Norwegian belongs to the North Germanic family of language and is the official language of Norway. It is estimated to have 5 million native speakers, though this number is unconfirmed. Norwegian bears striking similarities to Swedish and Danish. Because of these similarities, speakers of these languages are able to hold intelligible conversations while speaking their respective language.
The Norwegian alphabet consists of 29 letters. It contains the 26 letter Latin alphabet along with three additional letters. Norway has two official writing systems: Bokmal and Nynorsk. In English, Bokmal literally translates to "book tongue" and Nynorsk as "New Norwegian." There are two additional writing systems known as Riksmal ("national language") and Hognorsk ("High Norwegian"). In contrast to Bokmal and Nynorsk, Riksmal and Hognorsk are not considered official writing systems in Norway. The Norwegian Language Council is responsible for regulating Bokmal and Nynorsk while the Norwegian Academy regulates Riksmal.
Approximately 86% of Norwegians write in Bokmal, with only 7% writing in Nynorsk. However, the most commonly spoken dialect in Norway is more similar to Nynorsk than Bokmal. National broadcasts are made in both Bokmal and Nynorsk, and the Norwegian government supports both forms.
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