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The second-class Norwegian: marginalisation of Nynorsk in Norwegian business

Journal article
Authors Guro R. Sanden
Published in Current Issues in Language Planning
ISSN 1466-4208
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Applied Information Technology (GU)
Language en
Subject categories Company law, Norwegian language


This paper examines the use of the two written Norwegian language standards, Nynorsk and Bokmål, by companies in Norway. By adopting a legal perspective on the language policy of Norway as stipulated by the Language Council of Norway (2005) and the Norwegian Ministry of Culture and Church (2008), the paper investigates how 492 of the largest companies in Norway measured by revenue comply with the language requirement of the Norwegian Accounting Act Article 3–4. The findings show that the use of Nynorsk is marginal, as only five companies presented their financial statements in Nynorsk for the financial year of 2015. The paper concludes that there is a gap between the objectives of the language policy and the linguistic reality in Norwegian business, and that the current language regulation fails to fully support the language policy goal of maintaining both Nynorsk and Bokmål as functional varieties of the Norwegian language. KEYWORDS: Norway, Nynorsk, language policy and planning, minority language, corporate law

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