SC22/WG20 N854

Norwegian Bokmål language locale for Norway, Narrative Cultural Specification

Users: general, applications: general
Source: Norwegian Technology Centre, date: 2001-01-22, version: 4.5
Token identifier: nb_NO,_4.5
POSIX-locale: nb_NO,_4.5

Clause 1: Alphanumeric deterministic ordering

Ordering in Norwegian Bokmål is defined in Norwegian Standard NS 4103, 1972.

Normal <a> to <z> ordering is used on the Latin script, except for the following letters: The letters <æ> <ø> <å> are ordered as 3 separate letters after <z>. <ü> is ordered as <y>, <ä> as <æ>, <ö> as <ø>, <ð> as <d>, <þ> as <t><h>, French <œ> as <o><e>. Two <a>s are ordered as <å>, except when denoting two sounds (which is normally the case only in combined words). When words otherwise compare equally, nonaccented letters come before accented letters, and capital letters come before small letters. There is no explicit ordering of accents specified in "Tanums store rettskrivningsordbok", and whether case or accents are the most important is not specified.

Both strict alphabetical ordering, and word-by-word ordering are in use. Also ordering after context, keeping related terms together, is used.

Clause 2: Classification of characters

Norwegian Bokmål uses normal classification of letters in uppercase and lowercase, this classification is also applicable to scripts like Greek and Cyrillic.

Clause 3: Numeric formatting

The decimal separator is COMMA <,>
For display of numbers in applications there is no use of a thousands separator, and thus no grouping for large numbers.

Clause 4: Monetary formatting

The decimal separator is COMMA <,>
The thousands separator is FULL STOP <.>
The grouping of large numbers is in groups of three digits.

International currency symbol:

NOK 543,21

Domestic currency symbol:

kr 543,21

Use of negative sign:

kr -543,21

Thousands and decimal separators:

kr 9.876.543,21



Clause 5: Date and time conventions

Both weekday and month names are written with an initial lower case letter in Norwegian Bokmål (Normal capitalizing rules apply in the beginning of a sentence, etc.).

English name

Weekday names

Short weekday names

























Short weekday names consisting of the two first letters are also commonly used.

English name

Month name

Short month name









































Long date:

07 juni 1994

Abbreviated day and time:

tir 07 jun 1994 23:22:33 CET DST

long date with weekday:

onsdag den 21. desember 1994

Abbreviated long date:

07 jun 1994

Numeric date:






The 24 hour system is used in Norway. There are no abbreviations commonly in use for before or after noon.

Clause 6: Affirmative and negative answers

Yes expressions


(= 1, ja, yes)

No expressions


(= 0, nei, no)




Clause 7: National or cultural Information Technology terminology

The official Information Technology terminology is Knut Hofstad, Ståle Løland, Per Scott: "Norsk dataordbok", (Norwegian Bokmål dictionary of data processing), 6. utgave, Norsk språkråds komité for dataterminologi, Universitetsforlaget, Oslo 1997, ISBN 82-00-22506-2.

Clause 8: National or cultural profiles of standards


Clause 9: Character set considerations

The following is the Norwegian Bokmål alphabet:

Aa Bb Cc Dd Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj Kk Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp Qq Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv Ww Xx Yy Zz Ææ Øø Åå

The combination of two <a>s is regarded as one <å>, originating from older orthography but still used in many person and place names.

The following accented letters is commonly used in Norwegian Bokmål newspapers and books, according to examples in "Tanums store rettskrivningsordbok":

The Norwegian Bokmål right accent (acute accent) is the most common (almost the only) in Norwegian Bokmål words. It is used on vowels to show stress, typically as é to show stress. Special the indication of the number 1 - "én" "En kan bo bra i en bolig på én etasje" (only the last with stress ­ counting)

Left accent (grave accent) to show pronounciation ­ not commonly used in modern Norwegian earlier: première (pron: premiære, for a theatre play) and premiere (for the winner of whatever ). Today it is written "premiere" for both, but the old form is still allowed.

circumflex is used in a few words for indicating a longer vocal as in : "fôr", "fôre", "fôring" (feeding animals) and in Nynorsk ­ "vêr".

