm not an expert in this, but I know that there have been a lot of attempts both private and more organized. The organized attempts have usually been connected to Scandinavism. In short scandinavism is a parallel or an alternative to the pan-german movement - it is more dream than reality.

        > However, I have yet to see a serious and professional attempt at a common Scandinavian.

        Neither have I. But there have been some usefull list over words to use and not to use in interscandinavian communication. Sadly I don't have any of these lists.

        I think there are several reasons that we never get a common Scandinavian language - except English perhaps. We don't really need a common language. Secondly it is more easy just to speak our own language and be understood anyway. Thirdly English is a better choice for internordic communication, because most Nordic co-operation includes Finland and Iceland.

        > Or to put it another way. If nobody can make even a half-arsed compromise scandy tongue, then what hope is there to make Folksprak, where the source languages are far more divergent?

        You are absolutly right - not much hope I think. Personally I think that a simplified and standardized Low Saxon / Plattdüütsch would be much more usefull. Plattdüütsch is a very old language and has already millions of speakers. It is only missing the army it once had ;-)

        By the way Platt is quite close to Folksprak.

        > Actually there is one Scandinavian conlang that is very successful as far as conlangs go. So successful that it is an official language of a nation of 5 million people. One with perhaps half a million people who would call it their first language.
        >
        > I am talking of course about Nynorsk. It's not normally listed as a conlang.

        Well, you are right about Nynorsk. But actually both Nynorsk and Bokmål are conlangs. Until 1814 Danish was the written language in Norway.

        > See the example of the word for "boy". Danish as dreng. Swedish has pojke, Norwegian has gutt. It's just a matter of deciding to use one of the 3, right? Let's decide to go for the Swedish "pojke" because Swedish has more speakers.

        Here is one of the seriouse problems in connection with conlangs that attempt to be interlangs. The creators need a very deep knowledge of the source languages. "Pojke" seems to be a good choice because Swedish has more speakers. But "gut" or "gutt" would right away be understood by both Danes and Norvegians.
      • David Parke
        ... I d love so see examples of some of the better and more complete ones. Even if they were done by pan-Scandinavian romantics with more good intentions than
        Message 3 of 15 , Feb 1, 2010
          nordslesviger wrote:
          >
          >
          > --- In folkspraak@yahoogroups.com
          > <mailto:folkspraak%40yahoogroups.com>, "David" <parked@...> wrote:
          > > I would guess that Icelanders and Faeroers learn Danish because they
          > were both part of the kingdom of Denmark until quite recently.
          >
          > You are right. The reason I don't understand why they continue to
          > learn Danish is, that in my opinion it is a waste of time to learn
          > Danish. Better spend the time on a much bigger language like English,
          > Spanish or German.
          >
          > > (I'm unsure of the exact status of the Faeros now.
          >
          > Faero Islands are still part of the kingdom but have a sort of home rule.
          >
          > > I find it interesting that a common scandinavian language hasn't
          > seriously been attempted let alone completed.
          >
          > I'm not an expert in this, but I know that there have been a lot of
          > attempts both private and more organized. The organized attempts have
          > usually been connected to Scandinavism. In short scandinavism is a
          > parallel or an alternative to the pan-german movement - it is more
          > dream than reality.
          >

          I'd love so see examples of some of the better and more complete ones.
          Even if they were done by pan-Scandinavian romantics with more good
          intentions than skill.

          >
          > > However, I have yet to see a serious and professional attempt at a
          > common Scandinavian.
          >
          > Neither have I. But there have been some usefull list over words to
          > use and not to use in interscandinavian communication. Sadly I don't
          > have any of these lists.
          >
          > I think there are several reasons that we never get a common
          > Scandinavian language - except English perhaps. We don't really need a
          > common language. Secondly it is more easy just to speak our own
          > language and be understood anyway. Thirdly English is a better choice
          > for internordic communication, because most Nordic co-operation
          > includes Finland and Iceland.
          >

          It's true that it's not always necessary, you can just all use your own
          languages. And you'd mostly manage. But Danish and Swedish are at the
          very limits of mutual intelligibility. Do you often find you need to
          switch to English to have a better chance of making yourself understood?
          You could perhaps do better with a scandy language that is a bridge or
          compromise between Danish and Swedish. Of course inventing such a scandy
          language would require quite an effort to do right and would probably
          end up being very very similar to Norwegian BM, so why bother? Perhaps
          you all just need to learn BM. But you're right, maybe it's easier to
          just muddle through, switching to English (which most know already) if
          necessary.

