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The Languages of ScandinaviaSeven Sisters of the North$
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Ruth H. Sanders

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226493893

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226493923.001.0001

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East Is East

East Is East

Heralding the Birth of Danish and Swedish

(p.65) 3 East Is East
The Languages of Scandinavia

Ruth H. Sanders

University of Chicago Press

This chapter puts into the spotlight the historical moment when Danish and Swedish emerged from East Norse, and the background to that emergence, starting with the runes, also accounting briefly for development after that historical moment. Coalescence of the Danish and Swedish provincial realms into larger kingdoms that eventually led to post-medieval nation-states eventually made their two East Norse variants into Danish and Swedish, separate national languages; the Roman Church brought strong Latin influence to bear on the languages of the North; and the Hanseatic League’s lingua franca, Low German, provided mercantile vocabulary on a large scale to both Danish and Swedish. Mainland West Norse, left to its own devices during the twelfth century, followed a very different path before its emergence as Modern Norwegian.

Keywords:   Runes, Low German, Hanseatic League, Roman Christianity, Latin, Goths

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