Danish is part of the Germanic family of languages. During the eighth century, the common forms of Germanic language from Scandinavia and the language of Proto-Norse which had evolved into Old Norse began to develop new changes. These changes did not fully spread through Scandinavia which created two very similar dialects of Old Norse; Old West and Old East. Danish is descended from the Old East dialect.
This dialect which was common in Sweden and Denmark was almost the same until the twelfth century when they began to further develop into Swedish and Danish. During the Viking colonization of parts of England, the Old East form of Norse influenced aspects of the English language with many words deriving from Norse.
The first Danish printed book is dated in 1495 and the bible was completely translated into Danish and published in 1550. A great many authors have written in Danish including the children’s writer Hans Christian Anderson and philosopher of existential theory Soren Kierkegaard. During the twentieth century three Danish authors became laureates for the Nobel Prize in literature.