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Encyclopedia > Differences between the Norwegian and Danish languages

Although Danish and Norwegian are very similar languages, there are more differences between them than a cursory examination would lead one to believe.


German influence

First of all, Danish has adopted many German words and some grammatical influences not so frequently used in Norwegian anymore. An example is names of countries.
Danish generally uses the German names of countries, or at least the German ending; this means that the usual ending is -a in Norwegian and -en or -et in Danish. The -en and -et endings are the definite articles. The Danish names are however often used in conservative Norwegian.

 English: Spain Danish: Spanien Norwegian: Spania 

Differences in pronunciation

The difference in pronunciation between Norwegian and Danish is much more striking than the difference between Norwegian and Swedish. Danish speakers generally do not understand Norwegian very well, especially varieties other than Riksmål/Bokmål. Some Norwegians also have problems understanding Danish, but according to a recent scientific investigation they are better at understanding Danish than the Danes are at understanding Norwegian. [1] (http://www.forskning.no/Artikler/2004/januar/1073896666.77) Pronunciation refers to: the way a word or a language is usually spoken; the manner in which someone utters a word. ... Norwegian is a Germanic language spoken in Norway. ... Norwegian is a Germanic language spoken in Norway. ...

The Danish pronunciation is softer and the letters d, r and g in particular are pronounced quite differently. (For example, the Danish g is pronounced as y or ou in Norwegian.

However, it should be noted that Danes and Norwegians with only a little training will fluently understand the other language. It is mostly a question of getting familiar with it.

Grammatical differences


The main difference in use of prepositions in the Danish and Norwegian language is the use of i/, (in English in/on. In many cases the rules are the same, but there are still many exceptions. For example if you were to say I'm going out (as in out to a bar or a disco) you would say in Norwegian Jeg går på byen (literally I go on the city) but in Danish you would say Jeg går i byen (literally I go in the city – in Norwegian, this sentence would mean I walk in the city, which it can mean in Danish, too). The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ...

Another difference is the use of the definite endings. In Danish, the definite ending is used similarly to the definite article in English, so that I love that man becomes Jeg elsker den mand. In Norwegian, the definite article is still used even if a specific example is already indicated with den (that): I love that man becomes Jeg elsker den mannen in Norwegian, literally I love that the man.

  Results from FactBites:
Danish language - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2405 words)
Danish also holds official status and is a mandatory subject in school in the former Danish colonies of Greenland and the Faroe Islands, that now enjoy limited autonomy.
Written Danish and Norwegian Bokmål are particularly close, though the phonology and prosody of all three languages differ somewhat.
Danish is the official language of Denmark, one of two official languages of Greenland (the other is Greenlandic), and one of two official languages of the Faeroes (the other is Faeroese).
Norwegian language (548 words)
Norwegian is a Germanic language spoken in Norway.
Norwegian is closely related to, and generally mutually intelligible with Swedish and Danish.
The Norwegian alphabet consists of 29 letters, the first 26 or which are the same as the alphabet used in English.
  More results at FactBites »



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