Scandinavian language challenge day 6

Today I worked through the first chapter of Norwegian in three months. This chapter introduces:

  • articles and nouns
  • plurals of nouns
  • subject pronouns
  • the verbs to be and to have
  • everyday expressions
  • other words

Articles and nouns

There are two genders: common and neuter, though sometimes common gender is split into masculine and feminine colloquially (and especially in Nynorsk).

The indefinite article is en (common) or et (neuter, Swedish ett), placed before the noun.

en koffert
en lommebok1
et pass

a suitcase
a wallet
a passport

1 lommebok is a feminine noun. Colloquially sometimes (and in Nynorsk always), ei is used instead of en for feminine nouns. Ei lommebok


The definite article is the same en or et, but suffixed to the end of the noun.

kofferten
lommeboken2
passet

the suitcase
the wallet
the passport

2 Colloquially sometimes (and in Nynorsk always), -a is used instead of -en for feminine nouns: lommeboka.
For some feminine nouns, the ending is almost always -a. Examples: bygd >byggda (the rural district); hytte > hytta (the hut); jente / jenta (the girl); geit > geita (the goat); ku >kua (the cow).


If the noun ends in an unstressed -e, the definite article suffix is only -n (common) or -t (neuter). (gate >gaten + the street). But if the noun ends in a stressed e, the full -en or -et is added. (example: et kne > kneet, a knee > the knee).

The indefinite article is not used in statements like:

  • Han er rørlegger (He is a plumber)
  • De har ikke telefon (they don’t have a phone)
  • Han arbeider på fabrikk (he works in a factory)

Plurals of nouns

Nouns form the plural as follows:

  1. Common gender nouns add -er
  2. Neuter nouns of one syllable usually remain unchanged (example: hus > hus: house > houses)
  3. polysyllabic neuter nouns add -er, but can remain unchanged.
  4. Nouns of both genders ending in stressed -e add only -r (example: kvinne > kvinner (women)), but those ending in stressed -e add the full -er (example: en bre > breer (glaciers)).
  5. Some nouns change the vowel in the stem (examples: tann > tenner (teeth); natt > netter (nights); bok > bøker (books); bonde > bønder (farmers); ku > kyr or kuer (cows); hånd > hender (hands)) (These changes are an example of the vowel changes known as Ablaut, which were widespread in Indo-European and especially in the Germanic languages.)
  6. some nouns change their stem vowel and also have other irregularities (far > fedre (fathers); mor > mødre (mothers); datter > døtre (daughters); tre >træer (trees); mann > menn (man).

The definite article for plural nouns is the suffix -ene added to the singular form (example: stol > stolene (the chairs)). For polysyllabic neuter nouns, only -ne is added (examples: skolene (the schools) kvinnene (the women), eplene (the apples). Sometimes in colloquial Norwegian (and always in Nynorsk) -a instead of -ene is added to neuter nouns.

Subject pronouns

The subject pronouns in the singular are: jeg (I, Swedish jag), du (you, familiar), Du (you, polite, Swedish Ni), han (he), hen (she, Swedish hon), den (it, common gender), det (neuter gender).

The subject pronouns in the plural are: vi (we), dere (you, familiar, Danish I; Swedish ni), Dere (you polite: Swedish ni; Danish De), de (they).

The verbs to be and to have

The infinitive of the verb to be is å vara (Danish is at være; Swedish att vara) and its present tense is er (Swedish är ; Danish er).

The infinitive of the verb to have is å ha (Danish at have, Swedish att ha) and its present tense is har (same in Danish and Swedish).

For all Norwegian (and Danish and Swedish) verbs, the same form is used for all persons (1st, 2nd and 3rd) in both singular and plural.

Everyday expressions

Hva heter du (De)?
Nei
Ja, det har jeg
Ja, det er de.
Hvordan kommer jag?
Unnskyld meg
Til venstre
Rett frem
Tror De?
Mange takk
Jeg skal til
Gjøre noen innkjøp
Jeg gikk meg vill
Jeg har det travelt
Om en halv time
Ikke så langt
På vei(en)
Forresten

What are you called?
No
Yes, I have
Yes, they are
How do I get?
Excuse me
On your left
Straight on
Do you think?
Many thanks
I’m on my way to
Do some shopping
I got lost
I’m in a hurry
In half an hour
Not that far
On the way
By the way

Other words in this chapter

Nouns (like English or German): en stol (chair); en dør (door); et lys (light); et egg (egg); et vindu (window); et fotografi (photo); en skole (school); et teppe (carpet); et eple (apple); en by (town); en trapp (staircase); et fjæll (mountain); en vei (road); en lampe (lamp); en butikk (the shop); et år (the year); en billett (ticket); tog (train)

Nouns (other): en seng (bed); en vegg (wall); et bord (table); en samtale (conversation); et spørsmal (question); et svar (answer); en bil (car); et gulv (floor); et tak (ceiling); en venn (friend); en kone (wife); en jernbanestasjon (railway station); et torg (square)

Prepositions: i (in); til (to)

Adjectives (like English or German): amerikansk; den første (the first); virkelig (really)

Adjectives (other): noen (any)

Verbs: a gå over (to go over); å ta (to take); å krysse (to cross); å huske (to remember); å følge (to go with); å ønske (to wish)

Other: og (and); hva (what); hvor (where); navnet (the name); bare (only); så (then); ned (down); like (just); foran (in front of); ja da (oh yes); hvis (if); men (but)

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