Jan 29, 2011

Simple. Useful sentences

As always it's been a while, I'm pretty slack with posting.

This post will be giving some examples of questions that would be useful in Norway (mostly from a tourist point of view, rather than actually making conversation)

Below are 2 choices, A or B, one is where is, and one is How do I get to; the numbers following are words you can then fit in to both of these to complete the sentence. 

A. Where is...? - Hvor er...? (Vor ahr)

B. How do I get to...? Hvordan kommer jeg til...? (Vawr-dahn kohm-er yai till)

1. the toilet? - toalettet? (Too-ah-let-et)
2. a bus station? - en busstasjon? (ehn boos-stah-shawn)
3. the bus station? - busstasjonen?
4. a train station? - en togstasjon? (ehn tawg-stash-ohn)
5. the train station? - togstasjonen?
6. an airport?* - en flyplass? (ehn flea-plass)
7. the airport? - flyplassen?
8. a cafe? - en kafé? (pronounced the same as cafe in English) 
9. the hospital? - sykehuset? (suhk-eh-hoos-et)
10. this hotel? - dette hotellet** (deh-teh hoh-tell-et)

Karl Johans Gate is a busy street (Gate = street) in Oslo;
the university, parliament and royal palace are nearby.
"Hvordan kommer jeg til Karl Johans Gate?"
*since most places in Norway are only going to have one airport, you probably wouldn't say this very often, I included it mainly to show how 'en' remains the same whether it is 'an' or 'a' in English.
**regarding different dialects, I have also heard 'dette hotel' however in most cases we hope you know the name of your hotel, and can instead say "Hvor er [name of the hotel]?"

Other useful phrases:
Help! - Hjelpe! (yel-peh!)
Can you help me? - Kan du hjelpe meg? (Can doo yel-peh mai?)
I don't speak Norwegian - Jeg snakker ikke Norsk (Yai snak-er ik-keh Nor-shk)
I am from... - Jeg er fra... (Yai ar fra...)

When given directions:
Right - Høyre (Hoigh-rah)
Left - Venstre (Ven-strah)
Straight ahead - Rett fram
U-turn - U-sving (ooh-sving)

These sort of simple phrases are both good for the vocabulary, but also useful for tourists if something goes wrong, you can ask for help, ask for a hospital, or tell someone you aren't local and find someone who speaks English well (which won't be difficult). When traveling and asking for directions, it helps if you know the locations of some famous or popular building. In oslo, buildings like the National Theatre, Opera House, Royal Palace, University and Parliament House are all fairly well known and popular buildings. Unfortunately for getting directions, most of these except the Opera House are along Karl Johans Gate.

Stortinget, the Norwegian Parliament building.

Anyway, more next time (who knows when that might be)
Ha det!

Jan 19, 2011

Houses in Norway

It's probably the houses you see around Norway that often remind you you're in a different country.

Since Norway usually has a very cold temperature, houses must be built to certain "guidelines" in many places, so that they can handle the temperature changes, the snow, the rain and so on.

Usually, housing in Norway is considered a little expensive (That linked house is about 2.1 million kroner, 360k USD, which here isn't so bad, but some countries are a lot cheaper), and the high quality of building is the reason why. Houses almost everywhere must have double glazed windows and insulation as a bare minimum, otherwise the occupants would freeze in the winter!

One thing you will definitely notice in Norway is the lack of brick and stone buildings. They exist, but there isn't very many in most places. This is because the change in temperature from below freezing to more 'average' temperatures (anywhere from 10-30 degrees Celsius is common) results in the expansion and contraction of most stone, especially if it is wet from rain, thus the stone cracks and breaks apart, not lasting very long. In a way, this is a similar concept to how some parts of the Fjords formed.

Many houses are A-framed and have small windows, which were usually the ones made a little while ago. There are many modern houses in Norway with large double glazed windows (to keep the heat inside) and a more square frame and rooftop, like the one to the side. Houses are also commonly brightly painted, in White, Red, Yellow or Black (Hvit, Rødt, Gul eller Svart) though other colors are also seen.

Some of the black houses are actually painted in tar.

From a long time ago, houses were fairly simple, but got the job done. The grass is on the roof as a type of natural insulation, which was very common during Viking times.

Nowadays, like most countries you can find a mix of old and new, and here is a new Norwegian building, very modern, in it's design and shape, lots of large glass windows, but the common material is still there - wood.

One of my favorite buildings however,
is the Stal Tre Hus (Steel tree house)

On another quick note, the image of the first black house above is taken by another blogger here on blogspot. He has lots of photos up from around Stavanger in Norway, so if you like to see photos of Norway and Stavanger (a very pretty town, too) you might be interested in following his blog.

