In addition, there are small communities in England who speak a dialect very similar to Norwegian, possibly derived from Old Norse settlers in the Middle Ages.
As a Scandinavian language, Norwegian has close ties to the Germanic linguistic family, which includes Dutch, German and English.
There are two official forms of the tongue – bokmål (meaning book language) and Nynorsk (new Norway). Although these forms lay down rules for written text, they do not lay a standard for spoken discourse. As a result, people tend to speak their own dialect, leading to a great deal of diversity.
This tends to pose a problem for students – there are two written forms to master, and a broad range of dialects too. Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to pick up other dialects after learning one of them. People in cities tend to prefer bokmål, and people in the country use Nynorsk.
There have been efforts to fuse the two forms into a single standard, but language is a slippery thing – it doesn’t bend to the wills of a government or special committee. People prefer to hang on to their dialects, so, at least for now, you’ll have to learn both forms.
Fortunately, the grammar is quite simple, especially if you already speak a Germanic tongue (such as English). Just as with English, the noun forms are only modified to show possession and plurality. Furthermore, the conjugation of verbs is much simpler than German.
Learning the Norwegian language is quite easy for English speaking people – it’s more difficult for Asians or people who speak a tongue from a different linguistic family.