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Encyclopedia > Norwegian Bokmål
Norwegian (norsk)
Spoken in: Norway
Total speakers: 5 million
Ranking: Not in top 100
Genetic
classification:
Indo-European

 Germanic
  North Germanic (from Old Norse)
   East (Continental) Nordic
    Bokmål and Riksmål
   West (Insular) Nordic
    Nynorsk
The Kingdom of Norway is a Nordic country on the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, bordering Sweden, Finland and Russia, with territorial waters bordering Danish and British waters. ... This page attempts to present a list of languages by total native speakers. ... Human Language Families Most languages are known to belong to language families (families hereforth). ... Human Language Families Most languages are known to belong to language families (families hereforth). ... Proto-Indo-European Indo-European studies The Indo-European languages include some 443 (SIL estimate) languages and dialects spoken by about three billion people, including most of the major language families of Europe and western Asia, which belong to a single superfamily. ... Proto-Indo-European Indo-European studies The Germanic languages form one of the branches of the Indo-European (IE) language family, spoken by the Germanic peoples who settled in northern Europe along the borders of the Roman Empire. ... A North Germanic language is any of several Germanic languages spoken in Scandinavia, parts of Finland and on the islands west of Scandinavia. ... Old Norse or Danish tongue is the Germanic language once spoken by the inhabitants of the Nordic countries (for instance during the Viking Age). ...

Official status
Official language of: Norway (Bokmål and Nynorsk)
Regulated by: Bokmål and Nynorsk: Norsk språkråd
(Norwegian Language Council)

Riksmål: Norwegian Academy
The Kingdom of Norway is a Nordic country on the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, bordering Sweden, Finland and Russia, with territorial waters bordering Danish and British waters. ... The Norwegian Academy for Language and Literature (Det Norske Akademi for Sprog og Litteratur) was founded in 1953 by several notable Norwegian authors and poets, among them Arnulf Øverland, Sigurd Hoel, A. H. Winsnes, Cora Sandel and Francis Bull, who disagreed with the official language policy aiming to merge the...

Language codes
ISO 639-1 no (Norwegian)
nb (Bokmål)
nn (Nynorsk)
ISO 639-2(B) nor (Norwegian)
nob (Bokmål)
nno (Nynorsk)
SIL NRR (Bokmål)
NRN (Nynorsk)

Norwegian is a Germanic language spoken in Norway. Norwegian is closely related to, and generally mutually intelligible with Swedish and Danish. Together with these two languages, Norwegian belongs to the Northern, or Scandinavian group of the Germanic languages. Proficient speakers of any of the three languages can understand the others. ISO 639 is one of several international standards that lists short codes for language names. ... SIL International is a non-profit, faith-based, scientific organization with the main purpose to study, develop and document lesser-known languages for the purpose of expanding linguistic knowledge, promoting world literacy and aiding minority language development. ... Proto-Indo-European Indo-European studies The Germanic languages form one of the branches of the Indo-European (IE) language family, spoken by the Germanic peoples who settled in northern Europe along the borders of the Roman Empire. ... The Kingdom of Norway is a Nordic country on the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, bordering Sweden, Finland and Russia, with territorial waters bordering Danish and British waters. ... Swedish (svenska  listen?) is a Scandinavian language language spoken predominantly in Sweden, Finland and Åland by over 8 million native speakers. ... Danish is one of the Scandinavian languages, a sub-group of the Germanic group of the Indo-European language family. ... A North Germanic language is any of several Germanic languages spoken in Scandinavia, parts of Finland and on the islands west of Scandinavia. ... Scandinavia is the cultural and historic region of the Scandinavian Peninsula. ...


Owing to Norway's mountainous geography, there is considerable diversity in vocabulary, grammar, and syntax among Norwegian dialects. For centuries, Norway's written language was closely related to Danish. As a result, the development of written Norwegian has been subject to strong controversy related to nationalism, rural versus urban discourse, and Norway's literary history. A vocabulary is a set of words known to a person or other entity, or that are part of a specific language. ... This article is about grammar from a linguistic perspective. ... In linguistics, syntax is the study of the rules, or patterned relations, that govern the way the words in a sentence come together. ... Norwegian spoken dialects are not to be confused with Bokmål and Nynorsk, the two official written variants of the Norwegian language. ... Danish is one of the Scandinavian languages, a sub-group of the Germanic group of the Indo-European language family. ... Nationalism is an ideology that creates and sustains a nation as a concept of a common identity for groups of humans. ...


