https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TonyMintz

Why Norwegian Bokmål is now my favorite language.

So as you guys may know, I decided to create the Scandinavian Language Challenge three days ago. The challenge is to learn all three languages due to their high mutual intelligibility in honor of Norwegian Bokmål graduating into Beta.

So far, I have to admit, everything has been going very well so far. Actually, these languages are the easiest trio that I've attempted here on Duolingo. Why is that?

Because the languages are mutually intelligible; that is to say that they are very similar to each other in both grammar and vocabulary. Norwegian happens to be the bridge between the three languages, in terms of both speaking and writing:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Fig. A. an understanding of spoken language

Norwegians understand 88% of the spoken swedish language understand 73% of the spoken danish language.

Swedes understand 48% of the spoken Norwegian language understand 23% of the spoken danish language.

Danes understand 69% of the spoken norwegian language understand 43% of the spoken swedish language.

Fig. B. An understanding of the written language

Norwegians understand 89% of the written swedish language understand 93% of the written danish language

Swedes understand 86% of the written norwegian language understand 69% of the written danish language

Danes understand 89% of the written norwegian language understand 69% of the written swedish language.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

With Norwegian, I am able to understand the written Danish languages almost perfectly, as well as understanding most of the spoken Swedish sentences. Basically, Norwegian Bokmål is Danish spoken through Swedish; it's the best of both worlds. On top of that, it's just fun to learn.

So, to the Norwegian team, TAKK SÅ MYE! You guys are incredible, and this language was the perfect addition to this site.

Tony Mintz.

May 24, 2015

42 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Deliciae
Mod
  • 324

Bare hyggelig, Tony!

We Norwegians all love eavesdropping on Danes and Swedes. ;)

May 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TonyMintz

Cannot wait to do that. :)

May 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/knos15

That sounds great man! More reason to learn Norwegian!

May 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Knoxienne

Loving Norwegian and so glad I can add it to my Swedish and Danish studies.

May 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN

I am also enjoying this new language.

May 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DrMankowitz

Looks like you're enjoying all the languages!

May 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pmagnuson

On day 3 of Norwegian and already looking forward to Icelandic to round things out. Faroese, anybody?

May 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Brijsven

Icelandic and Faroese indeed!

May 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/seafarer.

I'm really hoping for Icelandic!

May 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Stadtganger

I would love Faroese, one of my favorite bands sings most songs in it.

May 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ragnar82

Tyr?

May 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Stadtganger

Yes

May 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ragnar82

Cool, then you might enjoy this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yid7aYzlHS4

May 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Liveforyou2213

OMG......the spring of 2016 nostalgia is high......

November 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dreforall

Icelandic, yes! We need that one!

June 2, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Frouwelinde

Me too!! I really want to learn it beside Norwegian :)

May 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wigglysquire

yea!!!

May 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Richardkang88

I honestly prefer Swedish, and I have done Pimsleur Swedish, Danish and Norwegian... Swedish is my first choice and I understood Norwegian and Danish with ease. Icelandic is also a beautiful language, highly different, but I did study that in 2008, its somewhat similar too. Norwegian has a lot more similarities to Icelandic too. However, I simply love Swedish and Sweden therefor its my baby!

Good luck everyone.

May 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/G0108

I think I'll be learning Swedish after Norwegian. I can't do them at the same time though.

May 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nucleosynthesis

You need to fight me for custody, because Sweden is my baby.

June 3, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cs1991

Good job :) I am loving Norwegian so far.

May 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TheEeveeLord

I'd learn it, but the whole Bokmål/Nynorsk thing is too confusing for me. The most confusing part of it is that on Wikipedia, under "Native Speakers," its says "None (written only)" for both of them, yet on the "Norwegian" article, it says "5 million."

May 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/unwallflower

So here's the deal (I will try to explain it in the way I think about it, as an American who lives in Norway and who was VERY confused by this at first): Bokmål and Nynorsk are both standardized written languages. Nobody technically SPEAKS Bokmål or Nynorsk, they are only written languages. There is no "standardized" spoken Norwegian... everyone here in Norway speaks a Norwegian dialect. There are many dialects, and some dialects are very close to Bokmål, while others are very close to Nynorsk.

There are two written languages because some people wanted to basically develop the Norwegian language in two different ways. Bokmål came about because some (most) people wanted to Norwegianize written Danish (Norway was in a union with Denmark for a really long time, and Danish sort of took over as the written language). Nynorsk came about because some people wanted to develop a written language that was close to the dialects that people speak (so it would be inherently more Norwegian). One guy traveled around and collected words from dialects, basically, and Nynorsk was born. It's a little silly in my opinion, since the spoken dialects are SO different that creating one written language that is representative of all of them is impossible.

Anyway, that's the way I understand it. Less than 10% of the population really uses Nynorsk, and I think the idea of having two written languages is a bit bizarre, especially when one of them is barely used. So learning Bokmål is arguably more useful because you're going to be able to read the majority of things out there. You can totally speak the way that you learn from this course and people will understand you. No matter if you learn Bokmål or Nynorsk you will have a bit of a struggle understanding Norwegians speaking at first, because of the whole everyone speaking different dialects thing (but not EVERYTHING is different and most people will be pretty understandable once you learn some of the weird dialect-y words).

