Norwegian: Bokmål

  • egilmela

    Member
    English - Ireland
    Bokmål means "Book language", one of the two official written forms of the Norwegian language
     

    Wordsmyth

    Senior Member
    Native language: English (BrE)
    egilmela said:
    Bokmål means "Book language", one of the two official written forms of the Norwegian language
    Thanks egilmela

    But now my curiosity is doing overtime. What's the other official written form? And are they very different? Are they just style differences, like 'formal' & 'informal'; or do you get separate Bokmål and 'the other one' dictionaries and grammar books?

    W :):)
     

    egilmela

    Member
    English - Ireland
    The other written language is named: Nynorsk -- New norwegian

    Bokmål is very different from nynorsk. To start with only bokmål has an oral form. There are mostly people from the upper parts of Norway who speak it.



    You see bokmål is derived from danish. From when we were under their power. They'd make all speak danish, and the only language allowed to wright in was danish. So this man called Ivar Aasen got so fed up he went out to every small town in the northern parts of norway and collected words and prases. He made nynorsk. It's pronounced differently from dialect to dialect.
     

    Wordsmyth

    Senior Member
    Native language: English (BrE)
    This is getting really fascinating. Norway has always been, for me, the most 'mystical' of the Scandinavian countries (meaning I suppose that, to my shame, I know less about it than about Sweden or Denmark), but now I'm discovering a whole linguistic wealth I would never have imagined: two written languages, and one of them seems rather like the Chinese principle of a common written form for several spoken languages/dialects?

    So is there a 'standard' Norwegian? For instance, if I took a course in Norwegian (as a foreign language), would it be Bokmål (written and spoken) or Nynorsk? And if Nynorsk, with which spoken dialect (that of Oslo?).

    Sorry egilmela, this isn't much to do with your original offer of help with translation, but that's a thing with language forums -- you get language-freaks asking you all kinds of questions!! :p ;)

    W :):)
     

    Christhiane

    Senior Member
    English
    First of, 'Bokmål' is directly translated to 'booklanguage,' yes, but it is also called 'Dano-Norwegian' or 'Danish-Norwegian' in English.

    Anyway, if you were to learn 'Norwegian' you'd be learning 'Bokmål,' which is what is generally written in the areas around the capital, Oslo, and in the north of Norway. Most Norwegian books are written in 'Bookmål' and the meadia uses it. (Except for the state's broadcasting, who are forced to have a certain percentage of 'Nynorsk'.)

    'Nynorsk' is collected from the areas in the East, South, the West coast and up to mid-Norway and has elements from all those dialects. Still Ivar Aasen was from somewhere high on the West coast so a lot of the New Norwegian words are from there, then I'd say that the rest of the West coast and in the large inland area's speach have the most in common with 'Nynorsk.'

    I hope that wasn't too messy and imposible to grasp. >.<

    One important thing about 'Nynorsk' is that A LOT of people HATE it. I am, unfortunately, one of those. I think the reason is that we are forced to have learn in school.

    Sorry to just pop in like this, but it's something I'm quite interested in.
     

    egilmela

    Member
    English - Ireland
    Quite correct... I'm neither very fond of nynorsk.

    Nynorsk burde vært et valgfag spør du meg. Kunne heller brukt tiden på å lære bedre engelsk eller noe

    To hell with nynorsk!!!
     

    Christhiane

    Senior Member
    English
    Yeah, it should be an elective, for sure. Then I would probably have decided to take it, because I think my big resentment for 'nynorks' is based it being forced to learn it.

    Though the main reason that they don't let it be an elective is because even though there are so many people for, they're afraid of losing votes from the parts of the country that has it as its main lanugage. Though of course they wouldn't have to learn 'Bokmål,' either. That's only fair.

    English rocks my socks off, I simply love the language. So to have more of it in school would be just wonderful! Of course I'm done with obligatory school now.
     

    Wordsmyth

    Senior Member
    Native language: English (BrE)
    Thanks, Christhiane & egilmela, for all your info, and I'll look forward to broadening my 'norsk-knowledge' in the future.

