Norwegian for speakers of Danish

Moderators: Aleco, Johanna

User avatar
Woods
Posts: 275
Joined: 2007-11-14, 12:43
Gender: male
Location: София
Country: BG Bulgaria (България)

Norwegian for speakers of Danish

Postby Woods » 2016-06-02, 20:24

Am I the only one to whom it seems impossible, extremely counter-intuitive and not really pleasant to read and write Norwegian, just because it looks exactly the same as Danish, but some random letters are different (there’s k, t, p instead of g, d and b, these double consonants at the end of the word just make it look different and misspelt and the worst of all – my favourite æ is missing!)

I was always thinking that the three languages should be one whole thing and that if I start learning one of them, I should be able to read, write and speak any of them without a problem. But now switching between Danish and Swedish seems very natural, while Norwegian just looks like incorrect Danish and it’s really weird. The other thing that really, really annoys me and makes the language look even more incorrect to me are the non-etymological spellings of foreign words (like byrå, stasjon or sone – what the fuck? Swedish has that too, but to a lesser degree. And Danish is just right.

Does one get over that when one learns more of the language, or should I just stick to Danish whenever I communicate with Norwegians? Well, for the reading part I can’t avoid it, but for the rest I can choose. Will it be okay, if one day I live in Norway, to speak and write Danish to all Norwegians till the end of my life as a British person would do in the United States, for example?

Or can I invent my own sort of Norwegian – like follow some of the rules, but ignore other ones – for example, gradually start writing the Scandinavian words like Norwegians do, but write the foreign ones correctly (bureau, station, zone)? Or should I pick a different standard instead of bokmål – among so many options, is there one that covers my criteria of correctness?

I think the one thing I just won’t be able to get over is the missing æ!

User avatar
Astrum
Posts: 131
Joined: 2015-05-15, 23:30
Gender: male

Re: Norwegian for speakers of Danish

Postby Astrum » 2016-06-04, 18:02

What looks misspelled, obviously lies in the eyes of the beholder. I can assure you that to most Norwegians, many Danish words look misspelled (and, no doubt, vice versa).

As you are probably aware, all Scandinavian languages have their own ways of spelling some foreign words (e.g. two random examples are the Danish words "chokolade" [from nahuatl "xocolatl" via the Spanish "chocolate"] and "trøffel" [from French "truffe", cf. the English "truffle"]). Norwegian language policy is conceivably more conservative (and Icelandic language policy even more so), but again, what is "just right" also lies in the eyes of the beholder. I'm not sure what point you are trying to make, but if it is simply that Norwegian spelling annoys you, that's okay. (And I'm sure many Norwegians find Danish spelling equally annoying.)

To answer your questions:

"Will it be okay, if one day I live in Norway, to speak and write Danish to all Norwegians till the end of my life as a British person would do in the United States, for example?"
"Will it be okay" as in "will people understand me"? Orally: Probably. Depends on how your Danish is, and where you are in Norway. It also depends on the individual Norwegian listener. In writing: Usually.

"Or can I invent my own sort of Norwegian – like follow some of the rules, but ignore other ones – for example, gradually start writing the Scandinavian words like Norwegians do, but write the foreign ones correctly (bureau, station, zone)?"
This will probably improve communications in some situations, yes.

"Or should I pick a different standard instead of bokmål – among so many options, is there one that covers my criteria of correctness?"
Words such as "bureau", "station", and "zone" are not correct no matter which (standardized) written form of Norwegian you use. All three words were, unsurprisingly, accepted in old "riksmål", but your best bet, if you insist on spelling the words the way you've mentioned, is to either stick to Danish, or use a modified Danish spelling (which would improve communications – depending on the reader).

User avatar
Woods
Posts: 275
Joined: 2007-11-14, 12:43
Gender: male
Location: София
Country: BG Bulgaria (България)

Re: Norwegian for speakers of Danish

Postby Woods » 2016-06-07, 19:12

Astrum wrote:I'm not sure what point you are trying to make, but if it is simply that Norwegian spelling annoys you, that's okay.


Well, of course not - I just wanted to share my thought and hear someone say what it looks like from the other perspective (which is exactly what you did).

