Language, education , Scandinavian

Scandinavian languages

Scandinavian languages

Scandinavian languages, also called North Germanic languages, group of Germanic languages consisting of modern standard Danish, Swedish, Norwegian (Dano-Norwegian and New Norwegian), Icelandic, and Faroese. These languages are usually divided into East Scandinavian (Danish and Swedish) and West Scandinavian (Norwegian, Icelandic, and Faroese) groups. 

History of Old Scandinavian 

Runes - mysterious symbols traced back centuries, to a time when brave warriors and wise shamans carved them onto wooden or metal objects. These inscriptions were used as personal markers of ownership and even contained magical properties; some memorialized the dead while others provided insight into an ancient language related to Germanic tribes across Europe dating from 200-600 AD. Now, these enigmatic runes are found on artifacts like Denmark's Gallehus Horns featuring words such as Ek Hlewagastiz Holtijaz horna tawido: 'I made this horn'. Through their secrets we can unlock new understanding about our past.

Although only 300 words of the ancient language have been retained, Proto-Scandinavian is believed to represent a stage in Germanic linguistics prior to the divergence between North and West Germanic languages. From Old Norse roots such as *Hlégestr, *táða,*Høltir & horn emerged proto versions Hlewagastiz , tawido Holtijaz and horna - preserving unstressed vowels that couldn't be found later in modern dialects like Scandinavian or English. With so little evidence available it's impossible for researchers to discern its exact relationship but they're certainly sure one thing: this unusual tongue dates back centuries.

The emergence of Old Scandinavian, 600–1500 

During the Viking Age (c. 750-1050), Scandinavian language spread across Europe and beyond as Nordic peoples expanded their influence - from Iceland to France in Normandy, England, Russia, Ireland and Scotland. An abundance of runic inscriptions left behind allow us a glimpse into Old Scandinavian speech which can still be found today on the Faroe Islands and Iceland; all other territories formerly spoken by Scandinavians have since been lost through absorption or extinction of its speakers over time. 

The Viking Age saw a period of extensive communication and unity among Scandinavians, who treated their shared language as one. However, differences in dialect between the western Scandinavian area (Norway and its colonies) and eastern Scandinavian nations like Denmark 

and Sweden gradually emerged over time - most notably an alteration from diphthongization to monophthongization for certain words such as "steinn" which became "stēn", or “lauss” which transformed into “løs". This shift was not present on Gotland Island nor within much of North Sweden .

The advent of Christianity 

The establishment of the Roman Catholic church during the 10th and 11th centuries had considerable linguistic significance. It helped to consolidate the existing kingdoms, brought the North into the sphere of classical and medieval European culture, and introduced the writing on parchment of Latin letters. Runic writing continued in use for epigraphic purposes and for general information (several thousand inscriptions are extant, from 11th-century Sweden, especially, and also all the way from Russia to Greenland). For more sustained literary efforts, the Latin alphabet was used—at first only for Latin writings but soon for native writings as well. The oldest preserved manuscripts date from approximately 1150 in Norway and Iceland and approximately 1250 in Denmark and Sweden. The first important works to be written down were the previously oral laws; these were followed by translations of Latin and French works, among them sermons, saints’ legends, epics, and romances. Some of these may have stimulated the extraordinary flowering of native literature, especially in Iceland. One can hardly speak of distinct languages in this period, although it is customary to distinguish Old Icelandic, Old Norwegian, Old Swedish, Old Danish, and Old Gutnish (or Guthnic, spoken in Gotland) on the basis of quite minor differences in the writing traditions. Some of these were merely scribal habits resulting from local usage, but others did reflect the growing separation of the kingdoms and the centralization within each. Literary Old Icelandic is often presented in a normalized textbook form and (together with Old Norwegian) is referred to as Old Norse.