Is Swedish more conservative than Danish and Norwegians?


I have read somewhere that Swedish is more conservative than the other continental North Germanic languages, Norwegian and Danish. Clearly Icelandic is more conservative then these all. But is the claim concerning the continental languages correct and why is it so?

I could imagine listing a bunch of features of each language. Nynorsk (and to lesser extent Bokmål) has three genders, Swedish has common gender nouns with varying vocal in plurals (-or, -ar and -er) while the others are less varied, Norwegian has genitive forms like «katten min», etc.

However, such an ad hoc listing seems a poor way of coming to a conclusion. A more rigorous standard for establishing how conservative these languages are would be helpful.

Why should this post be closed?


It's going to end up rather subjective to attempt an answer of this, I think. Some words in modern Norwegian sound like old fashioned Swedish to Swedes and vice versa. "Spørga" for example has the direct Swedish equivalent "spörja", meaning exactly the same thing, except this is archaic Swedish that isn't used any longer (replaced by "fråga"), while modern Danish/Norwegian use it. ‭Lundin‭ 29 days ago

I found lots of interesting reading on the subject at Wikipedia: There seem to be no historical claims that any of the languages are somehow more "progressive"/"conservative" than the others. ‭Lundin‭ 29 days ago

I agree with the existing comments, partly because languages are complex systems and it's quite subjective to choose between syntax, morphology, phonology, lexicon, and so on. Further complicating dimensions of comparison are media (spoken/written), genres, styles, registers as those can greatly differ in conservativity, too. However, if you'd be interested in a feeble, lexicon oriented attempt at an answer, let me know. ‭Jirka Hanika‭ 6 days ago

@Jirka Hanika There is no answer thus far, so please give it a shot. ‭tommi‭ 3 days ago

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