Posts Tagged ‘language development’

Modern English derives from Scandinavian rather than from Old English

November 28, 2012

Linguists at the University of Oslo – Jan Terje Faarlund and  Joseph Emonds – believe they can prove that English is in reality a language  belonging to the Northern Germanic language group which includes Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, Icelandic and Faroese rather than deriving from Old English where Old English, in turn, was derived from the West Germanic language group brought into Britain by the Angles from Northern Germany and Saxons from Southern Jylland  in the fifth century.

I found learning Swedish from English a lot easier than learning German from English. The number of words similar to English in the other two languages are not so different. So I have always assumed that my ease of learning was due to the similarities of grammar and syntax between Swedish and English.  All the more understandable with this connection between English and old Scandinavian.

New linguistic research has concluded that residents of the British Isles didn’t just borrow words and expressions from Norwegian and Danish Vikings and their descendants. Rather, claim two professors now working in Oslo, the English language is in fact Scandinavian.

Jan Terje Faarlund, a professor of linguistics at the University of Oslo (UiO), told research magazine Apollon that new studies show English “as we know it today” to be a “direct descendant of the language Scandinavians used” after settling on the British Isles during and after the Viking Age. 

(more…)


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