          Here's an interesting anecdote of a similar language situation I
          observed. It occurred in a youth hostel in Brugge/Bruge about 10 years
          ago. One of my room mates came in dragging a huge backpack and was
          clearly exhausted from a long journey. He greeted the other young man
          staying in the dormitory. My two room mates met and introduced
          themselves in English. They asked where each other was from and found
          out that one was from Argentina, the other from Brazil.
          The Brazilian then started speaking in Portuguese. The Argentinean
          replied in Spanish. The Braziliano said something else in Portuguese.
          The Argentine (the exhausted one) responded in English "look I'm too
          tired at the moment to follow Portuguese, do you mind if we speak
          English?" Conversation from then on was in English.



          >
          > > Or to put it another way. If nobody can make even a half-arsed
          > compromise scandy tongue, then what hope is there to make Folksprak,
          > where the source languages are far more divergent?
          >
          > You are absolutly right - not much hope I think. Personally I think
          > that a simplified and standardized Low Saxon / Plattdüütsch would be
          > much more usefull. Plattdüütsch is a very old language and has already
          > millions of speakers. It is only missing the army it once had ;-)
          >

          I agree, Platt/Low German/Low Saxon is at risk and is worth saving. I'd
          love to refer to Low German in making FS but it's not as straight
          forward as looking at Dutch or German or Danish where there is one
          literary form that abstracts the language. We all know the Dutch is a
          vast collection of dialects. So it German. But the standard language
          that you find in a dictionary or a "teach yourself..." book is a handy
          and convenient abstraction of the whole language. If I want to look up
          Low German, it's not just as simple as going to a dictionary. What
          bloody dictionary? If someone in New Zealand decides one day "I want to
          learn Low German", what are they supposed to do? A language like
          Norwegian or Icelandic has fewer speakers than Platt, but it's far
          easier to find materials such as grammars and dictionaries and published
          literature and newspapers, and magazines and films and TV programs...

          What's seems to be killing Low German is that the contexts it can be
          used in become ever more marginal. It needs to be used for higher
          education, in courts, in law, in government, in IT, in mass media, in
          internet chat rooms. There should be a standardized literary form which
          can be heard spoken by TV news readers, used in chemistry text books, in
          the instruction manual for iPods, that the police can read you your
          rights in... If it can only be used in a few contexts, speakers of Low
          German of course will need to know German or Dutch to get anywhere in
          life. But eventually some of them discover that German can be also used
          in those limited contexts, so why bother with Platt at all? So the
          language dies a little more...
          If there ever was a standardized literary constructed language for low
          German, that all low Germans could agree to use in literature and mass
          media, it would perhaps be simplified the process of it's formation. A
          standardized language made up as a compromise of most of the dialects
          from South America to Holland to German to Kazakhstan should have to
          only have grammatical features shared by all or most of the dialects.
          There would be a leveling effect whereby much of the really complicated
          and weird grammar and syntax would be dropped. Something similar may
          have been one of the forces at work that made English grammar become
          simpler from old English to middle English. Merging of divergent dialects.

          Low German needs a common orthography that is independent of the
          orthographies of Dutch and German. It needs a way of forming neologisms
          and borrowing international vocabulary that is independent of Dutch and
          German. So when words enter Low German, they shouldn't have to enter
          German or Dutch first and be put through those languages peculiar habits
          first. (for example Low Saxon in the Netherland using -tie where in
          Germany it would use "-tion".)

          Anyway a standardized Platt, perhaps partially simplified would serve
          it's own purpose of preserving Low German. But it would also maybe make
          a good enough Folkspraak. It'd probably be partially intelligible with
          Dutch and German, and to some extent even Scandinavian.


          >
          > By the way Platt is quite close to Folksprak.
          >
          > > Actually there is one Scandinavian conlang that is very successful
          > as far as conlangs go. So successful that it is an official language
          > of a nation of 5 million people. One with perhaps half a million
          > people who would call it their first language.
          > >
          > > I am talking of course about Nynorsk. It's not normally listed as a
          > conlang.
          >
          > Well, you are right about Nynorsk. But actually both Nynorsk and
          > Bokmål are conlangs. Until 1814 Danish was the written language in Norway.
          >

