SamSkandinavisk Dictionary Reaches 1500 Words

After many hundreds of hours of toil, my SamSkandinavisk to English dictionary now has approximately 1500 words. And the English to Scandy dictionary has over 3000.

When I started work on SamSkandinavisk, I had come full circle in my Conlanging career; the first Conlang that I ever attempted (back in the 1980s) was a common Scandinavian language. I chose to work on SamSkandy because I am getting lazy and it looked like something potentially achievable. My other attempts at Pan-Germanic auxiliary languages have been very difficult. I think it just isn't possible to make a Pan-Germanic auxlang that is instantly intelligible to speakers of every Germlang. The best I hope for now is easily learn-able. But with the continental North Germanic languages, they are already partially mutually intelligible, so the point of the exercise with SamSkandinavisk is more to create a new,  neutral standard for inter-nordic communication. A fourth Scandinavian language if you will.

The design philosophy has been similar to that Interlingua. Irregular features that are not common to all 3 major Scandy tongues have not been included. But conversely, any feature that is common to all three is included regardless of whether it is irregular or difficult or not. This means that the grammar of SamSkandinavisk will, in theory, be simpler than the natural Scandy languages. But not by very much as it happens. Features that are common to all 3 tongues still let through some truly delightful irregularities.

Take for example the SamSkandinavisk adjective liten:
liten a. diminutive, little, small, fine, lower-case (letter), short, young.
Indefinite common singular = liten [ˈliːtən]; indefinite neuter = litet [ˈliːtət], definite singular = lille [ˈlɪlːə]; definite and indefinite plural = små [smɔː]; comparative = mindre [ˈmɪnː(d)rə]; superlative = minst [mɪnːst]

Complicated enough?

Or take the SamSkandinavisk noun mann:
mann nc. man, fellow, husband, male, person
[manː] indefinite plural = mænn [mɛnː]; definite plural = mænnene [ˈmɛnːənə].

Or the SamSkandinavisk verb ta:
ta vt. take, get, lay hold of, pick up, bring, catch, clear, have, occupy, remove, steal.
[taː] also tage [ˈtaː]. Class VI Strong verb: pt. tog [toːg] pp. taget [ˈtaːjət]

There is a fascinating sample of irregular and strong verbs, nouns that form plurals by umlaut, and more irregular adjectives. There is also still the common and neuter gender to learn.

The form of words is based not on the commonest form, but on the etymological prototype. That is, the form of a SamSkandy word will retain the most conservative or original features present in the 3 source languages. For example, the SamSkandy word høg (high) is based on Norwegian høy, Danish høj and Swedish hög. The choice of a final g is from the presence of the g in Swedish hög, this being the form that is closest to the ancestral form from which the 3 languages descended; Old Norse haugr.
Initially I started out basing the form of words on the commonest or the compromise form between Danish, Norwegian Bokmål and Swedish. But this was producing results that were very nearly always the same as Norwegian Bokmål. This was because Danish and BM are so similar in written form -- BM being almost a Norwegian variety of Danish. Choosing the prototyping method allowed Swedish forms to get more representation and make a language that is more conservatively "authentically" Scandinavian. Perhaps also bringing it's form fractionally closer to Nynorsk, Icelandic and Faeroese.

Anyway, this is the Conlang project that has been occupying the majority of my time over the last year. Links to the dictionaries are at the top of the "Useful Files" link list. I probably need to write a spelling/pronunciation guide to explain how words actually work.

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