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External Resources[]

https://www.reddit.com/r/duolingo/wiki/index#wiki_norwegian

UNIT 1[]

INTRODUCTION[]

A heartfelt welcome to the Norwegian course![]

Norwegian is a language with simpler grammar than many other European languages, but it is still a gendered language with three grammatical genders: masculine, feminine and neuter.

Grammatical Gender[]

Masculine Feminine Neuter
en mann ei kvinne or en kvinne et barn
a man a woman a child

All feminine gendered nouns can be classified as masculine gender as well. In theory, one could treat all feminine nouns as masculine ones, but most Norwegians still use the feminine form, especially for certain words.

The choice really is up to you! Both en kvinne and ei kvinne are grammatically correct, and the tendency to use the feminine gender depends on geography and dialect.

We have decided to teach it where it is most natural to use it, with words such as jente meaning girl, for example, but in the first couple of skills we'll let you focus on the masculine and neuter noun patterns.

Pronouns[]

Norwegian pronouns are very straightforward and correspond well to English ones:

Norwegian English
jeg I
du you (singular)
han he
hun she
det it

When referring to a neutral subject, det is used to mean it or that. However, when referring to a masculine or feminine subject, it becomes den instead.

Verbs[]

Conjugation couldn't be simpler. All conjugated verbs have an -r stem in the present, and verbs don't change according to the subject! How easy is that?

Singular Plural
jeg er I am vi er we are
du er you are dere er you are
han, hun, det er he, she, it is de er they are

Pronunciation[]

As a general rule, words are spelled as they're pronounced in Norwegian. One exception is words beginning with hv, such as hvem, meaning who. In this word, the h is silent.

In addition, there are several letters and letter combinations that are pronounced differently from English.

Norwegian IPA, Notes
A [ɑ], very open
B [b]
C [s] or [k] depending on word, very rare, ex. Canada
D [d], silent in consonant clusters or at the end of certain words like med or ved
E [e] or [ɛ], [æ] in her and der, [i] in de
F [f]
G [g], [j] before an i; silent before a j; silent after an i and sometimes an a or o; often silent in days of the week
H [h], silent before v
I [i] like the e in email or ebook, [ɪ] before two consonants like the i in hit or fit
J [j], like the y in yes or yellow
K [k]
kj, ki, ky [ç], like the sharp h in human, but more and more people now use [ʃ], like the sh in ship or shell
L [l]
M [m]
N [n]
O [u] like the oo in soon, but longer, [ʊ] before two consonants or in some exception words like tog
P [p]
Q [k], very rare, ex. Qatar
qu [kv], very rare, ex. quisling
R [ɾ], tap, like the tt in North American butter; some in Norway use [ʁ], the so-called French R
rs [ʃ], r + s combinations produce sh sound, even between words
S [s]
skj, ski, sky, sl [ʃ], like the sh in ship or shell
T [t], silent after an e sometimes, ex. det
U [ʉ], like the ew in new, but more closed
V [v]
W [v], very rare, ex. show
X [ks], very rare, ex. taxi
Y [y] or [ʏ], like the e in email, but more closed
Z [s], very rare, ex. zen

Norwegian also has three additional letters that English doesn't have!

Norwegian IPA, Notes
Æ [æ], like the a in mad or sad
Ø [ø], like the o in word, but more open
Å [o], like the o in go or low

Special Notes on Common Words[]

Norwegian Meaning Pronunciation
jeg I yai
det it, that deh, silent t

Core Vocabulary[]

Vocabulary (Tree 4)
er am, are, is
hvem who
og and
ikke not
jeg I
du you (singular)
han he
hun she
en a, an
en mann a man
en/ei kvinne a woman
en gutt a boy
en/ei jente a girl

WHO? WHAT? WHERE?[]

Confused yet? We have just the word for you...

Hva is the word for what, and also happens to be just the right thing to exclaim when you feel like you've been hit in the head with one Norwegian grammar rule too many.

In this skill, you'll also come across another question word, but you'll have to go look for it yourself, because we're not sure exactly where it went.

Plural Pronouns[]

You're already familiar with the singular pronouns jeg, du, han, hun and det, and now we're adding the plural pronouns into the mix.

Norwegian English
vi we
dere you (plural)
de they

Notice how Norwegian has two different pronouns for "you": du is the singular and dere is the plural version. An easy way to keep them apart, is to remember that the word representing more people has more letters in it.

Question Words[]

When you're just starting out learning a new language, few things are more useful than to be able to ask the questions that allow you to find what you need or further your learning. You've already learned one, hvem, and in this skill you'll learn two more of the most common question words.

Norwegian English
hvem who
hva what
hvor where

Isn't it neat how they all resemble their English counterparts? You've probably noticed by now that English and Norwegian have many things in common, both when it comes to grammar and vocabulary. This is because they're closely related Germanic languages.

However, we do need to differentiate ourselves somehow, and so we decided to add some extra letters to our alphabet - just to keep things interesting.

Knowing[]

The verb å vite, to know, is an irregular verb in Norwegian. Its present tense, which you will familiarize yourself with in this skill, is vet. See that vowel change from the infinitive to the present? Cheeky!

