Foto: Pixabay/KoalaParkLaundromat

The letter Å is a hundred years old

On 21 December 1917 the new orthography were established by a Royal Decree, and Å/ å replaced AA/aa.

The letters Å/å replaced Aa/aa officially in Norwegian written language as a recommendation in 1917 and became mandatory from 1938. Before that it was called a “Swedish å”.

It was recommended in a reform regarding the written language to use a “å” instead of “aa”. Though it took some time before the letter was used in public and private matter.  Some newspapers, among others, were reserved to put the new letter on print. Aftenposten a language conservative paper did not use it before 1928.

The two written languages in Norway  were intented to be united with the 1917 orthograpy reform by introducing ortophone principles in both language variants. These principles were intended to lead the writing closer to the dialects in Eastern Norway.

Å is the 29th letter of the Norwegian alphabet. The letter is used in Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Skolt Sami and Chamorro. It is also used in Walloon, but is considered to be a variant of a.

The character has arisen because the second a in the letter pair aa was set above the first. The upper one is gradually reduced to a ring.