Norwegian language

Norwegian language

There are two official languages ​​in Norway, Bokmal and Nynorsk, quite similar and familiar – actively or passively – to all Norwegians.

Bokmal (BM), literally "the language of the books”, also called riksmal, state language, it's contemporary, an urban version of the language of the old Danish rulers. As the dominant language in Norwegian cities, is used by over 80% society. It is also the main language of instruction in most schools and the language of the media.

Nynorsk (NN), meaning "New Norwegian” (unlike Old Norwegian, a language spoken in the pre-Danish period), predominates in the west coast fjords and certain areas of central Norway. It is also a lingua franca (colloquial language) in the regions, where at least one dialect is spoken. Before World War II, Nynorsk was the first language of almost one third of students in Norwegian schools, but as a result of increasing urbanization, this number has decreased to approx. 15%.

One of the most striking peculiarities of linguistic duality in Norway is the fact, that many common words and place names have two (or more) correct spelling. Currently, Nynorsk is the official language of the administration in the More of Romsdal counties, Sogn og Fjordane, Hordaland and Telemark. Interestingly, the nationwide government issued a speaking decree, that a certain percentage of the subtitles on TV have to be translated into Nynorsk, which made most speakers of the Bokmal language dissatisfied.

Fortunately, for many tourists, knowledge of the English language is quite common in Norway, even in rural areas. However, it is still good to learn a few Norwegian phrases anyway, which will help you connect with people, however, if someone has clear problems with Norwegian, then most of his interlocutors will easily switch to English.

There are several different phrasebooks in the publishing market, Norwegian books and dictionaries; as a last resort, you can find them in antiquities or libraries.

If you are interested in learning Bokmal, you can buy the best Norwegian tutorials on site: Ny i Norge oraz Bo i Norge.