Dec 7, 2010

Some Basics

I’m not really sure what is considered basics of languages so I think the best thing to start with is probably all the common phrases, introductions and things like that. I’ll try make this come up as a little table sort of thing, with the word in Norsk, the word in English, and then the pronunciation. For most of these the pronunciation is pretty obvious, but i’ll put it there anyway just to get into the habit of it, when we move on to more complicated norwegian words. Some explanations of the pronunciation might be a bit strange, mainly because I can’t think of a better way to explain it. It works in my head. 

  • (Norsk – English – Pronunciation) 
  • Ja – Yes – (Yah)
  • Nei – No – (Like the beginning of “night” just don’t say the ‘t’)
  • Kanskje - Maybe – (Kan-sheh, almost like saying ‘can she’*)
  • Hallo – Hello – (Hallu)
  • Ha det/Har det bra – Bye/Good bye (Ha deh/Har deh bra, this literally means ‘have it good’)
  • Hvordan har du det? – How are you? - (Vordan har doo deh, How have you it?)
  • Hvor bor du? – Where do you live? – (Vor bor du, Where live you?)
  • Hva heter du? – What is your name? – (Va heter du, what names you?)
  • Hvor gammel er du? – How old are you? – (Vor gamehl ar doo?)
*I’ll do a post in a few days if I get time, about the ‘sk’ and ‘skj’ sounds. 

A few side notes – for words like hvor and hva, I’ve written the pronunciation as basically ignoring the ‘h’ sound, that’s because it’s so soft it’s practically not there in my opinion, but the 'v' is softer. It’s hard to explain, you will have to hear it most likely. Another note is the ‘r’ in Norwegian words, like har det bra. The ‘r’ is rolled especially in the middle of words, and in some cases it’s pronunciation is very important, and can make the difference between saying two different words. 

To avoid confusion, Ha and Har both mean ‘have’ in this case, the r is just usually dropped for the shorter ‘ha det’.  To add confusion, ‘Har’ and ‘Her’ both have almost the same pronunciation in Norwegian, but one means have and the other means here (remember ‘e’ in Norwegian is normally pronounced like an English ‘a’).

Since some of the phrases I used are questions, I’m now going to go through and answer them with a simple answer...

Hvordan har du det? – Jeg ha det bra (I have it good)*****
Hvor bor du? – Jeg bor i Norge (I live in Norway, do not confuse ‘bor’ with ‘born’ as I usually do)
Hva heter du? – Jeg heter Olaf Haraldsson (My name is...)
Hvor gammel er du? – Jeg er 18 år (I am 18 years)

That pretty much raps it up for today. In a few days hopefully i’ll have time to do one for pronunciation of ‘skj’ etc, and in a week i’ll do one for Christmas in Norway.
In other news, Norwegian women are apparently some of the most beautiful in the world.
If you're wondering about the outfit, I'll explain it later

Just another reason to live there!

*****An anonymous poster below mentioned that you can't say "Jeg ha det bra" I said above in this post how important the 'r' pronunciation can be, if you read the two comments you'll probably understand what I'm saying a bit more, in a way, jeg har det bra is saying "i'm fine" (still literally I have it good) and I suppose Jeg ha det bra would be like saying "I'm having a good time." But I don't think anyone actually says that. If you read the anonymous comment he/she also showed an example of the difference in past/present/definite/infinite kind of, which is actually a good idea which I'm now going to steal for later use.


  1. That last picture just gave me the motivation to follow your blog and learn about norwegian culture!

  2. @ Mr Bouchard

    That's usually the case lol
    Plenty more as I post, of course.

  3. This is really interesting. Keep it up!

  4. You can't say 'Jeg ha det bra'.

    This is how you inflect the verb:
    Å ha - har - hadde - har hatt

    It might be a bit confusing since inflecting verbs in english is quite special.

  5. @ Anonymous above
    my mistake
    as in
    to have - have - had - have had (past tense)

    when I wrote it I probably made a mistake. I'll fix it up now lol.

    I guess that just shows that the pronunciation of the r can be the difference between saying two things.