Map of the European Migration of Languages

Just a quick note about this nice language migration map found on reddit lingustics (reddit amazing) at this website

Imagine a world where the greatest technological achievement is the wheel? Mental.  Its why I love playing Civ 5 so much, getting a tiny sense of those times.

Early around 1000 BC we have Proto Germanic developing in Denmark, which will eventually invade the British Isles twice - Old Norse and the Northmen who settle in France, Normans.  Any concept of nationality is ridiculous, we are all from everywhere else within a 2000 mile radius.

Looking at my locales, we can see Brythonic starting around 400 AD, which turned into what we now know as Britons, Cornish and Welsh, which then got over-washed with the Saxons and Old Norse, which then got over-washed with the Normans giving us the mongrel English language today.

Doesn't help

I wish this helped a bit with learning Danish, but where I often trip up is where its too close but different - for instance using går ("to walk") interchanged with "go". 

But there are a lot of Danish grammar rules that are similar to English, something which I guess wouldn't even be close to applying for languages such as Chinese. 

The most alien Danish grammar wise to be is putting the word "the" at the end of a noun - "huset" meaning "the house" with et = the and hus = house, and even that doesn't apply to Jutland, the closest part of Denmark to Britain.

Learning another language definitely makes you think more about your own, which is worthwhile. And as they say, each language you learn is like having another soul :D Mine is slowly being built.

EDIT 4th Feb, 2014

Alun who comments below has often recommended this Danish Red Book for those English learning Danish, as its written for English people in particular, highlighting where the two languages differ.


2 responses
You know, "at gå" functions in the same way as "to go" in certain senses. "Det går fint" can be translated as "it's going fine" (which it is). And the connections between Danish and English sometimes run deep, where on the surface a connection is not immediately apparent. My favourite of these is the Danish "hærværk" meaning "vandalism, destruction". Derive the word: hær = army, værk = work, and one is reminded of Shakespeare's Antony: 'Shall in these confines with a monarch’s voice Cry “Havoc!” and let slip the dogs of war,' And what is pillage by an army if it is not havoc, vandalism, destruction? Havoc is, indeed, the work of armies. Havoc is generally not allowed in British towns due to strict by-laws. Which, by the way, are laws which apply to a "town" or "by" in Danish. Although at yuletide (jul + tid) havoc can become a dominant feature. And if you do your Christmas shopping late, and you can't find any turkeys, you can have "steak" for Christmas dinner. Be sure to fry or "stege" it well. Of course, most of this is common-origin stuff, rather than words porting directly from Danish to English of vice versa. But it really helps to see these common roots, because not only do they fix words from your new language in the existing web of connections, they help us appreciate the subterranean interconnectedness of our histories. We are like people treading water in a flooded cave, thinking that all we see is all there is. But when learn to duck under and emerge in a different air pocket, we see a different world, but recognise it as the same. The shapes are crazy at first; how can you make sense of this insane new world? Until you see that the whole thing is really quite similar. Similar material, similar water. Similar words, similar grammar. And when you duck back under, you see the old shapes with a clearer eye. You can see which things betray an underlying structure, and which are mere accidents of history. In relation to your "soul" comment, it might even be argued that you don't get a soul at all until you speak a second language. That is, if an essential part of the soul is the ability to step clean out of your own cave and look critically back towards it: "And would some Power the small gift give us To see ourselves as others see us! It would from many a blunder free us" Robert Burns, To A Louse
Nice comments Alun! What was the link to the red dansk-English grammar book again? I resolve to improve a bit more this spring.