Saturday, February 24, 2007

Baby Passport

Crudely redacted, as this is the internet. There is probably an east European crime cartel that employs a sweatshop full of people searching for this sort of thing. I find his height amusing, since he really doesn't stand-- and he is probably already a few cm taller. The washed-out antiquish quality to the photo makes it look a hundred years old.

For you Americans, Noreg is the nynorsk word for Norway. Nynorsk is a concept designed to confuse immigrants or others interested in learning the language. It is like an alternate reality. Actually, it is more like Esperanto-- a contrived, written version of Norwegian designed to reflect spoken dialects. It never really existed as a written form until the government mandated its use. It seems to receive about 10% use in media. I am no expert, and I am quite sure I have butchered the true meaning of nynorsk, so perhaps I should qualify this as "what nynorsk means to me." Apparently someone in the 1800s felt that written Norwegian too closely reflected Danish, so he "invented" it. From what I have seen, written Norwegian and Danish are very similar, which is quite odd, since Danish people seem to speak something that has no resemblance to Norwegian. It is like they speak Norwegian with rocks in their mouth. Everything sounds like it is spoken from the back of the throat, or that the words are being gargled. I am exposed to Danish in product packaging, since it often is written in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, and maybe Finish. Finish has no relationship to Swedish or Danish, and is only included due to its geographic proximity. However, the Danish and Norwegian words are often nearly identical, which makes me wonder why they even go through the effort to separate them. We also receive Swedish TV here, and while the written language has less in common, I can decipher at least some of it when spoken. Anyway, as far as I am concerned bokmål is real Norwegian, and nynorsk is Norwegian with speed bumps-- I have to sound out half the words in my head to figure out what they mean. The good old wikipedia has more than you would ever want to know about this-- including the real reasons behind its use.

1 comment:

Mir said...

Cool. I didn´t know that. I love Danish though! I grew up in the southern most part of Sweden so we got Danish TV and I learned to understand that better than Norweigan!