    Christhiane said:

    [...] Sorry to just pop in like this, but it's something I'm quite interested in.
    Don't be sorry for popping in; that's what the forums are all about ... So welcome, and pop in lots :)

    [...] English rocks my socks off, I simply love the language. [...]
    ... So I guess we'll see you in the English forum ... with or without socks :D

    W :):)
     

    Lilla My

    Senior Member
    I'm wondering that as well, condsidering bokmål derives from Danish - logically Danish would be the connotation.

    And me too :confused:

    I theoretically understand why so many nordmenn hate nynorsk, but I still think they are missing something : it's really a beautiful language with great authors writing in it (just take Tarjei Vesaas, his books are wonderful :) ).
    Unfortunately, I only learnt bokmål and am not able to write nynorsk :(
     

    Lemminkäinen

    Senior Member
    Norwegian (bokmål)
    I theoretically understand why so many nordmenn hate nynorsk, but I still think they are missing something : it's really a beautiful language with great authors writing in it (just take Tarjei Vesaas, his books are wonderful :) ).
    Unfortunately, I only learnt bokmål and am not able to write nynorsk :(

    I think most of the negative sentiments come from, as has been mentioned, how it's obligatory with sidemål - a lot of people enter the nynorsk education with an attitude of how boring and useless it is, and let's face it - you won't get far with those thoughts.
    I found that when I thought of it as "just another subject", like maths and English, it was no problem.

    And of course, as you say, it's beautiful. I've read both Kalevala and The Divine Comedy in it (old translations, so pretty archaic language too), and I can't imagine them working very well in bokmål.
    Incidentally, the first nynorsk edition of The Lord of the Rings was just published (got it for Christmas too :D ), and I think it fits Tolkien better than in bokmål (though the bokmål translator did a very good job).
     

    Christhiane

    Senior Member
    English
    Traditional Norwegian litterature is to me authors such as Johan Welhaven, Henrik Wergeland, Henrik Ibsen, Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, Jonas Lie, Alexander Kielland, Amalie Skram, Camilla Collet, Tarjei Vesaas, Arnulf Øveland, Arne Garborg, Hans Jæger, Knut Hamsund and so on.
     

    Lilla My

    Senior Member
    Så liker du bare den moderne litteraturen ? Innimellom de du har nevnt finnes det ikke så mye som skrev på nynorsk.
    Og det finnes også aktuelle forfattere som skriver på nynorsk (Jon Fosse for eksempel)
     

    Christhiane

    Senior Member
    English
    But most of those wrote in Danish or a very conservative bokmål ;)

    Så liker du bare den moderne litteraturen ? Innimellom de du har nevnt finnes det ikke så mye som skrev på nynorsk.
    Og det finnes også aktuelle forfattere som skriver på nynorsk (Jon Fosse for eksempel)

    That they did, but, personally, I still don't care much for that kind of literature. I am afraid that my taste in litterature is not very refined. I mostly just read youth books and Fantasy. Since the latter is hardly ever any good in Norwegian, I end up reading mainly in English. 65% this year, 30% in bokmål.
     

    Jayjay

    Senior Member
    English - Denmark
    I wonder how different Danish compared to the other Scandinavian languages was BEFORE the union of Queen Margrete (the first, of course) and Haakon VI - I assume the Danish opression previously mentioned took place after the Kalmar Union (1397).... that would be interesting... I mean, we're not back to Old Norse, but how much had the languages developed at that time - how similar were they? I bet someone's done a thesis on it...
    Sorry to diverge again! But this is actually pretty interesting.
     

    Lilla My

    Senior Member
    English. 65% this year, 30% in bokmål.
    :eek: Please, keep your language alive ! Or with whom will I speak norwegian ?

    As for Jayjay's question, I think I learnt this in my scandinavian linguistic lessons, but I just forgot. After some digging in my papers, I could perhaps tell you.:p
     

    Marit

    New Member
    Norwegian
    Anyway, if you were to learn 'Norwegian' you'd be learning 'Bokmål,' which is what is generally written in the areas around the capital, Oslo, and in the north of Norway.

    This isn't 100 % correct, is it? If you were to learn Norwegian in the western part of the country where they use nynorsk, you'd most likely learn nynorsk. Most introduction courses to Norwegian exists in both bokmål and nynorsk (I think). You'd learn to read out loud in either bokmål or nynorsk, and to speak the dialect of the specific region. For Norwegians that don't use the Oslo dialect that is pretty much the same as bokmål, there is a difference between 'reading language' and 'speaking language'.

