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The Language Conflict Of Norway Essay

1325 words - 6 pages

In the middle of the 19th century when Norway, needed to have a new written language of it’s own, after being under Danish rule. The process of getting this new Norwegian written language, was not straightforward, as not one way of doing was agreed on. There were two rivaling ways of getting the new Norwegian written language. One was to adopt a newly created language based upon the older dialects, that reassembled old norse the most. This approach was founded by Ivar Aasen. The other approach was to use the dano-norwegian that a lot of people already used, and standardize it a gradually changing the danish words into Norwegian. This idea was founded by Knud knudsen, and is what lead to bokmål. These two different approaches battled in what later was known as the language conflict of Norway.
Knud Knudsen and Ivar Aasen’s rivalry occurred in the the middle of the 19th century. At that time the theories and focus when planning language was on the pure linguistic aspect. That meant that the social aspect was not taking into account at that time. The practice of including the social factors in linguistics, which is called sociolinguistics, was only used later when the Nynorsk and Bokmål had been introduced and had been mandatory to be taught in schools for some time.
We will use the theories of language planning, to compare with what the Norwegian government did when they introduced and legislated about Nynorsk and Bokmål. This will help shed a light to, why Norway has ended up with two written languages, and why the use of Nynorsk has drastic declined. When looking at Nynorsk, Bokmål and the language conflict all together, we will of course take to account that language planning, is a modern linguistic tool and that they at the time of introducing and legislation about Nynorsk and Bokmål, did not have this tool to perform their planning and introduction of a new language. We will also take to account the factors and obstacles the historical period presented, for instance the break from Danish rule and the change to Swedish rule, and the fear of losing the opportunity to become completely independent, which might have affected the process of adapting a new language, and especially how fast it was done.
Language planning and analysing language in general, uses various theories and covers different areas of language. The main areas of the framework of language planning is Corpus Planning, which focuses on the pure linguistic aspect and Status Planning that covers the social aspect of planning a language. Even though both, Corpus Planning and Status Planning has a lot of individual, specific theories and methods that covers their area, they overlap each other when you go from theory to practice, “Such a separation constitutes something of an oversimplification; it is, in fact, virtually impossible, in practice, to separate the two activities” (Language Planning – from practice to theory, page 28, line 7 from the bottom). We will look at both corpus...

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