Language reforms put forth in Storting

Proposal protects minority languages

Abid Q. Raja - Norway’s Minister of Culture

Photo courtesy of Abid Q. Raja
Norway’s Minister of Culture, Abid Q. Raja, presents the newly proposed language law.

M. MICHAEL BRADY
Asker, Norway

On May 12, the Norwegian government submitted a proposal to the Storting for a new language law. The date was auspicious: the 135th anniversary of the parliament’s “Equalization Decision,” which declared that Norway should thereafter have two official languages, Bokmål and Nynorsk.

The new law clearly specifies the legal status of Bokmål and Nynorsk and sets forth guidelines for their use by national and local authorities, requiring that public bodies have clear names and terminologies in both languages and consistently respond to queries from the public in the language in which they are received.

Moreover, it strengthens the status of minority languages. The proposal:

•    Specifies that the Sámi languages have the same status as Norwegian ones, reflecting their status in Sámi law.

•    Promotes and protects the Kven language, the Finnic language spoken in the far north by the Finnic people.

•    Promotes and protects the Romani languages, the macro languages of the Romani peoples of Norway, Sweden, Finland, Austria, Germany, and Hungary.

This article originally appeared in the May 22, 2020, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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