These Scandinavian languages together with the Faroese language and Icelandic language, as well as some extinct languages, constitute the North Germanic languages (also called Scandinavian languages). Faroese and Icelandic are hardly mutually intelligible with Norwegian in their spoken form, because continental Scandinavian has diverged from them.
As established by law and governmental policy, there are two official forms of written Norwegian - Bokmal (literally "book language") and Nynorsk (literally "new Norwegian").
The Norwegian Language Council is responsible for regulating the two forms, and recommends the terms "Norwegian Bokmal" and "Norwegian Nynorsk" in English.
Two other written forms without official status also exist: Riksmal ("national language"), which is to a large extent the same language as Bokmal, but somewhat closer to the Danish language, is regulated by the Norwegian Academy, which translates it as "Standard Norwegian". Hognorsk ("High Norwegian") is a more purist form of Nynorsk that rejects most spelling reforms from the 20th century, but is not widely used.
There is no officially sanctioned standard of spoken Norwegian, and most Norwegians speak their own dialect in all circumstances. The sociolect of the urban upper and middle class in East Norway can be regarded as a de facto spoken standard for Bokmal because it adopted many characteristics from Danish when Norway was under Danish rule. This so-called standard ostnorsk ("Standard Eastern Norwegian") is the form generally taught to foreign students.