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Norwegian ( no, norsk, links=no) is a
North Germanic The North Germanic languages make up one of the three branches of the Germanic languages The Germanic languages are a branch of the Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a language family native to western and southern Eurasia ...

North Germanic
language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the ...

language
spoken mainly in
Norway Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway,Names in the official and recognised languages: Bokmål Bokmål (, ; literally "book tongue") is an official written standard for the Norwegian language Norwegian (Norwegian: ''norsk'') is a Nort ...

Norway
, where it is an official language. Along with
Swedish Swedish or ' may refer to: * Anything from or related to Sweden, a country in Northern Europe * Swedish language, a North Germanic language spoken primarily in Sweden and Finland * Swedish alphabet, the official alphabet used by the Swedish langua ...
and
Danish Danish may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the country of Denmark * A national or citizen of Denmark, also called a "Dane", see Demographics of Denmark * Danish people or Danes, people with a Danish ancestral or ethnic identity * Danis ...
, Norwegian forms a
dialect continuum A dialect continuum or dialect chain is a series of language varieties spoken across some geographical area such that neighboring varieties are mutually intelligible In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of languag ...
of more or less
mutually intelligible In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include p ...
local and regional varieties; some Norwegian and Swedish dialects, in particular, are very close. These
Scandinavia Scandinavia; : ''Skadesi-suolu''/''Skađsuâl''. ( ) is a in , with strong historical, cultural, and linguistic ties. In English usage, ''Scandinavia'' can refer to , , and , sometimes more narrowly to the , or more broadly to include , th ...

Scandinavia
n languages, together with
Faroese Faroese ( ) or Faroish ( ) may refer to anything pertaining to the Faroe Islands, e.g.: *the Faroese language * the Faroese people {{Disambiguation Language and nationality disambiguation pages ...
and
Icelandic Icelandic refers to anything of, from, or related to Iceland and may refer to: *Icelandic people *Icelandic language *Icelandic alphabet *Icelandic cuisine See also

* Icelander (disambiguation) * Icelandic Airlines, a predecessor of Icelandai ...
as well as some extinct languages, constitute the North Germanic languages. Faroese and Icelandic are not mutually intelligible with Norwegian in their spoken form because continental Scandinavian has diverged from them. While the two Germanic languages with the greatest numbers of speakers,
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
and
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...

German
, have close similarities with Norwegian, neither is mutually intelligible with it. Norwegian is a descendant of
Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian is a stage of development of North Germanic dialects before their final divergence into separate Nordic languages. Old Norse was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia Scandinavia; : ''Skades ...
, the common language of the
Germanic peoples The Germanic peoples were a historical group of people living in Central Europe and Scandinavia. Since the 19th century, they have traditionally been defined by the use of ancient and early medieval Germanic languages and are thus equated at le ...

Germanic peoples
living in Scandinavia during the
Viking Age The Viking Age (793–1066 AD) was the period during the Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation o ...
. Today there are two official forms of ''written'' Norwegian, (literally 'book tongue') and ('new Norwegian'), each with its own variants. developed from the Dano-Norwegian language that replaced
Middle Norwegian Middle Norwegian ( Norwegian Bokmål: ''mellomnorsk''; Norwegian Nynorsk: ''mellomnorsk'', ''millomnorsk'') is a form of the Norwegian language Norwegian (Norwegian: ''norsk'') is a North Germanic languages, North Germanic language spoken mainly ...
as the elite language after the union of
Denmark–Norway Denmark–Norway (Danish Danish may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the country of Denmark * A national or citizen of Denmark, also called a "Dane", see Demographics of Denmark * Danish people or Danes, people with a Danish ancestr ...
in the 16th and 17th centuries and then evolved in Norway, while was developed based upon a collective of spoken Norwegian dialects. Norwegian is one of the two official languages in Norway, along with Sámi, a
Finno-Ugric language Finno-Ugric ( or ; ''Fenno-Ugric'') or Finno-Ugrian (''Fenno-Ugrian''), is a traditional grouping of all languages in the Uralic languages, Uralic language family except the Samoyedic languages. Its formerly commonly accepted status as a subfamily ...

Finno-Ugric language
spoken by less than one percent of the population. Norwegian is one of the working languages of the
Nordic Council The Nordic Council is the official body for formal inter-parliamentary Nordic cooperation among the Nordic countries. Formed in 1952, it has 87 representatives from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden as well as from the autonomous are ...

Nordic Council
. Under the Nordic Language Convention, citizens of the
Nordic countries The Nordic countries (also known as the Nordics or ''Norden''; lit. 'the North') are a geographical and cultural region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science de ...

Nordic countries
who speak Norwegian have the opportunity to use their native language when interacting with official bodies in other Nordic countries without being liable for any
interpretation Interpretation may refer to: Culture * Aesthetic interpretation, an explanation of the meaning of a work of art * Allegorical interpretation, an approach that assumes a text should not be interpreted literally * Dramatic Interpretation, an event i ...
or
translation Translation is the communication of the meaning Meaning most commonly refers to: * Meaning (linguistics), meaning which is communicated through the use of language * Meaning (philosophy), definition, elements, and types of meaning discusse ...

translation
costs.


History


Origins

Like most of the languages in Europe, the Norwegian language descends from the
Proto-Indo-European language Proto-Indo-European (PIE) is the theorized common ancestor of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( s ...
. As early Indo-Europeans spread across Europe, they became isolated and new languages were developed. In the northwest of Europe, the
West Germanic languages The West Germanic languages constitute the largest of the three branches of the Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Germanic languages ** List of ancient Germanic peoples a ...
evolved, which would eventually become
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
,
Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * Dutch Castle Places * ...
,
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...

German
, and the
North Germanic languages The North Germanic languages make up one of the three branches of the Germanic languages—a sub-family of the Indo-European languages—along with the West Germanic languages and the extinct East Germanic languages. The language group is also r ...

North Germanic languages
, of which Norwegian is one.
Proto-Norse Proto-Norse (also called Ancient Nordic, Ancient Scandinavian, Ancient Norse, Primitive Norse, Proto-Nordic, Proto-Scandinavian and Proto-North Germanic) was an Indo-European languages, Indo-European language spoken in Scandinavia that is tho ...
is thought to have evolved as a northern dialect of
Proto-Germanic Proto-Germanic (abbreviated PGmc; also called Common Germanic) is the reconstructed Reconstruction may refer to: Politics, history, and sociology *Reconstruction (law), the transfer of a company's (or several companies') business to a new ...
during the first centuries AD in what is today Southern Sweden. It is the earliest stage of a characteristically North Germanic language, and the language attested in the
Elder Futhark The Elder Futhark (or Fuþark), also known as the Older Futhark, Old Futhark, or Germanic Futhark is the oldest form of the runic alphabets Runes are the letters in a set of related alphabet An alphabet is a standardized set of basic ...
inscriptions, the oldest form of the
runic alphabets Runes are the letters in a set of related alphabet An alphabet is a standardized set of basic written symbols or graphemes (called letter (alphabet), letters) that represent the phonemes of certain spoken languages. Not all writing syste ...
. A number of inscriptions are memorials to the dead, while others are magical in content. The oldest are carved on loose objects, while later ones are chiseled in
runestone A runestone is typically a raised stone with a runic alphabet, runic inscription, but the term can also be applied to inscriptions on boulders and on bedrock. The tradition began in the 4th century and lasted into the 12th century, but most of th ...

