Norway – The country with two Norwegian languages

Here I’m standing in front of the Royal Palace at Karl Johann Gate in Oslo. There’s one thing I love and one thing I hate about this city. What I love about it that you can’t get lost. If you are on the Karl Johans Gate leading from the bus station to the Royal Palace you will find almost everything. What I hate about that city are the prices and I can tell you that 20 euros for a cheese pizza that’s nothing extraordinary here. But let’s talk about another interesting thing. If you already have taken a look in a Norwegian textbook you might have notice that there are two Norwegian languages: bokmål and nynorsk. If you go to a supermarket in Norway just to buy some milk you will notice that on one pack they write melk and on the other one mjølk. And you will ask yourself why. Well, this has nothing to do with a linguistic schizophrenia or a kind if weirdness. It has political and historical reasons. A long time the Norwegians belonged to the Danish Crown and made attempts to separate themselves from Denmark also in a linguistical sense. The Norwegian language which is based on Danish and the base of most of all textbook and dictionaries is called bokmål. But suddenly the Norwegians started creating a second Norwegian languages based on the Swedish vocabulary which is called nynorsk. The result is that today Norway has two Norwegian languages and the children learn both of them at school. The 17th May which is the Norwegian national holiday is the day when Norway got independent from the Danish Crown. If you want to learn a Scandianvian language but you don’t know with which one to start I recommend you to start with Norwegian. If you know Norwegian bokmål you will be able to understand Swedish written and spoken and Danish in its written form. To be honest I did it the other way round. First I learned Swedish, than Danish and on the base of both languages I have learned Norwegian within less than two weeks as I only had to concentrate on the small grammatical and phonological differences. Lingusts even classify the Scandinavian languages in the Western Scandinavian and the Eastern Scandinavian language. The Eastern Scandinavian group consists of Danish, Swedish and bokmål while the Western Scandinavian group consists of nynorsk, Icelandic and Faroese which is spoken on the Faroese Islands in the Atlantic Ocean. If you want to go to Oslo don’t forget to take your Norwegian textbook … and a lot of money!!!


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