The new Norwegian language
As a result of centuries of Danish dominion (1397-1814), even today Norway does not have a national language. The language spoken by the majority of the population is Bokmål (Danish-Norwegian), which preserves the old Norwegian dialect over a Danish base. After lengthy ethnographic research, Aasen published his first dictionary of the "new Norwegian" in 1850 as the first step to reclaiming cultural independence. His contribution was important at a political and ideological level as well, helping to define the Norwegian national identity. Today, only 20% of the population, mainly in rural areas, speaks Norwegian Nynorsk (new Norwegian). Though less commonly spoken than Danish-Norwegian, Nynorsk is the official language of western Norway, and is the language used by the media, in schools, in church, and by civil servants all over the country.