Monday, May 19, 2014

Language Profile: Norwegian

Today we're taking a brief look at Norwegian, the official language of Norway. It is a member of the Germanic language family and is closely related to Danish and Swedish. In fact, it is so closely related to these two languages that they comprise a language continuum and are largely mutually intelligible.

Kobbvatnet Lake, Norway
There are two standard written forms of the Norwegian language that hold official status in Norway: Bokmål and Nynorsk. Bokmål is the preferred writing system of the vast majority of the population, though both forms are taught in schools. These written standards, as well as the official grammar, spelling, and vocabulary of the language, are regulated by the Norwegian Language Council, also known as Språkrådet.

While Norwegian has several standard written forms, there is no standard spoken form, so there are many spoken dialects of the language.

Most of Norwegian's lexicon comes from Old Norse. Modern loanwords tend to come from the English language, as well as the closely related Danish and Swedish languages.

Norwegian is written using a Latin alphabet with 29 letters. However, c, q, w, x, and z are only found in loanwords.