Norwegian - interesting facts


Norwegian is the native language of about 5 million people (about 0.07% of the world's population). In terms of the number of native speakers, this language ranks above the top 100 most widely spoken languages in the world.

Norsk is the official language of Norway.

Norwegian belongs to the group of Germanic languages, specifically to the North Germanic subgroup. This language evolved from the Western dialects of the Old Norse language. 12th century – the oldest monuments of Norwegian literature come from this period. Following the union with Denmark between the 16th and 19th centuries, Danish became the dominant language in Norway. The modern version of Norwegian, now called bokmål (literary language), began to take shape in the 18th century based on the Oslo dialect and the Danish language.

An interesting phenomenon concerning the Norwegian language is the legally sanctioned coexistence of two equivalent variants of the Norwegian language. These are bokmål and nynorsk – a New Norwegian language is spoken by 10-20% of the population, mainly from suburban areas. The body dealing with regulatory issues is the Norwegian Language Council (Språkrådet).

There are four main Norwegian dialects in Norwegian: North Norwegian, Trønder, East Norwegian and West Norwegian. Essential differences occur at the level of pronunciation and vocabulary; to a lesser extent they relate to morphology and syntax.

Due to its genetic affinity, Norwegian (in the bokmål variety) is very similar to the Danish and Swedish languages. These three languages are considered mutually understandable, as evidenced by the fact that Norwegians communicate effectively in their native language with the inhabitants of Denmark and Sweden.

Norwegian is one of the official languages of the Nordic Council.

In Norwegian, as in Swedish, there is a large number of vowels. There are 19 vowel phonemes.

Unlike many modern European languages, Norwegian does not have a pronunciation variation that is considered standard. Therefore, all regional varieties have equal status.

Norwegian has a tonic accent (the syllable is pronounced in a special tone). There are two tones.

The longest word in Norwegian is the 33-letter noun menneskerettighetsorganisasjonene, which means‘ human rights organizations’.

English and Norwegian have a shared linguistic history as Germanic languages and have had significant mutual influence. However, Norwegian's impact on English is particularly noticeable in the realm of loanwords, many of which date back to the Viking Age. Common English words like 'egg', 'sky', 'window', and 'husband' have Old Norse origins, introduced to English during periods of Norse settlement in the British Isles. Moreover, Norwegian place names have influenced English geographic nomenclature, particularly in North England and Scotland, where Norse settlement was most prevalent. These borrowings from Norwegian have left a lasting legacy on English vocabulary.


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Bilingualism of Norway

Norwegian is the official language of Norway, but it has two official written forms: Bokmål and Nynorsk. Bokmål is more common and based on Danish, from which it evolved, while Nynorsk is based on traditional Norwegian dialects. Norwegians learn both forms of writing at school but speak in their local dialects, which are varied and rich. For Poles interested in learning the Norwegian language, it is worth knowing that mastering one of the written forms may be more beneficial, depending on the region in which they intend to stay.

Ease of learning for Poles

Norwegian belongs to Germanic languages, just like English or German. Thanks to this, for Poles who already know English or German, learning Norwegian can be easier because many words and grammatical structures are similar. For example, verbs are regular, and the counting system is decimal.

Simple grammar

Norwegian has a relatively simple grammar that can be attractive to Poles. This language has only three grammatical types (masculine, feminine and non-native) and a relatively simple system of verb varieties, only four cases. In addition, Norwegian has its own version of the denominator, the passerby, the complement and the sights, which can make it easier for Poles to understand and learn the language.

Native Language for Famous Writers

Norwegian was the native language of famous writers such as Henrik Ibsen, Knut Hamsun and Sigrid Undset. Learning the Norwegian language will allow Poles to read the works of these authors in the original, which may be attractive to lovers of literature. In addition, many Norwegian literary works have been translated into Polish, which can help you learn and understand Norwegian culture.

Proximity to other Scandinavian languages

Norwegian is closely related to other Scandinavian languages such as Swedish and Danish. These three languages are mutually intelligible in speech to some degree. Mastering Norwegian can therefore open the door for Poles to learn Swedish and Danish with less effort. In practice, a Norwegian speaker can communicate with Danes and Swedes, especially when travelling in Scandinavia. It is worth noting that although these languages are similar, some differences may introduce some difficulties. However, communicating with such a wide range of people can be interesting and beneficial for Poles learning Norwegian.


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Your Essential Norwegian




yes ja (ja)
no nei (naj)
please vær så snill (vær so snil)
thank you takk (tak)
I'm sorry beklager (beklaiger)
good morning god dag (gu daj)
good evening god kveld (gu kvæl)
goodbye god natt (gu nat)
good night ha det (hå de)
hi hei (haj)
how are you?  Hvordan går det? (Vordan gor de?)
well Takk, det går bra. (Tak, de gor bra.)
My name is... Jeg heter... (jaj hæter...)
I don't understand Jeg forstår ikke (jaj forstoar ikke)



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