Nynorsk dictionary drops ‘objectionable’ words

Nynorsk dictionary drops 'objectionable' words
Lexicographers Helene Urdland-Karlsen (left), Christian-Emil Ore and Bjørghild Kjelsvik, holding up the words which will be removed. Photo: Yngve Vogt
The official dictionary of Nynorsk is excising politically incorrect words from its latest edition, arguing that they have become "out-of-date".
 
Words like 'negerarbeid', meaning 'slave labour', and 'buskmann', referring to hunter-gather peoples in southern Africa are being cut from the latest edition.
 
"It's because they are becoming seen as obsolete. They're words that cannot be used so easily any more," said Arnfinn Muruvik Vonen, the director of the Norwegian language council, which works with the University of Oslo on the dictionary.  "This is not to say these are words that should not be used or as a kind of censorship about them. It does not mean that these words are in anyway prohibited. It's a matter of convenience." 
 
The Norwegian parliament voted in 1974 to codify the country's two dialects into two dictionaries, the Nynorskordboka and Bokmålsordboka, but it wasn't until 1986 that the Nynorskordboka was published. 
 
Last year, the council began a thorough review of the Nynorkordbok, judging that after 25 years many words have either become unacceptable or are no longer used. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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