Norwegian Language Blog

Språkrådet-the Norwegian Language Council Posted by on Apr 5, 2011 in Culture, Language

Since late in the 19th century, Norwegian language politics have been present, but it wasn´t until 2005 that the official Norwegian Språkråd as it exists today was established.  The goal of the Council is that Norwegian will be present in all sectors of society and will continue to do so forever.  Furthermore, English will not take over or be equal in use as norsk.  The latter goal is perhaps the more sensitive, as Norwegian youth and business people use more and more English every day in school and the workplace.  American and English music, television, and literature have increased substantially in use over the past decade.

Among other things, Språkrådet works to:

-inform of proper Norwegian on their website and in publications

-answer over 10,000 language related questions they received via e-mail and phone calls

-monitor government agencies to ensure they follow the requirements of the distribution of both bokmål and nynorsk

ensure that place names are written correctly on maps and road signs

-award businesses that manage to create good and creative Norwegian names

-approve dictionaries for use in schools

-provide a service that offers advice to state organization employees in writing clear and proper Norwegian and understanding the importance of both bokmål and nynorsk

ensures that Norwegian information technology are in Norwegian text and sound

-arrange a conference every year called Språkdagen, an event which aims to generate debate about current Norwegian language issues

In general, Språkrådet is tasked with promoting Norwegian culture and history, for which language has great importance.  Once  a language is lost or stops developing forward, part of the culture is lost.  Norwegian is a fully functional and adequate language and therefore, Språkrådet believes it should continue to be used in schools, the workplace, and social life, despite the continued and increased use of English.

I, for one, think it would be very sad if the Norwegian language(s) died out over time.  I think it is a very simple, efficient, and beautiful language that along with all other languages currently in use and since stalled, should be preserved for eternity.  Language is a special thing and it takes hundreds, if not thousands of years for a language to develop and the thought of all of this creativity, history, and culture to be lost is terrible.  Keep learning Norwegian and use it when you have the opportunity!

For more information, consult Språkrådet´s website.

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About the Author: kari

I attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, where I majored in Norwegian and History. During college, I spent almost a year living in Oslo, Norway, where I attended the University of Oslo and completed an internship at the United States Embassy. I have worked for Concordia Language Villages as a pre-K Norwegian teacher and have taught an adult Norwegian language class. Right now, I keep up by writing this Norwegian blog for Transparent Language. Please read and share your thoughts! I will be continuing this blog from my future residence in the Norwegian arctic!


  1. TK:

    I visited Språkrådet’s website and found out that that you can read for example the introduction page only in English if I’m not mistaken. Isn’t that circumstance again Språkrådet’s goals, is it? If they want to keep the Norwegian language alive, why not supporting it in such easy way? Their cutting of their nose to spite their face.

    • kari:

      @TK As Jim D. points out, Språkrådet´s webiste is in Norwegian as well and is more comprehensive. The job of the council is not to abolish the English language in Norway. That is never going to happen and the Council understands the importance of English as a global language. So it is not surprising that the website is also in English (like most Norwegian websites). The Council does not realistically think that everyone is going to learn Norwegian and they want their goals and aspirations to be read and understood by English speakers also (who don´t speak Norwegian).

  2. Jim D:

    TK didn’t look in the right place apparently: