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Norwegian vs Swedish

I would like to learn a Scandinavian language but I can't decide between danish Swedish or Norwegian. Does anyone have any advice?

Update - I decided to go with Norwegian (in case you can't tell by my level :) )

July 23, 2017


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I would say Norwegian. Because its written form is similar to Danish, so if you learn it, you will have some chance in reading Danish too (but not in hearing it). Danish has a complicated pronunciation, Swedish and Norwegian seem easier to pronounce.


Thanks - i did pick Norwegian


Welcome to the Norwegian tree! :)


Thank you ! How have you found it so far?


Oh, I think it's wonderful - but I might be a wee bit biased.


I would recommend Norwegian because it gives you the best platform should you want to continue to study the other two and it gives you the best idea of what the family of languages is like overall. Further, the Norwegian tree is the longest on Duolingo and gives you more of the language.

My personal favourite of the three is Danish.


I personally prefer Swedish.


Although I uprightly prefer learning Swedish, I'm suggesting you start with learning Norwegian. Its articulation is much similar to Swedish, but in written forms (as mentioned previously), it's very similar to Danish. It simply gives you the best start if you're planning to learn all three of the languages. The Norwegian tree will definitely cover much more material than the others, simply because it's a lot longer and has almost twice as many lessons contained in it. Whatever you choose, I hope you decide to stick with it!


Thanks for your insides about the Skandivanian languages. Have a lingot.

My personal goal (as German native) in my long-term language learning (3-5years++) process would be:

  • to get also some fundamentals about Danish (e.g kitesurfing in Denmark) firstly in reading/(writing)
  • to first learn a 4th/5th..language with easier hearing and sound of the melody of Swedish Co., just maybe something more pronunciation Portuguese BR / (French) "like" (can I even say it in that way???), as I am learning PT BR first
  • therefore to first learn a 4th/5th..language without "Kaugummi", "Potatoes", "verschluckte Buchstaben" as I heard it already about PT EU (Portugual) or Danish.
  • to get the max out with the 1st Scandinavian learned language :-)

In several threads and linked websites Swedish was suggested over Danish.
Therefore Swedish or Norwegian might be interesting in the start for me, after I have progressed with PT BR (and French).

In another thread there was somehow a link to a site which had listening examples of all three languages.

I pretty much like the sound and pronunciation of Portuguese Brazil; but I also like the sound of French :-)

For the moment I try to focus on countries where it is warmer in winter (Brazil/Columbia)....but of course I know that for Columbia learning Spanish in parallel would be probably just confusing me at this stage for my Portuguese (early) learning process....so I have to wait (a little bit or much) longer ;)

BTW: Who of you can give me maybe some insights (or linked articles) about:

  • the weather in summer and winter in Denmark (yes, I know: it's windy there in spring/summer/autumn), Sweden and Norwegian.....
  • not only just about temperatures.....
  • but also how many hours the sun is shining per day compared to Germany (south)?


The weather depends a lot on where in Scandinavia it is. I live in the rainiest area in Sweden. Many areas in Sweden struggle with lack of water and very dry areas. But not where I live. In Sweden it's rare it becomes hotter than 25C in the summer. In the winter it is common to be cold like - 10C. But far in the North it can become like colder than - 30C. The sunlight differ a lot in the area. In the summer it can become dark for 4h at the most where I live. In the area North of the polar circle it is sunlight 24/7 in the summer. But in the winter it is the opposite.


Here's a quick rundown of all the Scandinavian languages :

Norwegian : It's easily the easiest out of all of the Scandinavian languages.

Swedish : Similar to Norwegian, but you'll have to take pitch-accent into consideration.

Danish : It's like Norwegian but with much harder pronunciation, it feels as though you're only reading a half of each word most of the time.

Faroese : Imagine Norwegian, added with everything that makes German, English, and Danish hard. The complicated grammar, everything is quite irregular, and nothing is really pronounced how it's written.

Icelandic : I haven't looked into Icelandic so I don't have much to say. But I've heard that it's similar to Faroese.


Finnish has some loan words from Swedish and such but it is actually an uralic language


I thought Finnish was considered a Scandinavian language because Finland is a Scandinavian country ( although some beg to differ ). I knew Finnish was an Uralic language, but I thought "Scandinavian languages" referred to geographical location rather than if the languages where related or not. But I looked it up and found out I was wrong. I guess I'll remove the Finnish section from my post.


Actually Finland is not even considered as a Scandinavian country because it is outside of Scandinavian peninsula but a nordic country.


That's why I said "although some beg to differ". The Wikipedia article on Scandinavian countries states that Finland is sometimes included as a Scandinavian countries. Some may agree, while others not.

Apparently, same thing goes for Iceland and the Faroe islands. Some people don't consider them Scandinavian countries, since they are islands, and not actually directly attached to northern Europe.


Nice comment, but I found Swedish easier.


How is that?, I thought Swedish would be harder considering the "pitch-accent".


He or she may have only used DuoLingo for study of Swedish. That's much different than speaking with proper pitch accent in all cases. If you just ignore pronunciation, I don't imagine it's much different and would be based on personal preference


I don't look just pitch accent or phrase syntax, or some other detail when I known these languages, but I tried to have a global vision to understand the new language. Studying is a pleasure, the total learning is one consequence.


Not for me, this is just a detail....but it's my impression was that the Swede was easier, and that's all .:)


I did Swedish and Norwegian, I found the Swedish easier. I think to study Danish in the future, and Icelandic/or Finnish. Gode studier for deg :)


Thanks for the advice. You have so many 25's. How was your experience + are you going to do a new language?


My experience here is good (It was better at least until december/2016 with the end of immersion). At this moment I'm mastering that languages, I'm not learning a new language (yet...)


How did you get over 700,000 xp in one language?


With the immersion (old tool retired from the Duolingo). I was an uploader in the epoch.


Norwegian is the best and the easiest.


Norwegian is a great choice. Swedish will be easy to add in once you know some Norwegian. They are very very similar.


Thanks. Great tip!


As a Swede I think Norwegian might be the easiest Scandinavian language to learn if you're not Scandinavian.


This will then probably also apply for native Germans learning Norwegian followed by Swedish?: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/23659700$comment_id=23691541


I doubt. Swedish is the Scandinavian language that is most influenced by (Low) German. As a German speaker you will recognize more words in Swedish.



Unfortuantely, this fact is not that transparent in the shown German similarity table: http://how-to-learn-any-language.com/e/languages/similarities/german/index.html

So thanks for pointing this out!


You got an up-vote by me.

How about adding "Swedish vs Norwegian" to your subject "Scandinavian languages" of this thread?
If you do so, there is a high chance to be able to find this thread later on google by using the keywords "site:duolingo.com Norwegian vs Swedish".

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