a brief introduction to nynorsk
a few weeks ago, right around midnight, while i was checking to see if the bonus christmas lessons had been added to the german course, i was given the option to purchase "a brief introduction to nynorsk" (the icon being a green circle with a purple flag) in the lingot store (while still in the german course section, oddly).
i was excited to see this, since my grandmother's family hales from sogn og fjordane, which is apparently one of the only regions in norway where nynorsk is the official language. i am taking the bokmål course on duolingo as well (as it is the only norwegian offered), so i switched over to see if it was offered there as well. it was not. when i returned to the german lingot store it had disappeared.
i am hoping that someone can offer me more information regarding this puzzling occurrence, so that i don't have to go on wondering if i'm simply going crazy and/or spending too much time on duolingo.
i have my fingers crossed (thumbs pressed) in the hope that it will be offered eventually in the bokmål course.
that's not wholly true. well, nynorsk is quite comprehensible for bokmål speakers indeed. but nynorsk IS another language because it's of old norse descent, it's a west scandinavian language, more closely related to faroese and icelandic than east scandinavian languages, and bokmål is a form of danish, an east scandinavian language, its ancestor isn't old norse but old danish
I have been learning Bokmål all the time, but I finally decided to switch to Nynorsk for several reasons:
1.- It helps understanding Icelandic and Old Norse: almost same genders (obligatory femenine), more similar words and spelling.
2.- It feels more like a "people's" language, the written style is the same as the oral language, so it avoids difficult sentences and constructions, even in legal and scientific texts. It also has less Low German and Danish influence, which helps making differences between German and Norwegian in my case.
3.- Obscure and weird dialects suddenly become more understandable.
4.- I still can understand and write bokmål, so I see no major differences.
I've been thinking about making a post only with Nynorsk resources to promote this standard version and to help people finding different websites, dictionaries to learn or just to have an idea about what the differences are etc.
Nynorsk is found in every part of the country, but bokmål is by far the most popular written standard. Honestly I think it makes more sense to learn bokmål especially as a foreigner as bokmål is very, very similar to written Danish. That makes it a lot more simple to travel within the Scandinavian countries. When it comes to Swedish most Swedes are unfamiliar with nynorsk so even there you'll get further with bokmål. This is to me the main reason why I prefer bokmål a lot myself, it unites Scandinavia :)
Here's a list of the percentage of people primarily writing in nynorsk for every region: Vestlandet (40,5 %) Sørlandet (4,0 %) Østlandet (2,2 %) Trøndelag (0,08 %) Nord-Norge (0,02 %) Every year we see a negative trend. It might seem like bokmål will take over completely in the end.
Swedish is a lot more similar to Nynorsk than Bokmål, though (the same with Western dialects).
As for the negative trend: Nynorsk and its users are subjects to daily discrimination, so it's actually not very surprising that its numbers are decreasing. I'm one among approximately 650 000 daily users that experience discrimination practically every day (not to play the victim, as there for sure are worse things in the world).
Nynorsk is explicitly made forbidden by the largest newspapers in the country, and virtually only the state-owned media channel uses it. As a result, you don't see too much Nynorsk in the larger media channels – and what you see is mostly negative meanings by people who don't use it.
So as a Nynorsk user who experiences this every day, I find it kind of insulting when you say Bokmål unites Scandinavia, because pretty much every Bokmål user I know of are doing the opposite within their own country.
There are quite a few Nynorsk words that are also allowed in Bokmål. A good place to check is http://ordbok.uib.no, with the official Språkråd. For instance, å bu is allowed in bokmål, instead of å bo. Another example would be vatn, instead of vann, which is the same as Old Norse. I'm trying to write radical bokmål at this point, and learn more Nynorsk, as it will help me remember Icelandic more. As an example...red...bokmål...rød..., but nynorsk, raud...and in Icelandic, rauður.