Norwegian Bokmål children don't read Nynorsk

Sunday, September 14, 2008

From Wikipedia: "This is the approximate extent of Old Norse and related languages in the early 10th century. The red area is the distribution of the dialect Old West Norse; the orange area is the spread of the dialect Old East Norse. The pink area is Old Gutnish and the green area is the extent of the other Germanic languages with which Old Norse still retained some mutual intelligibility."

That's what this article in Nynorsk says. I'm not as familiar with Nynorsk either myself so I don't want to try turning the whole article into English, but it's not that hard to understand. Here are some interesting parts:

Eide skriv, ifølgje, i bacheloroppgåva si at ho har funne at 6 prosent av bøkene Deichmanske bibliotek i Oslo låner ut til barnehagar, er på nynorsk.
Only 6 percent of the books lent out in the Deichmanske library to kindergarten students are in Nynorsk.
Eide har òg undersøkt bokkassene i tre barnehagar i hovedstaden. Av til saman 120 bøker var 8 på nynorsk.
Checking the books in three kindergartens, only 8 books of 120 were in Nynorsk.

There's also a discussion that the article leads to on whether Bokmål children should read Nynorsk. From my purely outsider's opinion I'm glad that this is the case, because if Nynorsk were the standard I couldn't make the argument anymore that Norwegian is the easiest language for English speakers to learn (and use) given that Nynorsk retains the original three grammatical genders whereas in Bokmål you don't really need to concern yourself with that. You'll see the feminine gender every once in a while but it's rare enough that many dictionaries won't even concern themselves with it. My Norwegian dictionary for example has nothing on the feminine gender except that it's something the student doesn't really need to think about when learning the language.


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