Norwegian lessons

As ye ken A’m a Nynorsk skeptic, but a no bad case here that,

“it should be feasible to tell people to write standardised Scots while encouraging them to speak their local dialect”.

Ye cud jist about yaise the current dictionars an aw….

Interestin comment on FB fae Labhrainn Macfhearguis

Written Norwegian bokmål (and riksmål) were close to the Danish form of writing. Ivar Aasen in a fit of very Victorian National Romanticism decided to do something about this. So he travelled Norway collection “real Norwegian” words and syntax. He was very selective, choosing largely dialects from west of Norway. It was these dialect on which he based his nynorsk (New Norwegian). The Norwegians soon realised it was bloody stupid having two written forms of the same language. So they started to merge bokmål and nynorsk. 

Then the Germans invaded. Quisling and co continued the policy of merging the two forms and made some very sensible decisions. When the war was over Quisling and everything he did, good or bad, was not exactly the colour of the month. The Norwegians then in a fit of bloody mindedness undid everything. Nynorsk and bokmål were equated with one and other. All official literature was to be published in both forms. Quotas were given to the forms in the state media, both were compulsory in schools etc, etc.


The “Speak dialect, write New Norwegian” slogan was designed to save New Norwegian. The business of speaking your dialect has nothing to do with preserving nynorsk as such. It is a government policy based on a desire to nurture the wealth of dialects to be found in Norway. This is why dialects are used by TV and radio presenters. Sadly many dialects are already extinct and others are disappearing. This has little to do with standardisation as such, but changes in Norwegian society. People are more mobile, communities thin out and vanish even. This affects the dialects, they too “thin out” or merge. In addition Norwegian itself is changing. The younger generation are changing the “kj” sound to “tj”, it’s “tjino” and “tjæreste” now, not “kino” and kjæreste.

If Scotland is to have a Scots Standard (it should) and you wish to learn from Norway’s experiences, then be certain to have but ONE standard.

Comments are closed.