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14 September 2012
12/2012
Commemorative Issue

Personal Anniversaries

Norway
There is one literary work that all Norwegians are familiar with, a work that has influenced our view of what is Norwegian and given us a language we can call our own.

The folk tales of Asbjornsen and Moe are so firmly established in our minds that we can barely say the first name without adding the second. Along with Knud Knudsen, language reformer and creator of Bokmal, they are now being commemorated on stamps.

Knud Knudsen  

Knud Knudsen

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Knud Knudsen (1812-95) was another contributor to Norwegian language reform. Against the background of Norway’s historical linguistic union with Denmark, Knudsen strongly advocated the introduction of new spelling and grammatical forms based on the everyday speech of educated Norwegians. He laid the foundation for such a reform in Den landsgyldige norske Uttale (1876). Knudsen was also opposed to the use of foreign loanwords and launched his own replacement words in a 1000-page dictionary, Urnorsk og norsk eller fremmedordets avløsning (1879-81). The results of Knudsen’s efforts were modest. Very few of the words he suggested caught on. A breakthrough for the principles behind Knudsen’s spelling reform came after his death with the Language Reform of 1907, which marked a definitive break with Norway’s linguistic union with Denmark.

Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe  

Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe

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Peter Christen Asbjørnsen (1812-85) grew up in Christiania. In 1825 he was sent to Norderhov in Ringerike to take a university matriculation course. Here he met Jørgen Moe (1813-82). Though very different, the two men had a common interest in nature and outdoor life. It is not clear which of them began to collect folk tales first or which of them created their fairy tale style. What we do know is that they agreed in 1837 to work together on a scholarly collection of folk tales, modelled on the German Brothers Grimm. The first pamphlet of Norwegian Folk Tales appeared in 1841. It was followed by a further three pamphlets, and then in 1851 a two-volume work appeared, entitled Norwegian Folk Tales, Collected and Recounted by P.Chr. Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe. This was soon proclaimed a literary masterpiece. The innovative use of spoken Norwegian in these stories helped to create a form of written Norwegian, distinct from Danish, which became normative for the development of Riksmål and Bokmål.

Technical Information

NK 1829-1830
Date of issue: 14 September 2012
Values and subjects: Kr 14.00: Knud Knudsen
Kr 15.00: Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe
Design: Enzo Finger Design
Method of printing: Offset
Printing house: Joh. Enschedé Security Print.
copyright notice: The source of the text and the images is Norway Post.
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