    I would just like to add, as there seem to be much negativity about nynorsk here, that I simply love it! :D It's a beautiful language, not only for literature, but for any use. I don't think it's old-fashioned at all. I learned to read and write in bokmål, so it's easier for me to write bokmål, but I enjoy writing nynorsk when I'm not in a hurry. ;)
     

    Christhiane

    Senior Member
    English
    This isn't 100 % correct, is it? If you were to learn Norwegian in the western part of the country where they use nynorsk, you'd most likely learn nynorsk. Most introduction courses to Norwegian exists in both bokmål and nynorsk (I think). You'd learn to read out loud in either bokmål or nynorsk, and to speak the dialect of the specific region. For Norwegians that don't use the Oslo dialect that is pretty much the same as bokmål, there is a difference between 'reading language' and 'speaking language'.

    I would just like to add, as there seem to be much negativity about nynorsk here, that I simply love it! :D It's a beautiful language, not only for literature, but for any use. I don't think it's old-fashioned at all. I learned to read and write in bokmål, so it's easier for me to write bokmål, but I enjoy writing nynorsk when I'm not in a hurry. ;)

    No, I've got 5% in other languages (one Danish, one Swedish, and two German (children's books)).

    The two first years of school, I had to learn to read and write nynorsk. And to be honest, it slowed down my learning process because I'm from the Oslo area. When I was presented a text in bokmål, I could suddenly read with ease. Changing to bokmål was a big relief.

    I guess what I dislike the most about nynorsk is that you are forced to use three genus (I know they say that you should use three because of equality and all of that, but I personally think that equality lies in no distinction) and it hasn't anbehetelsesord, which have always been among my favourite words. I don't think nynorsk is old-fashioned, really, just heavy.
     

    Lugubert

    Senior Member
    From my Swedish point of view, Bokmål is close to mid-western Swedish dialects bordering Norway. It's easy to understand, and sufficiently close to the "Scandinavian" I sometimes use in conversations with Danes and Norwegians. Nynorsk looks old-fashioned, quaint and even made-up to me, but interesting. It's funny to hear a newscaster interviewing somebody in careful Nynorsk, getting the answers in Bokmål, and when the interchange gets heated, the reporter slips into Bokmål as well...

    Neither of those languages approach Swedish, and contemporary Bokmål can't be mistaken for Danish.

    On a tangent, Norwegians are very dialect conscious. I watched a TV program, in which two contesting teams were shown a video clip from somewhere in Norway. People, most of the time in local dresses, held a short speech or the like, and the teams were to place them on the map.

    Both teams were uncannily clever in not only hitting the correct district, but even down to parish level!
     

    Marit

    New Member
    Norwegian
    On a tangent, Norwegians are very dialect conscious. I watched a TV program, in which two contesting teams were shown a video clip from somewhere in Norway. People, most of the time in local dresses, held a short speech or the like, and the teams were to place them on the map.

    Both teams were uncannily clever in not only hitting the correct district, but even down to parish level!

    We are taught how to do that in high school (videregående skole). So yes, Norwegians are very dialect conscious. ;)
     

    Lilla My

    Senior Member

    I guess what I dislike the most about nynorsk is that you are forced to use three genus (I know they say that you should use three because of equality and all of that, but I personally think that equality lies in no distinction) and it hasn't anbehetelsesord, which have always been among my favourite words. I don't think nynorsk is old-fashioned, really, just heavy.

    I learnt to use three genders in bokmål :confused: Even if you can use masculine for feminine words, I had allways been told to say "boka", "døra", "jenta" etc...
    By the way, what is anbehetelsesord ?
     

    Christhiane

    Senior Member
    English
    I learnt to use three genders in bokmål :confused: Even if you can use masculine for feminine words, I had allways been told to say "boka", "døra", "jenta" etc...
    By the way, what is anbehetelsesord ?

    Three genus is standard, but you can choose only to use communes (felleskjønn) and neutrum (intetkjønn). I do say boka, but en bok, even if I know it's "wrong." Since I had to make a choice in order to keep to one genus instead of using communes for undefined and feminine for defined, I chose to write boken, and thus only use communes in writing.

    Anbehetelsesord Is words that either have the prefixes an or be or the suffixes het or else. Examples are: anbefale, behager, kjærlighet and forelskelse..
     
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