Strong verbs are not random

Posted on 27. Aug, 2015 by in Grammar

(Image modified from free original at OpenClipart.)

(Image modified from free original at OpenClipart.)

It’s time to take a look at grammatikk (grammar) again. (I bet you’ve savnet – missed – it!) If you … a certain kind of very active words, you can hardly … a sentence. In other words: Verbs are a necessary evil! :-]

Kari spiser is. Ola spiste is. Barna har spist is. (Kari eats ice-cream. Ola ate… The kids have eaten…)

As you know, ordinary – or ”weak” – verbs are piece of cake in Norwegian. You have a root (like spis-), you add an ending (-te or -et in the past tense), and voila! The real problem comes with the ”strong” verbs, since they’re irregular and you have to learn them by heart. It’s a little bit like learning to count.

If you’re the kind of learner that loves systems and little tables, however, I’ve got some good news for you: There’s a method in the madness!

For example, if you know the inflection (the different forms) of å gå to go, you can also inflect å få to receive:

å gå – går – gikk – har gått

å få – får – fikk – har fått


However, here comes to stand: å stå – står – stod – har stått. So, unfortunately, nothing is clear-cut in the strong verbs’ gym! But at least there are some patterns to save you from the worst sweat! ’:-)


Have you noticed all the verbs that are inflected like å bite to bite?

å bite – biter – beit (or bet) – har bitt

å bli to become – blirblei (or ble) – har blitt

å skrive to writeskriver – skreiv (or skrev) – har skrevet

å skrike to screamskrikerskreik (or skrek) – har skreket


Then there’s also a huge bunch of verbs echoing å drikke to drink:

å drikke – drikker – drakk – har drukket

å finne to find – finner – fant – har funnet 

å binde to bindbinder – bandt – har bundet

å vinne to winvinner – vant – har vunnet

å hjelpe to helphjelper – hjalp – har hjulpet


Feel free to explore further patterns in your own list of wicked verbs!

Party Chitchat

Posted on 19. Aug, 2015 by in Conversation, Leisure

(Free image from OpenClipart.)

(Free image from OpenClipart.)

You’re at a fest (party) with Norwegians. You’re a nybegynner [NEEbeyinner] (beginner, ’new beginner’). Your ability to stitch together phrases is so-so. Men du VIL snakke norsk! (But you WANT to speak Norwegian!) Below are a few made-up examples of party småsnakk (smalltalk). To some people it’s a very superficial way of talking, I know. You have to start somewhere, though, before you can discuss philosophy and rocket-science!

Berit: Hei, jeg heter Berit! (Hi, my name is Berit!)
Tom: Hei, jeg heter Tom. Dette er kjæresten min, Susan. (Hi, my name is Tom. This is my girlfriend, Susan)
Berit: Hei, Susan! (Hi, Susan!)
Susan: Hei! Hyggelig å hilse på deg. (Hi! Nice to meet you/say hello to you.)

Tom: Susan og jeg holder på å lære norsk. (Susan and I are learning Norwegian.)
Berit: Nei, så spennende! (Wow, that’s exciting!)
Tom: Ja, det er veldig spennende. Men også litt vanskelig! Ikke sant, Susan? (Yes, it’s very exciting. But also a little bit difficult! Isn’t it, Susan?)
Susan: Jo. Den første uken forstod jeg ingenting! (True. The first week I understood absolutely nothing!)
Berit: Har dere vært lenge i Norge, da? (Have you been a long time in Norway, then?)
Susan: Ja, vi var på språkkurs i starten av sommerferien. De siste ukene har vi bare reist rundt i landet. (Yes, we were at a language course at the start of the summer holiday. The last weeks we’ve just been travelling the country.)
Berit: Kjempespennende! Hvor har dere vært, da? (That’s very exciting! Where’ve you been to?)
Tom: Mest Hardangervidda… (Mostly the Hardangervidda plain…)
Berit: Åh, jeg elsker Hardangervidda! (Oh, I love Hardangervidda!)

Ola: Hei, tror ikke jeg har hilst på deg før! (Hi, I don’t think I’ve said hello to you before!)
Tom: Hei, jeg heter Tom! (Hi, my name is Tom!)
Ola: Ola her. Trivelig å hilse på deg. (Here’s Ola. Nice to meet you/say hello to you.)
Ola: Hvor kommer du fra, Tom? (Where’re you from, Tom?)
Tom: Jeg kommer fra North Dakota. Dette er første gangen jeg er i Norge! (I’m from North Dakota. This is my first time in Norway!)
Ola: Oi, da har du reist langt! Hva synes du om Norge? (Wow, then you must have travelled a long way! What do you think about Norway?)
Tom: Jeg synes naturen her er veldig vakker. (I think Nature here is really beautiful.)
Ola: Tusen takk! (Thanks a lot!)

