The Languages of Norway
Norwegian is spoken by approx. 5 million people. 90% of the population of Norway learn Norwegian as their mother language. Official minority languages are Saami, Kven, Romanes and Norwegian Romani. The largest immigrant communities who migrated to Norway are from Poland, Germany, Sweden and Iraq.
In Norway, there is no official, standard spoken Norwegian. Although the dominant variety is the one spoken in Oslo and its surroundings, people generally expect other regional dialects to be understood. Dialects are used everywhere in the public sector and national broadcast, and the national language policy supports and encourages the use of dialects. This circumstance complicates the automatic speech recognition of the language. With Bokmål and Nynorsk, Norwegian has two different writing standards. Officially, both standards are equal and taught in school, however Bokmål is used by 87% and Nynorsk is used only or primarily by 13% of the population.
Norwegian is a North Germanic Language and closely related to Danish and Swedish.
Features of Norwegian:
- Compounding is a highly productive word formation process, which causes long words.
- Different dialects have a contrastive use of pitch realised as two distinctive word intonations.
- The two written standards differ significantly in every level of the language, from grammar to spelling. Even within each standards, there is significant variety in spelling and morphology.