Why learn Norwegian before Danish & Swedish?

by Thomas Corcoran

First of all, I should say that I’m an English guy who for the first 16 years of lifecouldn’t speak a second language. I really wanted to learn a language, and I felt useless not being able to, so I decided to learn Norwegian to fluency.

I think that if you’re interested in Scandinavia, and want to learn one of the three Scandinavian languages (Danish, Norwegian, & Swedish) I would strongly suggest that you learn Norwegian first of all! 

Why? Well, Norwegian, as far as language is concerned, is a good middle-ground between Danish and Swedish. I, as an average person can easily understand 90% of spoken Swedish, and maybe 50% of Spoken Danish. I can read almost all Swedish & Danish, and I think anyone who learns Norwegian will be able to do the same, just as Norwegians already do.

You should realise that Norwegian, Swedish, & Danish are incredibly similar. So similar, that the Scandinavians can easily speak to one another using their own languages. Even though there are definite and obvious differences to someone like myself, who speaks Norwegian – Swedish sounds very similar to Norwegian. Danish sounds quite different to Norwegian & Swedish, however many of the words are the almost same, but just pronounced differently.

So, just to recap, Norwegian is very close to Danish in written form, where as Norwegian is closer to Swedish in pronunciation – so Norwegian can be used as a useful stepping stone to either language.

I am not saying that starting out in one of the other two languages is a bad idea – please, learn the language you wish to learn! HOWEVER… I am not the only one who believes that it might not be quite as easy to understand quite as much of the other two languages, or it might take you slightly more time! (Learn Swedish & Danish if you wish, they are great languages too!)

Thanks for reading, everyone, and learn languages! (: