Talk:Norwegian language

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How much do Bokmål and Nynorsk differ?[edit]

A lot of articles talk about the language situation and how different people prefer different standards. But so far I haven't been able to find any information about how much they have in common. Going just by vocabulary (perhaps only the more common words one would find in a newspaper), what percentage of words is shared between the two? CodeCat (talk) 23:21, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

What does it mean that a word is shared between them? Are kyrkje and kirke the same word, although they are written differently? In some cases, though not in this, different forms like this are both allowed in either or both written standards. While not exactly what you ask for, and completely unsourced, what I as a bokmål writer remember for learning to write nynorsk was to avoid all be- og -het words (there were possibly some more). These came from German and were/are therefore shunned by hardcore proponents of nynorsk. Words of Norse origin still preserved in bokmål will most likely be shared with nynorsk, though possibly with quite different spelling, but probably not the other way around due to bokmål's greater foreign influence. Ters (talk) 20:53, 31 October 2012 (UTC)

If, as the article says, Bokmål and Nynorsk are written languages, how can the article also say that NRK broadcasts in these languages? Broadcasters must perforce use spoken forms of the language, albeit in a variety of dialects. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Historikeren (talkcontribs) 13:49, 7 November 2012 (UTC)

They seem to use the "dialect" formed from reading the written standards more or less as they are written. Since nynorsk is based on dialects from almost all over the country, this "dialect" is artificial, while for bokmål, you more or less get the eastern upper class dialect/sociolect/koiné bokmål was based on. This requirement is apparently no longer as strict as it once probably was. Ingerid Stenvold won a price in 2007 for her persistence in using her own dialect. Ters (talk) 16:32, 7 November 2012 (UTC)
In the past, people in NRK had to choose between a standardized spoken bokmål or standardized spoken nynorsk. While the first is similar (or the same) as the standard dialect of the Oslo West End, the latter were more or less an artificial creation. These days everyone are allowed to use their own dialects freely. But, even though much of the communication done by radio and TV are done orally, there's still plenty of written communication (like through subtitles, placards on TV, text TV, and lately the internet).Josnyg (talk) 11:52, 18 August 2013 (UTC)

Bokmål is Norwegianised Danish, while Nynorsk is based on Norwegian dialects, but with a somewhat conservative vocabulary. --Oddeivind (talk) 06:10, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

Variant Generally Taught to Foreign Students[edit]

In the 'Phonology' section the following claim is made: "There is considerable variation among the dialects, but the variant generally taught to foreign students is Standard Østnorsk." What's the basis for this claim? I'd assume that what dialect is taught depend on the dialect of the teacher, and where the student learns the language. Granted, most foreigners learning Norwegian in Norway probably learn it in or around Oslo where Standard Østnorsk is the norm, but that's incidental. Josnyg (talk) 12:00, 18 August 2013 (UTC)

Finding a good reliable source spelling this out directly may be difficult. The incidental angle might be the point here, but I guess it's also common for languages to be taught in the spoken form closest to the written form. From my impressions, there has also not been a tradition in Norway for teaching dialects in schools, or even using dialects in government institutions. While the latter is not as strict as it used to be, a then new news anchor on NRK recently had to ask for permission to speak in her own dialect, though dialects have been freely used in every other program for some time. Standard Østnorsk works as a sociolect, as well as something of a dialect. Ters (talk) 16:26, 18 August 2013 (UTC)
"Standard Eastern Norwegian" is a misnomer, it has no real definition (paradoxically enough for something that is supposed to be a "standard"). It's a term that should be avoided.
I also sincerely doubt that central eastern phonology would be applied by people outside of the central part of Eastern Norway. As an example, someone from Bergen will most likely use [ʁ] rather than [ɾ] for the letter r when pronouncing Bokmål. --Njardarlogar (talk) 18:04, 18 August 2013 (UTC)
Bergen is perhaps a bad example, as they have never been under the impression that their dialect is inferior to "Standard Østnorsk". In fact, I think the Bergen dialect fits Bokmål about as good as the Oslo dialect, and certainly more so than most eastern dialects. However, phonology isn't the main thing that differentiates Norwegian dialects. As long as one pronounce the words as written in Bokmål, much of the the characteristics of one's dialect will be lost. However, there seems to be a assumption is this discussion that the teacher is from, or even in, Norway. The statement in the article may also refer to students outside Norway learning Norwegian from non-Norwegian teachers. That teacher may in turn never have been exclusively exposed to a particular Norwegian dialect. Ters (talk) 20:19, 18 August 2013 (UTC)
Note that this information was found in the Phonology section, as pointed out by Josnyg, so phonology is what I had in mind. It is also found in the lead, but there the context is different and so it seems to be correct. --Njardarlogar (talk) 09:14, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
Ah, yes. I missed that part. If so, then there is a source for that claim on the article about Norwegian phonology. I don't know what that source says, though. Ters (talk) 15:48, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
I think that claim must be incorrect. It would be nice if someone had access to the book The Phonology of Norwegian (2007) so that we could find out what it actually says. --Njardarlogar (talk) 08:20, 20 August 2013 (UTC)

