Northern Norwegian Posted by kari on Sep 28, 2010 in Uncategorized
Although I learned bokmål in college and lived in Oslo for 8 months, I came out of it all speaking nordnorsk (northern Norwegian) and I constantly have to explain why. My best friend from college is half norsk, half amerikansk-norsk far og amerikansk mor. His father comes from a small bygd (a country settlement, smaller than a city, bigger than a village) a couple hours south of Tromsø. The two of us studied in Oslo together with another one of our very good friends. He and I decided to speak only norsk when it was just the two of us and would speak engelsk around the other international students who couldn´t speak norsk, or were very limited in their vocabulary, etc. So, I guess I just kind of naturally adopted the nordnorsk dialect (one of them, to be more correct). I must say though, that I adopted it med vilje (with will, intentionally) as I find it easier to speak and much more pleasant to the ear.
I will share with you some of the differences between bokmål and nordnorsk. Nordnorsk is one of the 5 main dialects in Norway; that being said, there are MANY different nordnorsk dialekter. I still have no idea why, but recently I was told that I sounded like I spoke a particular dialekt from a bygd I had never even heard of. Another time someone actually guessed of which dialekt I spoke (where it comes from) because of the bred r (literally wide ´r´) they heard. I find this fascinating.
Some of the main distinctions that are found in nordnorsk are pronouns and question words. While in bokmål, one says jeg (I), hun (her), hans (his), dere (their), deres(theirs possessive), I say eg, ho, hannes, dåkker, demmes. In bokmål jeg is pronounced phonetically like my while in nordnorsk eg is pronounced similar to ag as in agriculture. The word for you in bokmål and the nordnorsk I speak is the same in written form, but like eg, deg is pronounced like ag but with a d.
In bokmål the question words are hva (what), hvem (who), når (when), hvor (where), hvordan (how), hvilken (which) and in nordnorsk they are ka, kem, katti, kor, korsan, kordan. The word for not is also different- bokmål is ikke and the nordnorsk I speak is is ikkje pronounced similar phonetically to isha.
The biggest difference lies in intonation or tonefall. While bokmål is very much song-like, nordnorsk is more avlsappet (relaxed) and has a milder tonefall, which is why I find it much more pleasant both to speak and listen to-no offense to anyone that speaks bokmål-just a personal preference! If you´d like to see the many numerous different forms of nordnorsk and other dialekter, there are many websites you can go to, but good old Wikipedia has some good tables to look at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norwegian_dialects
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