There are actually several verbs for knowing, and you'll get to know them all in due time, but this particular one deals with factual knowledge. Some examples of that is knowing what or where something is, or knowing something about something or someone.

Vet du hvor det er?

Do you know where it is?

Vet du hvem hun er?

Do you know who she is?

Three New Vowels[]

Norwegian has three extra vowels, Æ, Ø and Å.

Vowel Similar To IPA
Æ the a in add or apple [æ]
Ø no real equivalent, but not far from the vowel sounds in bird or earth [ø] or [œ]
Å the o in open or old [o] or [ɔ]
Vocabulary
har has
vet knows
sitter sits
vi we
dere you (plural)
de they
i in
hva what
hvor where
her here
der there
Norge Norway
et a, an
et barn a child
et eple an apple
en katt a cat
brød (n) bread
vann (n) water

GREETINGS[]

No notes.

ACTIONS[]

Definite Forms[]

The definite form, the manthe woman, et cetera, is formed by attaching the indefinite article onto the end of the noun. This ending is called a postfix or a suffix.

Indefinite Definite
en mann a man mannen the man
et barn a child barnet the child

Although the t is pronounced as such in the phrase et barn, it turns silent in the definite form, barnet, which is pronounced more like barneh. This is the case with all neuter nouns in the singular definite form. Be sure to drop the t sound, otherwise you might sound rather Swedish.

For feminine-classified nouns, there is one irregularity in the definite form:

Indefinite Definite
ei kvinne or en kvinne a woman kvinna or kvinnen the woman
ei jente or en jente a girl jenta or jenten the girl

Both jenta and jenten are appropriate translations for the girl. These same endings apply to all feminine nouns. Please consult the tips and notes section for the first lesson if you would like a review of the Norwegian grammatical genders.

Present[]

The present tense is used to describe things that are happening or are true now:

Jeg leser nå. I am reading now.

The present tense is also in general statements that are independent of time:

Jorda er rund. The earth is round.

For things that repeat and that are still recurring:

Jeg sover hver natt. I sleep every night.

The present tense can be used to talk about the future as well, especially when it is certain:

Jeg reiser i morgen. I leave tomorrow.

As a rule of thumb, you can use the present tense where you would use either the present (I leave tomorrow.) or present progressive (I am leaving tomorrow.) tenses in English.

You do not have to worry about person or number when dealing with verbs in Norwegian, the verb stays the same. This is even simpler than English where you have to remember to add the -s in the third person singular in the present tense.

Forming the present is extremely easy, just add the suffix -r to the infinitive (the form you'll find in the dictionary).

The table below shows you how to do it:

Infinitive Present English Translation
å spise spiser eat(s), am/are/is eating
å drikke drikker drink(s), am/are/is drinking
å se ser see(s), am/are/is seeing
Vocabulary (Tree 4)
spiser eats
drikker drinks
leser reads
liker likes
ser sees
kjøper buys
noe something
den it
ei a, an
en/ei bok a book
et brev a letter
ris (m) rice
melk (m/f) milk
gutten the boy
jenta the girl
mannen the man
kvinnen the woman
barnet the child

ANIMALS 1[]

Many animal names in Norwegian share etymological ties with English ones, but the meaning has drifted over time in one direction or another. Below are some examples.

Beware these false friends!

Norwegian Translation Related Word
hund dog hound
fugl bird fowl
elg moose elk
dyr animal deer

*In British English, "elg" and "elk" are actual cognates. In American English, "elk" refers to a different animal.

The following words are true friends, meaning that the words are similar in both spelling and meaning.

Norwegian English
katt cat
bjørn bear
krabbe crab
elefant elephant
ulv wolf
mus mouse

You know more Norwegian than you thought you did!

Grammatical and Biological Gender[]

After being introduced to nouns such as ei jente, en gutt, and et barn, you'd be forgiven for thinking that there was a correlation between a word's grammatical gender and its biological gender, or sex.

However, this is not the case. Grammatical gender is a completely independent concept. While en hund is a masculine noun, that does not imply that the dog we're referring to is male, that's just the grammatical gender of the word itself.

Vocabulary (Tree 4)
et dyr an animal
en elg a moose
en/ei and a duck
en hest a horse
en hund a dog
en fugl a bird
en bjørn a bear
en edderkopp a spider
en ulv a wolf
elgen the moose
katten the cat
hesten the horse
bjørnen the bear
hunden the dog
dyret the animal
fuglen the bird
anden the duck
edderkoppen the spider

PHRASES[]

Common Phrases[]

We've compiled a list of common phrases in the Norwegian language, for your reference.

Many of them are idiomatic, meaning that they don't translate word for word to English. You'll have to learn the entire phrase.

One example is "Ha det bra!", which literally means "Have it good!", but idiomatically translates to "Goodbye!"

Norwegian English
Hvordan har du det? How are you?
Hvordan går det? How is it going?
Bare bra, takk! Just fine, thanks!
Jeg har det bra. I'm doing well.
Ha det bra! Goodbye!
Vi ses! See you later!