runestone
s. They are the oldest written record of any Germanic language. Around 800 AD, the script was simplified to the
Younger Futhark The Younger Futhark, also called Scandinavian runes, is a and a reduced form of the , with only 16 characters, in use from about the 9th century, after a "transitional period" during the 7th and 8th centuries. The reduction, somewhat paradoxi ...
, and inscriptions became more abundant. At the same time, the beginning of the
Viking Age The Viking Age (793–1066 AD) was the period during the Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation o ...
led to the spread of
Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian is a stage of development of North Germanic dialects before their final divergence into separate Nordic languages. Old Norse was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia Scandinavia; : ''Skades ...
to
Iceland Iceland ( is, Ísland; ) is a Nordic Nordic most commonly refers to: * Nordic countries, written in plural as Nordics, the northwestern European countries, including Scandinavia, Fennoscandia and the List of islands in the Atlantic Ocean#No ...

Iceland
,
Greenland Greenland ( kl, Kalaallit Nunaat, ; da, Grønland, ) is an autonomous territory An autonomous administrative division (also referred to as an autonomous area, entity, unit, region, subdivision, or territory) is a subnational administra ...

Greenland
, and the
Faroe Islands The Faroe Islands ( ), or simply the Faroes or Faeroes ( fo, Føroyar ; da, Færøerne ), are a North Atlantic archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of is ...

Faroe Islands
. Viking colonies also existed in parts of the
British Isles The British Isles are a in the North off the north-western coast of , consisting of the islands of , , the , the and over six thousand smaller islands."British Isles", ' They have a total area of and a combined population of almost 72&nb ...

British Isles
, France (
Normandy Normandy (; french: link=no, Normandie ; nrf, Normaundie; from Old French Old French (, , ; Modern French French ( or ) is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, ...

Normandy
), North America, and
Kievan Rus Kievan Rus' ( orv, , Rusĭ, or , , "Rus' land") or Kyivan Rus', was a loose federation A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a ...
. In all of these places except Iceland and the Faroes, Old Norse speakers went extinct or were absorbed into the local population.


The Roman alphabet

Around 1030, Christianity came to Scandinavia, bringing with it an influx of
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an appa ...

Latin
borrowings and the
Roman alphabet The Latin alphabet or Roman alphabet is the collection of letters originally used by the ancient Romans In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historians in developing history as an academic discipline, a ...

Roman alphabet
. These new words were related to
church Church may refer to: Religion * Church (building) A church building, church house, or simply church, is a building used for Christian worship services and other Christian religious activities. The term is used to refer to the physical build ...

church
practices and ceremonies, although many other loanwords related to general culture also entered the language. The Scandinavian languages at this time are not considered to be separate languages, although there were minor differences among what are customarily called Old Icelandic,
Old Norwegian nn, gamalnorsk , region = Kingdom of Norway (872–1397) The term Norwegian Realm (Old Norse: ''*Noregsveldi'', Norwegian Bokmål, Bokmål: ''Norgesveldet'', Norwegian Nynorsk, Nynorsk: ''Noregsveldet'') and Old Kingdom of Norway refer ...
,
Old Gutnish Old Gutnish or Old Gotlandic was a North Germanic language The North Germanic languages make up one of the three branches of the Germanic languages—a sub-family of the Indo-European languages—along with the West Germanic languages and the ...
, Old Danish, and
Old Swedish Old Swedish ( Modern Swedish: ) is the name for two distinct stages of the Swedish language that were spoken in the Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted from the 5th to the late 15th century. I ...
.


Low German influence

The economic and political dominance of the
Hanseatic League The Hanseatic League (; gml, Hanse, , ; german: label=German language, Modern German, Deutsche Hanse; nl, label=Dutch language, Dutch, De Hanze; la, Hansa Teutonica) was a Middle Ages, medieval commercial and defensive confederation of merchan ...
between 1250 and 1450 in the main Scandinavian cities brought large
Middle Low German Middle Low German or Middle Saxon (autonym: ''Sassisch'', i.e. "Saxon", Standard German, Standard High German: ', Dutch language, Modern Dutch: ') is a developmental stage of Low German. It developed from the Old Saxon language in the Middle ...
–speaking populations to Norway. The influence of their language on Scandinavian is similar to that of on English after the
Norman conquest The Norman Conquest (or the Conquest) was the 11th-century invasion and occupation of England by an army made up of thousands of Normans, Duchy of Brittany, Bretons, County of Flanders, Flemish, and men from other Kingdom of France, French ...
.


Dano-Norwegian

In the late Middle Ages, dialects began to develop in Scandinavia because the population was rural and little travel occurred. When the
Reformation The Reformation (alternatively named the Protestant Reformation or the European Reformation) was a major movement within Western Christianity in 16th-century Europe that posed a religious and political challenge to the Catholic Church and in ...
came from Germany,
Martin Luther Martin Luther (; ; 10 November 1483 – 18 February 1546) was a Germans, German professor of Christian theology, theology, priest, author, composer, former Order of Saint Augustine, Augustinian monk, and is best known as a seminal f ...

Martin Luther
's
High German The High German dialects (german: hochdeutsche Mundarten), or simply High German (; not to be confused with Standard High German which is imprecisely also called ''High German''), comprise the varieties Variety may refer to: Science and tec ...

High German
translation of the Bible was quickly translated into Swedish, Danish, and Icelandic. Norway entered a union with Denmark in 1397 and Danish, over time, replaced
Middle Norwegian Middle Norwegian ( Norwegian Bokmål: ''mellomnorsk''; Norwegian Nynorsk: ''mellomnorsk'', ''millomnorsk'') is a form of the Norwegian language Norwegian (Norwegian: ''norsk'') is a North Germanic languages, North Germanic language spoken mainly ...
as the language of the elite, the church, literature, and the law. When the union with Denmark ended in 1814, the
Dano-Norwegian Dano-Norwegian ( Danish and no, dansk-norsk) was a koiné/ mixed language that evolved among the urban elite in Norwegian cities during the later years of the union between the Kingdoms of Denmark and Norway (1536/1537–1814). It is from this ...
''koiné'' had become the mother tongue of around 1% of the population.


