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Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

How to Learn the Basic Word List      237
identical words in Swedish, Norwegian, and Danish is enormous Any-
one who can speak or read one of them can be intelligible to some one
who speaks either of the other two3 and can read all three with little
difficulty. The difficulty can be greatly reduced by a few hints about
the spelling conventions characteristic of each;, and the sound-shift
peculiar to Danish
Norwegian has two vowel symbols not in our alphabet It shares d
with Swedish (aa in Danish) and 0 with Danish (o in Swedish) The
Swedish a is written as e in Norwegian except before r, when it is <#, as
always in Danish The Swedish ju is always y in Danish and Norwegian
words The initial ho of Danish and Norwegian equivalents for English
words which begin with wh is replaced by v alone in Swedish The double
Danish or Norwegian kk, which shortens the preceding vowel, is written
as ck in Swedish The Swedish and Norwegian nn and // are replaced by
nd and Id in Danish In Danish and in Norwegian a soft Swedish gy pro-
nounced like our.y, is represented by gj The terminal vowel a of Swedish
words becomes e in Danish and Norwegian The most striking difference
of pronunciation reflected in spelling is the shift ftom a final voiceless
p, r, k in Swedish or Norwegian to the voiced equivalents &, d> g in
Danish, as illustrated by
ENGLISH                        SWEDISH                        DANISH
ship                      skepp                      Skib
foot                      fot                          Fod
speech                  sprak                       Sprog
The identity of some words is obscured by the spelling of prepositions
used as prefixes, e g Swedish upp for Danish op When due allow-
ance is made for all these differences of spelling or of pronunciation, it is
safe to say that ninety-five per cent of the words of a serviceable vocabu-
lary are either identical in any of the three Scandinavian dialects men-
tioned, or can be appropriately modified in accordance with the rules
above
Scandinavian symbols usually have the same values as those of
German m the preceding table. The notable Swedish exceptions are as
follows
(a) before front vowels (E, I, Y, A, 0), G softens to y as in yew,
e g get (goat), K becomes ch as in German ^ch> e g kara
(dear), SK becomes in as in ship (skepp},
(&) After L or R the final G is like y in bury, e g berg (mountain),
(c)   SJ, e g yu (seven), SKJ or STJ, e g. stjarna (star) is like th in sfop,
(d)  Before R, e g, flicker (girls) and in many monosyllables, e g stol
(chair), O is bke oo in good*
(e)  A is generally like oa m oar