Is Norwegian the easiest for an EN native speaker?

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Is Norwegian the easiest for an EN native speaker?

Postby PeterMollenburg » Wed Jun 08, 2016 4:32 pm

Okay Esperanto aside. Does anyone agree with the author of this article (below) that Norwegian is the easiest language for native English speakers to learn?

http://www.pagef30.com/2008/08/why-norwegian-is-easiest-language-for.html?m=1
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Re: Is NOrwegian the easiest for an EN native speaker?

Postby Henkkles » Wed Jun 08, 2016 4:47 pm

Claims of this kind can never be proved by any means other than anecdotal evidence. People also mix effort with difficulty, for example even if something takes longer to complete it doesn't mean that it is by that virtue also more difficult.

Norwegian is no doubt very similar to English but I'm not so certain about using the superlative there.
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Re: Is NOrwegian the easiest for an EN native speaker?

Postby tarvos » Wed Jun 08, 2016 5:34 pm

No. You can never really make these kinds of comparisons.

For me the easiest language was Swedish, but that's not saying much as I haven't studied Norwegian in so much detail and I learned Romanian quite fast too.
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Re: Is NOrwegian the easiest for an EN native speaker?

Postby Finny » Wed Jun 08, 2016 5:50 pm

Nah. Plenty of varieties of English could be classified as separate languages if their speakers had enough political power.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_d ... h_language
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Re: Is NOrwegian the easiest for an EN native speaker?

Postby reineke » Wed Jun 08, 2016 6:14 pm

PeterMollenburg wrote:Okay esperanto aside. Does anyone agree with the author of this article (below) that Norwegian is the easiest language for native English speakers to learn?


"Every battle is won or lost before it's ever fought."

West Frisian and Low German could also contend for this title of the easiest language etc. Norwegian and Afrikaans are Category I languages just like French. FSI people didn't feel the need to create a separate category for these languages. I'd say if one is overly concerned with this, then the battle is indeed lost before it has been fought.
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Re: Is Norwegian the easiest for an EN native speaker?

Postby jeff_lindqvist » Wed Jun 08, 2016 6:27 pm

My usual response is that Swedish is probably equally easy - both languages have the concept of pitch accent, grammatical gender, dialects/regional accents, and A LOT OF vocabulary in common. Norwegian is a slightly better bridge language if you want to read Danish, but neither No nor Sv sounds like spoken Danish.
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Re: Is Norwegian the easiest for an EN native speaker?

Postby vogeltje » Wed Jun 08, 2016 7:27 pm

I agree with reineke about Frisian, Platt and Afrikaans. also Dutch must be very easy for English speakers.
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Re: Is Norwegian the easiest for an EN native speaker?

Postby daegga » Wed Jun 08, 2016 8:28 pm

To learn to what level? Norwegian is easy in the sense that you get to a functional command of the language quite rapidly, but it seems comparatively hard to get native-like competency in it.
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Re: Is Norwegian the easiest for an EN native speaker?

Postby Kazumi » Wed Jun 08, 2016 10:24 pm

We can’t make such claims.

It’s best to be wary of statements like ‘[fill in the blank] is the easiest for an English or [fill in the blank] native speaker’.

First, many things will lead to invalidate such comparisons and claims. The linguistic perception varies from person to person. We also should take into consideration that previous languages you know, prior contact with a or the country where your target language is spoken, motivation and many other things should weigh differently for each individual.

Second, both Danish and Swedish have all reduced person agreement to the same level as Norwegian, not to mention that all of the other grammar points the author brings up for why it is easy are also true for Danish and Swedish.

There is a space for discussions on lexicon, phonology, syntax and morphology (doing a rough comparison), but still, it won’t be fairly good enough to make such claims.

Third, Scots language is the closest relative to English. There is sociolinguistic continuum between Scottish English and Scots language, and therefore many of its speakers simply don’t think that they speak a language separate from English, though they do speak a different language. It might be a good candidate here for any rough comparisons and claims...In addition, I should mention that after Scots, the closest related language is Frisian. The author did not compare both languages on his analysis as well.

Lastly, I didn't like how he put Dutch there. I will stop here before I start bashing him for some of his comparisons...
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Re: Is Norwegian the easiest for an EN native speaker?

Postby kunsttyv » Wed Jun 08, 2016 10:36 pm

I also have the impression that Norwegian is one of the easiest languages out there, especially for English speakers and even more so for German and Dutch speakers. My colleagues are from many corners of the world, they all speak Norwegian at a high level, and most of them seem to agree that learning Norwegian was a pretty manageable task. The two Germans are indistinguishable from native Norwegian speakers. I didn't know they weren't Norwegian until they told me.

Many of them say that understanding the wide variety of different dialects you will encounter when living in the cities was the most challenging task. Not too surprising, considering that many Norwegians have some trouble with the same thing (especially speakers of the standard Oslo dialect, or at least that's one of the prejudices against the Oslo folks (I'm one of them)).
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