As established by law and governmental policy, there are currently two official forms of written Norwegian — Bokmål (literally "book language") and Nynorsk (literally "new Norwegian"). The Norwegian Language Council recommends the terms Norwegian Bokmål and Norwegian Nynorsk in English, but others may prefer using different terms (e.g. Dano-Norwegian and New-Norwegian). Norsk språkråd (The Norwegian Language Council) is the Norwegian governments advisory body in matters pertaining to the Norwegian language and language planning. ...


The language question in Norway is subject to much controversy. Though not reflective of the political landscape in general, written Norwegian is often described as a spectrum ranging from the conservative to the radical. The current forms of Bokmål and Nynorsk are considered moderate forms of conservative and radical versions of written Norwegian, respectively.


The unofficial but widely used written form known as Riksmål is considered more conservative than Bokmål, and the unofficial Høgnorsk more conservative than Nynorsk. Although Norwegians are educated in both Bokmål and Nynorsk, around 86-90% use Bokmål or Riksmål as their daily written language, and 10%-12% use Nynorsk as theirs. This even though most of the spoken dialects resemble Nynorsk more closely than Bokmål. Broadly speaking, Bokmål and Riksmål are more commonly seen in urban and suburban areas; Nynorsk in rural areas, particularly in Western Norway. The Norwegian broadcasting corporation (NRK) broadcasts in both Bokmål and Nynorsk, and all governmental agencies are required to support both written languages. Bokmål or Riksmål are used in 92 % of all written publications, Nynorsk in 8 % (2000). 17 % of children in primary school learn Nynorsk as their primary language. Norsk Rikskringkasting (NRK) - the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation - is the Norwegian state-owned radio and television public broadcasting company. ...


In spite of concern that Norwegian dialects would eventually give way to a common spoken Norwegian language close to Bokmål, dialects find significant support in local environments, popular opinion, and public policy.

Contents

Alphabet

The Norwegian alphabet consists of 29 letters, the first 26 of which are the same as the Latin alphabet used in English. The three last letters are Æ, Ø and Å. In addition to the 29 official letters, there are several diacritical signs in use (somewhat more in Nynorsk than Bokmål): á à é è ó ò ô. The diacritical signs are not compulsory, but may in a few cases distinguish between different meanings of the word, e.g.: for (for/to), fór (went), fòr (furrow) and fôr (fodder). The Danish and Norwegian alphabet consists of 29 letters: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z, Æ, Ø, Å The letter Å was introduced in Norwegian in 1917, replacing Aa. Similarly... The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most widely used alphabetic writing system in the world, the standard script of the English language and most of the languages of western and central Europe, and of those areas settled by Europeans. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... Æ æ For the article on Æ, the Irish writer, see: George William Russell Æ, or æ, is a vowel and a grapheme used in the Icelandic, Danish, Faroese, and Norwegian alphabets. ... Ø ø Ø, ø is a vowel and a letter used in the Danish, Faroese and Norwegian alphabets. ... Å, or å, is a letter, representing a vowel, in the Swedish, Finnish, Danish, Norwegian, Walloon and Chamorro alphabets. ...


