Scandinavia and the World

Comments #9859303:


Here's a thought 19 6, 1:24am


That's the thing: it doesn't "always" mean that; it depends on the situation, who's talking to whom, and so on.

One side-effect of being geographically isolated for the vast majority of their history is their language is very contextual.
You know how you're chatting with your family in front of strangers and you can make little in-jokes and references that only other members of your family really get? Expand that concept out to an entire language system built over a couple thousand years.

English, on the other hand, evolved out of a sort of trade-pidgin tongue used in the ports between traders from different countries, which is why it's such a mish-mash of words and grammar rules from a dozen different languages. Very direct, very literal, at least when compared to other languages (especially after the upper classes started using it to write poetry and plays, long after it ceased to be just a trade tongue).
Japanese is almost the extreme in the other direction.