Norwegian Characters[]

By now, you're probably getting used to seeing the Norwegian vowels Æ, Ø and Å around.

Vowel Similar To IPA
Æ the a in add or apple [æ]
Ø no real equivalent, but not far from the vowel sounds in bird or earth [ø] or [œ]
Å the o in open or old [o] or [ɔ]

If you're doing your Duolingo lessons on the app, you may need to install a Norwegian or international keyboard to type these. However, before you do so, try holding down A or O and see if they appear as options.

If you're doing your lessons on the web, you can either install a Norwegian keyboard, or just click the special characters displayed below the input field when you type your response.

When you have no other option, you can use these replacement characters, but don't get into the habit of relying on them, as it will be a hard one to break.

Character Replacement
Æ AE
Ø OE
Å AA
Vocabulary (Tree 4)
ha have
unnskyld sorry, excuse me, pardon
vær så snill please, be so kind
takk thank you, thanks
trenger needs, requires
elsker loves
ja yes
nei no
eller or
kanskje maybe, perhaps
tusen (a) thousand
bra good, nice
hyggelig nice, pleasant
bare only, just
en tur a trip
en/ei natt a night
en/ei helg a weekend

FOOD 1[]

Cooking[]

In this skill, you'll learn the verb lager, which translates to make. There's no separate verb for cooking, instead, we use lager mat, literally make food.

Han lager mat. He is cooking.

Measure Words[]

Remember that in Norwegian, the word for of, av, is omitted where one would normally use it in English to join a measure word with another noun.

Norwegian English
en kopp kaffe a cup of coffee
et glass vann a glass of water

Neat, huh?

Vocabulary (Tree 4)
å lage to make
å lage mat to cook
en fisk a fish
et kjøtt a meat
en pasta a pasta
en/ei suppe a soup
en kylling a chicken
mat (m) food
en frokost a breakfast
en ost a cheese
en frukt a fruit
en tomat a tomato
et glass a glass
en øl a (unit of) beer
et salt a salt
et egg an egg
et sukker a sugar
en pepper a pepper (not bell pepper!)

PEOPLE 1[]

Object Pronouns[]

We were introduced to the Norwegian pronouns in the first skill. Let's have a look at them here:

Singular Plural
jeg I vi we
du you (singular) dere you (plural)
han, hun, den/det he, she, it de they

As in English, the pronouns above only pertain to subjects. The pronouns at the receiving end of a verb, in other words the object pronouns, are as follows:

Singular Plural
meg me oss us
deg you (singular) dere you (plural)
ham, henne, det/den him, her, it dem them

Den is used to mean it or that when referring back to a masculine or feminine subject.

Det is used to mean it or that when referring back to a neuter subject, and when introducing a brand new noun that has not yet been mentioned - regardless of the gender of that noun.

Han is an alternative form of ham, but in this course we will use "han" exclusively as a subject ("he"), and "ham" for the object form ("him").

Vocabulary (Tree 4)
viser show
meg me
deg you (singular)
ham him
henne her
den (m/f) it
det (n) it
oss us
dere you (plural)
dem them

DEFINITES[]

Definite Forms[]

The definite form ("the man", "the woman", et cetera) is formed by placing the indefinite article, "a/an", or in Norwegian, "en/et", at the end of the word instead of at the beginning. This is called a postfix or a suffix.

Indefinite Definite
en mann a man mannen the man
et barn a child barnet the child

For feminine-classified nouns, there is one irregularity:

Indefinite Definite
ei kvinne OR en kvinne a woman kvinna OR kvinnen the woman
ei jente OR en jente a girl jenta OR jenten the girl

Both jenta and jenten are appropriate translations for the girl. These same endings apply to all feminine nouns.

It is also normal to use the masculine article "en" for indefinite forms, even when preferring a feminine suffix in definite. This is not considered an error!

Indefinite Definite
en jente a girl jenta the girl
en øy an island øya the island
Vocabulary (Tree 4)
-en definite suffix: the
en/ei hytte a cabin
osten the cheese
egget the egg
maten the food
vannet the water
brødet the bread
suppen the soup
pastaen the pasta
saltet the salt
fisken the fish
brevet the letter
kjøttet the meat
sukkeret the sugar
kyllingen the chicken
eplet the apple
frukten the fruit
ølen the beer
boken the book
risen the rice
tomaten the tomato
avisen the newspaper

PLURALS[]

With few exceptions, most masculine or feminine nouns (most nouns) pluralize with -er or -r.

Norwegian English
eple apple
epler apples
gutt boy
gutter boys
jente girl
jenter girls

Single-syllable neuter nouns, such as hus house and dyr animal, often do not change spelling in the indefinite plural.

Norwegian English
hus house or houses
dyr animal or animals
barn child or children

How then can you tell the difference between hus meaning house and hus meaning houses? That depends on context and adjective endings, which we will cover a bit later in the course.

One exception to these rules is the Norwegian word for "man" which pluralizes in an irregular way that's almost identical to English:

Norwegian English
mann man
menn men

Here are some additional common irregular plurals, a couple of which are also irregular in English.