Danish to Norwegian

From the 1840s, some writers experimented with a Norwegianised Danish by incorporating words that were descriptive of Norwegian scenery and folk life, and adopting a more Norwegian syntax. Knud Knudsen proposed to change spelling and inflection in accordance with the Dano-Norwegian ''koiné'', known as "cultivated everyday speech." A small adjustment in this direction was implemented in the first official reform of the Danish language in Norway in 1862 and more extensively after his death in two official reforms in 1907 and 1917. Meanwhile, a nationalistic movement strove for the development of a new written Norwegian.
Ivar Aasen Ivar Andreas Aasen (; 5 August 1813 – 23 September 1896) was a Norway, Norwegian philologist, lexicographer, playwright, and poet. He is best known for having assembled from dialects one of the two official written versions of the Norwegian langu ...

Ivar Aasen
, a botanist and self-taught linguist, began his work to create a new Norwegian language at the age of 22. He traveled around the country collecting words and examples of grammar from the dialects and comparing the dialects among the different regions. He examined the development of
Icelandic Icelandic refers to anything of, from, or related to Iceland and may refer to: *Icelandic people *Icelandic language *Icelandic alphabet *Icelandic cuisine See also

* Icelander (disambiguation) * Icelandic Airlines, a predecessor of Icelandai ...
, which had largely escaped the influences under which Norwegian had come. He called his work, which was published in several books from 1848 to 1873, Landsmål, meaning "national language". The name "Landsmål" is sometimes interpreted as "rural language" or "country language", but this was clearly not Aasen's intended meaning. The name of the Danish language in Norway was a topic of hot dispute through the 19th century. Its proponents claimed that it was a language common to Norway and Denmark, and no more Danish than Norwegian. The proponents of Landsmål thought that the Danish character of the language should not be concealed. In 1899, Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson proposed the neutral name
Riksmål Riksmål is a written Norwegian language Norwegian ( no, norsk, links=no) is a North Germanic languages, North Germanic language spoken mainly in Norway, where it is an official language. Along with Swedish language, Swedish and Danish language, ...
, meaning national language like Landsmål, and this was officially adopted along with the 1907 spelling reform. The name "Riksmål" is sometimes interpreted as "state language", but this meaning is secondary at best. (Compare to Danish rigsmål from where the name was borrowed.) After the personal union with Sweden was dissolved in 1905, both languages were developed further and reached what is now considered their classic forms after a reform in 1917. Riksmål was in 1929 officially renamed ''Bokmål'' (literally "book language"), and Landsmål to ''Nynorsk'' (literally "new Norwegian"). A proposition to substitute Danish-Norwegian (''dansk-norsk'') for ''Bokmål'' lost in parliament by a single vote. The name ''Nynorsk'', the linguistic term for
modern Norwegian Modern Norwegian ( no, moderne norsk) is the Norwegian language Norwegian (Norwegian: ''norsk'') is a North Germanic languages, North Germanic language spoken mainly in Norway, where it is an official language. Along with Swedish language, Swedi ...
, was chosen to contrast with Danish and emphasis on the historical connection to Old Norwegian. Today, this meaning is often lost, and it is commonly mistaken as a "new" Norwegian in contrast to the "real" Norwegian Bokmål. Bokmål and Nynorsk were made closer by a reform in 1938. This was a result of a state policy to merge Nynorsk and Bokmål into a single language, to be called ''Samnorsk''. A 1946 poll showed that this policy was supported by 79% of Norwegians at the time. However, opponents of the official policy still managed to create a massive protest movement against ''Samnorsk'' in the 1950s, fighting in particular the use of "radical" forms in Bokmål text books in schools. In the reform in 1959, the 1938 reform was partially reversed in Bokmål, but Nynorsk was changed further towards Bokmål. Since then Bokmål has reverted even further toward traditional Riksmål, while Nynorsk still adheres to the 1959 standard. Therefore, a small minority of Nynorsk enthusiasts use a more conservative standard called Høgnorsk. The Samnorsk policy had little influence after 1960, and was officially abandoned in 2002.


Phonology

While the sound systems of Norwegian and Swedish are similar, considerable variation exists among the dialects.


Consonants

The retroflex consonants only appear in East Norwegian dialects as a result of
sandhi Sandhi ( sa, सन्धि ' , "joining") is a cover term for a wide variety of sound In physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion an ...
, combining with , , , , and . The realization of the rhotic depends on the dialect. In Eastern, Central, and Northern Norwegian dialects, it is a tap , whereas in Western and Southern Norway, and for some speakers also in Eastern Norway, it is uvular or . And in the dialects of North-Western Norway, it is realized as , much like the trilled of Spanish.


Vowels


Accent

Norwegian is a
pitch-accent language A pitch-accent language is a language that has word accents in which one syllable in a word or morpheme is more prominent than the others, but the accentuated syllable is indicated by a contrasting pitch Pitch may refer to: Acoustic frequency ...
with two distinct pitch patterns, like Swedish. They are used to differentiate two-syllable words with otherwise identical pronunciation. For example, in many East Norwegian dialects, the word "" (farmers) is pronounced using the simpler tone 1, while "" (beans or prayers) uses the more complex tone 2. Though spelling differences occasionally differentiate written words, in most cases the minimal pairs are written alike, since written Norwegian has no explicit accent marks. In most eastern low-tone dialects, accent 1 uses a low flat pitch in the first syllable, while accent 2 uses a high, sharply falling pitch in the first syllable and a low pitch in the beginning of the second syllable. In both accents, these pitch movements are followed by a rise of intonational nature (phrase accent)—the size (and presence) of which signals emphasis or focus, and corresponds in function to the normal accent in languages that lack lexical tone, such as English. That rise culminates in the final syllable of an accentual phrase, while the utterance-final fall common in most languages is either very small or absent. There are significant variations in pitch accent between dialects. Thus, in most of western and northern Norway (the so-called high-pitch dialects) accent 1 is falling, while accent 2 is rising in the first syllable and falling in the second syllable or somewhere around the syllable boundary. The pitch accents (as well as the peculiar phrase accent in the low-tone dialects) give the Norwegian language a "singing" quality that makes it easy to distinguish from other languages. Accent 1 generally occurs in words that were monosyllabic in
Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian is a stage of development of North Germanic dialects before their final divergence into separate Nordic languages. Old Norse was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia Scandinavia; : ''Skades ...
, and accent 2 in words that were polysyllabic.


Written language


Alphabet

The Norwegian alphabet has 29 letters. The letters ''c'', ''q'', ''w'', ''x'' and ''z'' are only used in
loanword A loanword (also loan word or loan-word) is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (lin ...
s. As loanwords are assimilated into Norwegian, their spelling might change to reflect Norwegian pronunciation and the principles of Norwegian orthography, e.g. ''
zebra Zebras (, ) (subgenus ''Hippotigris'') are African equines ''Equus'' is a genus Genus (plural genera) is a taxonomic rank Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the principles t ...

zebra
'' in Norwegian is written ''sebra''. Due to historical reasons, some otherwise Norwegian family names are also written using these letters. Some letters may be modified by
diacritic A diacritic (also diacritical mark, diacritical point, diacritical sign, or accent) is a glyph The term glyph is used in typography File:metal movable type.jpg, 225px, Movable type being assembled on a composing stick using pieces that ...
s: ''é'', ''è'', ''ê'', ''ó'', ''ò'', and ''ô''. In Nynorsk, ''ì'' and ''ù'' and ''ỳ'' are occasionally seen as well. The diacritics 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). Loanwords may be spelled with other diacritics, most notably ''ü'', ''á'' and ''à''.