Trema is used in Haïti and Zaïre and in Sami-words.

Hàcek is used in Norwegian gypsy Rom and other languages like in Dvorák, but is not easily available on many Norwegian keyboards.

Tilde is used in words from Spanish/Portugese and in Sami.

Cédille is not in use in Norwegian Bokmål words.

The recommended character set is ISO/IEC 8859-1; for a bigger repertoire ISO/IEC 10646-1 is recommended.

Other character standards in use include ISO/IEC 6937 and ISO/IEC 646 (a Norwegian version, NS 4551, of this has been withdrawn, but is still in use).

Vendor character sets in use include HP Roman 8, IBM CP 277, 278, 437, 850, 865, Machintosh, and MS CP 1252.

The character sets have been described in the Internet RFC 1345, made in an INSTA project, and they are also available in POSIX Charmap format.

Norwegian Internet Email exchange recommends MIME format and ISO-8859-1 encoding, if necessary in RFC1345 mnemonic format.

Clause 10: Sorting and searching rules

The character oriented ordering is described in => Clause 1.

Clause 11: Transformation of characters

Transliteration of Cyrillic and Arabic is very different from English conventions.

For a fallback notation of some letters, refer to the following table:

original letter



























Clause 12: Character properties

For ordinary classification of characters, please refer to => Clause 2.

Clause 13: Use of special characters

For quoting, the characters <"><">, <»><«> and <“><”> are used, with the shown order.

Various punctuation signs:

NUMBER SIGN <#> is seldomly used, and should be avoided

AT SIGN <@> is not used for commercial purposes. It is used in Internet mail.

Double space after a FULL STOP <.> is not used.

DIVISION SIGN <÷> should not be used for division, as it is also used for subtraction, the sign is known as "minus" in Norway. Use SOLIDUS </> or COLON <:> instead.

SECTION SIGN <§> is often used in legal documents to refer to paragraphs.

In a sentence the FULL STOP <.> is placed as the last character, as in: Skipet het "Titanic".

Clause 14: Character rendition

The Norwegian Bokmål letters <Ø> and <ø> are often misprinted. The stroke in the letters is the problem. If you consider a rectangle box surrounding the letter, then the stroke should cross from the upper right corner to the opposite corner.

Clause 15: Character inputting

There is no specific input method in common use in Norway.

Clause 16: Personal names rules

Children can get their father's or mother's last name, or any combination of these with or without a hyphen.

Example with marriage:
He: Jo Andersen Lund
She: Liv Munthe-Kaas

She can not have the name Andersen Lund Munthe-Kaas, but call herself Lund Munthe-Kaas or Munthe-Kaas Lund (Andersen is here regarded as his middle name ­ not family name ­ he is either son of Anders or Andersen is his mothers name (or fathers) or his father have two surnames. He can not call himself Jo M-K L because he can not skip A. His name Jo A M-K or Jo A L or in reallity whatever he want as long as what he want is not a restricted name (like Lindelien) everyone can have it.

Personal names are commonly spelt with the full first name, while use of initials only is seen also. People are mostly addressed by voice by their first name. The common address form is the informal "du", and the more formal "De" is becoming less common. The family name is never spelt in capital letters only, contrary to continental European habits. Titles are used in some circumstances.

Clause 17: Inflection

The Norwegian Bokmål grammar is described in "Tanums store rettskrivningsordbok". (Tanum's large spelling dictionary). Norwegian Bokmål has more inflections than English, for example nouns will have 8 forms based on indefinite/definite, singularis/pluralis and nominative+others/genitive.

Norwegian Bokmål tends to have longer words then English, as you can make combined words.

Clause 18: Hyphenation

Hyphenation rules are described in "Tanums store rettskrivningsordbok".