What do you mean by "Norwegian language policy is conceivably more conservative?" Can you give some other examples - truffles and chocolate are not so important words, and here I guess Danish has tried to make something close to other Western languages and not to Nahuatl (which makes sense in its own spelling and phonology, as well - the letter c is not supposed to be there, etc.) By the way, what are the Norwegian words for chocolate and truffles then?

User avatar
Prowler
Posts: 1438
Joined: 2013-07-19, 5:09
Gender: male
Country: PT Portugal (Portugal)

Re: Norwegian for speakers of Danish

Postby Prowler » 2016-06-07, 21:27

I agree with you that Danish looks a bit better than Norwegian Bokmal in written form. However, I find Norwegian to considerably more pleasant sounding than Danish.

And tbh, I tend to guess wrongly which is which when I come across short sentences or just a couple of words in Norwegian or Danish. I'm never really sure. Swedish is easier to tell apart from them due to lacking the ø and the æ

User avatar
Woods
Posts: 275
Joined: 2007-11-14, 12:43
Gender: male
Location: София
Country: BG Bulgaria (България)

Re: Norwegian for speakers of Danish

Postby Woods » 2016-06-08, 7:21

Norwegian tends to lack æ too. The only word I can think of at the moment that contains it is "lære." But all the other examples - fængsel, desværre do not have it in Norwegian (fengsel, dessverre).

Norwegians, indeed in what cases is the letter supposed to be used in Norwegian?

P.S. I can admit that sj instead of ti or ch may look really nice in some cases (stasjon instead of station - why not!). However, s instead of c and z in clearly international words (medisin and sone) still seems like a terrible idea to me!

User avatar
Johanna
Forum Administrator
Posts: 6224
Joined: 2006-09-17, 18:05
Real Name: Johanna
Gender: female
Location: Lidköping, Westrogothia
Country: SE Sweden (Sverige)

Re: Norwegian for speakers of Danish

Postby Johanna » 2016-06-08, 10:51

I will say what I always do in these circumstances. And I am very much on the side of Norwegian, I just want it to be even more strict.

I would prefer that we respell every single loan, it’s simply ridiculous that you have to know German, French, Ancient Greek, English etc. to be able to write Swedish (or Norwegian) correctly…

Personally, to me, Standard Danish looks like badly written Bokmål.
Swedish (sv) native; English (en) good; Norwegian (no) read fluently, understand well, speak badly; Danish (dk) read fluently, understand badly, can't speak; Faroese (fo) read some, understand a bit, speak a few sentences; German (de) French (fr) Spanish (es) forgetting; heritage language, want to understand and speak but can't.

User avatar
Astrum
Posts: 131
Joined: 2015-05-15, 23:30
Gender: male

Re: Norwegian for speakers of Danish

Postby Astrum » 2016-06-08, 10:59

Woods wrote:
Astrum wrote:I'm not sure what point you are trying to make, but if it is simply that Norwegian spelling annoys you, that's okay.

Well, of course not - I just wanted to share my thought and hear someone say what it looks like from the other perspective (which is exactly what you did).

I thought it was obvious that Norwegian spelling in general would feel more "natural" to native speakers of Norwegian, just like Danish spelling in general feels more "natural" to native speakers of Danish.

Woods wrote:What do you mean by "Norwegian language policy is conceivably more conservative?" Can you give some other examples - truffles and chocolate are not so important words, and here I guess Danish has tried to make something close to other Western languages and not to Nahuatl (which makes sense in its own spelling and phonology, as well - the letter c is not supposed to be there, etc.) By the way, what are the Norwegian words for chocolate and truffles then?

Norwegian language policy is more conservative than Danish in that Danish (like Norwegian) allows for imported words – but Danish often alters the spelling less in the process. Often, the only "hard rule" in Danish is that compound words are linked together, e.g. "swimming pool" becomes "swimmingpool". Icelandic, on the other hand, doesn't allow for many imported words at all.

There are numerous examples of English and other Germanic words in Danish and Norwegian (after all, they are all Germanic languages), and some are altered more in Danish than in Norwegian, e.g. the Danish "kage" (Norwegian "kake", from Icelandic "kaka", cf. English "cake").