Bokmål and Nynorsk

As established by law and government policy, the two official forms of ''written'' Norwegian are ''
Bokmål Bokmål (, ; literally "book tongue") is an official written standard for the Norwegian language Norwegian (Norwegian: ''norsk'') is a North Germanic languages, North Germanic language spoken mainly in Norway, where it is an official language. A ...
'' (literally "book tongue") and ''
Nynorsk Nynorsk (translates to “Modern Norwegian”, literally “New Norwegian”) is one of the two written standards of the Norwegian language, the other being Bokmål. From 12 May 1885, it became the state-sanctioned version of Ivar Aasen's standa ...
'' ("new Norwegian"). The official
Norwegian Language Council The Language Council of Norway ( no, Språkrådet)Urban East Norwegian pronunciations of ''Språkrådet'' and ''Norsk språkråd'' are and . is the consultative body of the Norwegian state on language issues. It was established in 2005 and replace ...
(''Språkrådet'') is responsible for regulating the two forms, and recommends the terms "Norwegian Bokmål" and "Norwegian Nynorsk" in English. Two other written forms without official status also exist. One, called ''
Riksmål Riksmål is a written Norwegian language Norwegian ( no, norsk, links=no) is a North Germanic languages, North Germanic language spoken mainly in Norway, where it is an official language. Along with Swedish language, Swedish and Danish language, ...
'' ("national language"), is today to a large extent the same language as Bokmål though somewhat closer to the Danish language. It is regulated by the unofficial
Norwegian Academy The Norwegian Academy for Language and Literature ( no, Det Norske Akademi for Språk og Litteratur), commonly known as the Norwegian Academy, is a Norwegian Norwegian, Norwayan, or Norsk may refer to: *Something of, from, or related to Norway, a c ...
, which translates the name as "Standard Norwegian". The other is '' Høgnorsk'' ("High Norwegian"), a more
purist Purism is an arts movement that took place between 1918 and 1925. Purism may also refer to: *Purism (Spanish architecture) (1530–1560), a phase of Renaissance architecture in Spain *Purism (company), company manufacturing Librem personal compute ...
form of Nynorsk, which maintains the language in an original form as given by
Ivar Aasen Ivar Andreas Aasen (; 5 August 1813 – 23 September 1896) was a Norway, Norwegian philologist, lexicographer, playwright, and poet. He is best known for having assembled from dialects one of the two official written versions of the Norwegian langu ...

Ivar Aasen
and rejects most of the reforms from the 20th century; this form has limited use. Nynorsk and Bokmål provide standards for how to write Norwegian, but not for how to speak the language. No standard of spoken Norwegian is officially sanctioned, and most Norwegians speak their own dialects in all circumstances. Thus, unlike in many other countries, the use of any Norwegian dialect, whether it coincides with the written norms or not, is accepted as correct ''spoken'' Norwegian. However, in areas where East Norwegian dialects are used, a tendency exists to accept a ''de facto'' spoken standard for this particular regional dialect, '' Urban East Norwegian'' or ''Standard East Norwegian'' ( no, Standard østnorsk, links=no), in which the vocabulary coincides with Bokmål. Outside
Eastern Norway Eastern Norway ( Bokmål: ''Østlandet'', Nynorsk: ''Austlandet'') is the geographical region of the south-eastern part of Norway Norway ( nb, ; nn, ; se, Norga; smj, Vuodna; sma, Nöörje), officially the Kingdom of Norway, i ...
, this spoken variation is not used. From the 16th to the 19th centuries, Danish was the standard written language of Norway. As a result, the development of modern written Norwegian has been subject to strong controversy related to
nationalism Nationalism is an idea and movement that holds that the nation A nation is a community A community is a social unitThe term "level of analysis" is used in the social sciences to point to the location, size, or scale of a research target ...
, rural versus urban discourse, and Norway's literary history. Historically, Bokmål is a Norwegianised variety of Danish, while Nynorsk is a language form based on Norwegian dialects and puristic opposition to Danish. The now-abandoned official policy to merge Bokmål and Nynorsk into one common language called ''Samnorsk'' through a series of spelling reforms has created a wide spectrum of varieties of both Bokmål and Nynorsk. The unofficial form known as ''Riksmål'' is considered more
conservative Conservatism is an aesthetic Aesthetics, or esthetics (), is a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of beauty and taste (sociology), taste, as well as the philosophy of art (its own area of philosophy that comes out of aest ...
than Bokmål and is far closer to Danish while the unofficial ''Høgnorsk'' is more conservative than Nynorsk and is far closer to
Faroese Faroese ( ) or Faroish ( ) may refer to anything pertaining to the Faroe Islands, e.g.: *the Faroese language * the Faroese people {{Disambiguation Language and nationality disambiguation pages ...
,
Icelandic Icelandic refers to anything of, from, or related to Iceland and may refer to: *Icelandic people *Icelandic language *Icelandic alphabet *Icelandic cuisine See also

* Icelander (disambiguation) * Icelandic Airlines, a predecessor of Icelandai ...
and
Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian is a stage of development of North Germanic dialects before their final divergence into separate Nordic languages. Old Norse was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia Scandinavia; : ''Skades ...
. Norwegians are educated in both Bokmål and Nynorsk. Each student selects one of the two as their native form, whence the other form (known as Sidemål) will be a mandatory school subject from elementary school through high school. For instance, a Norwegian whose main language form is Bokmål will study Nynorsk as a mandatory subject throughout both elementary and high school. A 2005 poll indicates that 86.3% use primarily Bokmål as their daily written language, 5.5% use both Bokmål and Nynorsk, and 7.5% use primarily Nynorsk. Thus, 13% are frequently ''writing'' Nynorsk, though the majority ''speak'' dialects that resemble Nynorsk more closely than Bokmål. Broadly speaking, Nynorsk writing is widespread in western Norway, though not in major urban areas, and also in the upper parts of mountain valleys in the southern and eastern parts of Norway. Examples are
Setesdal Setesdal (; older name: Sætersdal) is a valley A valley is an elongated low area often running between hills or mountains, which will typically contain a river or stream running from one end to the other. Most valleys are formed by eros ...

Setesdal
, the western part of
Telemark Telemark is a traditional region, a former Counties of Norway, county and a current electoral district in southern Norway. In 2020, Telemark merged with the former county of Vestfold to form the county of Vestfold og Telemark. Telemark border ...

