Page:A simplified grammar of the Danish language.djvu/15

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modes of writing and spelling.

lost much of their old national character, while the current Danish form of speech supplanted more or less thoroughly the genuine Norse dialects, that had sprung up in the various provinces of Norway. For four hundred years the country remained under the rule of the kings of Denmark, and when, in 1814, this long protracted union was severed, and Norway was incorporated with Sweden into one joint realm, it possessed no cultivated native tongue, or literature, apart from Denmark.

The Dano-Norwegian language which was thus common to both Norwegians and Danes had, however, in the course of time become so deeply affected by Germanizing influences, that it had lost much of the special Scandinavian character, which could still be traced in Swedish, and in the various forms of the "Bondesprog" or peasant language of provincial Norway. Of this Danish and Norwegian scholars have long been sensible, and more than fifty years ago a scheme was propounded by the eminent philologist, Rasmus Husk, for the thorough reform of "Dansk-Norsk" (Dano-Norwegian). Rask's system included the adoption of the Latin characters, with the addition of the various marks and accents which the Swedes had long used to indicate special vernacular vowel-sounds, and other Northern modes of accentuation. Its most important feature was, however, its proposed rejection, as far as circumstances admitted, of all foreign elements, and its reversion to the Old Northern as the basis of grammatical construction and orthography. His suggestions found little favour at the time, but when the Linguistic Congress, which had been called together at the desire of the leading Scandinavian writers and printers, met at