Singular Plural English Translation
and ender duck - ducks
bok bøker book - books
fot føtter foot - feet
hånd hender hand - hands
natt netter night - nights
tann tenner tooth - teeth
tre trær tree - trees
Vocabulary (Tree 4)
noen some, any
flere several, multiple, more
mange many
en sykkel a bicycle
katter cats
aviser newspapers
jenter girls
fugler birds
gutter boys
hunder dogs
ender ducks
bøker books
hester horses
bjørner bears
epler apples
hytter cabins
kvinner women
kyllinger chickens
dyr animals
brev letters
barn children
menn men
-er indefinite plural suffix

UNIT 2[]

DEFINITE PLURALS[]

With very few exceptions, all nouns can be converted to the definite plural form, i.e. the books, the cows, the dogs... by changing the -er ending on the plural form to an -ene ending:

Norwegian English
hund dog
hunden the dog
hunder dogs
hundene the dogs

Many neuter nouns do not have to follow this rule. Instead, they can become definite plurals by adding on an -a ending. The choice is yours, but the -ene ending is somewhat more common.

Norwegian English
brev letter or letters
brevet the letter
brevene or breva the letters

Keep in mind that the word "barn" meaning "child" almost always becomes "barna" in the definite plural, although "barnene" is grammatically correct as well.

Norwegian English
barn child
barnet the child
barn children
barna the children
Vocabulary (Tree 4)
alle all (of)
kattene the cats
fuglene the birds
endene the ducks
guttene the boys
hestene the horses
kyllingene the chickens
eplene the apples
bøkene the books
hundene the dogs
mennene the men
avisene the newspapers
hyttene the cabins
kvinnene the women
dyrene the animals

PRESENT[]

The present tense is used to describe things that are happening or are true now:

Jeg leser nå. I am reading now.

The present tense is also in general statements that are independent of time:

Jorda er rund. The earth is round.

For things that repeat and that are still recurring:

Jeg sover hver natt. I sleep every night.

The present tense can be used to talk about the future as well, especially when it is certain:

Jeg reiser i morgen. I leave tomorrow.

As a rule of thumb, you can use the present tense where you would use either the present (I leave tomorrow.) or present progressive (I am leaving tomorrow.) tenses in English.

You do not have to worry about person or number when dealing with verbs in Norwegian, the verb stays the same. This is even simpler than English where you have to remember to add the -s in the third person singular in the present tense.

Forming the present is extremely easy, just add the suffix -r to the infinitive (the form you'll find in the dictionary).

The table below shows you how to do it:

Group Suffix Infinitive Present English Translation
1 -er å vaske vasker wash(es), am/are/is washing
2 -er å kjøre kjører drive(s), am/are/is driving
3 -r å bo bor live(s), am/are/is living (as in making one's home somewhere)

There are three groups of verbs with different patterns for forming tenses in Norwegian, but in the present case they all behave in the same way as you can see.

The Swiss Army Knife of Prepositions[]

In this skill, we introduce the preposition - arguably the most important word in the Norwegian language. has as many uses and translations as there are types of brunost in Norway, but the one you'll learn right now deals with specifying languages.

Specifying Language[]

can be used to specify what language something is said or written in. When used in this meaning, it translates to in in English.

Hva betyr det på engelsk?

What does that mean in English?

Hva heter det på norsk?

What is that (called) in Norwegian?

Plurals Ending in -E[]

With few exceptions, most masculine or feminine nouns (most nouns) pluralize with -er or -r.

Norwegian English
eple apple
epler apples
gutt boy
gutter boys
jente girl
jenter girls

However, words that end in -er already, add an extra -e to signify the plural.

Norwegian English
lærer teacher
lærere teachers
amerikaner American
amerikanere Americans
Vocabulary (Tree 4)
gjør does
sover sleeps
hører hears
velger chooses, selects
leker plays
selger sells
arbeider works
vasker washes, cleans
skriver writes
venter waits, expects
når when
om about
in
en lærer a teacher
en amerikaner an American
en/ei mus a mouse
barna the children
jentene the girls
brevene the letters
-ene the (definite suffix), assorted words

THE CAFE[]

Getting Your Caffeine Fix[]

When ordering coffee at a cafe, you can simply say:

En kaffe, takk! A coffee, thanks!

Replace kaffe with espresso, americano, cappuccino or latte to get your coffee of choice. Loanword heaven!

Expressing Desire for Something[]

The verb for "want" is "vil" in Norwegian. When what you want is a noun, it needs to be accompanied by its friend "ha" ("have"). Where you in English could say either "I want [noun]" or "I want to have [noun]", it's always "Jeg vil ha [noun]".

Jeg vil ha et eple. I want (to have) an apple.

Later in the course, you'll come across "vil" followed by a verb in the infinitive, in which case you do not need to add "ha".

Jeg vil spise et eple. I want to eat an apple.

