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About the story
What’s with this “Wren” thing?
   The oldest extant version of the fable we are presenting here appeared in 1913 in the first volume of a two-volume anthology of Low Saxon folktales (Plattdeutsche Volksmärchen “Low German Folktales”) collected by Wilhelm Wisser (1843–1935). Read more ...



The city of Bergen has an impressive museum dedicated
to life during the Hanseatic era. (Here the apprentices’
dormitory.) It was in and from Bergen and a few other
Norwegian ports that the Middle Saxon language
exerted strong influences mostly on Norwegian Danish
and indirectly on most non-urban dialects of Norway.

Language Information: “Norwegian” is a label for basically two languages, both of them officially recognized in Norway: Dano-Norwegian (Bokmål “Book Language,” “Literary Language”) and Neo-Norwegian (Nynorsk, formerly also known as Landsmål “Country Language”).
     Dano-Norwegian (Bokmål): The majority (85–90%) of Norway’s population and of ethnic Norwegians elsewhere uses Dano-Norwegian. It developed from Danish varieties with Norwegian substrates and influences used in Norway under Danish rule from the fourteenth century until 1905. The official name of these earlier varieties was Riksmål (“Language of the Realm,” “National Language”). After Norway’s full national independence, Dano-Norwegian acquired more and more influences from indigenous dialects and thus lost many of the more strikingly Danish features, including lexical, grammatical and orthographic features. It might be argued to be a mixture of Eastern Scandinavian and Western Scandinavian, since Danish belongs to the eastern group (as do Swedish, Dalecarlian/Älvdalsmål and Scanian/Skånska) and indigenous Norwegian belongs to the western group (as does Jamtlandish/Jamska). In other words, it is an East Scandinavian language with West Scandinavian influences.
     Neo-Norwegian (Nynorsk, Landsmål): In the 19th century, the philologist and lexicographer Ivar Andreas Aasen (1813–1896), collected dialectical Norwegian material and began a movement that sought to reestablish the actual Norwegian language by constructing a standard variety on the basis of dialects that had absorbed fewer Danish influences. This largely artificial variety is used mostly in literature and oratory, existing side by side with the actual spoken, largely West Scandinavian dialects. ALL languages and dialects are beautiful, precious gifts. So cherish yours and others! Share them with the world!Essentially, Neo-Norwegian is a West Scandinavian language with East Scandinavian influences. There have been attempts at instituting a more strictly prescribed Neo-Norwegian variety called Høynorsk (“High Norwegian”), but most writers use a less rigidly structured form of Neo-Norwegian and allow their local dialects to show through in their writing.
     Like Swedish, both Norwegian languages are tonal: they have two phonemic tones, one falling tone and one contour tone. However, these tones are not marked in writing.
     The Norwegian government has instituted several language reforms in part aimed at bringing the two Norwegian languages closer together and even attempted to unite them under the label Samnorsk (“Common Norwegian”), but particularly this latter attempt has met with much opposition, and ethnic Norwegian bilingualism continues.

Genealogy: Indo-European > Germanic > Northern > Scandinavian > Eastern & Western

Historical Lowlands language contacts: English, Low Saxon (Middle Saxon), Scots

    Click to open the translations: [Dano-Norwegian] [Neo-Norwegian] Click here for different versions. >

Author: Reinhard F. Hahn

© 2011, Lowlands-L · ISSN 189-5582 · LCSN 96-4226 · All international rights reserved.
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