Roots of the language

The languages now spoken in Scandinavia developed from the Old Norse language, which did not differ greatly between what are now Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish areas. In fact, Viking traders spread the language across Europe and into Russia, making Old Norse one of the most widespread languages for a time. According to tradition, King Harald Fairhair united Norway in 872. Around this time, a simple runic alphabet was used. According to writings found on stone tablets from this period of history, the language showed remarkably little deviation between different regions. Runes had been in limited use since at least the 3rd century. Around 1030, Christianity came to Norway, bringing with it the Latin alphabet. Norwegian manuscripts in the new alphabet began to appear about a century later. The Norwegian language began to deviate from its neighbors around this time as well. Old Norse or Danish tongue is the Germanic language once spoken by the inhabitants of the Nordic countries (for instance during the Viking Age). ... Viking (disambiguation). ... World map showing location of Europe A satellite composite image of Europe Europe is geologically and geographically a peninsula, forming the westernmost part of Eurasia. ... Harald I (b. ... Events Battle of Hafrsfjord in Norway, Harald Finehair first king of Norway. ... Technical note: Due to technical limitations, some web browsers may not display some special characters in this article. ... (2nd century - 3rd century - 4th century - other centuries) Events The Sassanid dynasty of Persia launches a war to reconquer lost lands in the Roman east. ... Events Battle of Stiklestad ensures the Christianization of Norway. ... The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most widely used alphabetic writing system in the world, the standard script of the English language and most of the languages of western and central Europe, and of those areas settled by Europeans. ...


Viking explorers had begun to settle Iceland in the 9th century, carrying with them the Old Norse language. Over time, Old Norse developed into "Western" and "Eastern" variants. Western Norse covered Iceland and Norway, while Eastern Norse developed in Denmark and Sweden. The languages of Iceland and Norway remained very similar until about the year 1300, when they became what are now known as Old Icelandic and Old Norse. In 1397, Norway entered a personal union with Denmark, which came to be the dominating part, and Danish was eventually used as Norway's written language. Danish, a language since mediaeval times mostly influenced by Low Saxon, came to be the primary language of the Norwegian elite, although adoption was slower among the commoners. The union lasted more than 400 years, until 1814 when Norway became independent of Denmark, but was forced to enter a personal union with Sweden. Norwegians began to push for true independence by embracing democracy and attempting to enforce the constitutional declaration of being a sovereign state. Part of this nationalist movement was directed to the development of an independent Norwegian language. Two major paths were available: modify the elite's Danish, or attempt to undo centuries of foreign rule and work with the commoners' Norwegian. Both approaches were attempted. Iceland (disambiguation). ... ( 8th century - 9th century - 10th century - other centuries) Events Beowulf might have been written down in this century, though it could also have been in the 8th century Reign of Charlemagne, and concurrent (and controversially labeled) Carolingian Renaissance in western Europe Viking attacks on Europe begin Oseberg ship burial The... Denmark (disambiguation). ... Events Beginning of the Renaissance. ... The Old Icelandic language was the most prominent of the Old Norse languages. ... Old Norse or Danish tongue is the Germanic language once spoken by the inhabitants of the Nordic countries (for instance during the Viking Age). ... Events February 10 - John Beaufort becomes Earl of Somerset. ... A personal union consists of two or more entities that are internationally considered separate states, only sharing the same Head of State (and thence also sharing whatever political actions are vested in the Head of State, but no, or at least extremely few, others). ... Low Saxon (in Low Saxon, Nedersaksisch, Neddersassisch, Plattdüütsch or Nedderdüütsch) is any of a variety of Low German dialects spoken in northern Germany and the Netherlands. ... 1814 was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ... This article deals with democracy in its modern sense. ...


From Danish to Norwegian

In the 1840s, many writers began to "Norwegianize" Danish by incorporating words that were descriptive of Norwegian scenery and folk life. Spelling and grammar were also modified. This was adopted by the Norwegian parliament as Riksmål, or "Standard Language" in 1899. Events and Trends First signing of the Treaty of Waitangi (Te Tiriti o Waitangi) on February 6, 1840 at Waitangi New Zealand. ... 1899 was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ...


However, a nationalistic movement strove for the development of a new written Norwegian. Ivar Aasen, a self-taught linguist, began his work to create a new Norwegian language at the age of 22. He travelled around the country, comparing the dialects in different regions, and examined the development of Icelandic, which had largely escaped the influences Norwegian had come under. He called his work, which was published in several books from 1848 to 1873, Landsmål, or "National Language". Ivar Andreas Aasen (August 5, 1813 - September 23, 1896) was a Norwegian philologist and lexicographer. ... Icelandic (íslenska) is a North Germanic language spoken in Iceland. ... 1848 is a leap year starting on Saturday (link will take you to calendar). ... 1873 was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ...


