The popularity of its legendary gods has spread more than the influence of the Norwegian language which evolved from Old Norse and other northern Germanic languages. About 4.4 million people speak Norwegian, and most of them live in Norway. Despite its size, the dialects of Norway are very diverse. Moreover, although there are two officially recognized variants of Norwegian, there is no standard for spoken Norwegian; instead regional dialects take the reins here.
The Norwegian language traces its origins to Germanic roots, as is the case with the modern languages Dutch, English, and German. The earliest traces of Norwegian literature are dated as far back as the 9th century when the Vikings used Old Norse for written and verbal communication. Over time, the Norwegian language evolved, forming new dialects across the country.
In the 19th century, the language was first standardized as Bokmål, based on the dialect spoken in Oslo, the country’s capital. Another standardized version known as Nynorsk was developed soon afterwards; it originated from dialects spoken in the country’s rural areas.
The Norwegian language began as Old Norse, a language primarily spoken by the Vikings across the Scandinavian provinces of Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. The 14th century marked the emergence of the Dano-Norwegian union, which influenced the Norwegian language for the ensuing centuries.
By the 19th century, a strong interest in creating a standardized language for the country emerged, resulting in the creation of Nynorsk, or New Norwegian. This received official recognition as the second official language of the country after Bokmål, or book language.
It takes 575 hours to learn Norwegian as an English speaker.
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Because this is important to Norwegians, the regional dialects are protected by the Norwegian government. Norwegian legislation, for example, mandates that pupils be allowed to use their native tongue in class.
The Norwegian language lacks a literal equivalent of the word “please.” However, there are phrases that more or less mean the same, such as vennligst (in a most friendly manner) and ver så venleg (be so kind).
Norwegian has incorporated many loanwords, but it has actually loaned English a few words as well. Some examples are berserk, lemming and slalom.
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