Norwegian Language: Norway’s Language and Dialects

  • Norwegian
    Language: Norway’s
    Language and Dialects
    Interested in learning Norwegian as a second language? Let’s see where does Norwegian language come from and take a look at the Norwegian origins!

Norway’s Language and Culture

It is a well-known fact that Norway is today’s one of the most developed countries in the world. The country is mainly famous for its nature and cold climate. Foreign people who leave their countries and decide to settle in Norway generally adapt their selves to living in Norway quite easily. However, initially, they can face certain difficulties when communicating with local people if they don’t speak Norwegian. In fact, it’s also another issue to decide on which Norwegian dialect to go for, considering that there isn’t a single dialect in Norway. But you don’t need to worry. On the other hand, many Norwegians do speak English quite well. But if one wants to literally embrace the Norwegian culture and feel like a “local Norwegian”, it would be a very good idea to start learning Norwegian at some point. Although there are various Sami - Uralic languages that are spoken throughout the country by different communities, Norway has one official language, and that is; Norwegian. We will give you a brief information on the origins of Norwegian language through this post.

Where does the Norwegian Language come from?

Let’s take a look at the roots of Norwegian. The official language of Norway has two popular dialects to name. Bokmal and Nynorsk. In some Norwegian cities and districts, there are minorities that still speak indigenous Sami languages. Some of the other languages spoken in Norway are Kven, Finnish and also Rodi; which is known as the indigenous travelers’ language. While the syntax and origin of specific languages spoken in Norway may differ, most Norwegian languages like Rodi language are entirely Nordic in terms of morphology and grammar. Norwegian is the most widely spoken language in the country. The Norway language is coming from Europe, its origins are from Proto-Indo-European languages. Norwegian languages are influenced by Scandinavian languages but because of its history, the Danish language has the most influence on it. While the usage of Norwegian is common throughout the country, certain Sami languages are mainly spoken in northern parts of the country.

What language do Norwegians speak?

Around 95% of the Norwegian speaking population speak Norwegian as their native language in Norway. However, the language forms “dialect continuum” which means that the dialects used by Norwegian local people differ from location to location. Every local area may have its own unique Norwegian dialect. There are five main dialect groups in Norwegian: West and South Norwegian, North Norwegian, East Norwegian, Midland Norwegian and Trolend Norwegian. Under these dialect groups, there are many other dialects which again, differ geographically. These dialects of Norwegian are generally mutually intelligible, meaning that two individuals who speak different dialects will most probably understand each other to some extent. However, these dialects come with differences in terms of accent, vocabulary and grammar.

Which Norwegian language should I learn?

Norwegian language has two written standards. One is Bokmål which 90% of the Norwegian people use and the other one is Nynorsk. These standards look familiar with each other.

English: I - bokmål: jeg - nynorsk: eg  

English: we - bokmål: vi - nynorsk: vi or me  

English: not - bokmål: ikke - nynorsk: ikkje  

However, while translating official Norwegian documents into English or other languages such as Spanish, French, Russian and Arabic, the aforementioned differences in these standards may become crucial. So, the answer to the question, “What Norwegian language should I learn?” would be, Bokmål, since it is the most widely used standard in Norway. However, one should keep in mind that even though Bokmal is the most common standard; to translate Norwegian document properly and especially have Norwegian documents translated online, localize a website to Norwegian, knowledge of the other standard and dialects is also required to achieve high quality Norwegian translations.

Is Norwegian language hard to learn?

How hard is Norwegian language? Norwegians’ language is not hard to learn, however, the difficulty of learning this language depends on the learner’s native language. If a person’s native language is Swedish, Danish or this given individual speaks one of these languages, it would be much easier for him/her to learn Norwegian compared to a native English, German, or Portuguese speaker. Learning Norwegian can be very helpful for people who are moving to Norway or planning to visit Norway for a long period of time. The benefits of learning Norwegian is not just about communication with locals. If you learn Norwegian, you will be very comfortable while learning Swedish and Danish. In fact, you will be able to understand these languages -to a certain degree-. So, learning Norwegian actually gives you the chance of learning 3 languages.

Is it easy to speak Norwegian?

An important point to keep in mind when learning Norwegian is that; there are many different dialects which differ geographically. This means that after learning Norwegian, one can understand these dialects and communicate with the locals in these geographic areas, however, they may not be able to read, translate, or localize all kinds of official documents in Norway. As stated earlier, Norway does not have just one official language, therefore, when localizing websites, translating Norwegian documents into English, or having a professional Norwegian translator translate English document into Norwegian, even a person who speaks Norwegian and uses Bokmål may have trouble if the written Norwegian language is other than Bokmal.

Benefits of learning Norwegian for foreigners

Even though many people around to world tend to think that solely being a native Norwegian speaker is enough to translate Norwegian to English, individuals who do not have the right skillset and experience in Norwegian translation may not be able to translate official Norwegian documents into Spanish or French if they are not professional Norwegian translators. The Norwegian language is not like any other language. It has many different standards and dialects. In fact, Norwegian is not the only official language of Norway. Hence, while translating official documents, and localizing a website into Norwegian, working with an expert Norwegian translator is crucial and important. Since there are many forms and dialects, an ordinary native Norwegian speaker will not be able to translate Norwegian PDF online, or localize a website.

Norwegian Language Translation: Importance of working with professionals

If you’re thinking about relocating to Norway or simply planning to visit Norway in winter for vacation, you may consider having your official documents translated into Norwegian. To achieve high quality Norwegian language translation and find the best Norwegian translators, it’s recommended to work with Norwegian professional translators. That’s where we come in. Our Norwegian document translation office provides professional Norwegian translation services to its clients online. We work with Norwegian language specialists who are experts in their fields. Feel free to reach out to us for a free quote!