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The Norwegian Language

Main differences between Norwegian and English

It is not too difficult to learn Norwegian if you know English very well.
There are a few differences, where nouns (and overview below) and adjectives have to be conjugated.
The basic structues are, however, much the same, making it much easier to learn.

That being said, there are some main difficulties. There are some false friends (e.g. et barn = a child), but they don't cause too many problems.
More problematic are ideomatic expressions and words that are used over many contexts in English, but with more than one word in Norwegian.
An example is:
"He spent a lot of time" = "Han brukte mye tid"
"He was there one time" = "Han var der en gang"

As you see - the English word "time" changes the Norwegian equivalent.

I therefore strongly advice that when you do start to learn Norwegian that you will use a book to follow ways of expressing yourself in Norwegian.

Below are just an overview - but look at the book section to find proper material.

Norwegian nouns - an overview

Ubestemt Entall

Bestemt Entall

Ubestemt Flertall

Bestemt Flertall

En bil (A Car)

Bilen (The Car)

Biler (Cars)

Bilene (The Cars)

En kopp




Ei dør




Ei dame




Et bilde




Et Kamera




Et Glass


Glass      NB!!


Et Hus


Hus         NB!!


1) In "Ubestemt entall" (in English: a car, an hour etc.) the articles are "En" for Hankjønn; "Ei" for Hunkjønn; "Et" for intetkjønn.
2) In "Bestemt entall" (in English: the car, the hour etc.) the nouns end in "-en" for Hankjønn; "-a" for Hunkjønn; "-et" for intetkjønn.
3) In "Ubestemt flertall" (in English: cars, hours etc.) the nouns end in "-er".
NB exception: words in Intetkjønn with one syllable don't get ending (e.g. glass, hus, fly).
4) In "Bestemt flertall" (in English: the cars, the hours etc.) the nouns end in "-ene"

For adjectives the standard pattern is:
En pen bil (a pretty car) - Male
Ei pen dør (a pretty door) - Female
Et pent hus (a pretty house) - Neutral
Pene biler (pretty cars) - Plural

Not all adjectives get -t in neutral and -e in plural. E.g. adjectives ending in -lig (e.g. vanlig) don't get "t" in neutral.

Basic Norwegian Verbs - Infinite and Present tense

The infinite version of verbs is expressed in the format: "å + infinite version of the verb".

The "infinite version of the verb" very often ends with a vowel with "e" being the most common.

Å Spise (to eat)
Å Være (to be) - Irregular
Å Lyve (to lie)

If you are about to learn Norwegian grammar, the good news is that the rules are much easier than in English.
The verb doesn´t change whether do one doing the action is singular, plural, first person, second person or third person.

Regular - Present Tense
If you know the infinite version on the verb and it ends with an "e", the present tense is made by adding an "r".
The verb doesn't change based on who is doing the action - Easy.

Å Spise - To eat
Jeg spiser - I eat
Du spiser - You eat
Han spiser - He eats
Vi spiser - We eat
Dere spiser - You eat
De spiser - They eat

Irregular - To Be
There are in Norwegian, as in most languages, numerous irregular verbs. In this simple guide only the most common one will be mentioned - Å Være.
As in English this verb is used both permanent and temporary state. Jeg er Amerikaner, Jeg er hjemme (I´m american/I´m at home)

Å Være - To be
Jeg er - I am
Du er - You are
Han er -He is
Vi er - We are
Dere er -You are
De er - They are

Use of infinite tense
Similar to English there are many uses of the infinite version of the Verb.
Most commonly after verbs: Jeg skal hente ham (I will fetch him).
Same as with English - when using combination of two verbs, the second is in the infinitive form.
After modal-verbs (kan, skal, vil, må, bør) the infinitive form is without the article "å". After other verbs the article is included.

1. I should eat more chocolate - Jeg bør spise mer sjokolade
2. I want to eat more chocolate - Jeg ønsker å spise mer sjokolade

Common Norwegian Verbs - including with past tense

Norwegian language resources

Norwegian to Norwegian dictionary - This is the "official" dictionary from University of Oslo and Sprakradet.
This dictionary is well worth checking out as it also provides info on conjugation.
Google Translate - In my opinion the best English to Norwegian dictionary.

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