Learning Norwegian is apparently quite a challenge, according to an article I came across yesterday. Not only do you have two written forms of Norwegian to wrestle with, but also numerous dialects of spoken Norwegian.
Most Norwegian language courses teach you to read and write Bokmål, the most widely-used of the two standard written forms of Norwegian, and to speak Standard Østnorsk (Standard East Norwegian), which is considered the standard spoken form of Bokmål. Standard Østnorsk is spoken mainly by the middle and upper classes in the cities of eastern Norway, including the capital, Olso, and is closer to Danish than other Norwegian dialects.
When you try to communicate with people from other regions of Norway however, you’ll probably find it difficult to understand their dialects, which tend to be closer to Nynorsk, the other written form of Norwegian. There are also considerable differences in the dialects of different regions, and Norwegians don’t tend to adapt their language to make it easier for learners to understand them, perhaps because relatively few people study Norwegian.
A Norwegian lecturer who specializes in Norwegian as a second language at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology is mentioned in the article as “calling for her fellow Norwegians to tone down their dialects, so that non-natives trying to learn Norwegian can hope to understand them”.
There are quite a few other articles about Norwegian in Norwegian, English, German, French and a number of other languages at www.sprakrad.no.
I haven’t got round to learning Norwegian yet. One day I’d like to though.
Are you studying Norwegian? Have you encountered any of the problems discussed in the article?