The Swiss Army Knife of Prepositions[]

In this skill, we reintroduce the preposition in a second meaning. has as many uses and translations as there are types of brunost in Norway, but the one you'll learn right now deals with physical location.

Describing Location[]

When used to describe location, can translate to on, at, and sometimes even in, depending on the context. When translating, your best bet is opting for the preposition that sounds the most natural in English.

Vi sitter på kaféen.

We are sitting at the cafe.

Hun sitter på stolen.

She is sitting on the chair.

Specifying Language[]

can also be used to specify what language something is said or written in. When used in this meaning, it translates to in in English.

Hva betyr det på engelsk?

What does that mean in English?

Hva heter det på norsk?

What is that (called) in Norwegian?

So, if you order your coffee på norsk, you're ordering it in Norwegian.

Vocabulary
vil wants
ha (to) have
står stands
bestiller orders
hvordan how
med with
on, at
utenfor outside (of)
mer more
en is an ice-cream
en te a tea
en kafé a cafe
en brus a soda, a pop, a fizzy drink
en drikk a drink, a beverage
et jordbær a strawberry
en sitron a lemon
en stol a chair
et bord a table
en kaffe a coffee
en lunsj a lunch
en kopp a cup
en/ei kake a cake

COUNTING[]

Welcome to Counting! Norwegian numbers are very easy for English speakers to learn in comparison to other languages. There is no tricky system or crazy multiplication weirdness. The numbers sound and work in a similar way as they do in English.

The most common word for seven is sju, but you may also hear the word syv used, which is decidedly less common. Be careful not to confuse it with the word tjue, which means twenty.

One and One More[]

So far, you've seen the articles en (masculine) ei (feminine) and et (neuter) used to to mean a or an. These also do double duty as numbers, translating to one.

If you want more of something countable, you can use the adverb til. You then combine it with a number: en til becomes one more or another, to til becomes two more, and so on.

When specifying exactly what you want, by adding a noun, the number goes before the noun, while til goes after, like so: en kopp til (one more cup).

Vocabulary (Tree 4)
til more
en one
to two
tre three
fire four
fem five
seks six
sju seven
åtte eight
ni nine
ti ten

CASUAL 1[]

Til & Fra[]

This skill introduces two new prepositions, "til" and "fra". Not to worry, though, as these both act predictably in this context, corresponding to "to" and "from" respectively. These work both for describing direction in a geographical sense, and in other contexts such as when giving a gift, talking to someone, or expressing where someone or something is from.

"Snakker du til meg?"

"Are you talking to me?"

"Vi flyr til Norge."

"We are flying to Norway."

"Jeg er fra England."

"I am from England."

"Han gir en gave til jenta."

"He gives a gift to the girl."

Vocabulary
tror thinks, believes
sier says
lytter listens
ringer calls, rings
kommer comes
betyr means, signifies
til to
fra from
now
snart soon, shortly
ofte often
aldri never
hallo hello
hvorfor why
hvordan går det how is it going, how are you
det går ... it is going..., I am...
en mamma a mom
en pappa a dad
en nabo a neighbor
en gjest a guest, a visitor

POSSESSIVES[]

Possessive Pronouns[]

Possessive pronouns change depending on the gender and number of the possessor and the possessed.

My[]

The Definite Form[]

Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural
faren min mora mi barnet mitt foreldrene mine
my father my mother my child my parents

The above form takes the definite form of the noun and places the possessive pronoun after it. This is the more common form in colloquial Norwegian, and the one you will encounter most often.

  • Faren min er fargeblind.
  • My father is colorblind.

Another form is as follows:

The Indefinite Form[]

Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural
min far mi mor mitt barn mine foreldre
my father my mother my child my parents

This form takes the possessive pronoun and places it before the indefinite form of the noun. This form is considered more formal and places special emphasis on the possessor.

  • Mitt barn er perfekt.
  • My child is perfect.

Your (Singular)[]

Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural
faren din mora di barnet ditt foreldrene dine
din far di mor ditt barn dine foreldre
your father your mother your child your parents
  • Hvem er foreldrene dine?
  • Who are your parents?

His[]

Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural
faren hans mora hans barnet hans foreldrene hans
hans far hans mor hans barn hans foreldre
his father his mother his child his parents
  • Hunden hans er vennlig.
  • His dog is friendly.

Her[]

Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural
faren hennes mora hennes barnet hennes foreldrene hennes
hennes far hennes mor hennes barn hennes foreldre
her father her mother her child her parents
  • Hva heter barnet hennes?
  • What is her child's name?

Our[]

Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural
faren vår mora vår barnet vårt foreldrene våre
vår far vår mor vårt barn våre foreldre
our father our mother our child our parents
  • Vi elsker døtrene våre.
  • We love our daughters.

Your (Plural)[]

Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural
faren deres mora deres barnet deres foreldrene deres
deres far deres mor deres barn deres foreldre
your (pl.) father your (pl.) mother your (pl.) child your (pl.) parents
  • Hvor kommer familien deres fra?
  • Where does your family come from?

Their[]

Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural
faren deres mora deres barnet deres foreldrene deres
deres far deres mor deres barn deres foreldre
their father their mother their child their parents

Datamaskinen deres fungerer ikke.

