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THE present work, in conformity with the plan of the series of which it forms a part, addresses itself principally to those, whose grammatical knowledge of other tongues, whether dead or living, enables them readily to master a new language, provided only that its essential and specific characteristics are clearly presented to them. In attempting to fulfil these requirements, we have endeavoured, as far as the limited dimensions of the volume permitted, to indicate the more important of the numerous points of affinity existing between modern Danish (Dano-Norwegian) and its old northern mother-tongue; and, among these, the origin and process of development of the Affix-Article have been more specially noticed, as bearing upon the most marked characteristic of the Scandinavian tongues.
The simple grammatical rules which are common to all cultivated languages have on the other hand been only very briefly touched upon.
It will be apparent, therefore, that the present little Grammar in no way aims at superseding more minutely and diffusely elaborated grammatical manuals; as little does it claim to be a sole and sufficient guide for young beginners, or for those, who have leisure and inclination to gauge their hold of each advancing step on their progress towards knowledge by the test of written exercises, and reiterated self-examination. For this our manual supplies at once too much and too little information.
In conclusion, we may further observe, however, that the object of the work will be doubly attained, if it succeed not merely in giving the English student a comprehensive view of the language spoken by Danes and Norwegians, but still more if it should be able to draw his attention to the numerous salient points of resemblance between his own mother-tongue and this kindred form of Gothic speech, which is known to us in modern times as Dansk-Norsk, or “Dano-Norwegian.”
E. C. OTTÉ.
MODES OF WRITING AND SPELLING DANH
AND NORWEGIAN (DANSK-NORSK).
THE ALPHABET, ETC.
UNTIL recently the Danes and Norwegians used no other characters in printing and writing but those known as the Gothic, or German. In the present day, however, the Latin Alphabet is being extensively employed by the best writers of Denmark and Norway, and a new and more rational system of spelling is gaining ground among the ablest cultivators of that special form of Northern speech known as Danish, or Dano-Norwegian (Dansk-Norsk). This compound term indicates the common use of this branch of Scandinavian by Danes and Norwegians, and in point of fact it has for centuries served both peoples as their common literary language, and mother-tongue, although each has spoken it with differences of accent, and each has preserved in its current speech modes of expression and construction peculiar to itself.
“ Dansk-Norsk" and "Svensk" (Swedish) are twin-sister
tongues, derived from the Old Northern branch of Gothic, used by the early Northmen, and still preserved almost unchanged by the natives of Iceland, who alone among Scandinavian peoples have adhered to the language of their ancestors as it was spoken a thousand years ago.
This indentity of language between cultivated Norwegians and Danes is due to political, rather than to racial causes ; for although all the Scandinavian peoples retained as late as the eleventh century a sufficiently accurate acquaintance with their common mother-tongue, the Old Northern, to be able to communicate freely together wherever they met in the course of their wanderings, they soon began to adopt special peculiarities of speech, although in unequal degrees. Thus the Swedes, who took less part than the other Northmen in foreign expeditions, and who by their geographical position were the least influenced by contact with other nations of Western Europe, have retained far more of the Old Northern character in their modes of speech than the Norsemen, or the Danes. In Norway the current speech of the nation at large would possibly have preserved as many traces of its origin, if the Norwegian kingdom had maintained, or recovered, its independence, as Sweden had done. But while the extinction of its native dynasty in the fourteenth century, led to its incorporation with the Danish kingdom, the almost complete extermination of the nobles, and leading free-men, during the sanguinary civil wars of the previous century, caused Norway to be early brought into a condition of dependence on Denmark, not warranted by the terms of its union with that kingdom. The result was that the people