May 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TheEeveeLord

So basically the written languages and spoken languages are two different things?

May 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/unwallflower

Not entirely, because there is a lot of overlap between the written languages and the spoken dialects, but they are not exactly the same. The problem is, like I said, the dialects are so different from each other that it's impossible to have a written language that is the same as the spoken languages.

May 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TheEeveeLord

One last question; if i went to Norway and spoke the way Bokmål would be pronounced would I be understood?

May 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Deliciae
Mod
  • 324

Absolutely. :)

May 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TonyMintz

Norway doesn't have a standard version of Norwegian; Bokmål and Nynorsk are the written standard versions. No one uses Bokmål or Nynorsk spoken, but there are 5 million speakers of a Norwegian dialects found across the country.

May 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TheEeveeLord

So do Bokmål and Nynorsk write words differently but they are pronounced the same way?

May 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TonyMintz

Bokmål is the more conservative literary variant, while Nynorsk is the more radical variety. Moreover, Bokmål is closer to Danish and the unified dialects of Norwegian, while Nynorsk reflects the Western dialects.

There's also Riksmål, which is about the spelling difference of British English to American for Bokmål. It's seen in the national newspaper Aftenposten. (www.aftenposten.no)

May 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TheEeveeLord

I'm still confused.

May 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TonyMintz

K: 1. Norway has two standards for writing Bokmål and Nynorsk. There is no OFFICIAL standard language for speaking, like Spanish or German. All dialects are considered equal. 2. Bokmål is used basically by 80% of Norway, Nynorsk- 20% ONLY in the Southwestern part of the country. 3. Norwegians know how to use both. 4. Bokmål is more conservative in its spelling, meaning that it is more like Danish in its spelling system. If you know Danish, you can read about 93% of Bokmål. 5. Nynorsk is a spelling reform, you can read about 88% of Nynorsk through Danish. This is because it reflects the Western Dialects of Norwegian.

May 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TheEeveeLord

Ok, that helps. But what's the relationship between the spoken and written languages?

May 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/frankk1m

This is always a hard question, because the relationship is different for every language. I'm not sure what your native language is, but I can't think of a single language that has/had identical spoken and written forms. To varying degrees and in varying ways, all languages are spoken differently than they are written.

In English, for example, one might write a sentence like "Founded in 1920, the party played an important role in the Mongolian Revolution of 1921", but speaking such a sentence would probably sound ridiculous, stilted, and/or pretentious. Conversely, forms like "ain't" and non-standard (whether dialectal or simply colloquial) grammar are often absent and in fact popularly discouraged in writing, especially that of a formal nature.

In Norwegian, a person from a certain region might speak the sentence, "Æ e ittj . . ." but he or she would have to write between two written norms: "Jeg er ikke . . ." (Bokmål) or "Eg er ikkje . . ." (Nynorsk). A person from a different region might say, e.g., "Jei e inte" or "Eg er ikkje." (The example here means "I am not . . .".)

To pull some examples from another language, in German, you can casually say "Ich kenn nen andren Kerl" ('I know another guy.') but would probably prefer to write "Ich kenne einen andren Mann" in a more formal setting.

Differences between spoken and written forms can be syntactical, lexical, morphological, phonological, etc. - but some languages definitely have closer written and spoken forms than others. Dialectal differences also play a role, and sociolect can be especially relevant: e.g., someone who speaks basilectal AAVE may say "He here." which is more divergent from the written form than what an acrolectal speaker would say: "He's here."

Hope that helps.

August 10, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TonyMintz

Nynorsk is more like the western spoken dialects. Think Bokmål as Norwegian written in Danish.

May 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Andreas83

You sort of missed a skandinavian language called finnish ;-) But that's not on duolingo yet!

May 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TheEeveeLord

It's not a Scandinavian language; it's an Uralic language.

May 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nebelung1

Finland has many cultural and historic bonds to Scandinavia but the Finnish language belongs to a completely different language family than Sv/No/Da.

Still Swedish does have a couple of loan words from Finnish, the word "pojke" (boy) comes from Finnish "poika" (same meaning)

May 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ImJacob

I think I'll do the challenge, too. :)

May 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lemkropka

I wouldn't learn these three languages at the same time, that's because I would mix them up since they're so similar. The same goes for Spanish/Portuguese or any other Romance language.

May 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nucleosynthesis

I guess I'm taking this challenge now, I've always wanted to learn all three languages. Though I'm going to finish half of my Swedish tree before going on to Norwegian.

June 3, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AmelieWilde

My Norwegian friend explain these statistics to me in this way: He said that it is because Norway used to not have as much TV shows and movies as Danish and Swedish, especially for children. So, growing up, they mostly watched Swedish TV shows in Norwegian TV. It is why they understand it better. But, Sweden and Denmark do not have such tradition, they don't really show much Norwegian shows. This means that someone who learns Norwegian will not understand Swedish and Danish. It only holds for people who grew up in Norway

December 20, 2015
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