Clause 19: Spelling

Spelling of the Norwegian Bokmål language is described in "Tanums store rettskrivningsordbok".

Norwegian Bokmål capitalizing rules are that lower case letters are used, if not any special reason for using capitalizing applies. Some special reason for capitalizing are:

Clause 20: Numbering, ordinals and measuring systems

See => Clause 3 and => Clause 4 for a description of numeric and monetary formatting.

In running text large numbers are usually displayed with a space as the thousands separator, and then the digits are presented in groups of three. An example is 14 000 000.

This is not done from normal computer applications as such a number may be mistakenly read as two or more numbers.

The measurement system is the SI system, NS ISO 1000.

Temperatures are normally measured in degrees Celsius, the Kelvin scale is sometimes used in science.

Clause 21: Monetary amounts

See => Clause 4 for the POSIX specifications.

Clause 22: Date and time

The timezone is UTC+0100 in the winter, UTC+0200 in the summer. The daylight savings period currently (1999) changes by one hour the last Sunday in March at 02:00, and back again by one hour the last Sunday in October at 03:00. This may change in the future. There is no official names for the timezones.

Use of week numbers are very common, and the week numbering is according to NS ISO 8601.

The first day of the week is Monday, in accordance with NS ISO 8601.

Date formatting according to NS ISO 8601, for example 1995-04-13 for 13th of April 1995, is very common in technical business and in legal business, and other areas.

For POSIX date and time formatting, please see => Clause 5.

Clause 23: Coding of national entities

The official name of Norway is the Kingdom of Norway. "Kongeriket Norge" in Norwegian Bokmål.

Norway is situated about 60 - 58 degrees North, and 4 - 32 degrees East.
Norway has an area of about 324.219 km2 and 4,2 mill inhabitants (1995). Other possessions of Norway are Svalbard 62.700 km2, situated about 75 - 81 degrees North, and 10 - 28 degrees East, Jan Mayen 380 km2, Bouvetøya 59 km2, Peter I. øy 249 km2, and Queen Maud's land (Antarctic Coast between 45 degrees East and 20 degrees West.
The main language is Norwegian.

There are a number of standards giving a country code to Norway:

ISO 3166 alpha-2


ISO 3166 alpha-3


ISO 3166 numeric




UN Genève 1949:68 Vehicle code


CCITT E.163 international telephone prefix


CCITT X.121 X.25 numbering country code


ISO 2108 ISBN book numbering


EAN articles




The Alpha-2 code "NO" of ISO 3166 is for general use, and is use generally by the public as the abbreviation for Norway.

The name of the country in Norwegian Bokmål is "Norge".

The language code according to ISO 639 for the Norwegian language is "no".

The name of the Norwegian language in Norwegian is "norsk". There are a number of dialects of the Norwegian language, and there are two ortographies for this: Bokmål and Nynorsk. This specification covers Norwegian Bokmål.

The language code according to ISO 639 for the Norwegian Bokmå language is "nb".

The name of the Norwegian Bokmål language in Norwegian Bokmål is "norsk bokmål", or just "bokmål".

The currency is Norwegian Kroner, in Norwegian Bokmål, "norske kroner". The ISO 4217 code is NOK. The native abbreviation is "kr". 1 "krone" is equal to 100 "øre". See => Clause 4 for a POSIX description.

Postal codes ("postnumre") are 4 digits. See => Clause 25 for their use.

For public adminstration Norway has 19 counties ("fylker") and 435 local municipalities ("kommuner"). The counties and communes have numbers, which can be found in Statistic Yearbook from Statistics Norway (SSB).

Clause 24: Telephone numbers

The international telephone prefix for Norway is +47. There are no area codes; all numbers have 8 digits. The most common format for telephone numbers is in groups of 2, for example +47 22 59 01 00. but mobile-telephone numbers and special service numbers grouped in different ways:
mobile: 920 41 315
pre-paid etc: 810 10 000
alfa-number: 8800 6925 (a universal number where you can reach the subscriber by a service that forward the call after preset lists or by the subscribers (ad hoc orders)

Post og Teletilsynet have auctioned some series of shorter numbers or some short numbers like 08000. Here a marketing view on the presentation of the number is applied.

