Spynorsk mordliste

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Spynorsk mordliste is a derogatory term in Norwegian culture, meant to disparage the Nynorsk (lit. New Norwegian) written standard of the Norwegian language. It is a pun on Nynorsk ordliste, the Norwegian-language title of the "New Norwegian Word List", and can be translated to "Spew Norwegian Murder List".


Nynorsk ordliste is a dictionary of the Nynorsk written standard of Norwegian, first published in 1938 by Einar Breidsvoll and Knut Liestøl. In 1959 Liestøl left while Alf Hellevik became co-editor. Hellevik was the sole editor from 1962[1] until his death in 2001.[2] In 2012 his name still was listed as first author of the eleventh edition.[2] In Norwegian schools, it has long been compulsory from the age of about 12 to learn to write both Nynorsk and Bokmål.[3] Among student users of Bokmål, mockery of Nynorsk became widespread toward the end of the 20th century.[4] For example they would use a pen to change the cover title of Nynorsk ordliste to "Spynorsk mordliste".[5]


Anthropologist Thomas Hylland Eriksen, in his 1993 book Typisk norsk (Typical Norwegian), suggested "Nynorsk mordliste" [sic] as being among the typical Norwegian cultural traits—meaning that the term has a certain connotation for all or most Norwegians.[6]

The term has also been used in politics. In the run-up for the 2005 parliamentary election, the Conservative politician Harald Victor Hove from Hordaland gained some attention for burning Nynorsk ordliste as a part of his campaign. He referred to the book as "'Spynorsk mordliste', as we used to call it".[7] During debates in the city council of Oslo—a Bokmål stronghold—the term has also been used. Progress Party politician Anette Elseth spoke to limit the compulsory school writing to one of the written standards only, and added that she and others used to change the name to "Spynorsk mordliste".[8] In another debate, Conservative politician Øystein Sundelin claimed—rhetorically—that "regrettably, more than half" of the school attenders in Oslo have written "Spynorsk mordliste" on their dictionary.[9]


  1. ^ Bull, Tove. "Alf Hellevik". In Helle, Knut. Norsk biografisk leksikon (in Norwegian). Oslo: Aschehoug. Retrieved 10 July 2009. 
  2. ^ a b "Alf Hellevik". Samlaget. Det Norske Samlaget. Retrieved 7 July 2015. 
  3. ^ "Nynorsken i årstal" (in Norwegian). Ivar Aasen Centre. Retrieved 10 July 2009. 
  4. ^ See for instance Eriksen, Thomas H. (6 February 2004). "De tre sidemålene". Morgenbladet (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2 July 2009. 
  5. ^ Tryti, Tove (2009). Norsk slangordbok (in Norwegian). Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget. p. 347. ISBN 978-82-573-1980-9. 
  6. ^ Eriksen, Thomas Hylland (1993). Typisk norsk. Essays om kulturen i Norge (in Norwegian). Oslo: Huitfeldt. pp. 234–236. ISBN 82-7003-121-6. 
  7. ^ Børhaug, Espen (13 August 2005). "Harald brenner «spynorsken»". Bergensavisen (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2 July 2009. 
  8. ^ "Sak nr. 540. Sidemål i videregående opplæring". Forhandlinger i Oslo bystyres møte onsdag 27. september 2000 (in Norwegian). Oslo City Council. 27 September 2000. Retrieved 2 July 2009. 
  9. ^ "Sak nr. 73. Utvidet forsøk med valgfritt skriftlig sidemål i videregående skole". Forhandlinger i Oslo bystyres møte onsdag 27. februar 2008 (in Norwegian). Oslo City Council. 27 September 2000. Retrieved 2 July 2009.