As a Finnish-speaker learning Danish I have observed certain similarities, at least when compared to English. I am not discussing loan words (some of which exist through Swedish or English) or similarities in rules of grammar. I'd like to know if there exists a term for such similarities.


  • Finnish has words "leikkiä" and "pelata", Danish has "lege" and "spille", while the poor Englishmen play both a serious game and with toys.
  • In both Finnish and Danish if clock is half three, that means it is half an hour until clock is three (so the time is 2:30 or 14:30). In English, the clock would rather be half past two.
  • In Finnish, "asua" ja "elää" are different, as in Danish "bo" og "leve", while in English these are "live" and "live" (or the not-so-often used "reside" for the first one, I guess, but that is not to my knowledge so often used in speech).

These seem to be conceptual similarities between two languages, or maybe English is just weird. Is there a term for such similarities between languages?

  • It sounds like you are looking for a general term for the individual components that contribute to language similarity or language distance.
    – Tsundoku
    Commented Oct 27, 2017 at 13:34
  • 2
    As @ChristopheStrobbe stated above, I would think this question would be a better fit on Linguistics.SE. It seems more of a question about a linguistic concept than a language acquisition concept.
    – fi12
    Commented Oct 27, 2017 at 22:13

1 Answer 1


Convergent features in unrelated languages in contact like Danish and Finnish in the example given are an indication of a Sprachbund. However, I am not aware of a special term for features involved in a Sprachbund, they are just called features by anyone I know.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.