          How much of Bokmal was deliberately and consciously contrived? And how
          much was spontaneously formed from Norwegians speaking "bad" Danish? For
          the most part written BM looks like written Danish with the biggest
          difference being that final/medial stop consonants haven't devoiced. eg
          bruge vs bruke. I know there are lots of other tweaks such as BM is much
          more consistant with doubling consonants after short vowels. eg fræk vs
          frekk. And BM hardly every uses æ. And BM spelling of borrowings has
          been far more regularized to the orthography where danish retains to
          original spelling more often. eg station vs stasjon. centrum vs sentrum

          >
          > > See the example of the word for "boy". Danish as dreng. Swedish has
          > pojke, Norwegian has gutt. It's just a matter of deciding to use one
          > of the 3, right? Let's decide to go for the Swedish "pojke" because
          > Swedish has more speakers.
          >
          > Here is one of the seriouse problems in connection with conlangs that
          > attempt to be interlangs. The creators need a very deep knowledge of
          > the source languages. "Pojke" seems to be a good choice because
          > Swedish has more speakers. But "gut" or "gutt" would right away be
          > understood by both Danes and Norvegians.
          >

          You're so right! I'm no Danish speaker and if I had bothered to look
          beyond the first word I found in the dictionary, I may have found "gut".
          "pojke" seems to be of Finnish origin (cf poika), so I'd not be
          surprised if there is no cognate in Danish or Norwegian. My idea in
          making the common scandy would be that you would also refer to outside
          languages such as maybe Finnish, Icelandic and Low German. The could be
          used as "controls", to help decide matters when there is no clear
          majority. Maybe Low German is a little hard to reference in it's current
          status. So perhaps Dutch and German could stand in for it.
          The creators of a genuinely respectable scandy lang would need to be a
          committee of L1 linguistics experts in the 4 languages.

          BTW, English also has "dreng"! Well it's in the Oxford in the context of
          ancient Northumbrian land tenures. "A free tenant, esp. in ancient
          Northumbria, holding by a tenure partly military, partly servile.




          >
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        • nordslesviger
          Hi David I m sorry I can t find any materials from projects on the Internet. But I can give you a link to a chapter in a book where you can read a little the
          Message 4 of 15 , Feb 1, 2010
            Hi David

            I'm sorry I can't find any materials from projects on the Internet.

            But I can give you a link to a chapter in a book where you can read a little the ideas for a common scandinavian language. If you make a google search for:

            "162. Nationalism and Scandinavianism in the development of the Nordic languages in the 19th century"

            Then you will find an interesting chapter in the book: The Nordic Languages: An International Handbook of the History of the North Germanic Languages. Ed. Oskar Bandle et al.

            It can be seen at Google Books.

            --- In folkspraak@yahoogroups.com, David Parke <parked@...> wrote:
            > Do you often find you need to
            > switch to English to have a better chance of making yourself understood?

            No, I have never done that. But I have seen a few young persons below 30 who prefered English


            A common language would perhaps be close to Bokmål. But I don't think anybody would take the trouble to learn such a language. I know a lot of Scandinavians that have lived in another Nordic country for years. Only very few of them switched to the local language. Most of them just picked up the few words that would make them understood.

            > Here's an interesting anecdote of a similar language situation I
            > observed. It occurred in a youth hostel in Brugge/Bruge about 10 years ....

            In May last year I was in Germany for an international conference with participants from Denmark, Netherlands and UK. The common language was English. But one of our German hosts who should guide us only understood some English but didn't speak much English. Soon we found that the best solution was, that she spoke German to us and we spoke English to her. We all had a great time together.

            I think the conclussion is, that it is easy to get a passive knowledge so you can understand a laguage, but it is hard to learn enough to speak that language.

            > Low German, it's not just as simple as going to a dictionary. What
            > bloody dictionary? If someone in New Zealand decides one day "I want to
            > learn Low German", what are they supposed to do? A language like
            > Norwegian or Icelandic has fewer speakers than Platt, but it's far
            > easier to find materials such as grammars and dictionaries and published
            > literature and newspapers, and magazines and films and TV programs...

            Not long ago somebody told me, that he personally had experienced that two speakers of Low German comming from two villages only 30 kilometers appart really had troubles understanding one another.


            > Low German needs a common orthography that is independent of the
            > orthographies of Dutch and German. It needs a way of forming neologisms
            > and borrowing international vocabulary that is independent of Dutch and
            > German.

            I agree completely. But I don't think it will happen. To me it seems like that the Frisians do more to keep their language alive.


            > How much of Bokmal was deliberately and consciously contrived?

            I don't know. I have just learned that it was an attempt to make a written Norwegian language to replace Danish.


