Danish, Druids and the Futhork

I’ve always been interested in the Scandinavian or North Germanic Languages, and so what better way to spend December than learning a little but about them (and maybe adding to Surface Languages in the process).

Germanic languages are traditionally divided into West (English, German, Dutch and Afrikaans), East (extinct) and North (Danish, Swedish and Norwegian).

My interest arose because of the Runic alphabet which we used when we were kids as a secret way of passing messages. At the time, I thought it was used by ‘druids’ and the like, and it was only as an adult that I realised that the Runic alphabet (Younger Futhork) was used in Denmark, Sweden and Norway for purposes ranging from magic (yah!) to commerce (sigh) to graffiti (woop).

The Younger Futhark evolved from the Elder Futhark itself descended from a Runic alphabet whose origins are lost in the mists of time.

The dialects of Denmark, Norway and Sweden form a dialect continuum and are mutually intelligible. So whay have I picked Danish for December and not Norwegian or Swedish? Norwegian would seem to be the natural choice as it is midway between the dialect continuum.

Well, I have two reasons, one rational and the other not particularly. The first and rational reason is that in a month I’m not going to learn to say very much, maybe a few words (and I’m very unlikely to need to ever speak Danish), but apparently Danish is the easiest of the three to learn to read. I’m always intrigued to see how much I can make out in different languages on the internet, and so hello Danish!

The second reason, is that a certain popular Danish ‘Police procedural’ has been very popular in the UK, and so this has (irrationally perhaps) piqued my interest in the language.

So there we have it.