There are 2 official written forms of Norwegian- Bokmal aka “book langauge” and Nynorsk aka as “new norweigian”.
There is no official sanctioned standard of spoken Norwegian. Most Norwegians choose their own dialect according to different circumstances.
No one dialect is right or wrong but adds to the tradition of Norwegian. For example, a beginner will learn Bokmal because it is easier to learn as it is codified, regular, and accepted nationally as the official language of Norway. 80-90% of population use Bokmal, it is also commonly taught to foreign students & usually more in the Eastern and Southern region of Norway. 12% of population use Nynorsk and more in the Western region. Four out of 19 counties, mainly around the West coast, use Nynorsk as their official language. In school, students are taught both languages. The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK), owned by the state, is required to create television shows and other media in both Bokmål and Nynorsk. For written publications, NRK produces about 92% in Bokmål and 8% in Nynorsk.
Norwegian came from Old Norse which is the language of the Vikings. Viking traders spread the language across Europe into Russia. Old Norse is one of the most widespread languages of that time. Christinaity spread to Norway in early 1000’s and led to development of Eastern and Western Norse. During the 1500’s Denmark ruled Norway- Denmark then became the formal language. When Danish rule was over, there was Nationalist pressure from Norway to have their own language again. Some scholars developed a Dano-norwegian form to keep the Danish heritage whilst other scholars developed a new language based on modern dialects of the time. In 1929 they became officially renamed, both recognised as being the two written languages of Norway. The first one, Dano-Norwegian, was given the new name Bokmål and the second, from rural dialects, Nynorsk.
Before Bokmal there was Riksmal. Riksmål is very much like bokmål. The first Bokmal orthography was adopted in 1907 under the name Riksmal after being under development since 1879. It was an adaptation of written Danish, commonly used since the past union with Denmark. The architects behind the reform was Marius Nygaard and Jonathon Aars. When newspaper giant at the time- Aftenposten adopted the 1907 orthography in 1923 Danish writing was pretty much out of use in Norway. In 1928 the name Bokmal was officially adopted.
The current riksmål differs from bokmål in the following ways : There are no distinct masculine and feminine genders Bokmal but there is in Riksmal. The nouns which in Bokmål are masculine or feminine generally fall into the "common" category, and the grammar rules generally follow those of masculine nouns in bokmål. The alternate forms allowed for some words in Bokmål are forbidden in Riksmål. A few people normally older like over 60 still use Riksmal which is considered a more conservative form of Bokmal.
Before Nynorsk there was Landsmal. Landsmål is a language formalized by Ivar Aasen in the 19th century. Landsmål’s meaning is the "language of the land/country.” In 1885 it was adopted as an official language in Norway. It was first introduced as a reaction to the dominance of high culture, the growth of the cities, during a period of rapid industrialization. The landsmål movement was understood as to distance itself from the modernization process, fighting to preserve the old peasant society against the threats posed by industrialization. In 1929, Landsmål was renamed Nynorsk. An unofficial written form Hognorsk is considered more conservative than Nynorsk, it is similar to Landsmal but with other connotations.
Principals of Bokmal and Nynorsk
Norway has an advisory board that determines official spelling, grammar and vocabulary. The board’s work has been embroiled in much controversy & more work required because of the different varieties of...
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