  • Their computer does not work.

Notice how deres can mean your (pl.) or their. You will be able to tell the difference through context.

Vocabulary (Tree 4)
eier owns
tilhører belongs
mi/min/mitt/mine my, mine
di/din/ditt/dine your, yours
vår/vårt/våre our, ours
hans his
hennes her, hers
deres their, theirs
et rom a room
et navn a name
en telefon a telephone

Location[]

To describe where something is, Norwegian often forgoes the verb to be in favor of to stand or to lie. Most often, upright objects with legs, such as beds, stand, while other objects, especially those on their side, tend to lie, just like in English.

Norwegian English
Sengen står på gulvet. The bed [stands/is] on the floor.
Hunden ligger på gulvet. The dog [lies/is] on the floor.

CLOTHING[]

This lesson introduces you to clothing as well as the Norwegian word seg. This word is the reflexive pronoun for all third-person nouns, himselfherselfthemselves, etc. It is used in many verbs. In fact, the reflexive is far more common in Norwegian than in English.

For clothing, one uses har på seg to describe what someone is wearing. It literally means, have on oneself and is the equivalent of the English, have on.

  • Hun har på seg en hatt.
  • She has on (herself) a hat.
  • She's wearing a hat.

That and Those[]

We learned early on how to describe definite nouns with the appropriate gender- and number-specific suffixes.

Gender Norwegian English
Masculine stolen the chair
Feminine boka the book
Neuter bordet the table
Plural husene the houses

In order to specify further with the word that or those, all we do is add one gender- and number-specific word to the mix.

That & Those[]

Gender Norwegian English
Masculine den stolen that chair
Feminine den boka that book
Neuter det bordet that table
Plural de husene those houses

DIRECTION AND MOTION[]

In Norwegian, adverbs of place that describe where something is change when they become adverbs of motion and describe where something moves. Below are some examples:

Existence Translation Motion Translation
er hjemme is at home går hjem goes home
er inne is inside går inn goes in
er ute is outside går ut goes out
er oppe is up går opp goes up
er nede is down below går ned goes down

Be careful to use the proper adverb for each situation. For most of the words above, the endings fall off when in motion. Think of them like a pocket book on top of a car. The car moves, so the pocket book falls off.

Existence Translation Motion Translation
er her is here går hit goes here
er der is there går dit goes there

The words hit and dit are related to the antiquated English words hither and thither, which used to describe here and there in motion. English no longer uses this construct, but Norwegian still does.

PREPOSITIONS[]

As in English, all prepositions in Norwegian stand before the noun. Below is a reference sheet for the prepositions introduced in this chapter.

Norwegian English Notes
til of Used with possession.
av of, off Used with fractions or two-part verbs.
for for, to Often does not translate directly.
med with Pronounced like meh but in a neutral tone.
uten without
unntatt except Literally, "taken out."
i stedet for instead of
ved hjelp av using
for ... skyld for ...'s sake
overfor opposite

Adjectives[]

Norwegian adjectives change for gender, number, indefinite and definite forms. Let's take a look at adjectives join to nouns by the phrase to be, starting with the adjective stor, which means big or great.

THE INDEFINITE FORM[]

Gender Norwegian English
Masculine En stol er stor. A chair is big.
Feminine Ei bok er stor. A book is big.

So far, so good. There is no change to the adjective in either masculine or feminine form.

Gender Norwegian English Neuter Et bord er stort. A table is big.
Plural Hus er store. Houses are big.

As you can see above, the neuter noun changes the spelling of stor to include a -tending, and the plural noun changes stor to include an -e ending. This pattern applies to most adjectives in the indefinite form, as shown below.

Gender Norwegian English Masculine en stor stol a big chair
Feminine ei stor bok a big book
Neuter et stort bord a big table
Plural store hus big houses

Many adjectives ending in -ig or -sk, like viktig and norsk, do not sound pleasant with a -t ending. This is why we do not add a -t to these specific adjectives in the neuter form.

Norwegian English et viktig brev an important letter
et norsk hus a Norwegian house

We do still add the -e ending in the plural form, however!

Norwegian English viktige brev important letters
norske hus Norwegian houses

THE DEFINITE FORM[]

The simple thing about adjectives in the definite form is that the endings are almost all the same.

Most adjectives in the definite form end in -e.

In addition to the noun transitioning into the definite form, we place an additional word before the adjective in the definite form. This word changes depending on gender and number, as you see below.

Gender Norwegian English Masculine den store stolen the big chair
Feminine den store boka the big book
Neuter det store bordet the big table
Plural de store husene the big houses

Missing Endings in Old and Famous Names[]

As students of Danish may be aware, the postfixes after the nouns above are absent in Danish, and as a legacy of Danish colonialism, some Norwegian phrases lack the noun endings shown in the table above. These words are generally famous titles or institutions, such as The White House or The French Academy. See how they operate below.

Norwegian English Det franske akademi The French Academy
Det hvite hus The White House

Note that det hvite huset can also mean the white house, just not the one the US President lives inside.