Telemark
county (''fylke'') and several municipalities in
Hallingdal Hallingdal ( en, Halling Valley) is a valley A valley is an elongated low area often running between hills or mountains, which will typically contain a river or stream running from one end to the other. Most valleys are formed by erosion ...

Hallingdal
,
Valdres Valdres is a traditional district in central, southern Norway Norway ( nb, ; nn, ; se, Norga; smj, Vuodna; sma, Nöörje), officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic countries, Nordic country in Northern Europe whose mainland te ...
, and
Gudbrandsdalen Gudbrandsdalen (; en, Gudbrand Valley) is a valley and traditional district in the Norwegian Norwegian, Norwayan, or Norsk may refer to: *Something of, from, or related to Norway, a country in northwestern Europe *Norwegians, both a nation and ...

Gudbrandsdalen
. It is little used elsewhere, but 30–40 years ago, it also had strongholds in many rural parts of
Trøndelag Trøndelag () ( sma, Trööndelage) is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern ...
(mid-Norway) and the southern part of northern Norway (
Nordland Nordland (; smj, Nordlánnda, sma, Nordlaante, sme, Nordlánda, en, Northland) is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Ha ...

Nordland
county). Today, Nynorsk is the official language of not only four of the 19 Norwegian counties but also various municipalities in 5 other counties.
NRK NRK, an abbreviation of the Norwegian ''Norsk rikskringkasting AS'', generally expressed in English as the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, is the Norwegian government-owned radio Radio is the technology of signaling and communicating ...
, the Norwegian broadcasting corporation, broadcasts in both Bokmål and Nynorsk, and all governmental agencies are required to support both written languages. Bokmål is used in 92% of all written publications, and Nynorsk in 8% (2000). Like some other European countries, Norway has an official "advisory board" Språkrådet (Norwegian Language Council) 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 throughout the years. 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 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 the capital Oslo, surrounding areas, and other urban areas, as well as much of the literary tradition. Since the reforms of 1981 and 2003 (effective in 2005), the official Bokmål can be adapted to be almost identical with modern Riksmål. The differences between written Riksmål and Bokmål are comparable to
American and British English differences The English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading language of international ...
. Riksmål is regulated by the
Norwegian Academy The Norwegian Academy for Language and Literature ( no, Det Norske Akademi for Språk og Litteratur), commonly known as the Norwegian Academy, is a Norwegian Norwegian, Norwayan, or Norsk may refer to: *Something of, from, or related to Norway, a c ...
, which determines acceptable spelling, grammar, and vocabulary.


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. It is supported by
Ivar Aasen-sambandetIvar Aasen-sambandet (The Ivar Aasen Ivar Andreas Aasen (; 5 August 1813 – 23 September 1896) was a Norway, Norwegian philologist, lexicographer, playwright, and poet. He is best known for having assembled from dialects one of the two official writ ...
, but has found no widespread use.


Current usage

In 2010, 86.5% of the pupils in the primary and lower secondary schools in Norway receive education in Bokmål, while 13.0% receive education in Nynorsk. From the eighth grade onwards, pupils are required to learn both. Out of the 431 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 state publications in 2000, 8% were in Nynorsk, and 92% in Bokmål. The large national newspapers (
Aftenposten ''Aftenposten'' (; Norwegian language, Norwegian for "The Evening Post") is Norway's largest printed newspaper by circulation. It is based in Oslo. It had a circulation of 211,769 in 2015 (172,029 printed copies according to University of Bergen) a ...
,
Dagbladet ''Dagbladet'' (lit.: ''The Daily Magazine'') is one of Norway's largest Tabloid (newspaper format), tabloids and has 1,400,000 daily readers on mobile, web and paper. The paper edition had a circulation of 46,250 copies in 2016, down from a pea ...
, and VG) are published in Bokmål or Riksmål. Some major regional newspapers (including ''
Bergens Tidende ''Bergens Tidende'' is 's fifth-largest newspaper, and the country's largest newspaper outside . ''Bergens Tidende'' is owned by the public company . Norwegian owners held a mere 42% of the shares in Schibsted at the end of 2015. Bergens Tidend ...
'' and ''
Stavanger Aftenblad ''Stavanger Aftenblad'' () (lit: ''Stavanger Evening Paper'') or simply ''Aftenbladet'' is a daily newspaper A newspaper is a Periodical literature, periodical publication containing written News, information about current events and is ofte ...
''), many political journals, and many local newspapers use both Bokmål and Nynorsk. A newer trend is to write in dialect for informal use. When writing an SMS, Facebook update, or fridge note, most younger people write the way they talk rather than using Bokmål or Nynorsk.


Dialects

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; there is, however, a renewed interest in preserving dialects.


Examples

Below are a few sentences giving an indication of the differences between Bokmål and Nynorsk, compared to the conservative (closer to Danish) form Riksmål, Danish, as well as Old Norse, Swedish, Faroese, Icelandic (the living language grammatically closest to Old Norse), Old English and some modern West Germanic languages:


Grammar


Nouns

Norwegian nouns are inflection, inflected for grammatical number, number (singular/plural) and for definiteness (indefinite/definite). In a few dialects, definite nouns are also inflected for the dative case. Norwegian nouns belong to three Grammatical gender, noun classes (genders): masculine, feminine and neuter. All feminine nouns can optionally be inflected using masculine noun class morphology in Bokmål due to its Danish heritage. In comparison, the use of all three genders (including the feminine) is mandatory in Nynorsk. All Norwegian dialects have traditionally retained all the three grammatical genders from
Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian is a stage of development of North Germanic dialects before their final divergence into separate Nordic languages. Old Norse was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia Scandinavia; : ''Skades ...
to some extent. The only exceptions are the Bergen dialect, dialect of Bergen and a few upper class sociolects at East End and West End of Oslo, the west end of Oslo that have completely lost the feminine gender. Norwegian and other North Germanic languages, Scandinavian languages use a suffix to indicate definiteness of a noun, unlike English which has a separate article ''the'' to indicate the same. In general, almost all nouns in Bokmål follow these patterns (like the words in the examples above): In contrast, almost all nouns in Nynorsk follow these patterns (the noun gender system is more pronounced than in Bokmål): Feminine nouns cannot be inflected using masculine noun class morphology in Nynorsk, unlike Bokmål. That is, all feminine nouns in Nynorsk must follow the prescribed inflection pattern above. There is in general no way to infer what grammatical gender a specific noun has, but there are some patterns of nouns where the gender can be inferred. For instance, all nouns ending in -''nad'' will be masculine in both Bokmål and Nynorsk (for instance the noun ''jobbsøknad'', which means job application). Most nouns ending in -''ing'' will be feminine, like the noun ''forventning'' (expectation). There are some common irregular nouns, many of which are irregular in both Bokmål and Nynorsk, like the following: In Nynorsk, even though the irregular word ''fot'' is masculine, it is inflected like a feminine word in the plural. Another word with the same irregular inflection is ''son - søner'' (son - sons). In Nynorsk, nouns ending in -''ing'' typically have masculine plural inflections, like the word ''dronning'' in the following table. But they are treated as feminine nouns in every other way.


