Norwegian is the best language, yo

August 14th, 2008

Quick, what's the most important quality a foreign language can have? If you said "easy to use" you'd be right. All other concerns are trumped, because other values of a language can never be appreciated unless you can learn it first. And apparently Norwegian ranks first on ease of learning for speakers of English (fun to know ). The ranking is of course highly unofficial, but what the heck.

Exhibit A:

Scandinavian verbs have some of the easiest conjugation you can find in Europe. Present tense is made by adding an -r to the verb, regardless of who's doing it. That gives us:

ha - to have

jeg har - I have
du har - you have
han har - he has
vi har - we have

Such simplicity is brilliant (and unheard of).

The full rationale is here. A few selected gems follow.

Norwegians understand 88% of the spoken swedish language
understand 73% of the spoken danish language

Swedes understand 48% of the spoken norwegian language
understand 23% of the spoken danish language

Danes understand 69% of the spoken norwegian language
understand 43% of the spoken swedish language

Norwegians understand 89% of the written swedish language
understand 93% of the written danish language

Swedes understand 86% of the written norwegian language
understand 69% of the written danish language

Danes understand 89% of the written norwegian language
understand 69% of the written swedish language.

Hah, suckers! More succinctly:

"Norwegian is Danish spoken in Swedish"

Norwegian + phonology - vocabulary = swedish

Norwegian - phonology + vocabulary = danish

:: random entries in this category ::

6 Responses to "Norwegian is the best language, yo"

  1. erik says:

    I generally shrug at this sort of thing. So it's relatively easy for a native Englishman to learn Norwegian or Dutch, only to find a grand total of 3 people speak those languages and they speak English as well anyway

  2. aron says:

    Quite interesting!
    Even though it makes us swedes look daft =).
    Norwegian is supposed to be really easy to learn to spell as well. I don't remember where I read that....

  3. Boyo says:

    So if a pirate goes to Norway and says 'hardy har har', people will think he's just a guy with a stutter trying to say 'I have...'

  4. numerodix says:

    'hardy' would actually translate to "har De" = do you have, except with the formal pronoun De ('u' in Dutch). But then the sentence doesn't complete in a meaningful way

  5. Jorgan says:

    I agree, for foreigners norwegian pronunciation could be a little bit hard, but still, this language has its own beauty.

  6. Fei says:

    And here I was, advertising Norwegian to be one of the more difficult languages to understand...! Honestly, I think one of the more difficult aspects of Norwegian is how it almost is sung, all the random ups and downs (which makes perfect sense if you're native, but is understandably confusing if you're learning) and nevermind Oslo-norwegian which is spoken/slanged so fast that it takes half the time of a spoken English sentence to say the same in Norwegian!