Norwegian language

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Norwegian language

Norwegian language, member of the North Germanic, or Scandinavian, group of the Germanic subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages. It is spoken by about 4 million people in Norway and another million in the other Scandinavian countries and North America. Norwegian is a daughter language of Old Norse (see Germanic languages; Norse language). Today there are two official forms of Norwegian: bokmål [book language] and nynorsk [new Norwegian]. Bokmål, also called riksmål [national language] and Dano-Norwegian, was greatly influenced by Danish, which was the dominant language of officialdom when Norway was under Danish rule (1397–1814). The language of the cities, the official and professional classes, and literature, bokmål came to differ greatly from the Norwegian spoken by the common people. Since 1905, however, orthographical and grammatical reforms by the government have brought bokmål closer to the popular form of Norwegian. Nynorsk, also known as landsmål [country language], stems from the native Norwegian dialects that evolved from Old Norse (uninfluenced by Danish), and it is therefore very different from bokmål. Developed by Ivar Aasen, nynorsk was introduced by him in 1853 as part of a nationalistic desire to have a purely Norwegian language for the country. It is based on rural dialects and spoken principally in rural areas. Both bokmål and nynorsk are employed by the government, the schools, and the mass media, but bokmål is by far the more widely used of the two, especially in education and literature. Some efforts have been made to fuse the two forms of Norwegian into one common Norwegian tongue called samnorsk [common Norwegian], and there is hope that this can be accomplished. Norwegian grammar is fairly simple. The form of the noun is changed only to indicate possession and the plural, and personal inflection of the verb has been discarded. Like Swedish, Norwegian uses pitch accents, but to a lesser degree. The pitch accents give the language a musical quality and are sometimes employed to distinguish the meanings of homonyms. Norwegian employs the Roman alphabet, which was introduced in Norway in the 11th cent. and to which three characters, æ, ø, and å, have been added.


See K. G. Chapman, Icelandic-Norwegian Linguistic Relationships (1962); E. I. Haugen and K. G. Chapman, Spoken Norwegian (1964); E. I. Haugen, Language Conflict and Language Planning: The Case of Modern Norwegian (1966); R. Strandskogen, Norwegian Grammar (1987).

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References in periodicals archive ?
In Norway, on the other hand, the focus is more on NRK being the only media company that is actively working to preserve Norwegian language and culture.
The data from this study illustrate that AI students struggle to produce and publish texts in the Norwegian language as required within their study programme.
"Knowledge of the Norwegian language apparently has little significance," said Liv Anne Storen, sociologist and the author of the report, according to the Norwegian broadcaster NRK.
They didn't have their own strong, Norwegian language and Ibsen was one of the first who used this invented new language.
Telhaug teaches immigrants Norwegian language and culture at the education center.
Developments in the club's website are planned in the New Year with Chinese and Norwegian language versions to be launched.
The word is a variety of the word for government in the minority version of the two officially used versions of the Norwegian language. The owner of the domain has said that he has tried to get the government to understand the importance of domain names in both language versions.
Gradually the Norwegian language was forced to give way to Danish.
'Flo-pasning', or 'Flo pass', became part of the Norwegian language after the tall Jostein perfected the art of placing his head under a ball landing near goal after it was booted towards the stratosphere from Norway's defence.
A Norwegian language version of the site was launched in February this year and is available at
True, the Norwegian language uses different words to denote heterosexual wedlock (ekteskap) and its gay counterpart (partnerskap)--but sometimes (as in my residency papers) it uses ekteskap for both.
Olaf as a teacher of Norwegian language and literature and the history of Norwegian immigration.

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