You are right in that the Norwegian words for "chocolate" and "truffle" are "sjokolade" and "trøffel", respectively. And that's exactly how Norwegian language policy is more conservative than Danish – which doesn't mean that Danish doesn't alter its spellings of foreign words. It only does so considerably less. And because of this continuum, what looks "misspelled" or what is "annoying", if you so wish, is purely a matter of individual taste.

As for your question about words containing "æ", there are many such words. Some examples that start with the letter "æ" are: "Ætt", "ære" (and all combinations of "ære-", such as "æresdoktor", "æresløs", "ærekrenke", "ærefrykt", "æreskjende" [...]), "æsj", "æse", and "ærgjerrig".

Johanna wrote:I would prefer that we respell every single loan, it’s simply ridiculous that you have to know German, French, Ancient Greek, English etc. to be able to write Swedish (or Norwegian) correctly…

That's a great point! Norwegian language policy (and politics) is obviously not reliant on what would be easier for English, German, French – and even Danish speakers to learn.

User avatar
Woods
Posts: 275
Joined: 2007-11-14, 12:43
Gender: male
Location: София
Country: BG Bulgaria (България)

Re: Norwegian for speakers of Danish

Postby Woods » 2016-06-08, 17:41

Johanna wrote:I would prefer that we respell every single loan, it’s simply ridiculous that you have to know German, French, Ancient Greek, English etc. to be able to write Swedish (or Norwegian) correctly…

Well, English is based on the exact opposite logic and it’s just perfect – indeed, we don’t have to know every other language to write it, we just need to know English as it is, but then – we find it so much easier to learn other languages. And very annoying if they misspell the words from the way we’re used to seeing them :(

One more thing – people tend to learn more and more languages, so it’ll be easier if each of them keeps the original spelling of loanwords after all.

Astrum wrote: I thought it was obvious that Norwegian spelling in general would feel more "natural" to native speakers of Norwegian, just like Danish spelling in general feels more "natural" to native speakers of Danish.

Well, so far so good. But, isn’t Danish writing what both languages looked like not so long ago, and Norwegian a remake of it? And in this case, am I the only one to whom Danish seems like the norm, and Norwegian like something that strays from it and therefore seems kind of incorrect… well, that’s from a foreigner’s perspective. I’m pretty sure that if I go to Norway and learn some Norwegian I will love the way it sounds and I would like a lot to speak it, but I’m not quite sure I’ll get along with the writing.

I don’t mean to offend anybody, I’m just trying to make sense of it and see what Norwegians will say. Some while ago I started a similar topic in the Afrikaans forum complaining about the unnecessary changes in its orthography that only took it away from Dutch. I got the same kind of reaction - nobody agreed with me :(

Norwegian language policy is more conservative than Danish in that Danish (like Norwegian) allows for imported words – but Danish often alters the spelling less in the process.

Well, I would call “conservative” the approach that keeps the original, in this case the spelling in the original language.

the only "hard rule" in Danish is that compound words are linked together, e.g. "swimming pool" becomes "swimmingpool"

I hadn't noticed this until now. Thanks :)

However, I would prefer to have a Danish word instead. My dictionnary suggests svømebassin – I'd use this one, at least the first part is Danish. Donno if it sounds old-fashioned?

Icelandic, on the other hand, doesn't allow for many imported words at all.


Like French, I guess? That’s the best policy, in my opinion. Try as hard as you can not to use foreign words, but if you do – then keep the original spelling. The Germans also keep the original pronunciation – so it’s always obvious that the word or expression is from a different language. It’s really cool.

As for your question about words containing "æ", there are many such words. Some examples that start with the letter "æ" are: "Ætt", "ære" (and all combinations of "ære-", such as "æresdoktor", "æresløs", "ærekrenke", "ærefrykt", "æreskjende" [...]), "æsj", "æse", and "ærgjerrig".


How is æ pronounced – is it the same as e or not really? Is there are a phonetic reason it has been removed from so many places?