Guri: Nei så fine sko! (Gee, what lovely shoes you’ve got!)
Susan: Synes du? (Really?)
Guri: Ja, jeg liker dem kjempegodt! (Yes, I like them a lot!)
Susan: Jeg kjøpte dem på tilbud i Molde. Jeg er veldig fornøyd med dem. (I bought them on offer in Molde. I’m very pleased with them.)
Guri: Ja, ikke sant? (Yes, I know exactly what you mean.)

Guri: Hva driver dere med, egentlig? (What do you guys do, actually?)
Susan: Jeg er sykepleier og Tom jobber i en butikk. (I’m a nurse and Tom works in a store.)
Tom: Det ble litt mye stress, så vi har tatt et halvt år fri for å se verden. (It got a bit too stressy, so we’ve taken half a year off to see the world.)
Guri: Ja, det gjelder om å nyte livet mens en kan, ikke sant? (Yes, it’s important to enjoy life while you can, isn’t it?)
Susan: Mm.
Tom: Hva driver du med, da? (What do you do, then?)
Guri: Jeg holder på å utdanne meg til logoped. I mellomtiden jobber jeg i en barnehage. (I’m studying to become a speech therapist. In the meantime I work in a kindergarten.)

Ola: Skål, Tom! (Cheers, Tom!)
Tom: Skål! (Cheers!)

Norwegians and alcohol

Posted on 13. Aug, 2015 by in Food, Leisure, Politics

Photo by Siri Spjelkavik at Flickr. (CC License.)

Photo by Siri Spjelkavik at Flickr. (CC License.)

Skål! [skawl] The word for ’cheers’ is very useful when celebrating with Norwegians! Men hva er i glasset? (But what’s in the glass?) Nordmenn (Norwegians), of course, are just as different as other people. Some drink a lot of alkohol [alkuHOOL] (alcohol), some just drink brus (soft drink)! :-)

Traditionally, avholdsbevegelsen (the temperance movement) has been quite strong in Norway. In other words, if you drank anything stronger than melk, you could risk getting some disappointed looks. (Meanwhile a number of people were probably busy distilling illegal hjemmebrent [YEMMehbrent] – home brew.) Of course, today Norway is a modern country, and people drink the international beverages: øl (beer), rødvin (red wine), hvitvin (white wine), sjampanje, whisky, konjakk, brennevin (brandy)… The general attitude towards moderate drikking (drinking), however, still isn’t quite as lax as in Italy or France, for example. (Do you disagree? Feel free to share your thoughts with the other readers!)

An Oslo Vinmonopol. Photo by Metrocentric at Flickr. (CC License.)

An Oslo Vinmonopol. Photo by Metrocentric at Flickr. (CC License.)

Before you plan your Norwegian pubcrawl, please note:

  • drikkevarer (drinks) in Norway are quite expensive. If you go to a pub [purh-bb] or a restaurant, expect to pay at least 50 Kroner (6 US Dollars) for a pint of beer.
  • you have to be at least 18 år gammel (18 years old) to buy beer, and 21 år to buy stronger drinks.
  • it is strengt forbudt (strictly prohibited) to drink alcohol in public spaces. Do not open that bottle of wine in the park, no matter how nicely sola skinner (the Sun is shining)! You could probably go on a short-distance flight for the money boten (the fine) will cost you…
  • ordinary Norwegian supermarkets and food stores do sell alcohol, but only weaker than 4.75 %. That means øl and rusbrus (”sweet booze”, literally ’intoxication soft drink’).
  • for alcohol stronger than 4.75 %, you have to go to a special store: Vinmonopolet [VEENmohnohpohleh] (The Wine Monopoly). It’s the only place in Norway where you can buy vin [veen] (wine). You’ll find a Vinmonopol in every city and larger town. In smaller towns and villages, however, you might have to do with the refreshing taste of kildevann [SHILLdeh-vann] (spring water). Or you can climb a fjell (mountain) and get thrilled the natural way.

If you really want to get close to Norwegians, be on the lookout for a vorspiel [FORE-shpeel]. It’s a German word meaning ”fore-play”, and before you go on to think it’s something dirty, I’ll quickly add that in Norwegian, at least, it means a ”pre-party”! Because of the high alcohol prices, many students and other people only go bar-hopping after they’ve been to a vorspiel in someone’s home. Here people bring their own alcohol, typically cans of beer from the local supermarket. Now they’ve got the chance to chat, listen to musikk and maybe get a little full (drunk) before going downtown to enjoy themselves on dansegulvet (the dance floor)… After the town session, people often return to another private home for a quiet nachspiel [NAKK-shpeel] or ”after-party”.