After the personal union with Sweden was dissolved, both languages were developed further. Riksmål was in 1929 officially renamed Bokmål (literally "Book language"), and Landsmål to Nynorsk (literally "New Norwegian") — the names Dano-Norwegian and Norwegian lost in parliament with one single vote, as the Danish label was (and still is) very unpopular among Bokmål/Riksmål users. A personal union consists of two or more entities that are internationally considered separate states, only sharing the same Head of State (and thence also sharing whatever political actions are vested in the Head of State, but no, or at least extremely few, others). ...


Bokmål and Nynorsk were made closer by reforms in 1917, 1938 and 1959. This was a result of a state policy to merge Nynorsk and Bokmål into one language, called Samnorsk (Common Norwegian). This resulted in massive protests, and the policy had little influence after 1960, and was officially abandoned in 2002. Users of either written language resented the efforts to dilute the distinctness of their written language in general and spelling in particular. Over the years, the standards for Bokmål have increasingly accommodated Riksmål forms. As a result, some people prefer to follow a more traditional way of spelling of Nynorsk, called Høgnorsk. 1917 was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... 1938 was a common year starting on Saturday (link will take you to calendar). ... 1959 was a common year starting on Thursday (link will take you to calendar). ...


Modern Norwegian

Bokmål and Nynorsk

Like some other European countries, Norway has an official "advisory board" - Norsk språkråd - that determines, after approval from the Ministry of Culture, official spelling, grammar, and vocabulary for the Norwegian language. The board's work has been subject to considerable controversy through the years, and much work lies ahead.


Both Nynorsk and Bokmål have a great variety of optional forms. The Bokmål that uses the forms that are close to Riksmål is called moderate or conservative, depending on one's viewpoint, while the Bokmål that uses the forms that are close to Nynorsk is called radical. Nynorsk has forms that are close to the original Landsmål and forms that are close to Bokmål.


Riksmål

Opponents of the spelling reforms aimed at bringing Bokmål closer to Nynorsk have retained the name Riksmål as their own unofficial form of Norwegian and employ spelling and grammar that predate the Samnorsk movement. Riksmål and conservative versions of Bokmål have been the de facto standard written language of Norway for most of the 20th century, being used by large newspapers, encyclopedias, and a significant proportion of the population of Oslo, surrounding areas, and other urban areas, as well as much of the literary tradition. Since the reforms of 1981 and 2003 (the latter decided by the Norwegian Language Council, approved by the Ministry, and will be official in June 2005), the official Bokmål can be adapted to be almost identical with modern Riksmål. The differences between Riksmål and Bokmål are today comparable to International vs. American English. (19th century - 20th century - 21st century - more centuries) Decades: 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s As a means of recording the passage of time, the 20th century was that century which lasted from 1901–2000 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar (1900–1999 in the...


Riksmål is regulated by the Norwegian Academy, which determines acceptable spelling, grammar, and vocabulary. The Norwegian Academy for Language and Literature (Det Norske Akademi for Sprog og Litteratur) was founded in 1953 by several notable Norwegian authors and poets, among them Arnulf Øverland, Sigurd Hoel, A. H. Winsnes, Cora Sandel and Francis Bull, who disagreed with the official language policy aiming to merge the...


Høgnorsk

There is also an unofficial form of Nynorsk, called Høgnorsk, discarding the post-1917 reforms, and thus close to Ivar Aasen's original Landsmål. However, Høgnorsk has found no widespread use.


Spoken Norwegian

Main article: Norwegian dialects Norwegian spoken dialects are not to be confused with Bokmål and Nynorsk, the two official written variants of the Norwegian language. ...


There is general agreement that a wide range of differences makes it difficult to estimate the number of different Norwegian dialects. Variations in grammar, syntax, vocabulary, and pronunciation cut across geographical boundaries and can create a distinct dialect at the level of farm clusters. Dialects are in some cases so dissimilar as to be unintelligible to unfamiliar listeners. Many linguists note a trend toward regionalization of dialects that diminishes the differences at such local levels; but there is renewed interest in preserving distinct dialects.