Johanna wrote:
I would prefer that we respell every single loan, it’s simply ridiculous that you have to know German, French, Ancient Greek, English etc. to be able to write Swedish (or Norwegian) correctly…

That's a great point! Norwegian language policy (and politics) is obviously not reliant on what would be easier for English, German, French – and even Danish speakers to learn.

You guys are not making the right point – it’s not about making it easier for foreigners, it’s about keeping the original of everything, writing genuine and pure language the way it has been made and the way it’s supposed to be, instead of refashioning it every time a change in phonology has been noticed.

User avatar
Astrum
Posts: 131
Joined: 2015-05-15, 23:30
Gender: male

Re: Norwegian for speakers of Danish

Postby Astrum » 2016-06-08, 18:34

I don't have much time to write this, so I'll keep my reply short:

About which language is "conservative": The language that is most resistant to changes (in regards to spelling its phonemes) is undoubtedly the more conservative one in my opinion. But "tomayto, tomahto".

As for the Norwegian pronunciation of "æ", it's usually /æ/, /æ:/, /e/ or /e:/.

As for what is the "right point" – it is not about what point we are making, it is about why the Norwegian language is how it is. If the spelling deviates too much from how the phonemes are usually spelled (in Norwegian), letters will gradually lose their meaning with regard to pronunciation. And no Norwegian will ever pronounce "stasjon" as the English "station", "byrå" as the English "bureau" or "sone" as the English "zone". Languages (and spelling) are dynamic.

User avatar
Woods
Posts: 275
Joined: 2007-11-14, 12:43
Gender: male
Location: София
Country: BG Bulgaria (България)

Re: Norwegian for speakers of Danish

Postby Woods » 2016-06-13, 23:23

We seem to disagree quite a lot on other issues, so I'll keep it down to questions about the way Norwegian is and not discuss the way I feel it or other languages should be in this topic anymore ;)

Is there a particular reason æ was kept in a limited number of words - is it supposed to sound any different than e), or is it there just because it would otherwise have to be removed from the alphabet altogether?

User avatar
Astrum
Posts: 131
Joined: 2015-05-15, 23:30
Gender: male

Re: Norwegian for speakers of Danish

Postby Astrum » 2016-06-14, 20:43

Woods wrote:Is there a particular reason æ was kept in a limited number of words - is it supposed to sound any different than e), or is it there just because it would otherwise have to be removed from the alphabet altogether?
To be fair, "æ" can be found in a lot of words, as mentioned earlier. Perhaps in fewer words than Danish, but still not "few". I've given a few examples of words that start with "æ" in an earlier post. Here are just some (entirely random words) that contain the letter "æ": "Være", "gæren", "næring", "fæl", "vær", "klær", "gjær", "færre", "nærme", "fjær", "hæl", "sekretær", "arbitrær", "besvær", "atmosfære", "gevær", "begjære", "skjære", "bær", "egalitær", "kjærlighet", "humanitær", "skjærgård", "sær"... The list just goes on an on, and with all possible compounds, nominalizations etc., they are very difficult to count.

Why has Norwegian kept the letter "æ"? For historical reasons, as well as to differ between phonemes in some contexts (see my earlier comment about how "æ" is pronounced – just to take one of the words mentioned above: "Sær" is obviously not the same as "ser", neither are they pronounced the same way). Why is "x" (= "ks") still a letter in English? Because one letter is easier than two? What about "c" (= "s" or "k") then? Norwegian (just like all other natural languages in the world) is not a strictly logical language. History, politics, tradition, dialects etc. influence how words are spelled.

User avatar
Woods
Posts: 275
Joined: 2007-11-14, 12:43
Gender: male
Location: София
Country: BG Bulgaria (България)

Re: Norwegian for speakers of Danish

Postby Woods » 2016-06-15, 6:38

Astrum wrote:To be fair, "æ" can be found in a lot of words […]

Okay, fair enough. For the moment, I’m not familiar with Norwegian at all – I’ve seen much more Danish and Swedish than it, and when typing something random in Norwegian in Google just to scroll through Norwegian text for a while, I wasn't able to find it almost anywhere.