Clause 25: Mail addresses

See => Clause 16 for how to write personal names.

The street number is placed after the street name.

The postal code is placed before the city name. The CEPT country prefix "NO" should be placed in front of the postal code for international mail, this is even commonly done for mail within Norway. Postal codes are defined in "Postadresseboken for Norge", edition 20, Postverket, Oslo, 1999,

An example of a mail address is:

   Att: Keld Simonsen
   Sagaveien 12
   NO-1555 Son

According to CEPT recommendations, one should either use the French name of the country "Norvège", or the name in the local language "Norge".

A port ("oppgang") number may be added after the house number, as in:

   Ole Normann
   Fremtidsveien 26, 2
   NO-2000 Oslo

Clause 26: Identification of persons and organizations

In Norway, persons are identified by a unique personal identity number ("personnummer"). This number incorporates the date of birth and the sex. The structure of the Norwegian personal identity number is:


where DD=day, MM=month, YY=year, Q=indication of century, N=running number, B=check digit with sex indication: odd=male; even=female , and CC=check digit.

Norwegian organisations are identified via a registration number ("organisasjonsnummer") from "Foretaksregistret", which is also used as an identification for Value Added Tax (VAT) purposes, possibly with a "NO" in front of it to indicate a Norwegian organisation. This is an 9-digit number.

Clause 27: Electronic mail addresses

The Norwegian X.400 email country code is NO, that is the ISO 3166 alpha-2 code.

The Norwegian Internet top domain is .NO (ISO 3166 alpha-2 code). Internet domain addresses have an organization name as the second level name. There are no economic sector (government, commercial, academic) indication.

The Norwegian X.500 service uses the character set T.61 for representing names and addresses.

Clause 28: Payment account numbers

The format of Norwegian bank account numbers have a 4-digit branch identification code, and then the numeric bank account number with a 2 digit group and a 4 or 5 digit group.

The format of the Norwegian Postal Giro accounts may be like the bank account numbers, but there may be short Giro numbers for fund-raising etc.

Clause 29: Keyboard layout

A Norwegian keyboard has the layout of the alphabetic keys (first is lowercase, second is uppercase, third is alternate graphic):

            1!  2"@ 3#£ 4¤$ 5%  6&  7/{ 8([ 9)] 0=} +?  \`´
               Q   W   E   R   T   Y   U   I   O   P   Å   ¨^~
                A   S   D   F   G   H   J   K   L   Ø   Æ   '*
             <>  Z   X   C   V   B   N   M   ,;  .:  -_

´`¨^~ are normally dead keys.

Clause 30: Man-machine dialogue

Naturally, most Norwegian users require programs where all menus, names of icons, commands, information messages, help texts, manuals etc. are translated and adjusted to their language and culture.

Programmers and screen layout designers must bear in mind that when English text is translated into Norwegian - and most other languages - it will normally be longer, i.e. require more space on the screen and occupy more computer memory.

Norway has its own cultural symbols in some cases and use of non-Norwegian symbols as icons can create irritation and - if they are not easily recognized - confusion. Example: The typical suburban American mailbox with the raised flag is unusual in Norway and hence not immediately associated with mail for most users.

Clause 31: Paper formats

ISO 216 and 861 paper sizes are used in Norway. Two holes located 80 mm from each other and 12 mm from the edge of the sheet according to ISO 838 in A4 paper is very common. The two-hole punching is often extended to four holes (British Standard BS 5097) , again at spacings of 80 mm, often called "80-80-80".

Clause 32: Typographical conventions

In Norway the Didot point measure is used in typography, which is 7% larger than the point used in English and American typography.

When justifying text at both margins, extra space should be inserted between words, not between letters within a word.

Use of special characters are described in => Clause 13.

End of Narrative Cultural Specification.