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Discussion: SATW comic

in: Samantha

Jul 15, 2014 2:38 AM # 
I suspect you folks in Scandi-land have already found this comic, but if not, enjoy....

And...can anyone explain this one to me? I know Spanish and some French, but no Scandinavian languages (except for some words here and there).
Jul 15, 2014 9:36 AM # 
The text seems to be
"why do you have a fish on your head?"
"This way I have my hands free"
"You are dumb"
"to have a fish on your head makes as much sense as having a boat on your head"
"why would you want a boat on your head?"
"Hey boys. Must I also be with you?"
"Why do you have a city on your head, that has nothing to do with the ocean"
"Yes it does, it is a sunken city"
"Are you making fun of my hat?"
"No finland, you always think that everyone is picking on you"
"what is he saying?"
"I also have nice clothes, behold, demon mittens!"
"Stop, now you are being stupid"
"those are pretty"
"those are unhygienic"
"you are making fun of me"
Jul 15, 2014 11:11 AM # 
:-) ... and an explanation is that, just as in a real-life encounter between people from all these countries, it would be pretty silly to have each character speak in their own language.

Because I find this interesting and so I think others might too, here's how I think one would explain the Intelligibility to a Norwegian speaker of the other Nordic languages:

Swedish: understand most, but not without giggling occasionally at how silly it sounds

Danish: written is no problem (it is very similar to the most used of the two official written Norwegian languages); spoken is ok after a bit of acclimatization, especially if one imagines the speaker is speaking Norwegian while drunk and after being stung by wasps on the tongue

Icelandic: very litte. one can sometimes guess the subject matter if one pretends it is a Norwegian dialect from a very remote fjord

Finnish: hahaha, what a ridiculous language
Jul 15, 2014 12:50 PM # 
:-) Thanks. It's a cute webcomic.
Jul 15, 2014 4:38 PM # 
Nice :) And I think Cristina explained it well, except that I think Swedes understand basically no Danish, unlike the Norwegians who can get a little.
Jul 15, 2014 5:17 PM # 
I didn't realize until today that someone in the comments made an attempt to translate. Fun to have your perspectives, though.
Jul 20, 2014 10:14 PM # 
The actual historic/ancient Nordic language(s) would have been very similar to the Icelandic of today. Iceland has been isolated and less affected by other foreign languages and very much remains the same as in the Viking age.

Remote fjords in Norway or remote river valleys in Sweden are a bit similar - in some places they speak some unintelligible dialect that only the locals can understand. I even heard of an occasion where an old lady from one of these remote Swedish valleys ended up in hospital - and the only one that could understand her was an Icelandic doctor...

Norwegian, Swedish and Danish are essentially the same - with a number of words being different but the general meaning of the written language being similar. The difficulty lies in getting your ears and brain accustomed to the guttural sounds or the special 'song' of another language when spoken. Takes maybe a couple of days in the right surroundings but it´s doable...

I actually find it as hard to understand one of my colleagues speaking perfectly correct English but with a very heavy French accent...

This discussion thread is closed.