The two Norwegian official written standards, bokmål and nynorsk. Linguistic and ideological implications of national bilingualism and biliteracy.

  • Tove Bull UiT the Arctic University of Norway
Avainsanat: kielensuunnittelu, kahden kirjakielen järjestelmä, kieli-ideologia, nationalismi


The long-lasting Norwegian history of official biliteracy with two equal written standards has attracted the interest of many scholars, both nationally and internationally. The present paper gives an overview of the historical development more or less similar to what is found in most Norwegian language histories, though with a different perspective. The paper discusses and seeks to answer the following questions: What was the ultimate aim of the language planners in the new independent nation state of Norway after 1814? Did they reach this aim? If not, what was achieved instead?

The historical development of bokmål and nynorsk is explained as well as the present- day linguistic situation in Norway. Practical samples of both language forms are given, and language reforms, which have been important to both written standards, are discussed in chronological order.