Welcome to the Self-Access Centre materials database

The SAC is here to pro­vide you with op­por­tu­ni­ties to study Nor­we­gian out­side class time. If you need ad­vice and guid­ance on what to study, you should talk to your class tu­tor, who will help you iden­tify your strengths and weak­nesses and make rec­om­men­da­tions on what to study.

A bit about the language

Nor­we­gian (norsk) is a North Ger­manic lan­guage spo­ken pri­mar­ily in Nor­way, where it is the of­fi­cial lan­guage. To­gether with Swedish and Dan­ish, Nor­we­gian forms a con­tin­uum of more or less mu­tu­ally in­tel­li­gi­ble lo­cal and re­gional vari­ants. These Scan­di­na­vian lan­guages to­gether with the Faroese lan­guage and Ice­landic lan­guage, con­sti­tute the North Ger­manic or Scan­di­na­vian lan­guages. Faroese and Ice­landic are hardly mu­tu­ally in­tel­li­gi­ble with Nor­we­gian in their spo­ken form, be­cause con­ti­nen­tal Scan­di­na­vian has di­verged from them. As es­tab­lished by law and gov­ern­men­tal pol­icy, there are two of­fi­cial forms of writ­ten Nor­we­gian – Bokmål (lit­er­ally "book lan­guage") and Nynorsk (lit­er­ally "new Nor­we­gian"). The Nor­we­gian Lan­guage Coun­cil rec­om­mends the terms "Nor­we­gian Bok­mål" and "Nor­we­gian Nynorsk" in Eng­lish. There is no of­fi­cially sanc­tioned stan­dard of spo­ken Nor­we­gian, and most Nor­we­gi­ans speak their own di­alect in all cir­cum­stances. The so­ci­olect of the ur­ban up­per and mid­dle class in East Nor­way, upon which Bok­mål is pri­mar­ily based, can be re­garded as a de facto spo­ken stan­dard for Bok­mål. This so-called stan­dard øst­norsk ("Stan­dard East­ern Nor­we­gian") is the form gen­er­ally taught to for­eign stu­dents.

Nor­we­gi­ans are ed­u­cated in both Bok­mål and Nynorsk. A 2005 poll in­di­cates that 86.3% use pri­mar­ily Bok­mål as their daily writ­ten lan­guage, 5.5% use both Bok­mål and Nynorsk, and 7.5% use pri­mar­ily Nynorsk. Thus 13% are fre­quently writ­ing Nynorsk, though the ma­jor­ity speak di­alects that re­sem­ble Nynorsk more closely than Bok­mål. Broadly speak­ing, Nynorsk writ­ing is wide­spread in West­ern Nor­way, though not in ma­jor ur­ban ar­eas, and also in the up­per parts of moun­tain val­leys in the south­ern and east­ern parts of Nor­way. To­day, not only is nynorsk the of­fi­cial lan­guage of 4 of the 19 Nor­we­gian coun­ties (fylker), but also of many mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in 5 other coun­ties. The Nor­we­gian broad­cast­ing cor­po­ra­tion (NRK) broad­casts in both Bok­mål and Nynorsk, and all gov­ern­men­tal agen­cies are re­quired to sup­port both writ­ten lan­guages. Bok­mål is used in 92% of all writ­ten pub­li­ca­tions, Nynorsk in 8% (2000). Nor­we­gian is one of the work­ing lan­guages of the Nordic Coun­cil. Un­der the Nordic Lan­guage Con­ven­tion, cit­i­zens of the Nordic coun­tries who speak Nor­we­gian have the op­por­tu­nity to use their na­tive lan­guage when in­ter­act­ing with of­fi­cial bod­ies in other Nordic coun­tries with­out be­ing li­able to any in­ter­pre­ta­tion or trans­la­tion costs.