We can make a statement for the sake of simplifying things but it may not be very close to the truth. For instance, saying that a lion is just a very big cat is true only in the sense that the two share DNA, but their lifestyle, habitat, and eating habits are completely different. A housecat will not try to eat you and there is a high chance that a cat in the wild won’t either, but we can’t say that about a lion. So, comparing the two and calling them the same is not beneficial when we are considering our options about how to treat a lion. Even a Siamese and Persian cat will have a lot of differences even if they can both be kept as pets.
But all that has never stopped us from trying to simplify things and group them together. It helps our learning process when we can relate things to each other and ignore their differences. It is in a way a basic human instinct to see the similarities. This is why when you see someone reading your favorite book, you will start a conversation with them, even if you two are nothing unlike. Although there is nothing wrong with seeing the similarities first, sometimes ignoring the differences can cost us. Understanding things does not have to end at grouping them with similar objects. A tomato may be a fruit, but you won’t put it in a fruit salad with apples and bananas.
Humans love their classification systems. But not all of them are based on the kind of similarities that are noticeable. Take languages for example, if two of them are in the same group doesn’t mean they will be mutually intelligible. Their similarities could very well be of the kind that can only be understood by linguists. Or maybe they are grouped together because they shared an ancestor. In any case, it doesn’t have to mean similarity that is noticeable by the speakers. So, when someone is trying to learn a language and they read online that it is closely related to another tongue, they shouldn’t expect to be able to understand the second one by learning the first one. This isn’t how it works in the world of languages. For instance, English and German are closely related but an English speaker can’t understand German and vice versa.
The similarities in vernaculars help when someone is trying to learn a new language. There are many similar words in English and Danish. So, if an English speaker is trying to learn Danish, it may not be as difficult for them as an Arabic speaker. Closely related languages share some vocabulary which help the learners a great deal.
Danish vs Swedish Language:
The world thinks of the Scandinavian country as one unit. They are all equally progressive, economically stable, and perfect welfare states. They offer plenty of opportunities to their citizens who offer civil liberties. The Scandinavian culture is also very fascinating. They value each other and feel connected to each other due to their shared history. Many people consider the Scandinavian countries as the ideal places to live and rightly so. There is nothing you can’t get by living in one of the Scandinavian countries. However, they love their culture and like people who accept their customs and values. So, someone trying to settle down in Sweden or Denmark should learn the native language and facilitate their adjustment. Otherwise, they will have to try hard to win a place in the hearts of the local population.
One mistake that many people make about the Scandinavian languages is thinking that they are the same. It is true that Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian are partially mutually intelligible but the three are not the same and have many differences between them. Danish is the one among the three that stands out because it has a difficult pronunciation and complex vocabulary. Swedish on the other hand is somewhat simpler and closer to Norwegian. One of the reasons why Danish is different is the German influence on it. As a result, the pronunciation of it changed a lot. There are way too many differences between the two linguistically that a normal speaker can’t even understand.
Some other differences originate from dialects. The more dialects you study, the more differences you will notice between Swedish and Danish. The Swedes think that Danes don’t enunciate their words which makes it difficult to understand them. So, if someone is speaking Danish slowly, a Swede will be able to pick it up. If a Swede listens to people speak Danish frequently, they will begin to understand it in a better way. Those who have never heard Swedish before will experience problems in understanding it. The written form of the two share a lot more similarities than the spoken version.
However, if someone learns Danish or Swedish, learning the other language will get easier. They can even learn Norwegian without too much difficulty. The Scandinavians turn to English to talk to each other when they don’t understand each other’s dialects or the listener is not experienced enough to understand the speaker. Between them, they make it work. Despite their many differences, the Scandinavians are still pretty close culturally. Even their values are the same. The result of their policies is proof that the whole world can learn a thing or two from Scandinavian countries.