Jan 14, 2011

Sentence Forming Words

Generally, when you want to say you've been learning Norwegian, or you've started, you don't want to spout out a bunch of random Norwegian words, you'll probably want to form sentences. This is also, obviously, important groundwork for the rest of the language.

So, following will be some words that pretty much every sentence will have at least one of. Some of them, you may recognize from previous posts, but it's always good to see words again.

I - Jeg (Ja-ee)
Him - Han (Hahn)
Her - Hun (Hoohn)
Are - Er (Are)
Is - Er (Are)
Am - Er (Are)
Was - Var (Vahr)
Has/Have - Har (Hahr)
Had - Hadde (Hahd-deh)
A/One - En (Exactly the same way you pronounce the letter N)
You - Du (Doo)
You - Deg or Dere (Die/Deeh or Derah)*
At - På (Poh)
On - På (Poh)
Who - Hvem or Som (Vem or Sohm)*
What - Hva (Vah)
When - Når (Nor)
Where - Hvor (Hvor)
Why - Hvorfor (Vorfor)
How - Hvordan (Vordan)
The - en (Same as En above)*

These words are generally used in sentences, I'll give some examples soon, but first I need to clear up some things. has many different meaning, these depend on context. It is also not the only word for "in".

As for the stars at the words for "the" and "you" this is because you use du in certain situations, deg when referring directly to the person, and dere when referring to multiple people (I suppose the English equivalent would be 'all of you'?. The other thing is the word en. At the beginning of a word, it is singular, for example 'en hund' means "a dog" however, at the end of a word it becomes definite, in other words, it means the. Thus you get 'hunden' which means "the dog". There are other rules to this of course, especially for feminine, masculine and neuter words, but I will cover those later on, this is the basic idea. For the word who, it also changes from som to vem depending on use (sometimes even dialect). For now we will just use "vem".

Lets see some examples:

Hvor kommer du fra? - Where comes you from? (Where do you come from)
Har dere hunder? - Have you dogs? (Speaking to two people, or a group)
Hvor ar hunden? - Where is the dog?
Når er du her?  - When are you here? (Maybe asking someone when they will be in your town)

Brace yourself, this is a longer sentence;

Hyggelig å hilser på deg! - Nice to greet (on) you! (Basically, good to see you)

I hope these few example sentences have sort of explained a few uses of the words for 'you' among other words. I know there are some words in these sentences that aren't covered in my posts yet that I haven't put any pronunciation for, but they will probably get covered in the future.

To finish, some inspiration to learn more:
Voe, a fairly popular blogger from Norway
Until next time, ha det!

Jan 2, 2011

Months, Days, Weeks

Since it's a new year now I guess a good way to start off is with the Norwegian words for the months and days of the week. 

Both of these are pretty simple, since the words are fairly similar to English, and if you remember a little about Norse mythology there is also a connection between the naming of the days and the Norse Gods.

Weekdays - Ukedager (Ookeh-dagger, Singular Ukedag/weekday en ukedag/a weekday)
Monday - Mandag - Derived from the Old Norse Máni
Tuesday - Tirsdag - Derived from Tyr
Wednesday - Onsdag - Derived from Odin
Thursday - Torsdag - From Thor
Friday - Fredag - From the Goddess Frigg
Saturday - Lørdag - Not derived from a God, this one comes from the Old Norse word for 'day of washing'
Sunday - Søndag - Like Mandag, Søndag is derived from the word for Sun, thus, "day of the sun" 

Hopefully everyone at least has an idea of who Thor and Odin where, the others are probably a bit less well known, but the links are there if you want to read up a little more on your Norse Paganism. Next is the months of the year:

Months - Måneder (Moh-neh-der)
January - januar (Jan-you-are)
February - februar (Feb-roo-are)
March - mars (Marsh)
April - april (Aypril)
May - mai (Mai)
June - juni (Youni)
July - juli (Yuli)
August - august (August)
September - september (September)
October - oktober (Oktober)
November - november (November)
December - desember (December)

As you might have noticed, none of the Norwegian month names have capital letters. Unlike in English, these are not capitalized unless it's at the start of a sentence. But as you will have also noticed, the English words for most of the days of the week, and months, are practically the same as English, so it's very easy to learn. 

So, good luck.
No pictures of women today, instead, Jormungand.
In Norse Myth, the child of Loki and a giant.
He was so large he could wrap around the world and bite his own tail
this is where the Ouroboros concept likely arises.