By Hilary Picken | February 27, 2019 | Languages
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There are two official forms of written Norwegian: Bokmål and Nynorsk. Bokmål translates as ‘book tongue’ while Nynorsk is ‘new Norwegian’. Bokmål is closely related to written Danish while Nynorsk derives from and draws on the spoken dialects of the language. Over time, official language reforms have been bringing Bokmål closer to Nynorsk, but there are still some differences.
However, if you don’t know either form or any other written Scandinavian language, which of the two a document is in cannot be distinguished without some study of the text.
Norwegian is written using an alphabet of 29 letters; the three we don’t use in English are æ, ø and å. In the other direction, however, the letters c, q, w, x and z are used only in words that have been borrowed from outside the Nordic language group.
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