Norwegians - Orientation

Identification. The nation of Norway constitutes the Western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula. Its population is substantially of Scandinavian stock, with the exception of Saami and Finns in the north and recent European and other immigrants in the urban south.

Location. Norway is a narrow, essentially mountainous strip, with an almost 3,200-kilometer coastline to the west and south on the Atlantic Ocean (Norwegian Sea), which is characterized by fjords and numerous islands. Norway shares a long border with Sweden to the east, and shorter boarders with Finland and the Russia to the north and east. Oslo is its capital. It is located at approximately 58° to 73° N and 3° to 31° E. The Gulf Stream assists in producing a continental climate in much of Norway. Despite its northerly location and a short growing season, agriculture and animal husbandry accompany fishing and timbering as primary traditional Subsistence occupations. Average yearly rainfall (Oslo) is 68 centimeters.

Demography. The population of Norway is approximately 4.1 million. The direction of population migration in Norway in recent years has been generally from the country and into the urban centers, the three largest cities currently accounting for approximately one-fourth of the population.

Linguistic Affiliation. Norwegian is one of the languages of the North Germanic (i.e., Scandinavian) Branch of Germanic languages, which are in turn a branch of the Indo-European Language Family. It is written with the Latin alphabet and is closely related to both Swedish and Danish, the latter having had a strong historical influence on the Norwegian language beginning in the fourteenth century. Today there are two forms of standard written Norwegian. The Danish-influenced Bokmal is characteristic in urban and upper-class use. Nynorsk, based on Norway's rural dialects, is associated with independent "Norwegianness" and social egalitarianism. In spoken usage, Norway's mountainous geography has spawned a multitude of local dialects (and local cultural variation in general), although recent urbanization has eroded dialect distinctiveness in some areas.

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