Norwegian belongs to the northern branch of Germanic language along with Swedish, Danish, Icelandic and Faroese, and is particularly close to Swedish and Danish. Except for small communities of migrants, the language is not spoken outside Norway. When describing Norwegian, it is important to distinguish clearly between the written and the spoken language. In writing there are two official norms, Bokmål (literally ‘Book Language’) and Nynorsk (literally ‘New Norwegian’).
Bokmål - Nynorsk
The difference between Nynorsk and Bokmål is socio-linguistically important. At present Bokmål is dominating in all sectors of the Norwegian society as 85–90% of the population are writing in Bokmål. It is often associated with urban culture and an urban way of life and used in advertising, pop music, fashion, entertainment and young people's culture. It is the language of weekly magazines, big newspapers, the commercial world and the world of technology. On the other hand Nynorsk is used by about 10-15% of the population. It is often associated with traditional and national values and with regional or local culture. Writing Nynorsk might be a signal that your identity is more related to local values than to urban style, and that your local roots are of great importance to you. Nynorsk has a rather weak position in technology, economy and popular culture. Still, Norwegians are educated in both Bokmål and Nynorsk. The Norwegian broadcasting corporation (NRK) broadcasts in both Bokmål and Nynorsk, and all governmental agencies are required to support both written languages. Bokmål is used in 92% of all written publications whilst Nynorsk in 8%. A newer trend is to write in dialect for informal use. When writing an SMS, Facebook update or fridge note, younger people write the way they talk rather than using Bokmål or Nynorsk.