Cloth $35.00 ISBN: 9780226493893 Published November 2017
E-book $35.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226493923 Will Publish November 2017 Also Available From
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The Languages of Scandinavia

Seven Sisters of the North

Ruth H. Sanders

The Languages of Scandinavia

Ruth H. Sanders

224 pages | 6 halftones, 3 line drawings, 4 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2017
Cloth $35.00 ISBN: 9780226493893 Published November 2017
E-book $35.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226493923 Will Publish November 2017
From fjords to mountains, schools of herring to herds of reindeer, Scandinavia is rich in astonishing natural beauty. Less well known, however, is that it is also rich in languages. Home to seven languages, Scandinavia has traditionally been understood as linguistically bifurcated between its five Germanic languages (Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Icelandic, and Faroese) and its two Finno-Ugric ones (Finnish and Sámi). In The Languages of Scandinavia, Ruth H. Sanders takes a pioneering approach: she considers these Seven Sisters of the North together.

While the two linguistic families that comprise Scandinavia’s languages ultimately have differing origins, the Seven Sisters have coexisted side by side for millennia. As Sanders reveals, a crisscrossing of names, territories, and even to some extent language genetics—intimate language contact—has created a body of shared culture, experience, and linguistic influences that is illuminated when the story of these seven languages is told as one. Exploring everything from the famed whalebone Lewis Chessmen of Norse origin to the interactions between the Black Death and the Norwegian language, The Languages of Scandinavia offers profound insight into languages with a cultural impact deep-rooted and far-reaching, from the Icelandic sagas to Swedish writer Stieg Larsson’s internationally popular Millennium trilogy. Sanders’s book is both an accessible work of linguistic scholarship and a fascinating intellectual history of language.
Review Quotes
Verena Höfig, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
“This book focuses on contacts, colonialism, conflicts and causes of friction, and the resulting language developments from a macro perspective, investigating the Scandinavian languages from the point of view of their contacts rather than as static entities. This makes for a refreshing and pleasant read. It furthermore supplies a well-written introduction to the phonology, orthography, grammar, and linguistic varieties of each of the seven languages. It is especially laudable that Sámi and Faroese are included here, and that all ‘seven sisters’ appear on an equal footing. An extremely valuable and long-overdue overview of all the major languages spoken in Scandinavia.”
Economist, on Sanders's "German: Biography of a Language"
“Languages are constantly in flux, but it takes a rather long view to show just what a contingent and transitory thing a language can be at any point in time. Sanders takes just such a view. . . . Her biography ranges widely over not just linguistics, but also over archaeology and genetic history to tell the story of these prolific Indo-Europeans and their languages . . . . It is an ingenious telling of just how German emerged from the primordial Germanic soup, and how many other ways it could have been. . . . This is an enjoyable yet still-scholarly read for the historian, linguist, and Germanophile alike. It would be a fine thing to have more such brief histories, made easily readable to the non-specialist, of the major world languages.”
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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