Introduction to Nynorsk/Nynorsk and the other Nordic languages

The differences between Nynorsk and the other Scandinavian languages are fairly systematic. This page will go through several of these differences.

Before we start, remember (or learn now) that Nynorsk is both

a) a West Scandinavian language
b) a Continental Scandinavian language

The relationship between the Nordic (Scandinavian) languages may be summarised as follows:

The North Germanic languages
western eastern mainland insular
Nynorsk x x
Faroese x x
Icelandic x x
Bokmål ? ? x
Danish x x
Swedish x x

Diphthongs edit

Part of what defines the West Scandinavian languages, is that they keep the diphthongs from Old Norse. Nynorsk has fewer diphthongs than both Icelandic and Faroese, however. Below are a few examples.

Old Norse Nynorsk Faroese Icelandic Bokmål Danish Swedish translation
draumr draum dreymur draumur drøm drøm dröm dream
rauðr raud reyður rauður rød rød röd red
brauð brød breyð brauð brød brød bröd bread
heyra høyra hoyra heyra høre høre höra hear
einn ein ein einn en en en a (indefinite article),
one (numeral)

In traditional Nynorsk, brød was spelled braud. brød is one of few instances were an Old Norse -au has not been kept in Nynorsk, like the vast majority of them are.

The infinitive ending edit

In the Nordic standard languages, there are two different infinitive endings: -a and -e (but in dialects, additional endings exist). Nynorsk has, as written in earlier chapters, both of these infinitive endings (plus a system that switches between the two). Thus Nynorsk can be written with the same infinitive ending as any of the other Nordic languages. The differences can be summarised with the verb kasta, which means 'to throw' and still has the same root in all the Nordic languages:

infinitive ending
Old Norse Nynorsk Faroese Icelandic Bokmål Danish Swedish translation
kasta kasta or kaste kasta kasta kaste kaste kasta throw