Norwegian


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Norwegian

any of the various North Germanic languages of Norway

Norwegian

 

the language of the Norwegians and the official language of Norway. Norwegian is spoken in Norway, the USA, and Canada by about 5 million people (1970, estimate), including 3.9 million in Norway. Norwegian belongs to the Scandinavian group of Germanic languages. It has a large number of dialects. Special phonetic features include musical accent (simple and complex) and a relationship between length of vowel and consonant in a stressed syllable (syllabic equilibrium). The basic grammatical features are two cases for nouns (common and genitive), a suffixal definite article, weak and strong adjectives, and the absence of personal endings in the verb.

There are two forms of literary Norwegian: Riksmål (or Bok-mål) and Landsmål (Nynorsk, or Neo-Norwegian). The oldest linguistic remains are runic inscriptions of the tenth and 11th centuries, when Norwegian had begun to separate from proto-Scandinavian. The oldest manuscripts date to the second half of the 12th century. The writing system is based on the Latin alphabet.

Literary Danish became widespread in Norway in the late 14th century. A reaction against the domination of Danish began in the first half of the 19th century. In the mid-19th century a rivalry began between the two forms of literary Norwegian—Riksmål and Landsmål. The former arose in the 19th century on the basis of a Danish lexicon and grammar but Norwegian phonetics, and the latter was formed in the 19th century as a result of the artificial synthesis of Norwegian dialects. Riksmål is used far more widely than Landsmål.

REFERENCES

Steblin-Kamenskii, M. I. Istoriia skandinavskikh iazykov. Moscow-Leningrad, 1953.
Steblin-Kamenskii, M. I. Grammatika norvezhskogo iazyka. Moscow-Leningrad, 1957.
Steblin-Kamenskii, M. I. “Vozmozhno li planirovanie iazykovogo razvitiia? (norvezhskoe iazykovoe dvizhenie v tupike).” Voprosy iazykoz-naniia, 1968, no. 3.
Arakin, V. D. Norvezhsko-russkii slovar’. Moscow, 1963.

M. I. STEBLIN-KAMENSKII

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