Beginning of the End

“As a speaker of a small language, it can be alarming to hear the rapidly increasing influx of new words from a dominant force. Back in 2000, linguistics researcher Sylfest Lomheim caused upheaval by claiming the Norwegian language wouldn’t survive the next century. Is this the beginning of the end?” On the Anglicization of Norwegian.

is an intern for The Millions. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in BOMB, Ploughshares online, Music & Literature, Words Without Borders, and elsewhere. She is currently the assistant fiction editor for Washington Square Review. She tweets at @bdantaslobato.

One comment:

  1. Old English isn’t recognizable to most modern speakers. Heck, I once saw a girl post in Yahoo! Answers asking where she could find a video copy of a Charles Dickens novel because she couldn’t understand such “old” English. And that’s only a little over a century of linguistic evolution! Yet ,despite people like her, a lot of English speakers can still enjoy Robert Burns (even if they’re not a teensey bit Scottish) and William Shakespeare (who is a good deal older than Charles Dickens).

    Point being: maybe day-to-day Norwegian will sound more Anglican. helpful in a “global village.” keep a good literary tradition and “classic” Norwegian will still be there.

    Oh, and if it helps, the native Menominee language nearly went extinct in the mid-20th Century, with only two native speakers left. It’s now rebounded and probably has a few thousand speakers. How many Norwegian speakers are there?

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