Norway

Language

Language

There is no standard spoken Norwegian (norsk) – a wide range of dialects is used even in public broadcasting. There are even two standard ways of writing it, Bokmål and Nynorsk. Norwegians learn both at school. The two varieties are very close and mutually intelligible with the two other Scandinavian languages, Danish and Swedish. Bokmål is by far the more common form in most of the country, though Nynorsk is prevalent in Western Norway.

Sami is a minority language that has official status in some northern regions. Road signs and other public information there is provided in both Norwegian and Sami. Norwegian and Sami place names may differ – maps will typically use the Norwegian name. Sami is quite closely related to the Finnish language, thus totally unrelated to Indo-European languages such as Norwegian or English (but there are quite a few loanwords).

Almost all Norwegians speak English and you should have no trouble getting around in English; 91% of the population can speak English, making Norway one of the most English proficient countries where English is not an official language. Many people learn French, German and/or Spanish as well.

Foreign films and television programmes are generally shown in their original language with subtitles. Only children's programmes are dubbed into Norwegian.

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