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- proper noun One of the two major written standards of
Norwegian, literally meaning “book language”.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- noun book language; one of two official languages of Norway; closely related to Danish
from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
[Norwegian : bok, book; see bhāgo- in Indo-European roots + mål, language.]
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From bok (“book”) and mål (in this sense meaning “language”), with the meaning “the language used in books”. The Old Norse equivalent bókamál was used in this sense as a name for Latin, as it was the primary language used for writing of biblical work in much of the Middle Ages. The modern Icelandic name for Norwegian Bokmål is bókmál. When dialect research in western Norway was pioneerd by Ivar Aasen in the 1850s, bogmaal took on the meaning of written standard language, as opposed to spoken dialects and Aasen's synthesized landsmaal. The two Norwegian languages, standardized in 1907, changed names in 1929 from landsmål to nynorsk and from riksmål to bokmål.
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