Current usage

About 85.3 % of the pupils in the primary and lower secondary schools in Norway receive education in Bokmål, while about 14.5 % receive education in Nynorsk. From the eighth grade onwards pupils are required to learn both.


Out of the 433 municipalities in Norway, 161 have declared that they wish to communicate with the central authorities in Bokmål, 116 (representing 12 % of the population) in Nynorsk, while 156 are neutral.


Of 4,549 Norwegian publications in 2000 8 % were in Nynorsk, and 92% in Bokmål/Riksmål. The large national newspapers (Aftenposten, Dagbladet and VG) are published in Bokmål/Riksmål. Some major regional newspapers (including Bergens Tidende and Stavanger Aftenblad), many political journals, and many local newspapers use both Bokmål and Nynorsk. Aftenposten is Norways second largest newspaper with a circulation of 256,600 copies for the morning edition, 155,400 copies for the evening edition and 232,900 copies for the Sunday edition in 2003. ... Dagbladet is Norways third largest newspaper with a circulation of 191,164 copies in 2002. ... VG may stand for: Norways largest circulation newspaper, Verdens Gang British Virgin Islands: ISO country code Very Good, a quality grading (rating) for collectibles; better than Good and less than Excellent; also known as Very Fine (VF) Vein of Galen, a blood vessel in the cerebrum prone to congenital... Founded in 1868, Bergens Tidende is a newspaper published in Bergen, Norway. ... Stavanger Aftenblad (evening paper of Stavanger) is a daily newspaper in Stavanger, Norway. ...


Examples

Below are a few sentences giving an indication of the differences between Bokmål and Nynorsk, compared to the conservative (Danish-near) form Riksmål and to Danish:

  • B=Bokmål
  • R=Riksmål
  • D=Danish
  • N=Nynorsk
  • H=Høgnorsk
  • E=English

B/R/D: Jeg kommer fra Norge
N/H: Eg kjem frå Noreg.
E: I come from Norway.


B/R: Hva heter han?
D: Hvad hedder han?
N/H: Kva heiter han?
E: What is his name?


B/R/D: Dette er en hest.
N/H: Dette er ein hest.
E: This is a horse.


B: Regnbuen har mange farger.
R/D: Regnbuen har mange farver.
N: Regnbogen har mange fargar.
H: Regnbogen hev mange fargar. (Or better: Regnbogen er manglìta).
E: The rainbow has many colours.


Grammar

The number of grammatical genders in Norwegian is somewhat disputed, but the official view is that Norwegian nouns fall into three genders: masculine, feminine and neuter. The inflection of the nouns depends on the gender. In linguistics, grammatical genders, also called noun classes, are classes of nouns reflected in the behavior of associated words; every noun must belong to one of the classes and there should be very few which belong to several classes at once. ...

Bokmål
m.: en gutt gutten gutter guttene
(a boy) (the boy) (boys) (the boys)
f.: en/ei dør døren/døra dører dørene
(a door) (the door) (doors) (the doors)
n.: et hus huset hus husene/husa
(a house) (the house) (houses) (the houses)

Note that feminine nouns can be inflected like masculine nouns in Bokmål. Riksmål rejects the feminine gender and merges it with the masculine into a common gender (utrum), like in Danish.

Nynorsk
m.: ein gut guten gutar gutane
(a boy) (the boy) (boys) (the boys)
f.: ei sol sola/soli soler solene
(a sun) (the sun) (suns) (the suns)
ei kyrkje/ kyrkja kyrkjer/ kyrkjene/
kyrkja kyrkjor kyrkjone
(a church) (the church) (churches) (the churches)
n.: eit hus huset hus husa/husi
(a house) (the house) (houses) (the houses)

