German correct grammar is definately more complicted than the Scandinavian grammars. The Scandinavian grammars sort nouns in genuses, masculine, feminine, and neutral, and use grammar rules accordingly.
But unlike German, the Scandinavian languages has no mechanism to indicate dative, accusative and the likes. There are still traces of such forms, at least in certain Norwegian dialects, but the main languages have long since lost them.
Sure. Language equals expression. Different languages invite different expressions. I can write phrases in both Norwegian and English I would never dream of saying orally (I am talking about *phrasing*, not contents), simply because written and spoken languages are different.
If you have seen the movie "lock, stock and two smoking barrels" you know what I mean. The dialogue in that film might look good in text, but just sounds awkward, construed and stylized in the flesh.
I would have guessed "Katze" =3D "cat". In that case, "katzenjammer" means something like "squealing sounds made by cats".
But I have got burned on etymological speculations in the past.
Translations can be much harder when the phrase is from literature. Referring again to the Moscow-Washington Hot Line article I've been reading, they used "Horses, people" from Lermontov's poem "Borodino" (a Napoleonic battle) to describe a chaotic political situation. Luckily it was only a training exercise, that one confounded the translators for a while.
The call sign of one of the Soviets in the KAL007 incident was "Trikotazh" To me it suggests the French word for knitting, or perhaps his home-made sweater. I asked an Air Force Russian translator about it and he was stumped.
Lermontov was originally Learmont, a Scottish refugee from some political mishmash.
Yikes! I'm 60 freakin' years old, and I swear, as Goddess is my witness, that this is the first time in my life I realized that this refers to a gun! All my life, I've assumed that it had something to do with shipping, meaning "a full load of cargo."
"Stock" - well, compare "stockroom", and "barrel", well, that's a container with staves, used for shipping all manner of stuff. The "Lock" part, I simply assumed was something I didn't know about, maybe the padlock on a treasure chest or something.
Finnish is a totally different beast from the germanic (or old Viking) languages: The only living language resembling Finnish so far that I can guess about half of it is Estonian. Hungarian is a distant relative: from a distance it sounds familiar, but I cannot catch a word. The whole group of Fenno-Ugrian languages should have gone the way of dinosaurs aeons ago. Maybe the rescue has been the remote location we are in, similarly as the original Viking language is deep-frozen in Icelandic.
For me, with Swedish as second native language, Norwegian sounds like funny Swedish, but Danish pronounciation is impossible, though written Danish can be understood with some guesswork (or a dictionary).
How about Sami? For somebody who knows neither Finnish or Sami, the two have certain 'acoustic' characteristics in common, but that might just be a coincidence?
*Formal* Norwegian (highly influenced by the dialects in the south-east central area, near Oslo) sounds like Donald Duck on helium. People with that kind of native dialect would struggle very hard to be taken seriously while speaking any non-native language.
My native dialect seems to be a somewhat better staring point for speaking English, and particularly Italian.
Danes speak as if they have a boiling hot potato in their mouth. And no, that's only half a joke: It seems that Danish kids are among the slowest to learn their native language, lagging developments of other native languages by maybe as much as 50% (Danish kids meet linguistic expectations for 2-year-olds at age 3).
That was intentional in that particular movie, and even as a native English speaker I had to have a lot of it explained to me by some British friends. Many of the jokes and the verbal nuances in that movie had to do with the plays on Cockney rhyming slang. It's a much deeper and interesting movie when you're aware of that, and I think much of it still went over my head.
I am sure it was intentional. Still, I think its dialog was a very good example on the difference between written and spoken language. The non-cockney English came across as very formalistic and stylized etc. The cockneys I have worked with, talked nowhere near the dialog of that movie.
I've seen the movie a couple of times, but with Norwegian subtitles. I must admit that with the subtitles, my attention to the spoken dialog is not quite as high as it might have been.
Those are the two *written* forms of Norwegian: Bokm=E5l (litteraly "the language of/from the books") was based on the Danish written language established by the Danish government during the "400-year night", when Norway was a subsidiary to the Danish crown between ~1380 and 1814. The civil servants had all been trained in Denmark, and wrote Danish fluently, so the obvious thing to do was to keep business as usual.
Since then the 'official' written Norwegian language was dominated by the heritage from the Danish civil service. To this day, some 200 years later, it is very little difference between written Norwegian Bokm=E5l and written Danish. A non-native speaker of both the two languages would need to know what to look for, to see the difference.
However, bokm=E5l is strictly a written language. Some people *claim* to speak bokm=E5l, but in reality only speaks a normalized dialect that is the closest to the written language, but still far enough away that they are two different forms.
In the nationalromantic era that followed the 1814 emancipation from the Danes there was a movement to establish a home-grown Norwegian written language, to replace the heritage from the Danes.
The idea was to compensate for the Danish influence, represented by the civil service and the urban establishment, by basing the new written language on the rural spoken dialects. Unfortunately, there was an over-compensation, in that the person in charge, Ivar Aasen, went to the furthest, most remote valleys he could possibly reach with 1820-30s communications.
So he ended up doubly alienating his intended audience, partially by using the most obscure rural non-Danish forms he could possibly find; partially by restricting his data to the areas near the south-east central, leaving a lot of the more remote areas, particularly around the coast, uncatered for.
Lots of people who might have been positive to the efforts were alienated by this over-compensation, leaving the population in two entrenched camps, fiercly disagreeing with each other. After a lot of hubbub, this written language has now become what is known as "nynorsk", "New Norwegian".
Repercussions of the ancient battles are stil raging, as kids think nynorsk (which in these days is based on an average of the spoken Norwegian dialects) is "grautm=E5l", "porrage language", while they at the same time are battling with the not at all insignificant (well, all out irrational) quirks, twists and turns associated with making an artifical written language match up with their spoken languages.
As for myself, I speak a normalized (probably more so than I am aware) form of a northern dialect, that matches quite nicely with the present norm of nynorsk. (Not that it matters: I still write bokm=E5l, as does some 80-90% of the population.) My dialect is non-typical Norwegian in that the 'melody' (prosidy?) matches quite well with both English (well, at least compared to most Norwegian dialects).
Many years ago I stayed a few months in Italy, with another Norwegian who spoke one of the dominant Norwegian dialects. People who heard us talk among ourselfs could not understand how we could possibly be talking the same language. During that stay I learned that the melody/prosidy my non-normalized Norwegian dialect is particularly well matched up with the Italian langauge.