Merging the Scandinavian languages into one

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Merging the Scandinavian languages into one

Postby Epp » Mon 01 Jun 2009 3:21 pm

Do any of you know where to find good grammars (online) for these languages, especially strong verb conjugation?

I'm sure I'm not the only one who has had this idea. The Scandinavian languages are so similar that I like to think about them as dialects of the same language. So why shouldn't it be possible to merge them into one? It's only a matter of standardization, shouldn't be that hard. So I started:

Writing and pronunciation

* Spelling would not be 100% phonetic, but once you know the rules, you would know how to pronounce and write every word.

* Dansih/Norwegian <æ> and <ø> instead of Swedish <ä> and <ö>

* Swedish and Norwegian double consonants (<takk> instead of <tak>)

* <c>, <q>, <w>, <x> and <z> not used, even in loan words (<komp(j)uter> instead of <computer>, <kvasi> instead of <quasi>, <eksamen> instead of <examen>)

* There would be one "standard" pronunciation, but many accepted unofficial ones, depending on your native language/dialect (<jeg> could be (not IPA, but you get the point) /jæj/, /eg/, /je/, /jag/, /æ/, etc.)

* I never settled on <ei> vs. <e> (<bein> vs. <ben) and <au> vs. <ø> (<draum(m)e vs. drøm(m)e). I could write them as diphthongs and allow alternative pronunciations, but then I would have to name the articles <ein> and <eit> and use <heite> instead of <hete>, which is very nynorsk-favoring. If not writing them as diphthongs, some words would be weird for Danes and Norwegians, e.g. <rese> instead of <reise>. It would also make it less similar to German. (Don't know whether that's a good or a bad thing.)

* I also thought about using accents. <o> can be both /u:/ and /o/ and <u> can be both /ʉ:/ and /u/; the short pronunciations are used when followed by double-consonant. I could either make this completely regular (<tror>, <trudde>) or mark the exceptions with an accent (either <tror>, <tródde>) (both pronunced /tru:r/ and /trude/). I found the latter one more aesthetically pleasing, but accents are easier to forget.



I settled on two genders; common and neuter.

c1: en dag - dagen - dager - dagene
c1*: en fot - foten - føt(t)er - føt(t)ene
c2: en ting - tingen - ting - tingene
c2*: en mann - mannen - menn - mennene
n1: et eple - eplet - epler - eplene
n2: et hus - huset - hus - husene

* means ablaut

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c1: -en -er -ene
c2: -en -Ø  -ene
n1: -et -er -ene
n2: -et -Ø  -ene


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Common: -Ø
Neuter: -t
Plural/definite: -e
Comparative: -ere
Superlative indef: -est
Superlative def: -este

Should be pretty straightforward. Adjectives ending in -er, -el and -en are slightly different:

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Common: vakker
Neuter: vakkert
Plural/definite: vakre
Comparative: vakrere
Superlative indef: vakrest
Superlative def: vakreste
Superlative indef: vakrest


I divided verbs into four classes:
v1: root ending in two consonants, of which the first is neither a nasal nor a liquid (kaste)
v2a: root ending in a voiced consonant or a liquid/nasal and a voiced consonant (leve)
v2a: root ending in an unvoiced consonant or a liquid/nasal and an unvoiced consonant (tenke)
v3: root ending in a stressed vowel (bo)
v4: strong and irregular verbs (drikke)

The first three are conjugated like this:

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Inf. Pres. Past. Perf.
v1: -e -er -ede -et
v2a: -e -er -de -d
v2b: -e -er -te -t
v3: -Ø -r -dde -dd

When I came to the strong verbs, I pretty much gave up. I tried creating logical sub-groups for them. I compared to this.
The Old Norse 2nd group is realized like this in the Scandinavian languages/dialects:

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Bokmål, Danish, Swedish:
3 sg. pres. - 3 sg. past - 3 pl. past
skyte - skjøt - har skutt/skutit

Some dialects:
3 sg. pres. - 3 sg. past - 3 sg. past. subj.
skyte - skjøt - har skyti

3 sg. pres. - 3 sg. past. - past participle
skyte - skaut - har skote

So, I should obviously go for the first one, even though Nynorsk is the most logical one. Well, it's not that easy; there are some weird overlaps:

The word "fly/flyga/flyve/" is one of them:

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fly(ve) - fløy/fjøj - fløyet


flyga - flög - flugit


Code: Select all


flyte/flyde - fløt/flød - flytt/flydt


flyta - flöt - flutit

And many others. Swedish seems to be the more consequent of the three, but "flugit" and "flutit" sound really weird to Norwegian/Danish ears. Moreover, to keep regularity, it would have to be "fluget" and "flutet", which is even stranger.
I also studied this, but there were no Danish/Norwegian/Swedish examples, so I couldn't decide how to logically apply these groups without having any weird exceptions (except for the modal verbs, maybe, which would be an own group).

It kinda ends there. If I find any good grammar guides or something, I might continue this project. I would also have to divide the irregular nouns and adjectives into groups, so that one can logically decline 99% (or something) of all words when knowing which group they belong to. I might also have to balance it a bit - as it looks know, it's too similar to Danish/Norwegian. If I find a logical way to do this, I might add some -ar (and similar) endings to make it more Swedish/Nynorsk. I guess this could be added to the 1st verb group and maybe to some noun and adjective declensions. On the other hand, it's much easier with only -er.

I have many other ideas too, but it's too much work to write it all down ...
But, but; it's not only-only, you know!

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Re: Merging the Scandinavian languages into one

Postby Jayan » Mon 01 Jun 2009 10:49 pm

Interesting idea. I might be paranoid, but I am sensing a Norwegian bias in the "commonized" forms. Is that just because Danish underwent far more sound changes than the others, or is it your Norwegian tilting the balance?

Also, perhaps it is not a good idea to have such a wide variety of acceptable pronunciations. Maybe restrict it to just a few with one standard one?

Unfortunately, I know of no grammars that fit what you're looking for. I'll "keep my eyes peeled" though. :)
Native/Fluent: English (on a good day :P)
Pursuing fluency: Dansk
Entertaining self with: 日本語
Up next: русский язык
Eventually: Gaeilge|Deutsch|Kiswahili|Suomi

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Re: Merging the Scandinavian languages into one

Postby Epp » Tue 02 Jun 2009 1:55 am

Jayan wrote:Interesting idea. I might be paranoid, but I am sensing a Norwegian bias in the "commonized" forms. Is that just because Danish underwent far more sound changes than the others, or is it your Norwegian tilting the balance?
Swedish grammar is slightly more complex than Norwegian and Danish. Just take the plurals: -er, -ar, -or -n and more in Swedish. In Norwegian (Bokmål), almost all nouns take either -er or change vowel. In Danish there is also the -e ending (and maybe more). For the sake of simplicity, it is therefore bond to look a bit more Norwegian. I'm probably influenced by my native language too, even though I try to avoid it. If I continue this project, I'll look deeper into the grammars and make sure I'm not favoring any of the languages (too much :P).
The pronunciation would be based more on Norwegian and Swedish, so Danish sound changes (at least those who don't show up in its written form) would not be considered. I know you like Danish pronunciation, but seriously, it is the odd one out :lol:
But, but; it's not only-only, you know!

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Re: Merging the Scandinavian languages into one

Postby StorSteg » Mon 27 Jul 2009 9:42 pm

That's a genius idea, although I do like Swedish more. To my ears it sounds prettier, and it's easier to read than Norwegian and Danish. But you're right about the complexity of Swedish being greater than that of Danish and Norwegian.

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