Introduction length[edit]

It is quite clear that the introduction by far exceeds its tolerable length. It is suggested to shift the details of the dialects into the already existing paragraph "Dialects". HJJHolm (talk) 07:03, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

Islands and the Map[edit]

I wonder why the map includes Svalbard but not Bouvet Island. Norwegian Law applies to Bouvet, so if anybody ever wanted to live there (current population zero), surely Norwegian would be the official language of the island? Enno (talk) 04:31, 6 July 2014 (UTC)

My guess is that it is to keep the map simple. If the map was extended to show Bouvet Island, it wouldn't be visible due to the scale. while an inset would lose the context. Furthermore, and perhaps more importantly, the map shows where Norwegian is spoken, not where it is an offical language. (Although the minorities in North America shown in another map is left out.) It should also be mentioned that the correctness of the map in the infobox was recently questioned. Ters (talk) 12:51, 6 July 2014 (UTC)

The map over "Norwegian-speaking areas"[edit]

I am wondering why a map in this article suggests that the Norwegian language is in a minority in the north of Norway, specifically Troms and Finnmark? Is it because of the Sami languages?

While the Sami language is spoken mainly in the north, it is far from a majority language even in the northernmost parts of Norway. Less than 20 000 people in Norway can speak a Sami language, and an even lower number will have it as a native tongue. Furthermore, just seven municipalities in Troms and Finnmark (out of 43) have a Sami language as an official administrational language along with Norwegian. As far as I know, only two municipalities (Karasjok and Kautokeino) have a Sami majority. According to official statistics, there are 237 000 people living in Troms and Finnmark. Given that there are only just 20 000 Sami speakers in Norway, quite a few of whom do not live in Troms and Finnmark, Norwegian cannot be close to a minority language.

By all means, the Sami language is an official language in Norway and should be respected as such. The Sami language are very much present in certain parts of the northern half of Norway. However, Norwegian is not at all a minority language in Northern Norway, and the map should reflect this.

It is also confusing to claim that there are "Norwegian-speaking minorities" in Sweden. It is true that the dialects in the light blue areas are closely (and historicaly) linked to Norwegian dialects - but I don't think any of the people living there today consider themselves to be (or speak) Norwegian.

In my opinion the map should be totaly removed: It is more confusing than informative. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:29, 31 August 2014 (UTC)

I agree and I removed it. Iselilja (talk) 21:35, 31 August 2014 (UTC)


It's not explained at all why there are two shades of blue in the first map although another map explains the Bokmål and Nynorsk distribution. The latter includes neutral areas as well. These aren't present in the introduction map either. -- (talk) 15:19, 28 December 2014 (UTC)

Those two shades of blue are discussed in the discussion above. The map was removed earlier this year for being totally wrong, but someone seems to have put it back. Ters (talk) 15:48, 28 December 2014 (UTC)
I don't know Norwegian, but as someone who doesn't know the language, the fact that the caption doesn't include an explanation is more confusing than the fact that the map is disputed. -- (talk) 16:20, 28 December 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── The map in question is on Commons, here:

It was removed from the article at the end of August this year by user:Iselilja who wrote, as an edit-summary:

  • Removing misleading map. Norwegians are not in minority in Northern Norway; nor are there really Norwegian-speaking minorities in Sweden (apart from recent immigrants).

Since August it has been added back in. I believe that the several comments (comment sections) above, and the edit-summary, show consensus that this map is unwanted. I'll remove it again. --Hordaland (talk) 20:39, 28 December 2014 (UTC)