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https://www.duolingo.com/Katzenperson

Confusing Norwegian with Swedish

Katzenperson
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Hallo. I am studying both Swedish and Norwegian. I thought this would make it easier to learn both, because they are so similar. I have found, however, that I frequently confuse them … because they are so similar!

I understand the Scandivanian languages are mutually intelligible, but of course the Norwegians and the Swedes keep their own languages straight, I'm sure!

Does anyone have an tips/idea/thoughts on how to keep them separate. I am afraid I have been neglecting Norwegian for Swedish because of this issue, and I would like to resume my Norwegian study, without ending up with my own hybrid language. :-D

Takk!

P.S. I guess it is not possible to learn Swedish from Norwegian, nor Norwegian from Swedish thru Duolingo's courses. Too bad! If it were, I am sure I could better keep them straight! ;-)

1 year ago

10 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Bocajmil
Bocajmil
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I have exactly the same problem as you. My combination is German and Norwegian. Sometimes I say of German words in Norwegian and vice versa. Even though German and Norwegian are quite far apart and are different part of the Germanic branch, there are many similarities. I was thinking of learning Dutch but decided not to because it'd have the same problems. I think you should pick one and be really in one of the languages then move on to another later especially if they are in the same language family.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Krtonnesen

Interestingly, it's easier for a Norwegian person to understand Swedish and Danish, than it is for Danes or Swedes to understand the other Scandinavian languages. If I remember correctly, it might be connected to Norway having been under both Denmark and Sweden at separate points in time, which had an influence on the way Norwegian is written and spoken today. My point is that Bocajmil has a point in saying you might want to focus on one of two languages when they're similar, so that you're better equipped to distinguish the other one when you change your focus. And seeing as Norwegians have an easier time understanding other Scandinavian languages, I'd recommend focusing on Norwegian.

But I'm a Norwegian, so maybe I'm biased and you shouldn't trust me.

And judging from your language levels, I'm guessing that you're just getting started. It's hard to give good and broad guidelines for how to separate the languages at that level, aside from saying that Norwegian uses Æ and Ø, while Swedish uses Ä and Ö. Naturally there are loads of differences, perhaps most noticeable in spelling (Norwegian "jeg" vs. Swedish "jag"), but you'll work that out as you go along.

If you want to read some more about the differences between the Scandinavian languages, I can point you to some helpful sites here and here, and this might also be interesting.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Monika462979
Monika462979
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I agree with you Krtonnesen. Katzenperson: If you learn either Swedish or Norwegian you can speak to many people i Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland, but not everyone. And the same if you learn Swedish, it may be easier for finnish people to understand Swedish, I don't know.

I can read Norwegian and Danish, it is not so difficult. But understand spoken Danish is not easy, at least not for me who lives in the northern part of Sweden. But I don't speak English with them! With Norwegian I have not so many problems to understand the spoken language. And I answer with my Swedish and get understood.

If you only want to be able to speak with the people, it doesn't matter if you use both Swedish and Norwegian at the same time.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Nod84
Nod84
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"A language is a dialect with an army and navy" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_language_is_a_dialect_with_an_army_and_navy So, if the 3 main Nordic countries (Sweden, Norway, Denmark) were just 1 country today, then I'm pretty sure there would be just only 1 Nordic language with 3 main regional dialects such as: 1. the Swedish dialect of the Nordic language, 2. the Norwegian dialect of the Nordic language, and 3. the Danish dialect of the Nordic language. Actually, that happened 620 years ago, when Denmark, Sweden and Norway were ruled together under the "Kalmar Union", established in 1397 (and ended in 1523). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalmar_Union The Kalmar Union used Middle Danish, Old Swedish, Middle Norwegian. But all these languages were all derivatives of Old Norse and they were mutually intelligible, and the same applies today, with their successor dialects.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Krtonnesen

Kudos to you for a nice and informative comment!

It could be worth mentioning that what they still speak on Iceland is a lot closer to Old Norse than Norwegian, Swedish or Danish. And that personally, as a Norwegian, I barely understand any Old Norse (or Icelandic, for that matter's sake).

Even though it seems to be meant as sort of a joke, I feel like the definition of a language as a "dialect with an army and a navy" quickly becomes problematic when you go to Spain, where as far as I know, they count Castellano and Catalan as different languages (?), and when you take into the account the simply massive amount of variations in Norwegian dialects - it feels far more diverse than English dialects in the former countries of the British Empire, which are spread all around the globe.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DanielFuller

Not sure I'd agree on Norwegian dialects being more diverse than British. Certainly outside of Britain most people are only exposed to a sort of received pronunciation type English but within the British Isles the diversity is massive. From Yorkshire to Lancashire to Cumbria to Cornwall, not forgetting the numerous Scots dialects of course.

I'd say the main difference is that Norwegians seem to be much more proud of their dialects and speak freely in them without any worries. In Britain people often attempt to lose their dialects due to stigma surrounding them.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/RichieGonveda
RichieGonveda
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In the case of Castellano (or Español/Spanish as also is know like that) and Catalan, they are different languages, both are Romance Languages, but in a different branch of it, as Catalan is a Gallo-Romance language (closer to Occitan and to some degree French) while Castillian is a Ibero-Romance Language (Closer to Portuguese, Galician, Asturian, and such) however, there is a little degree of mutual intelligibility, because the phonology is very similar, but when it is written you can notice that is closer to Occitan and French, at least to me, I am a speaker of Spanish, and I want to learn Catalan, and I know about the language (also because my aunt lived in Barcelona for 5 years, and she says the same what I said)

Norwegian and Swedish are way more similar than Spanish and Catalan :)

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Veli-Pekka10

I am (or have been) having the same problem. As a Finn I have had to learn Swedish at school, and Norwegian many times is so close that I might mix up some spellings, but the more Norwegian I learn, the more I get a feel for it and the more it gets separated from Swedish. I would imagine that it would be kind of problematic to learn them at the same time, which is why I haven't polished my rusty Swedish in Duolingo nor have I started to learn Danish.

But, I am going through the German tree at the same time with the Norwegian tree and have also been mixing words between those two, especially in the beginning. Then I made a conscious decision that I don't do lessons back to back for two languages and have at least a couple of hours of rest for my brain between lessons from two different languages, which might help when you don't have to switch your context very fast.

The grammar is pretty similar in Swedish and Norwegian, so in a sense they might even support each other, once your brain gets wired to note the differences.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/knudvaneeden
knudvaneeden
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Mixing similar information (e.g. words) in natural languages is quite normal and probably difficult to avoid. The Swedes might say you speak with a Norwegian accent. And the Norwegians might say you speak with a Swedish accent.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/IsakNygren1
IsakNygren1
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Don't worry if you mix up. There are some dialects in Sweden and probably in Norway too that sounds like a mix between these two languages. People will still understand you. The biggest differences is the spelling.

1 year ago