Norwegian 101

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There is general agreement that a wide range of differences makes it difficult to estimate the number of different Norwegian dialects. Variations in grammar, syntax, vocabulary, and pronunciation cut across geographical boundaries and can create a distinct dialect at the level of farm clusters. Dialects are in some cases so dissimilar as to be unintelligible to unfamiliar listeners. Many linguists note a trend toward regionalization of dialects that diminishes the differences at such local levels; but there is renewed interest in preserving distinct dialects.


Below are a few sentences giving an indication of the differences between Bokmål and Nynorsk, compared to the conservative (nearer to Danish) form Riksmål, and to Danish itself:


B/R/D: Jeg kommer fra Norge
N/H: Eg kjem frå Noreg.
E: I come from Norway.

B/R: Hva heter han?
D: Hvad hedder han?
N/H: Kva heiter han?
E: What is he called?

B/R/D: Dette er en hest.
N/H: Dette er ein hest.
E: This is a horse.

B: Regnbuen har mange farger.
R/D: Regnbuen har mange farver.
N: Regnbogen har mange fargar.
H: Regnbogen hev mange fargar. (Or better: Regnbogen er manglíta).
E: The rainbow has many colours.

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