Student or Learner
In the following sentence, what does it mean by barring unforseen catastrophes
German and Norwegian became different languages because the ancestors of the speakers of these two languages moved apart geographically and were no longer in touch and communicating with one another. In the modern world, barring unforseen catastrophes, this will not happen at least in the near future.
Barring here means "unless there are" (in the future)
Unforeseen means "things which can't be predicted" and would be surprising
Catastrophes are, as you probably know, things which are really bad!
To put this all together we have: "unless there occur unpredictable disasters." In this case, I suppose that would mean an earthquake that split Norway in half! In other words, these days everyone is bound together that is hard to imagine a culture being split into two language groups.
At least I think that is what the author is trying to say in this paragraph. But it is quite a mellifluous phrase, isn't it? We might say, "Barring unforeseen circumstances I shall arrive on the train to Seoul at 12:15." And that is just about the time it is where you are now, if I'm not mistaken.
Have a lovely afternoon.