Trivia

Compound words are written together in Norwegian (see Nominal compositum), which can cause words to become very long, e.g. sannsynlighetsmaksimeringsestimator (maximum likelihood estimator). Another example is the title høyesterettsjustitiarius (originally put together of supreme court and the actual title, justitiarius. However, because of the increasing influence the English language is having on Norwegian, and inadequate computer spell checkers, this is often forgotten, sometimes with humorous results. Instead of writing e.g. lammekoteletter (lamb chops), people make the mistake of writing lamme koteletter (paralyzed, or lame, chops). The original message can even be reversed, as when røykfritt (smoke-free) becomes røyk fritt (smoke freely). In statistics, the method of maximum likelihood, pioneered by geneticist and statistician Sir Ronald A. Fisher, is a method of point estimation, that uses as an estimate of an unobservable population parameter the member of the parameter space that maximizes the likelihood function. ... In statistics, an estimator is a function of the known data that is used to estimate an unknown parameter; an estimate is the result from the actual application of the function to a particular set of data. ... The supreme court in some countries, provinces, and states, is the highest court in that jurisdiction and functions as a court of last resort whose rulings cannot be appealed. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... In computing terms, a spelling checker (also spell checker) is a software program designed to verify the spelling of words in a file, helping a user ensure his/her spelling is correct. ...


Other examples include:

  • Terrasse dør ("terrace dies") instead of Terrassedør ("terrace door");
  • Tunfisk biter ("Tuna bites", verb) instead of Tunfiskbiter ("Pieces of tuna", noun);
  • Smult ringer ("lard calls", verb) instead of Smultringer ("doughnuts");
  • Tyveri sikret ("Theft guaranteed") instead of Tyverisikret ("Theft-proof").

Extreme cases have also been seen, where the norwegian word is not a compound word at all. Example:

  • Fri syre ("free acid") instead of Frisyre (Hair cut).

See also

Although Danish and Norwegian are very similar languages, there are more differences between them than a cursory examination would lead one to believe. ... The Norwegian Academy for Language and Literature (Det Norske Akademi for Sprog og Litteratur) was founded in 1953 by several notable Norwegian authors and poets, among them Arnulf Øverland, Sigurd Hoel, A. H. Winsnes, Cora Sandel and Francis Bull, who disagreed with the official language policy aiming to merge the... Norsk Ordbok (NO) is a comprehensive dictionary of written Norwegian (Nynorsk) and the Norwegian dialects, planned to twelve volumes and with four volumes published. ... Russenorsk (or Russonorsk) was a pidgin language combining elements of Russian and Norwegian, created by traders and whalers from the Norwegian Svalbard archipelago and the Russian Kola peninsula. ... A Pidgin, or contact language, is the name given to any language created, usually spontaneously, out of a mixture of other languages as a means of communication between speakers of different tongues. ... Russian (русский язык  listen?) is the most widely spoken of the Slavic languages. ... The Norwegian national anthem is called Ja, vi elsker dette landet. ... The National Anthem is the name of a song by the band Radiohead. ... Here is a list of common phrases in different languages. ... The following is a table of the numbers 0 through 10 in a sample of the languages and writings of the world. ...

External links

  • All free Norwegian dictionaries (http://www.dicts.info/dictlist1.php?k1=67)
  • Ethnologue report for Norwegian, bokmål (http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=nob)
  • Ethnologue report for Norwegian, nynorsk (http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=nno)
  • Norway: Small country with two written languages - article from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (http://odin.dep.no/odin/engelsk/norway/history/032005-990497/index-dok000-b-n-a.html)
  • Norwegian - English Dictionary (http://www.websters-online-dictionary.org/definition/Norwegian-english/)
  • Bokmålsordboken and Norsk Riksmålsordbok - Norwegian dictionary (http://www.ordnett.no/ordbok.html)
  • Bokmålsordboka og Nynorskordboka - Norwegian dictionary (http://www.dokpro.uio.no/ordboksoek.html)
  • nynorsk.no - News about Nynorsk (in Norwegian) (http://www.nynorsk.no/)

Wikipedia is a Web-based free content encyclopedia designed to be read and edited by anyone, with editions of varying sizes in 190 languages. ... Wikipedia is a Web-based free content encyclopedia designed to be read and edited by anyone, with editions of varying sizes in 190 languages. ...

References

  • Einar Haugen, editor (1965, 1967, 1974). Norwegian-English Dictionary. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press.

 
 

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