Wiktionary:About Norwegian

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link={{{imglink}}} This is a Wiktionary policy, guideline or common practices page. This is a draft proposal. It is unofficial, and it is unknown whether it is widely accepted by Wiktionary editors.
Policies – Entries: CFI - EL - NORM - NPOV - QUOTE - REDIR - DELETE. Languages: LT - AXX. Others: BLOCK - BOTS - VOTES.
A previous debate on the setup of Norwegian can be found at Wiktionary:Beer parlour/2011/February#Norwegian headings and elsewhere.

This draft policy explains considerations that are not covered by general policies for Norwegian entries and for Norwegian translations of English entries.

General information[edit]

There are two official forms of written Norwegian—Bokmål and Nynorsk. These are regulated by the Norwegian Language Council. Both have a great variety of optional forms. In addition, there are two unofficial forms, Riksmål and Høgnorsk. We will here consider the official forms Bokmål and Nynorsk.

Often, a Norwegian word will be shared between Bokmål and Nynorsk. For example, the word bok is allowed in both. On the other hand, ikkje is only allowed in Nynorsk , while sten is only allowed in Bokmål.

Even if a word is shared, it may not have the same gender, and it may not be inflected in the same way. For example, the word bok is feminine in Nynorsk, while it may be either feminine or masculine in Bokmål. The word bil is masculine in both Bokmål and Nynorsk, but it is inflected differently:

  • Nynorsk: bil · bilen · bilar · bilane
  • Bokmål: bil · bilen · biler · bilene

The matter is also complicated by the optional forms:

  • Nynorsk: hus · huset · hus · husa
  • Bokmål: hus · huset · hus · husa/husene

The verbs are also nearly always conjugated differently.


It has long been discussed whether Norwegian entries should use a common L2 heading ==Norwegian== (layout 3) or two separate ones for ==Norwegian Bokmål== and ==Norwegian Nynorsk== (layout 1). Entries of both kind exist.

In a discussion in February-March 2011, the least controversial was to use two separate headings, technically treating the two branches of Norwegian as separate languages.

Below is an example of what the source code of a basic version of the page hus should look like:

==Norwegian Bokmål==


# [[house]]


==Norwegian Nynorsk==


# [[house]]


Please expand this section.

The pronunciation should be given in phonemic transcription (see w:Norwegian phonology) or as an audio file.

Note that neither form of written Norwegian has any officially recognised standard pronunciation.

Norwegian translations in English entries[edit]

Norwegian translations in English entries should be separated into Norwegian Bokmål and Norwegian Nynorsk, like this (example more):

* Norwegian
*: Bokmål: {{t|nb|mer}}
*: Nynorsk: {{t|nn|meir}}
  • Norwegian
    Bokmål: mer
    Nynorsk: meir

The Bokmål translations are given a link to the Bokmål Wiktionary (which is no:, but the code nb is replaced by the translation template), whereas the Nynorsk translations are given a link to the Nynorsk Wiktionary (nn:).


Through the last 100 years or so, there have been several spelling reforms in Norwegian. Also, the original written norms have changed names. This may cause confusion among readers who don't have intimate knowledge of the Norwegian language.

The more important spelling reforms of the 20th century: 1907, 1917, 1938, 1951, 1959, and 1981. Details about the spelling reforms may be found on Bokmål Wikipedia.

The official written norm that developed from Danish through the 19th and 20th centuries has been known under different names, such as det almindelige Bogsprog, Rigsmaal, riksmål etc. It has also been called (somewhat disparagingly) Dano-Norwegian. From 1929 it has officially been known as Bokmål. To avoid confusion, on Wiktionary all forms (even predating 1929) in the Bokmål tradition should be labeled «Bokmål». The term «Riksmål» should be reserved for the norm made by Det Norske Akademi for Sprog og Litteratur.

The official written norm that developed from the work of Ivar Aasen was first known as landsmål, but from 1929 it has officially been known as Nynorsk. To avoid confusion, on Wiktionary all forms (even predating 1929) in the Nynorsk tradition should be labeled «Nynorsk».

Obsolete spellings[edit]

Because of the various spelling reforms, many older spellings are now obsolete. However, they should still be included in Wiktionary.

The pre-1907 written language of the Bokmål tradition was mainly identical to Danish. To the extent that Norwegian-only words were used, they were written using Danish orthography. For pre-1907 Bokmål (Dano-Norwegian) words, Wiktionary uses the following rules:

  • The pre-1907 words that are common with Danish should not have Norwegian entries (they will be found under Danish) Example: kastede.
  • Dano-Norwegian words that are not common with Danish should have their own Norwegian entries. They should be labeled as obsolete Bokmål spellings, and have a link to the modern spelling. Example: Sæter should link to seter, and høi should have a link to høy.

Obsolete words of the Nynorsk tradition, and obsolete words of the post-1907 Bokmål tradition should be labeled as obsolete spellings, and have a link to the corresponding modern spelling. Example: graata should have a link to gråta.

Example: høi (Bokmål)

  1. Obsolete spelling of høy



  • Bokmålsordboka and Nynorskordboka: Searchable dictionaries (Bokmålsordboka and Nynorskordboka) maintained by the University of Bergen and the Norwegian Language Council (Norwegian-Norwegian, Bokmål and Nynorsk). Also useful for etymology. Use the templates {{R:The Bokmål Dictionary}} and {{R:The Nynorsk Dictionary}} when referencing.
  • Ordnett: Serarchable edition of Kunnskapsforlagets Norsk ordbok (Norwegian-Norwegian, Bokmål). Use the template {{R:Ordnett}} when referencing.
  • Riksmålsordlisten: Riksmålsforbundet's searchable word list. (Norwegian-Norwegian, Riksmål). Useful for Riksmål forms.
  • Nynorskkorpuset: Searchable corpus of the unfinished Norsk Ordbok 2014 (Nynorsk). Gives example sentences from literature and media.
  • Ordbog over det norske Folkesprog (Google Books): Ivar Aasen's Ordbog over det norske Folkesprog (1850, Dictionary of the Norwegian Popular Language). (Norwegian-Danish, contains older Landsmål and dialect forms). Use the template {{R:Aasen}} when referencing.
  • Norsk Ordbog: Hans Ross' Norsk Ordbog (1895) (Norwegian-Danish, contains older Landsmål and dialect forms). Use the template {{R:Ross}} when referencing.
  • A Dictionary of the English and Dano-Norwegian Languages (vol. 1, vol. 2) (English-Dano-Norwegian). Obsolete, use with care.


  • Falk, Hjalmar and Torp, Alf: Etymologisk ordbog over det norske og det danske sprog. 1st edition 1903–1906. New editions by Bjørn Ringstrøms antikvariat 1991– (Etymological dictionary). Use the template {{R:Falk&Torp}} when referencing.
  • Bjorvand, Harald and Lindeman, Fredrik Otto: Våre arveord. Novus, 2000. (Etymological dictionary)

See also[edit]