Astrum wrote:Why has Norwegian kept the letter "æ"? For historical reasons, as well as to differ between phonemes in some contexts (see my earlier comment about how "æ" is pronounced – just to take one of the words mentioned above: "Sær" is obviously not the same as "ser"

Well, then I guess it’s pronounced exactly the same as e before a double consonant (when the vowel itself is a short one), and that’s why it was removed as much as possible, but had to be kept in words like sær, bære etc., because otherwise it would be pronounced differently?

Yesterday I was looking for the word “depend” in Norwegian – I first tried “avhænge” – copying the Danish word, but changing the prefix to the Norwegian one. Nothing came out, and then I realised I had to remove the æ – then I found it in the Norwegian dictionary.

Now it makes sense. I cannot agree with the “historical reasons,” as it seems to have been removed from every single word where it’s not needed to make the phonetic distinction.

I found only one word (in your list) where it has been kept before a double consonant, maybe because of historical reasons – færre.

I need a confirmation from you - would "færre" be pronounced differently if it was spelled "ferre"?

Why is "x" (= "ks") still a letter in English? Because one letter is easier than two? What about "c" (= "s" or "k") then?

Because English keeps the original orthography of almost every word, no matter which language it came from and at what point in time that happened. And as I said, to me that’s the way it should be, in an era when people can get excellent education and tend to learn more and more languages anyway.

User avatar
Astrum
Posts: 131
Joined: 2015-05-15, 23:30
Gender: male

Re: Norwegian for speakers of Danish

Postby Astrum » 2016-06-20, 1:36

This will be my last comment in this thread. I was initially only going to answer your questions, but you seem to be unable to distinguish between descriptive facts, and opinions on how languages ought to be, and to be frank, I'm not interested in discussing the latter with you.

Woods wrote:Well, then I guess it’s pronounced exactly the same as e before a double consonant (when the vowel itself is a short one), and that’s why it was removed as much as possible, but had to be kept in words like sær, bære etc., because otherwise it would be pronounced differently?

Yesterday I was looking for the word “depend” in Norwegian – I first tried “avhænge” – copying the Danish word, but changing the prefix to the Norwegian one. Nothing came out, and then I realised I had to remove the æ – then I found it in the Norwegian dictionary.

Now it makes sense. I cannot agree with the “historical reasons,” as it seems to have been removed from every single word where it’s not needed to make the phonetic distinction.

I found only one word (in your list) where it has been kept before a double consonant, maybe because of historical reasons – færre.

I need a confirmation from you - would "færre" be pronounced differently if it was spelled "ferre"?

Again, my list is incomplete, and as you've mentioned yourself: You do not speak Norwegian. Your conclusion does not hold true. As for "ferre", it would probably be pronounced just the same way as "færre" (cf. "verre").

Woods wrote:Because English keeps the original orthography of almost every word, no matter which language it came from and at what point in time that happened. And as I said, to me that’s the way it should be, in an era when people can get excellent education and tend to learn more and more languages anyway.


This is just not true. Just take a look at most of the words in what you've written. And I'll even do you a favor: I'll ignore the verbs (due to their very English conjugations). So let's take a look at the first couple of nouns: "Orthography" is form the Latin "ortographia", from the Greek "orth- + graphein". "Word" is from the Old High German "Wort". "Language" is from the Anglo-French "langage", from the Latin "lingua". "Point" is probably from the Latin "punctum". "Time" is from the Old Norse "timi". And "way" is from the Old High German "weg".

Don't get me wrong, I'm not arguing that the aforementioned words should be spelled differently. In fact, they are spelled exactly how they are spelled because most of the words are pronounced differently in English. Just like "stasjon" in Norwegian is not pronounced as "station" at all. And "sone" is not pronounced as "zone".

What I've just written is a fact. It is not my personal opinion. Also, thank you for the discussion -- I do not find this thread productive anymore.

User avatar
Woods
Posts: 275
Joined: 2007-11-14, 12:43
Gender: male
Location: София
Country: BG Bulgaria (България)

Re: Norwegian for speakers of Danish

Postby Woods » 2016-06-21, 8:22

Thank you for the facts especially and for replying to me. However, I think you’ve been a bit edgy and there’s been this sort of feeling all the way through (the other thread including). But it’s fine, I think we’re still getting along :)


Return to “Norwegian (Norsk)”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron