Shortcut: Sorry, But Norwegian Isn't Dying

When foreigners are travelling in Norway, they can use the word “sorry” and people will understand them. Norwegian has its own words for “sorry”, like “unnskyld” or “beklager”. Even so, many young Norwegians use the word “sorry” instead.

Choosing Norwegian

Why would young Norwegians use an English word? They probably use it because Norwegian media is saturated by the English language. Advertisements are often in English, and American and British films and series are shown on TV.

The same thing has happened in other countries. Even in the UK, the English spoken has been affected by American series being shown on TV. British young people use American expressions when they are speaking. However, these expressions usually disappear again after a while.

Caution sign Some people worry that Norwegian will die out when they hear young Norwegians using English expressions. However, these expressions are often only used in specific situations, such as greetings or to cover breaks in conversation. If people really want to discuss something, they speak Norwegian.

Similar situations have happened in other countries. In Britain, Latin used to be used in a similar way to how English is used in everyday speech in Norway. French is still sometimes used in this way.

What is Norwegian really? Modern bokmål is similar to written Danish. Some dialects of Norwegian are more different to each other than they are to Danish and Swedish. The British language has been influenced by Old Norse (the language the Vikings spoke), as well as French, German and other languages. Languages are continuously changing and influencing each other. Maybe the English words now entering modern Norwegian actually started off being used in Scandinavia.

Perhaps the people who are worried about the future of Norwegian have nothing to worry about?