Genitive of nouns

In general, the genitive case has died out in modern Norwegian and there are only some remnants of it in certain expressions: ''til fjells'' (to the mountains), ''til sjøs'' (to the sea). To show ownership, there is an enclitic -''s'' similar to English -''s''; ''Sondres flotte bil'' (Sondre's nice car, Sondre being a personal name). There are also reflexive possessive pronouns, ''sin'', ''si'', ''sitt'', ''sine''; ''Det er Sondre sitt'' (It is Sondre's). In both Bokmål and modern Nynorsk, there is often a mix of both of these to mark possession, though it is more common in Nynorsk to use the reflexive pronouns; in Nynorsk use of the reflexive possessive pronouns is generally encouraged to avoid mixing the enclitic -''s'' with the historical grammatical case remnants of the language. The reflexive pronouns agree in gender and number with the noun. The enclitic -''s'' in Norwegian evolved as a shorthand expression for the possessive pronouns ''sin'', ''si'', ''sitt'' and ''sine''.


Adjectives

Norwegian adjectives, like those of Swedish and Danish, inflect for definiteness, Grammatical gender, gender, Grammatical number, number and for Comparison (grammar), comparison (affirmative/comparative/superlative). Inflection for definiteness follows two paradigms, called "weak" and "strong", a feature shared among the Germanic languages. The following table summarizes the inflection of adjectives in Norwegian. The indefinite affirmative inflection can vary between adjectives, but in general the paradigm illustrated below is the most common. Predicate adjectives follow only the indefinite inflection table. Unlike attributive adjectives, they are not inflected for definiteness. In most dialects, some verb participles used as adjectives have a separate form in both definite and plural uses, and sometimes also in the masculine-feminine singular. In some Southwestern dialects, the definite adjective is also declined in gender and number with one form for feminine and plural, and one form for masculine and neuter.


Attributive adjectives


= Definite inflection

= In Norwegian, a definite noun has a suffixed definite article (cf. above) compared to English which in general uses the separate word ''the'' to indicate the same. However, when a definite noun is preceded by an adjective, the adjective also gets a definite inflection, shown in the inflection table above. There is also another definite marker ''den'' that has to agree in gender with the noun when the definite noun is accompanied by an adjective. It comes before the adjective and has the following forms Examples of definite affirmative inflection of adjectives (Bokmål): * Den ''stjålne'' bilen (The ''stolen'' car) * Den ''pene'' jenta (The ''pretty'' girl) * Det ''grønne'' eplet (The ''green'' apple) * De ''stjålne'' bilene (The ''stolen'' cars) If the adjective is dropped completely, the meaning of the preceding article before the noun changes, as shown in this example. Examples (Bokmål): * Den bilen (That car) * Den jenta (That girl) * Det eplet (That apple) * De bilene (Those cars) Examples of definite comparative and superlative inflection of adjectives (Bokmål): * Det ''grønnere'' eplet (The ''greener'' apple) * Det ''grønneste'' eplet (The ''greenest'' apple) Definiteness is also signaled by using possessive pronouns or any uses of a noun in its genitive form in either Nynorsk or Bokmål: ''mitt grønne hus'' ("my green house"), ''min grønne bil'' ("my green car"), ''mitt tilbaketrukne tannkjøtt'' ("my pulled gums"), ''presidentens gamle hus'' ("the president's old house").


= Indefinite inflection

= Examples (Bokmål): * En ''grønn'' bil (A ''green'' car) * Ei ''pen'' jente (A ''pretty'' girl) * Et ''grønt'' eple (A ''green'' apple) * Flere ''grønne'' biler (Many ''green'' cars) Examples of comparative and superlative inflections in Bokmål: "en grønnere bil" (a greener car), "grønnest bil" (greenest car).


Adjective#Predicative adjective, Predicative adjectives

There is also predicative agreement of adjectives in all dialects of Norwegian and in the written languages, unlike related languages like German and Dutch. This feature of predicative agreement is shared among the Scandinavian languages. Predicative adjectives do not inflect for definiteness unlike the attributive adjectives. This means that nouns will have to agree with the adjective when there is a Copula (linguistics), copula verb involved, like in Bokmål: «være» (to be), «bli» (become), «ser ut» (looks like), «kjennes» (feels like) etc.


Verbs

Norwegian verbs are not Conjugation (grammar), conjugated for Grammatical person, person or Grammatical number, number unlike
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
and most European Languages, European languages, though a few Norwegian dialects do conjugate for number. Norwegian verbs are conjugated according to mainly three grammatical moods: Indicative mood, indicative, Imperative mood, imperative and Subjunctive mood, subjunctive, though the subjunctive mood has largely fallen out of use and is mainly found in a few common frozen expressions. The imperative is formed by removing the last vowel of the infinitive verb form, just like in the other Scandinavian languages. Indicative verbs are conjugated for grammatical tense, tense: present tense, present / past tense, past / Future tense, future. The present and past tense also have a passive voice, passive form for the infinitive. There are four non-finite verb forms: infinitive, passive voice, passive infinitive, and the two participles: perfective/past participle and imperfective/present participle. The participles are verbal adjectives. The imperfective participle is not declined, whereas the perfect participle is declined for grammatical gender, gender (though not in Bokmål) and grammatical number, number like strong, affirmative adjectives. The definiteness, definite form of the participle is identical to the plural form. As with other Germanic languages, Norwegian verbs can be divided into two conjugation classes; germanic weak verb, weak verbs and germanic strong verb, strong verbs.


Ergative verbs

There are ergative verbs in both Bokmål and Nynorsk, where there are two different conjugation patterns depending on if the verb takes an object or not. In Bokmål, there are only two different conjugations for the Preterite Tense, preterite tense for the strong verbs, while Nynorsk has different conjugations for all tenses, like Swedish and a majority of Norwegian dialects. Some weak verbs are also ergative and are differentiated for all tenses in both Bokmål and Nynorsk, like «ligge»/«legge» that both means to lie down, but «ligge» does not take an object while «legge» requires an object. «legge» corresponds to the English verb «lay», while «ligge» corresponds to the English verb «lie». There are however many verbs that do not have this direct translation to English verbs.


