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The Norwegian Language Landscape
Population of Norway: 4,644,457 (July 2008 est.)
Internet country code: .no
Internet users: 4.074 million (2006)
Norwegian (Norsk) is a North Germanic language spoken primarily in Norway, where it is an official language. Together with Swedish and Danish, Norwegian forms a continuum of more or less mutually intelligible local and regional variants.
These continental Scandinavian languages together with the insular languages Faroese and Icelandic, as well as some extinct languages, constitute the North Germanic languages (also called Scandinavian languages). Faroese and Icelandic are no longer 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, but the sociolect of the urban upper and middle class in East Norway, upon which Bokmål is primarily based, is the form generally taught to foreign students. This so-called Standard Østnorsk (Standard East Norwegian) can be regarded as a de facto spoken standard for Bokmål.
Sources: CIA World Factbook and Wikipedia – Content available under GNU Free Documentation License Related Article: The Global Language Landscape – Languages in Use on the Internet
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