COMBINING POSSESSIVE PRONOUNS WITH ADJECTIVES[]

There are two ways to combine possessive pronouns with adjectives. The possessive pronoun can either follow the noun in the definite form or precede the adjective. Let's take a look at how this works.

Gender Norwegian English Masculine den store stolen min my big chair
Feminine den store boka mi my big book
Neuter det store bordet mitt my big table
Plural de store husene mine my big houses
Gender Norwegian English Masculine min store stol my big chair
Feminine mi store bok my big book
Neuter mitt store bord my big table
Plural mine store hus my big houses

In the second set of examples, notice how the adjective endings are all -e, just like in the definite form, but the nouns have no endings, just like in the indefinite form. In a sense, this second method of combining possessive pronouns and adjectives is a blending of grammar rules.

LITEN[]

The adjective liten meaning little or small is the most highly irregular adjective in the Norwegian language. Take a look at how it declines. Commit this table to memory, because as in English, the word small is used a lot.

Gender Norwegian English Masculine en liten stol a small chair
den lille stolen the small chair
Feminine ei lita bok a small book
den lille boka the small book
Neuter et lite bord a small table
det lille bordet the small table
Plural små hus small houses
de små husene the small houses

Pay special attention to context, and in time, these adjective endings become second nature.

Colors as adjectives[]

Below is a reference chart for all of the most basic Norwegian colors.

Norwegian English hvit white
grå gray
svart black
brun brown
rød red
rosa pink
oransje orange
gul yellow
grønn green
blå blue
lilla purple

Most colors change their endings for gender and number, like most other adjectives in Norwegian.

Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural en brun stol ei brun bok et brunt bord brune hus
en gul stol ei gul bok et gult bord gule hus
en grønn stol ei grønn bok et grønt bord grønne hus

Certain colors are irregular, however, in certain situations.

The words hvit, grå and blå have an extra -t in their neuter forms, and grå and blå also have the option of omitting the plural ending.

Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural en hvit stol ei hvit bok et hvitt bord hvite hus
en grå stol ei grå bok et grått bord grå(e) hus
en blå stol ei blå bok et blått bord blå(e) hus

Unlike most adjectives, the words rosa, oransje, and lilla never change for gender or number. They always remain the same.

Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural en rosa stol ei rosa bok et rosa bord rosa hus
en oransje stol ei oransje bok et oransje bord oransje hus
en lilla stol ei lilla bok et lilla bord lilla hus

Colors as nouns[]

Colors can also be nouns. In that case they look a lot like the neuter form of the adjective:

Norwegian English hvitt white
grått gray
svart black
brunt brown
rødt red
rosa pink
oransje orange
gult yellow
grønt green
blått blue
lilla purple

FAMILY[]

Welcome to the family skill! Family words are some of the most common in Norwegian, but also some of the most irregular. Pay attention to how the following words pluralize.

English Indef. Sing. Def. Sing. Indef. Plur. Def. Plur. father far faren fedre fedrene
mother mor moren mødre mødrene
brother bror broren brødre brødrene
sister søster søsteren søstre søstrene

In Norwegian, each grandparent has a unique name that's very intuitive.

Norwegian English mormor mother's mother
morfar mother's father
farmor father's mother
farfar father's father

Bestemor is the generic term for grandmother.

Bestefar is in turn the generic term for grandfather.

TIME[]

In order to ask what time it is, you may ask,

Hva er klokka?

or literally, What is the clock?

The response will be something like,

Klokka er to.

which means the clock is two, or in other words,

It's two o'clock.

Several Norwegian expressions of time use the preposition i in combination with a noun. These must be learned independently and treated as completely separate from the nouns they're used with. For example:

Norwegian English i dag today
i kveld tonight
i morgen tomorrow
i morgen tidlig tomorrow morning
i går yesterday
i år this year
i fjor last year

Dates[]

Below are the days of the week. The reason they're so similar to English is because English gets most of the words for the days of the week from the names of Norse gods. Keep in mind that the days of the week, unlike English, are only capitalized at the beginning of the sentence. The g at the end of these words may or may not be pronounced.

Norwegian English mandag Monday
tirsdag Tuesday
onsdag Wednesday
torsdag Thursday
fredag Friday
lørdag Saturday
søndag Sunday

These are the months of the year, also normally in lower-case. Keep in mind the RS sound in mars makes it sound like marsh. This RS letter combination creates an SH sound in the Norwegian language.

Norwegian English januar January
februar February
mars March
april April
mai May
juni June
juli July
august August
september September
oktober October
november November
desember December

Work[]

Unlike in English, Norwegian usually drops the indefinite article when describing someone's profession.

Norwegian English Jeg er student. I am a student.
Hun er lege. She is a doctor.
Han er forfatter. He is a writer.

Be mindful that constructions such as jeg er en student are also grammatical, but they are far less common.

INFINITIVES[]

To infinitives, and beyond!

Most infinitive verbs in Norwegian end in the stem -e. There are many, many exceptions, however. A few modal constructions exist that link to infinitive verbs directly, such as kanand vil.