            > My idea in
            > making the common scandy would be that you would also refer to outside
            > languages such as maybe Finnish, Icelandic and Low German. The could be
            > used as "controls", to help decide matters when there is no clear
            > majority.

            Creating a common nordic language could be an interesting intellectual pass time but as said before I guess nobody need such a language.

            A Scandinavian Union would perhaps develop a common language. But I don't think we ever will get such an union. By the way the European Union don't even dare to raise the question about a common language. And I really wonder why nobody never suggested a common European language. A union with 23 official languages is in my opinion insane.

            I think that new languages are constructed or develop when there is a reel need for it. It can be a tool for nationalists in connection with building a new nation like Indonesia or Faroe Islands etc. Or it is a necessity when people with no common language have to communicate with one another - pidgin and creole languges.
          • chamavian
            Googling for an Inter-Nordic, Inter-Scandinavian or whatever it may be called, I found this: http://iceandsand.com/?page_id=12 It s not exactly what we re
            Message 5 of 15 , Feb 2, 2010
              Googling for an Inter-Nordic, Inter-Scandinavian or whatever it may be called, I found this:

              http://iceandsand.com/?page_id=12

              It's not exactly what we're looking for, but... interesting anyway


              --- In folkspraak@yahoogroups.com, "nordslesviger" <nordslesviger@...> wrote:
              >
              > Hi David
              >
              > I'm sorry I can't find any materials from projects on the Internet.
              >
              > But I can give you a link to a chapter in a book where you can read a little the ideas for a common scandinavian language. If you make a google search for:
              >
              > "162. Nationalism and Scandinavianism in the development of the Nordic languages in the 19th century"
              >
              > Then you will find an interesting chapter in the book: The Nordic Languages: An International Handbook of the History of the North Germanic Languages. Ed. Oskar Bandle et al.
              >
              > It can be seen at Google Books.
              >
              > --- In folkspraak@yahoogroups.com, David Parke <parked@> wrote:
              > > Do you often find you need to
              > > switch to English to have a better chance of making yourself understood?
              >
              > No, I have never done that. But I have seen a few young persons below 30 who prefered English
              >
              >
              > A common language would perhaps be close to Bokm�l. But I don't think anybody would take the trouble to learn such a language. I know a lot of Scandinavians that have lived in another Nordic country for years. Only very few of them switched to the local language. Most of them just picked up the few words that would make them understood.
              >
              > > Here's an interesting anecdote of a similar language situation I
              > > observed. It occurred in a youth hostel in Brugge/Bruge about 10 years ....
              >
              > In May last year I was in Germany for an international conference with participants from Denmark, Netherlands and UK. The common language was English. But one of our German hosts who should guide us only understood some English but didn't speak much English. Soon we found that the best solution was, that she spoke German to us and we spoke English to her. We all had a great time together.
              >
              > I think the conclussion is, that it is easy to get a passive knowledge so you can understand a laguage, but it is hard to learn enough to speak that language.
              >
              > > Low German, it's not just as simple as going to a dictionary. What
              > > bloody dictionary? If someone in New Zealand decides one day "I want to
              > > learn Low German", what are they supposed to do? A language like
              > > Norwegian or Icelandic has fewer speakers than Platt, but it's far
              > > easier to find materials such as grammars and dictionaries and published
              > > literature and newspapers, and magazines and films and TV programs...
              >
              > Not long ago somebody told me, that he personally had experienced that two speakers of Low German comming from two villages only 30 kilometers appart really had troubles understanding one another.
              >
              >
              > > Low German needs a common orthography that is independent of the
              > > orthographies of Dutch and German. It needs a way of forming neologisms
              > > and borrowing international vocabulary that is independent of Dutch and
              > > German.
              >
              > I agree completely. But I don't think it will happen. To me it seems like that the Frisians do more to keep their language alive.
              >
              >
              > > How much of Bokmal was deliberately and consciously contrived?
              >
              > I don't know. I have just learned that it was an attempt to make a written Norwegian language to replace Danish.
              >
              >
              > > My idea in
              > > making the common scandy would be that you would also refer to outside
              > > languages such as maybe Finnish, Icelandic and Low German. The could be
              > > used as "controls", to help decide matters when there is no clear
              > > majority.
              >
              > Creating a common nordic language could be an interesting intellectual pass time but as said before I guess nobody need such a language.
              >
              > A Scandinavian Union would perhaps develop a common language. But I don't think we ever will get such an union. By the way the European Union don't even dare to raise the question about a common language. And I really wonder why nobody never suggested a common European language. A union with 23 official languages is in my opinion insane.
              >
              > I think that new languages are constructed or develop when there is a reel need for it. It can be a tool for nationalists in connection with building a new nation like Indonesia or Faroe Islands etc. Or it is a necessity when people with no common language have to communicate with one another - pidgin and creole languges.
              >
            • David Parke
              Very interesting, but a massive tease because the most relevant pages are somehow missing from the book. pages 1457 and 1458 are not part of this book
              Message 6 of 15 , Feb 2, 2010
                Very interesting, but a massive tease because the most relevant pages
                are somehow missing from the book. "pages 1457 and 1458 are not part of
                this book preview"

