Variant subtag proposal: Hgnorsk variety of Norwegian

John Cowan cowan at
Tue Dec 29 23:41:15 CET 2009

Randy Presuhn scripsit:

> I think it depends on how well the tagger knows Norwegian.
> I don't know Norwegian, so if I were given a bunch of materials
> to tag and was only told that they were in Norwegian, I'd have
> to just say 'no', rather than making the 'nb'/'nn' distinction
> and probably getting it wrong.

Quite so.  What is more, the nb/nn contrast properly applies only to
written Norwegian.  The spoken language is a congeries of dialects,
of which some, the middle-class urban lects of southeastern Norway,
are reasonably close to written nb.  Nn on the other hand is a sort
of abstract representation or artificial koine of the western dialects
(as they stood in the mid-19th century) as if they had descended from
Old Norse as a unified whole.  As such, it is not even close to a
transcription of how anyone speaks, except on the podium, the stage,
the broadcasting studio, and suchlike places.

Therefore, when representing spoken Norwegian, one should normally use
'no', possibly with a variant tag for dialect.

How they ever reached any  conclusion at all    <cowan at>
is starkly unknowable to the human mind.
        --"Backstage Lensman", Randall Garrett

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