Norwegian English Jeg kan spise. I can eat.
Hun vil finne katten. She wants to find the cat.

Many infinitives link with other parts of the sentence with the word å, which translates to to, as in, å se or to see. This applies to all situations where an infinitive is present without a modal verb.

Norwegian English Det er viktig å lese. It is important to read.
Han liker å lage mat. He likes to cook.

You may have noticed that in the final sentence above, the verb å lage mat could have easily translated to cooking, and you would be correct. Sometimes an infinitive beginning with an å can act like a gerund, which is nerd for a noun ending in -ing.

QUESTIONS[]

Yes-No Questions[]

All yes-no questions in Norwegian can be asked by simply switching the subject and the verb, much like with the English verb to be.

Norwegian English Du har en hund. You have a dog.
Har du en hund? Do you have a dog?
Ja, det har jeg. Yes, I do.
Nei, det har jeg ikke. No, I do not.

As shown above, you can answer such a such a question either in the affirmative ja or the negative nei. Often the verb from the question, here har, is repeated in the reply.

Jo exists as a way to negate an assertion implied in a negative question, as if to say, on the contrary.

Norwegian English Har du ikke en bror? Do you not have a brother?
Jo, det har jeg. Yes, as a matter of fact I do.

Question Words[]

Below are words that begin questions as they do in English:

Norwegian English Hva? What?
Hva slags? What kind?
Hvem? Who?
Hvor? Where?
Hvorfor? Why?
Når? When?
Hvordan? How?
Hvor mye? How much?
Hvor mange? How many?

Just like in English, these question words send the subject to the other side of the verb.

Norwegian English Hva er det? What is it?
Hvem er du? Who are you?

Keep in mind some constructions cannot be translated word-for-word.

Norwegian English Hvor leser de? Where are they reading?
Hvorfor spiser du det? Why are you eating that?

WHICH[]

The word which is used somewhat more often in Norwegian than it is in English. If the word which can be used in English, always use a form of hvilken for the Norwegian translation.

Norwegian English Hvilken bok leser du? What book are you reading?

Below are all the forms of hvilken, meaning which (and sometimes what, as shown above).

Language Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural Norwegian hvilken stol? hvilken bok? hvilket bord? hvilke hus?
English which chair? which book? which table? which houses?

By now, you should be getting a feel for the patterns that dominate Norwegian grammar in reference to gender and number.

CONJUNCTIONS[]

Below is a short list of some of the most common conjunctions in the Norwegian language.

Norwegian English og and
men but
eller or
at that
fordi because
om whether, if (binary plausibility)
hvis if (cause and effect)

Norwegian conjunctions act very similarly to English ones, with a couple of special rules.

Ikke[]

Keep in mind that in dependent clauses, the negation ikke gets pulled to a position in-between the subject and the main verb. This occurs with several other constructions as well. This is one weird quirk with Norwegian grammar, but it will sound natural after a while.

Norwegian English Hun er ikke her. She is not here.
Jeg vet at hun ikke er her. I know that she is not here.

Isn't that interesting?

V-2 Word Order[]

The V-2 Rule is a linguistic law that applies to all Germanic languages... except English. You can see a rare instance of it in English in the expression here comes the bus. This rule states that all sentences that are statements, in other words not questions, must have a verb in the second position. This allows for some flexibility in the word order for emphasis. What it essentially means is that Norwegian verbs refuse to move from the second position in statements.

The V-2 Rule applies to dependent clauses that begin sentences. In this specific situation, the whole dependent clause is treated as being in the first position, so the verb in the independent clause comes immediately after it, in the second position, followed by the subject in the independent clause.

Norwegian English Du (1) må (2) støtte meg. You must support me.
Hvis du vil hjelpe meg (1) , må (2) du støtte meg. If you want to help me, you must support me.

This may sound jarring, but this rule of inversion becomes easy enough after some exposure.

Norwegian English Jeg (1) snakker (2) ikke norsk. I do not speak Norwegian.
Selv om jeg er nordmann (1) , snakker(2) jeg ikke norsk. Even though I am Norwegian, I do not speak Norwegian.

If you think this word order is weird, try German.

Adverbs[]

In Norwegian, adverbs usually follow the verb.

Norwegian English Du snakker godt norsk! You speak Norwegian well!

One exception is that adverbs of time often appear at the end of the sentence or clause.

Norwegian English Jeg har tid nå. I have time now.

Another exception is related to the V-2 Rule in Germanic linguistics, which applies to all Germanic languages... besides English. You can see a rare instance of it in English in the expression here comes the bus. This rule states that all sentences that are statements, in other words not questions, must have a verb in the second position. This allows for some flexibility in the word order for emphasis, but don't get crazy.

Norwegian English Jeg har tid nå. I have time now.
Jeg har nå tid. I now have time.
Nå har jeg tid. Now I have time.

The final example is a demonstration of the V-2 Rule. When the adverb moved to the front of the statement, the subject moved to the other side of the verb har. This is because Norwegian verbs refuse to move from the second position in statements.

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