                nordslesviger wrote:
                >
                > Hi David
                >
                > I'm sorry I can't find any materials from projects on the Internet.
                >
                > But I can give you a link to a chapter in a book where you can read a
                > little the ideas for a common scandinavian language. If you make a
                > google search for:
                >
                > "162. Nationalism and Scandinavianism in the development of the Nordic
                > languages in the 19th century"
                >
                > Then you will find an interesting chapter in the book: The Nordic
                > Languages: An International Handbook of the History of the North
                > Germanic Languages. Ed. Oskar Bandle et al.
                >
                > It can be seen at Google Books.
                >
                > --- In folkspraak@yahoogroups.com
                > <mailto:folkspraak%40yahoogroups.com>, David Parke <parked@...> wrote:
                > > Do you often find you need to
                > > switch to English to have a better chance of making yourself
                > understood?
                >
                > No, I have never done that. But I have seen a few young persons below
                > 30 who prefered English
                >
                > A common language would perhaps be close to Bokmål. But I don't think
                > anybody would take the trouble to learn such a language. I know a lot
                > of Scandinavians that have lived in another Nordic country for years.
                > Only very few of them switched to the local language. Most of them
                > just picked up the few words that would make them understood.
                >
                > > Here's an interesting anecdote of a similar language situation I
                > > observed. It occurred in a youth hostel in Brugge/Bruge about 10
                > years ....
                >
                > In May last year I was in Germany for an international conference with
                > participants from Denmark, Netherlands and UK. The common language was
                > English. But one of our German hosts who should guide us only
                > understood some English but didn't speak much English. Soon we found
                > that the best solution was, that she spoke German to us and we spoke
                > English to her. We all had a great time together.
                >
                > I think the conclussion is, that it is easy to get a passive knowledge
                > so you can understand a laguage, but it is hard to learn enough to
                > speak that language.
                >
                > > Low German, it's not just as simple as going to a dictionary. What
                > > bloody dictionary? If someone in New Zealand decides one day "I want to
                > > learn Low German", what are they supposed to do? A language like
                > > Norwegian or Icelandic has fewer speakers than Platt, but it's far
                > > easier to find materials such as grammars and dictionaries and
                > published
                > > literature and newspapers, and magazines and films and TV programs...
                >
                > Not long ago somebody told me, that he personally had experienced that
                > two speakers of Low German comming from two villages only 30
                > kilometers appart really had troubles understanding one another.
                >
                > > Low German needs a common orthography that is independent of the
                > > orthographies of Dutch and German. It needs a way of forming neologisms
                > > and borrowing international vocabulary that is independent of Dutch and
                > > German.
                >
                > I agree completely. But I don't think it will happen. To me it seems
                > like that the Frisians do more to keep their language alive.
                >
                > > How much of Bokmal was deliberately and consciously contrived?
                >
                > I don't know. I have just learned that it was an attempt to make a
                > written Norwegian language to replace Danish.
                >
                > > My idea in
                > > making the common scandy would be that you would also refer to outside
                > > languages such as maybe Finnish, Icelandic and Low German. The could be
                > > used as "controls", to help decide matters when there is no clear
                > > majority.
                >
                > Creating a common nordic language could be an interesting intellectual
                > pass time but as said before I guess nobody need such a language.
                >
                > A Scandinavian Union would perhaps develop a common language. But I
                > don't think we ever will get such an union. By the way the European
                > Union don't even dare to raise the question about a common language.
                > And I really wonder why nobody never suggested a common European
                > language. A union with 23 official languages is in my opinion insane.
                >
                > I think that new languages are constructed or develop when there is a
                > reel need for it. It can be a tool for nationalists in connection with
                > building a new nation like Indonesia or Faroe Islands etc. Or it is a
                > necessity when people with no common language have to communicate with
                > one another - pidgin and creole languges.
                >
                >
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