Nynorsk is one of the two written standards of the Norwegian language, the other being Bokmål. Nynorsk was established in 1929 as one of two state-sanctioned fusions of Ivar Aasen's standard Norwegian language with the Dano-Norwegian written language, the other such fusion being called Bokmål. Nynorsk is a variation, closer to Landsmål, whereas Bokmål is closer to Riksmål. In local communities, one quarter of Norwegian municipalities have declared Nynorsk as their official language form, these municipalities account for about 12% of the Norwegian population. Nynorsk is taught as a mandatory subject in both high school and elementary school for all Norwegians who do not have it as their own language form. Of the remaining municipalities that do not have Nynorsk as their official language form, half are neutral and half have adopted Bokmål as their official language form. Four of Norway's eighteen counties, Hordaland, Sogn og Fjordane and Møre og Romsdal, have Nynorsk as their official language form.

These four together comprise the region of Western Norway. Danish had been the written language of Norway until 1814, Danish with Norwegian intonation and pronunciation was on occasion spoken in the cities. With the independence of Norway from Denmark, Danish became a foreign language and thus lost much of its prestige, a conservative, written form of Norwegian, Landsmål, had been developed by 1850. By this time, the Danish language had been reformed into the written language Riksmål, no agreement was reached on which of the two forms to use. In 1885, the parliament declared the two forms equal. Efforts were made to fuse the two written forms into one language. A result was that Landsmål and Riksmål lost their official status in 1929, were replaced by the written forms Nynorsk and Bokmål, which were intended to be temporary intermediary stages before their final fusion into one hypothesised official Norwegian language known at the time as Samnorsk; this project was abandoned and Nynorsk and Bokmål remain the two sanctioned standards of what is today called the Norwegian language.

Both written languages are in reality fusions between the Norwegian and Danish languages as they were spoken and written around 1850, with Nynorsk closer to Norwegian and Bokmål closer to Danish. The official standard of Nynorsk has been altered during the process to create the common language form Samnorsk. A minor purist fraction of the Nynorsk population has stayed firm with the historical Aasen norm where these alterations of Nynorsk were rejected, known as Høgnorsk. Ivar Aasen-sambandet is an umbrella organization of associations and individuals promoting the use of Høgnorsk, whereas Noregs Mållag and Norsk Målungdom advocate the use of Nynorsk in general; the Landsmål language standard was constructed by the Norwegian linguist Ivar Aasen during the mid-19th century, to provide a Norwegian-based alternative to Danish, written, to some extent spoken, in Norway at the time. The word Nynorsk has another meaning. In addition to being the name of the present, official written language standard, Nynorsk can refer to the Norwegian language in use after Old Norwegian, 11th to 14th centuries, Middle Norwegian, 1350 to about 1550.

The written Norwegian, used until the period of Danish rule resembles Nynorsk. A major source of old written material is Diplomatarium Norvegicum in 22 printed volumes. In 1749, Erik Pontoppidan released a comprehensive dictionary of Norwegian words that were incomprehensible to Danish people, Glossarium Norvagicum Eller Forsøg paa en Samling Af saadanne rare Norske Ord Som gemeenlig ikke forstaaes af Danske Folk, Tilligemed en Fortegnelse paa Norske Mænds og Qvinders Navne, it is acknowledged that the first systematic study of the Norwegian language was made by Ivar Aasen in the mid 19th century. After the dissolution of Denmark–Norway and the establishment of the union between Sweden and Norway in 1814, Norwegians considered that neither Danish, by now a foreign language, nor by any means Swedish, were suitable written norms for Norwegian affairs; the linguist Knud Knudsen proposed a gradual Norwegianisation of Danish. Ivar Aasen, favoured a more radical approach, based on the principle that the spoken language of people living in the Norwegian countryside, who made up the vast majority of the population, should be regarded as more Norwegian than that of upper-middle class city-dwellers, who for centuries had been influenced by the Danish language and culture.

This idea was not unique to Aasen, can be seen in the wider context of Norwegian romantic nationalism. In the 1840s Aasen studied its dialects. In 1848 and 1850 he published the first Norwegian grammar and dictionary which described a standard that Aasen called Landsmål. New versions detailing the written standard were published in 1864 and 1873, in the 20th century by Olav Beito in 1970. During the same period, Venceslaus Ulricus Hammershaimb standardised the orthography of the Faroese language. Spoken Faroese is related to Landsmål and dialects in Norway proper, Lucas Debes and Peder Hansen Resen classified the Faroese tongue as Norwegian in the late 17th century. However, Faroese was established as a separate language. Aasen's work is based on the idea that Norwegian dialects had a common structure that made them a separate language alongside Danish and Swedish; the central point for Aasen therefore became to find and show the structural dependencies between the dialects

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Liisa Ahtee

Liisa Marjatta Ahtee was born on 2 October 1937 in Turku to Aaro Veli Vilho and Lyyli Iida Kyllikki Ahtee. She is an internationally esteemed Finnish pharmacologist and professor emeritus, who served as pharmacology and biological medicine standardization chair at the University of Helsinki from 1975 to 2002. Ahtee graduated as a medical doctor in 1962 and defended her Ph. D. in Pharmacology at the University of Helsinki in 1967. From 1967 to 1969 she conducted scientific research at the American Red Cross Institute of Animal Physiology of Cambridge and from 1970–1971 at the Royal College of Surgeons in London before returning to Finland. In 1975 Ahtee was appointed as a professor and chair at the University of Helsinki in pharmacology and biological medical standardization divisions. In 1977 she conducted research at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden and in Paris in 1980. Ahtee's research specialization is neuropharmacology, concentrating on the effects of drugs and drug addiction on the central nervous system neurotransmitters.

She has written hundreds of articles on her research findings and is considered an international expert. In addition to writing, Ahtee has been the editor of several international science journals, including Naunyn-Schmiedeberg's Archives of Pharmacology. In 1999, she was the Albert Wuokko Award recipient, an annual prize given to distinguished pharmaceutical scientists of Finland and in 2003, she was awarded an honorary doctorate from Tartu University. After her retirement as a professor, Ahtee continued her research completing a three-year project in 2010 on the "brain opioidergic systems and neurobehavioral sensitization in addiction to alcohol". WorldCat listings of publications