Spoken Norwegian

Spoken Norwegian

Which form of Norwegian are you going to learn?

As there is no spoken standard Norwegian, the second language student may experience quite big differences between spoken forms of Norwegian (dialects) when it comes to the vocabulary, intonation and speech sound inventory. In addition, there are two written forms, Bokmål and Nynorsk.

In this course you will study Bokmål. Within Bokmål there are optional forms. In this course we have chosen forms that are closer to the Oslo dialect.

There are different speech sound inventories for the different dialects. In this course we will be using the sound system of Central Eastern Norwegian as a reference. Central Eastern Norwegian is a general label for dialects found in areas around Oslo. As teachers come from different parts of Norway, they will be using the regional intonation patterns when speaking Norwegian. Spoken Bokmål based on Central Eastern Norwegian sound system with regional intonation patterns is commonly used in introductory courses in Norwegian for adults. For short we will label this form of Norwegian as «spoken Bokmål».

Norwegians in general speak one dialect or another. Some dialects are more close to spoken Bokmål than others. As Norwegians in general hesitate to convert to «spoken Bokmål» in communication with foreigners, beginners may experience difficulties in understanding Norwegians who continue speaking dialect forms instead of converting to spoken Bokmål.

Olaf Husby, October 2010