So, you have decided to learn Norwegian and now you are wondering which form of Norwegian to study: Bokmål or Nynorsk?
The simple answer would be to study the form which is used in the area you are moving to. The map below illustrates which of the local municipalities have Nynorsk as their official language form, which have Bokmål as their official language form and which are language neutral.
Learn Norwegian: Is There a Simple Solution?
If it was only that simple … . First of all, people in the neutral areas will probably be using Bokmål as their main written language form. And then you have anomalies such as Bergen. Even though Bergen is located in a Nynorsk county, the main written language form in the city itself is Bokmål. Confused?
Moreover, the vast majority of teaching material available is in Bokmål. This is especially true for material written in a foreign language such as English. As mentioned in a previous post, Norway is a country of dialects. This means that even though the majority of people would use Bokmål as their preferred written form, most people would speak a dialect which can be quite different from the written form.
Learn Norwegian: Our Advice
So our advice would be to learn Bokmål as your written form and then adapt your spoken Norwegian to the area you are visiting or living in. Just keep in mind that it will take you some time to adjust your ear to what you are hearing around you.
A good way to prepare for living in Norway would be to listen to the podcasts of the news on http://www.klartale.no/ which is the only easy-to-read newspaper in Norway. Alternatively, you could also watch Norwegian TV online: http://www.nrk.no/nett-tv/. Some of the programmes here will only be available to view in Norway, others you can view freely.
Whichever form of Norwegian you decide to study, we wish you all the best in your studies!
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