Scholars: English Is a Scandinavian Language

Hagar the HorribleTwo linguists argue that modern English isn't really a West Germanic language, most similar to modern German, Dutch and Frisian, but a North Germanic language, such as Norwegian, Swedish and Danish:

Their research and conclusions are brand new and break with those of earlier linguistic professors who believe English is rooted in “Old English,” also known as the Anglo-Saxon language believed brought to the British Isles by settlers from northwestern and central Europe. Faarlund claims Scandinavians settled in the area long before French-speaking Normans conquered the British Isles in 1066.

Faarlund and Edmonds also contend that Old English and modern English are two very different languages. “We think Old English simply died out,” Faarlund told Apollon. “Instead, the Nordic language survived, strongly influenced by Old English.” [...]

Scandinavian settlers, Faarlund notes, gained control towards the end of the 9th century of an area known as Danelagen, which forms parts of Scotland and England today. Faarlund stressed that “an extremely important geographic point in our research” is that the East Midlands in England, where he says the modern English language developed, was part of the relatively densely populated southern portion of Danelagen.

Edmonds and Faarlund also contend that sentence structure in what developed into modern English is Scandinavian, not western Germanic as previously believed. Both today’s Scandinavian languages place the object after the verb, for example, unlike German and Dutch which place the verb at the end of a sentence. Possessive forms can also be the same in both the Scandinavian languages and English, which also can end sentences with a preposition and split infinitives. While that’s sometimes frowned upon in other variations of modern English such as American English, Faarlund argues it’s not possible in German, Dutch or Old English.

Link -via TYWKIWDBI | Image: Dik Browne


Newest 4
Newest 4 Comments

As a northern englishman, (Yorkshire), taking a job in Reykjavik, Iceland, in the early eighties, I was delighted to find that so many northern words, dismissed by my teachers as 'dialect' or 'slang', were in fact old norse, retained, unchanged, for a thousand years, never accepted as 'proper' english by southerners.

I don't agree with the premise that old english simply died out.
And if anybody wants a definitive tome on "Old English Deverbal Substantives, Derived by Means of a Zero Morpheme", just let me know.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
This interests me as I am currently learning Swedish and I have found it to be the easiest language I have ever tried: mainly down to the very similar grammar.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Intriguing yet unconvincing. There is no clear break between "old English" and middle English in the historical record. There are Scandinavian influences, yes, but if you look closely to the geolinguistic map of England, most Scandinavian influences are regional and are centered on areas with historically Nordic settlements. Yes, the Norsemen may have influenced the development of English, but to say that modern English is just Norse with some old English is bit of a stretch.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Commenting is closed.





Check out Twaggies' very funny clip:

Om Nom - Twaggies by Twaggies
Email This Post to a Friend
"Scholars: English Is a Scandinavian Language"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.

 

Success! Your email has been sent!

close window