Norwegian: The language that goes up and down

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.


3 interesting facts about the Norwegian language

Norwegian has several dialects that can be divided into eastern and western dialects. There are also distinctions between rural and urban dialects.
Norwegian words are unusually lengthy. For example, menneskerettighet sorganisasjoner means “human rights organizations.”
The Norwegian language has musical inflections. The pitch accent gives the impression that this tonal language goes up and down.

Learn more about the Language

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Origin of the language

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.


History of the language

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.

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Learning the language

It takes 575 hours to learn Norwegian as an English speaker.

How to say 5 popular words and phrases in the Norwegian language

Learning common words and phrases such as “thank you” and “good morning” in Norwegian can be a quick introduction to the language. However, if you need content writing in Norwegian, you might need a professional to help you out!

Popular Words







Vær så snill

Good morning

God morgen

Thank You


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fun facts

Fun facts about the Norwegian language

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Protection of local dialects

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.


No word for “please” in Norwegian

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).

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A surprising number of loanwords

Norwegian has incorporated many loanwords, but it has actually loaned English a few words as well. Some examples are berserk, lemming and slalom.


Word Of Wisdom!

The strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone.

Henrik Ibsen

Playwright and theatre director


Word Of Wisdom!

Progress is man’s ability to complicate simplicity.

Thor Heyerdahl

Adventurer and ethnographer


Word Of Wisdom!

Technology is a useful servant but a dangerous master.

Christian Lous Lange


Frequently Asked Questions