Pronouns

Norwegian personal pronouns are declined according to grammatical case, case: nominative case, nominative / accusative case, accusative. Like English, pronouns in Bokmål and Nynorsk are the only class that has case declension. Some of the dialects that have preserved the dative case, dative in nouns, also have a dative case instead of the accusative case in personal pronouns, while others have accusative in pronouns and dative in nouns, effectively giving these dialects three distinct cases. In the most comprehensive Norwegian grammar, Norsk referansegrammatikk, the categorization of personal pronouns by grammatical person, person, grammatical gender, gender, and grammatical number, number is not regarded as inflection. Pronouns are a closed class in Norwegian. The words for «mine», «yours» etc. are dependent on the gender of the noun it describes. Just like adjectives, they have to agree in gender with the noun. Bokmål has two sets of 3rd person pronouns. ''Han'' and ''hun'' refer to male and female individuals respectively, ''den'' and ''det'' refer to impersonal or inanimate nouns, of masculine/feminine or neutral gender respectively. In contrast, Nynorsk and most dialects use the same set of pronouns ''han'' (he), ''ho'' (she) and ''det'' (it) for both personal and impersonal references, just like in
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...

German
,
Icelandic Icelandic refers to anything of, from, or related to Iceland and may refer to: *Icelandic people *Icelandic language *Icelandic alphabet *Icelandic cuisine See also

* Icelander (disambiguation) * Icelandic Airlines, a predecessor of Icelandai ...
and
Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian is a stage of development of North Germanic dialects before their final divergence into separate Nordic languages. Old Norse was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia Scandinavia; : ''Skades ...
. ''Det'' also has Syntactic expletive, expletive and cataphora, cataphoric uses like in the English examples ''it rains'' and ''it was known by everyone (that) he had travelled the world''.


Ordering of possessive pronouns

The ordering of possessive pronouns is somewhat freer than in Swedish or Danish. When there is no adjective, the most common word order is the one used in the examples in the table above, where the possessive comes after the noun, while the noun is in its definite form; «boka mi» (my book). If one wishes to emphasize the owner of the noun, the possessive pronoun usually come first. In Bokmål however, due to its Danish origins, one could choose to always write the possessive first «min bil» (my car), but this may sound very formal. Some dialects that have been very influenced by Danish do this too, some speakers in Bærum and the Oslo West, west of Oslo may always use this word order. When there is an adjective describing the noun, the possessive pronoun will always come first; «min egen bil» (my own car).


Determiners

The closed class of Norwegian Determiner (class), determiners are declined in grammatical gender, gender and grammatical number, number in agreement with their argument. Not all determiners are inflected.


Numerals


Particle classes

Norwegian has five closed classes without inflection, i.e. lexical category, lexical categories with grammatical function and a finite number of members that may not be distinguished by morphological criteria. These are interjections, grammatical conjunction, conjunctions, grammatical conjunction, subjunctions, prepositions, and adverbs. The inclusion of adverbs here requires that traditional adverbs that are inflected in Comparison (grammar), comparison be classified as adjectives, as is sometimes done.


Adverbs

Adverbs can be formed from adjectives in Norwegian. English usually creates adverbs from adjectives by the suffix ''-ly'', like the adverb ''beautifully'' from the adjective ''beautiful.'' By comparison, North Germanic languages, Scandinavian languages usually form adverbs from adjectives by the Neuter (grammar), grammatical neuter singular form of the adjective. This is in general true for both Bokmål and Nynorsk. Example (
Bokmål Bokmål (, ; literally "book tongue") is an official written standard for the Norwegian language Norwegian (Norwegian: ''norsk'') is a North Germanic languages, North Germanic language spoken mainly in Norway, where it is an official language. A ...
): * Han er ''grusom'' (He is ''terrible'') * Det er ''grusomt'' (It is terrible) * Han er ''grusomt'' treig (He is ''terribly'' slow) In the third sentence, ''grusomt'' is an adverb. In the first and second sentence ''grusomt'' and ''grusom'' are adjectives and have to agree in grammatical gender with the noun. Another example is the adjective ''vakker'' (beautiful) which exist in both Nynorsk and Bokmål and has the neuter singular form ''vakkert.'' Example (
Nynorsk Nynorsk (translates to “Modern Norwegian”, literally “New Norwegian”) is one of the two written standards of the Norwegian language, the other being Bokmål. From 12 May 1885, it became the state-sanctioned version of Ivar Aasen's standa ...
): * Ho er ''vakker'' (She is ''beautiful'') * Det er ''vakkert'' (It is ''beautiful'') * Ho syng ''vakkert'' (She sings ''beautifully)''


Compound words

In Norwegian compound (linguistics), compound words, the head (linguistics), head, i.e. the part determining the compound's class, is the last part. If the compound word is constructed from many different nouns, the last noun in the compound noun will determine the gender of the compound noun. Only the first part has primary stress. For instance, the compound ''tenketank'' (think tank) has primary stress on the first syllable and is a masculine noun since the noun «tank» is masculine. Compound words are written together in Norwegian, which can cause words to become very long, for example ' (maximum likelihood estimator) and ' (human rights organizations). Other examples are the title ''høyesterettsjustitiarius'' (Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, originally a combination of supreme court and the actual title, justiciar) and the translation ''En midtsommernattsdrøm'' for ''A Midsummer Night's Dream''. If they are not written together, each part is naturally read with primary stress, and the meaning of the compound is lost. Examples of this in English are the difference between a green house and a greenhouse or a black board and a blackboard. This is sometimes forgotten, occasionally with humorous results. Instead of writing, for example, ' (lamb chops), people make the mistake of writing ' (lame, or paralyzed, chops). The original message can even be reversed, as when ' (lit. "smoke-free" meaning no smoking) becomes ' (smoke freely). Other examples include: * ''Terrasse dør'' ("Terrace dies") instead of ''Terrassedør'' ("Terrace door") * ''Tunfisk biter'' ("Tuna bites", verb) instead of ''Tunfiskbiter'' ("Tuna bits", noun) * ''Smult ringer'' ("Lard calls", verb) instead of ''Smultringer'' ("Doughnuts") * ''Tyveri sikret'' ("Theft guaranteed") instead of ''Tyverisikret'' ("Theft proof") * ''Stekt kylling lever'' ("Fried chicken lives", verb) instead of ''Stekt kyllinglever'' ("Fried chicken liver", noun) * ''Smør brød'' ("Butter bread", verb) instead of ''Smørbrød'' ("Sandwich") * ''Klipp fisk'' ("Cut fish", verb) instead of ''Klippfisk'' ("Clipfish") * ''På hytte taket'' ("On cottage the roof") instead of ''På hyttetaket'' ("On the cottage roof") * ''Altfor Norge'' ("Too Norway") instead of ''Alt for Norge'' ("Everything for Norway", the royal motto of Norway) These misunderstandings occur because most nouns can be interpreted as verbs or other types of words. Similar misunderstandings can be achieved in English too. The following are examples of phrases that both in Norwegian and English mean one thing as a compound word, and something different when regarded as separate words: * ''stavekontroll'' (spellchecker) or ''stave kontroll'' (spell checker) * ''kokebok'' (cookbook) or ''koke bok'' (cook book) * ''ekte håndlagde vafler'' (real handmade waffles) or ''ekte hånd lagde vafler'' (real hand made waffles)


Syntax


Word order

Norwegian syntax is predominantly Subject–verb–object, SVO. The subject occupies the sentence-initial position, followed by the verb and then the object. However, like many other Germanic languages, it follows the V2 word order, V2 rule, which means that the finite verb is invariably the second element in a sentence. For example: •"Jeg spiser fisk ''i dag''" (I eat fish ''today'') •"Jeg vil drikke kaffe ''i dag''" (I want to drink coffee ''today'') An exception to the V2 word order , rule are embedded clauses and question phrases.


