Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V24, Page 298 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SCANDINAVIAN DIALECTS.—As above remarked, the Scandinavian dialects are not grouped, so far as their relationship is concerned, Dialects. as might be expected judging from the literary languages. Leaving out of account the Icelandic dialects and those of the Faeroes, each of which constitutes a separate group, the remainder may be thus classified: I. West Norwegian Dialects—spoken on the western coast of Norway between Langesund and Molde. 2. North Scandinavian—the remaining Norwegian and the Swedish dialects of Uppland, Vastmanland, Dalarna, Norrland, Finland and Russia. 3. The dialects on the island of Gotland. 4. Middle Swedish—spoken in the rest of Sweden, except the southernmost parts (No. 5). 5. South Scandinavian—spoken in the greater part of Smaland and Halland, the whole of Skane, Blekinge and Denmark, and the • Danish-speaking part of Schleswig. This group is distinctly divided into three smaller groups—the dialects of southern Sweden (with the 1 See A. Western, " Kurze Darstellung des norwegischen Lautsystems " in Phonebische Studien II.; I. C. Poestion, Lehrbuck der norwegischen Sprache (2. Aufl., 1900).island of Bornholm), of the Danish islands and of Jutland (and Schleswig). The study of the Modern Scandinavian dialects 2 has been very unequally prosecuted. Hardly anything has been done towards the investigation of the Icelandic dialects, while those of the Faeroes have been studied chiefly by V. U. Hammershaimb, J. Jakobsen, and A. C. Evensen. The Norwegian dialects have been thoroughly examined, first by Aasen, whose works give a general account of them; then by J. Storm, who has displayed an unwearying activity, especially in the minute investigation of their phonetic constitution, to which Aasen had paid but . scant attention; in our own days by H. Ross and A. B. Larsen.' For the study of Danish dialects less has been done. Molbech''s Dialect-Lexicon of 1841 is very deficient. The Schleswig dialect has been admirably treated of by E. Hagerup (1854), K. J. Lyngby (1858) and others. H. F. Feilberg's great dictionary (1886 seq.) of the dialect of Jutland is in every respect an excellent work. A dialect map on a large scale, and containing the whole territory, is (since 1898) being edited by V. Bennike and M. Kristensen. Finally, several dialect monographs by P. K. Thorsen may be mentioned as being especially valuable. A phonetic alphabet for the purpose of dialectal investigations is worked out by 0. Jespersen and published in the journal Dania, vol. i. (189o). There is, however, no country in which the dialects have been and are studied with greater zeal and more fruitful results than in Sweden during the last hundred and'fifty years. Archbishop E. Benzelius the younger (d. 1743) made collections of dialect words, and on his work is based the dialectical dictionary of Ihre of 1766. An excellent work considering its age is S. Hof's Dialectus Vestrogothica (1772). The energy and zeal of C. Save (d. 1876; essays on the dialects of Gotland and Dalarna) inspired these studies with extra-ordinary animation at the middle of the 19th century; in 1867 J. E. Rietz (d. 1868) published a voluminous dialect dictionary; the number of special essays, too, increased yearly. From 1872 so-called " landsmalsforeniggar " (dialect societies) were founded among the students at the universities of Upsala, Lund and Helsingfors (thirteen at Upsala alone) for a systematic and thorough investigation of dialects. We find remarkable progress in scientific method—especially with regard to phonetics—in the constantly increasing literature; special mention may be made of the detailed descriptions of the dialects of Varmland, Gotland and Dalarna by A. Noreen (1877 seq.), A. F. Freudenthal's and H. Vendell's mono-graphs of the Finnish and Esthonian-Swedish dialects, as well as O. F Hultman's (1894) and B. Hesselman's (1902 seq.) excellent comparative treatment of certain dialect groups. Since 1879 the Swedish dialect societies have published a magazine on a comprehensive plan, De Svenska Landsmklen, edited by J. A. Lundell, who has invented for this purpose an excellent phonetic alphabet (partially based on C. J. Sundevall's work, Om phonetiska bokstafver, 1855). (A. No.)

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