Daily Archives: August 22, 2023

Dutch = German = English = Danish = Norwegian = Swedish?

King Ming Lam: Dutch & German dialogue that sounds like English. (YouTube, 20:37min)

“Germanic languages share a common ancestor and are closely related. Normally, most of them are different enough that they’re not mutually intelligible. But is it possible to construct “universal” dialogues of Germanic languages that can be mutually understood by various Germanic languages? In this video I constructed an example. You will hear what it sounds like in various Germanic languages, not just in mainstream Germanic languages, but also in lesser known languages like Frisian and Low German. And what would it sound like in their common ancestor language Proto-Germanic? I shall answer that question and also provide a brief historical and linguistic overview of Germanic languages.”

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I speak German, English and Plattdeutsch (version of Low German), and this was fascinating to listen to. I’ve been thinking about the similarities between the languages for a long time, but I didn’t think it was possible to construct sentences that were intelligible in all three languages.