= Negation

= Negation in Norwegian is expressed by the word "ikke", which literally means "not" and is placed after the finite verb. Exceptions are embedded clauses. •"Hunden kom ikke tilbake med ballen." (The dog did not return with the ball.) •"Det var hunden som ikke kom tilbake." (It was the dog that did not return.) Contractions with the negation, as is accepted in for example English ("cannot", "hadn't", "didn't") are contained to dialects and colloquial speech. In this case contractions apply to the negation and the verb. Otherwise "ikke" is applied in similar ways as the English "not" and general Affirmation and negation , negation.


= Adverbs

= Adverbs follow the verb they modify. Depending on the type of adverb, the order in which they appear in the phrase is pre-determined. Manner adverbs for example, precede temporal adverbs. Switching the order of these adverbs would not render the phrase ungrammatical, but would make it sound awkward. Compare this to the English phrase "John probably already ate dinner." Switching the adverbs position (already and probably) to "John already probably ate dinner" is not incorrect, but sounds unnatural. For more information on this see Cartographic syntax , Cartographic syntax •"Hun sang rørende vakkert." (She sang touchingly beautiful.) •"Hun sang utrolig høyt." (She sang unbelievably loud.) The adverb may precede the verb when the focus of the sentence is shifted. If special attention should be directed on the temporal aspect of the sentence, the adverb can be fronted. Since the V2 rule requires the finite verb to syntactically occupy the second position in the clause, the verb consequently also moves in front of the subject. •"''I dag'' vil jeg drikke kaffe" (''Today'', I want to drink coffee) •"''I dag'' spiser jeg fisk" (''Today'', I eat fish) Only one adverb may precede the verb, unless it belongs to a bigger constituent, in which case it does not modify the main verb in the phrase, but is part of the constituent. •"Hun spiste suppen raskt igår" (She ate the soup quickly yesterday.) •"Igår spiste ''hun'' suppen raskt" (Yesterday she ate the soup quickly.) •"Laget som spilte best, hadde forlatt plassen."


= Adjectives

= Attributive adjectives always precede the noun that they modify. •"De tre store tjukke tunge røde bøkene stod i hylla." (The three big fat heavy red books stood on the shelf.) •"Den andre heldigvis lange tynne nøkkelen passet."


Vocabulary

Norwegian vocabulary descends primarily from Old Norse.
Middle Low German Middle Low German or Middle Saxon (autonym: ''Sassisch'', i.e. "Saxon", Standard German, Standard High German: ', Dutch language, Modern Dutch: ') is a developmental stage of Low German. It developed from the Old Saxon language in the Middle ...
is the largest source of loanwords, having a marked influence on Norwegian vocabulary from the late Middle Ages onwards (in addition some impact on grammatical structures such as genitive constructions). Many of these loanwords, however, while found in Bokmål and many dialects, are absent from Nynorsk, which retains or has substituted words derived from Old Norse. Nynorsk thus shares more vocabulary with Icelandic and Faroese than does Bokmål. At present, the main source of new loanwords is English e.g. ''rapper'', ''e-mail'', ''catering'', ''juice'', ''bag'' (itself possibly a loan word to English from Old Norse). Norwegian has also borrowed words and phrases from Danish and Swedish and continues to do so. The spelling of some loanwords has been adapted to Norwegian orthographic conventions, but in general Norwegianised spellings have taken a long time to take hold. For example, ' (from ') and ' (from French ') are now the common Norwegian spellings, but ''juice'' is more often used than the Norwegianised form ', ''catering'' more often than ', ''service'' more often than ', etc. In the case of Danish and Swedish, the spelling in Norwegian of both loanwords and native cognates is often less conservative than the spelling in those languages, and, arguably, closer to the pronunciation. Four of the letters most shunned in Norwegian in comparison to the other Scandinavian languages are "c", "d", "j" and "x". Norwegian ' is ' in Swedish and Danish; the words "sex" and "six" are ' and ' in Norwegian, but in Swedish they are both '; Danish words ending in ' end in ' to reflect pronunciation and many traditional Danish spellings with ''d'' preceded by another consonant are changed to double consonants, such as in the Danish for water, ', versus Norwegian (Bokmål) spelling ', but "sand" is spelled ' in both languages (Norwegian was standardized this way because in some dialects a "d" was pronounced in ', whereas Norwegian speakers pronounced ' without a "d"-sound). (The word for water in Nynorsk is '.)


See also

* Det Norske Akademi for Sprog og Litteratur * Differences between the Norwegian and Danish languages * Noregs Mållag * Norsk Ordbok (Nynorsk), Norsk Ordbok * Riksmålsforbundet * Russenorsk *
Tone (linguistics) Tone is the use of pitch Pitch may refer to: Acoustic frequency * Pitch (music), the perceived frequency of sound including "definite pitch" and "indefinite pitch" ** Absolute pitch or "perfect pitch" ** Pitch class, a set of all pitches th ...


Citations


General bibliography

* Olav Beito, Olav T. Beito, ''Nynorsk grammatikk. Lyd- og ordlære'', Det Norske Samlaget, Oslo 1986, * Rolf Theil Endresen, Hanne Gram Simonsen, Andreas Sveen, ''Innføring i lingvistikk'' (2002), * Jan Terje Faarlund, Svein Lie, Kjell Ivar Vannebo, ''Norsk referansegrammatikk'', Universitetsforlaget, Oslo 1997, 2002 (3rd edition), (Bokmål and Nynorsk) * Philip Holmes (linguist), Philip Holmes, Hans-Olav Enger, ''Norwegian: A Comprehensive Grammar'', Routledge, Abingdon, 2018, * The Norwegian Language Council (1994), ''Language usage in Norway's civil service''
in English
* Arne Torp, Lars Vikør, Lars S. Vikør (1993), ''Hovuddrag i norsk språkhistorie (3.utgåve)'', Gyldendal Norsk Forlag AS 2003 * Lars Vikør, Lars S. Vikør (2015), ''Norwegian: Bokmål vs. Nynorsk''
on Språkrådet's website


External links


Ordboka
- Online dictionary search, both Bokmål and Nynorsk. *
Norwegian as a Normal Language
in English, at ''Språkrådet''
Ordbøker og nettressurser
– a collection of dictionaries and online resources (in Norwegian) from ''Språkrådet'' {{DEFAULTSORT:Norwegian Language Norwegian language, Fusional languages Languages of Norway North Germanic languages Scandinavian culture Stress-timed languages Subject–verb–object languages Tonal languages Verb-second languages West Scandinavian languages