English is a Scandinavian language?

Hewitt, Stephen s.hewitt at UNESCO.ORG
Fri Nov 30 09:29:44 UTC 2012

While the article is somewhat extreme (English, from Middle English on is descended from Scandinavian rather than the West Germanic Old English), the basic point about syntax needs to be taken seriously. Middle English was strongly V2. On the other hand, the Old English heritage cannot be dismissed out of hand. I have always thought that Middle English was heavily creolized between Old English, Scandinavian and Old French; the Scandinavian element, apart from the obvious lexical contribution, has been excessively minimized. This short newpaper article serves as a healthy corrective by encouraging historical linguists to take greater account of the Scandinavian syntactic contribution. One would hope to see Terje Faarlund write more extensively about this in academic fora.

Steve Hewitt

Steve Hewitt, Editor of Records/Éditeur des Actes
GBS, Bur. C-028
7 place de Fontenoy
75352 PARIS 07 SP
s.hewitt at unesco.org
+33/-0 work
+33/-0 mobile
+33/-0 home

-----Original Message-----
From: Discussion List for ALT [mailto:LINGTYP at LISTSERV.LINGUISTLIST.ORG] On Behalf Of Martin Kümmel
Sent: 30 November 2012 09:56
Subject: AW: English is a Scandinavian language?

Dear colleague,

I'm not sure whether that topic should be discussed on LINGTYP.
I have seen that posted on facebook several times. The reaction of historical linguistis (including my own) was very critical, to say the least. The approach as given in these media articles obviously has no clear definition of language relationship and does not discuss most crucial points, e.g., the fact that the larger part of the English basic vocabulary and grammatical elements must be derived from OE and not from Scandinavian, or the very interesting syntactic difference that (mainland) Scandinavian is
V2 while English isn't.
However, we should wait for a proper scientific publication.


Martin Kümmel

-----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
Von: Discussion List for ALT [mailto:LINGTYP at LISTSERV.LINGUISTLIST.ORG]
Gesendet: Freitag, 30. November 2012 09:18
Betreff: English is a Scandinavian language?

Dear colleagues,

I would like to ask you if anyone has heard of this, and if there have been any reactions:



Giorgio F. Arcodia

Dr. Giorgio Francesco Arcodia
Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca Dipartimento di Scienze Umane per la Formazione Edificio U6 - stanza 4101 Piazza dell'Ateneo Nuovo, 1
20126 Milano

Tel.: (+39) 02 6448 4946
Fax: (+39) 02 6448 4863
E-mail: giorgio.arcodia at unimib.it
WORLD AIDS DAY 2012 http://www.unesco.org/new/en/unesco/events/prizes-and-celebrations/celebrations/international-days/World-AIDS-Day/

Getting to Zero – Starting with Education
Objectif Zéro – Commençons par l’éducation

More information about the Lingtyp mailing list