Big and Small

Posted on 28. Feb, 2015 by in Grammar

Courtesy of Open Clipart

Courtesy of Open Clipart

The Norwegian words for ’big’ and ’small’ are a bit more complex than your average adjective. Let’s start with stor, which covers most instances where you’d use the words big or large in English:

en stor tanke (a big thought) – den store tanken (the big thought) – tanken er stor (the thought is big)

ei stor jente (a big girl) – den store jenta (the big girl) – jenta er stor (the girl is big)

et stort fjell (a big mountain) – det store fjellet (the big mountain) – fjellet er stort (the mountain is big)

store katter (big cats) – kattene er store (the cats are big)

(As you already know, a -t is usually added to adjectives describing neuter nouns, while an -e is added to adjectives describing both plural nouns and definite nouns, that is, nouns that ”singled out” somehow: dette store fjellet – this big mountain [and not another one]; Karis store tanke – Kari’s big thought [and not someone else’s].)

Okay, that’s still like most Norwegian adjectives would behave – but look at ’bigger’, ’biggest’: større, størst:

fjellene er større i Sogn og Fjordane (the mountains are bigger in Sogn og Fjordane)

Oslo er den største byen i Norge (Oslo is the biggest city in Norway)


The word for ’little, small’ is totally messed up – it’s liten in the masculine, lita in the feminine, lite in the neuter:

en liten gutt (a little boy)

ei lita jente (a little girl)  – – Please note that many people tend to ”go masculine” in writing, expressing things like jenta er liten, which is felt to be more ”formal” than jenta er liten!

• et lite barn (a small child)

However, this word becomes lille when describing definite nouns:

den lille gutten (the little boy)

den lille jenta (the little girl)

det lille barnet (the little child)

(Some people also use the word vesle here – it’s very Nynorsk-ish: den vesle gutten, den vesle jenta, det vesle barnet.)

And, even weirder, ’little’ is små whenever plural nouns are described:

barna er små (the children are small/little)

jeg liker de små bygdene (I like the small villages)

The word små can be ”re-singularized” as smått (”something small”), which is used in some fixed expressions:

det er smått med penger (there’s little money [left])

smått om senn (little by little)

Føler du deg litt forvirret nå? (Feeling a bit confused now?)

Don’t worry, were almost there. The only thing lacking is ’smaller – smallest’: mindre – minst:

bygdene er mindre i Nordnorge (the villages are smaller in Northern Norway)

sist, men ikke minst: (last, but not least:)

Norwegian pick-up lines

Posted on 14. Feb, 2015 by in Leisure

(Photo by Simon at Flickr, Creative Commons License.)

(Photo by Simon at Flickr, Creative Commons License.)

It’s that time of year again! Thanks to the Norwegians’ great kjærlighet [”SHARE”-leeghet] for American traditions, many par (couples) in the country are buying hverandre [vare-ANDreh] (each other) blomster (flowers), sjokolade [SHOCK-oh-lahdeh], kinobilletter (cinema tickets) and what not to celebrate Valentinsdagen. But what about all those people who haven’t got a kjæreste (girlfriend/boyfriend), an elsker (lover) or an ektefelle (spouse)? Below is a bit of romantic small-talk, mixed with a few sjekkereplikker (pick-up lines)…

Hei! Er det du! (Hi! Is it you!)

Tror du på kjærlighet ved første blikk? (Do you believe in love at first sight?)

Har ikke vi sett hverandre før? (Haven’t we seen each other before?)

Hva er passordet ditt? (What’s your password?)

Du er han/hun fra… (You’re the guy/girl from…)

Kommer du ofte her? (Do you often come here?)

Jeg er fra USA/Skottland/Australia… (I’m from the US/Scotland/Australia…)

Kan jeg sitte her? (May I sit here?)

Røyker du? (Do you smoke?)

Blir du med ut og tar en røyk? (Fancy going out for a smoke?)

Har du fyr? (Got fire?)

Tror du på skjebnen? (Do you believe in destiny?)

Trener du mye? (Do you do a lot of work-out?)

Du ser søt ut!  (You look cute!)

Du har vakre øyne. (You’ve got beautiful eyes.)

Kom, dans med meg! (Come on, dance with me!)

Vil du danse? (Wanna dance?)

Skal vi danse? (Shall we dance?)

Er det ikke ensomt å være på utveksling? (Isn’t it lonely to be on exchange?)

Har du en kjæreste? (Have you got a girlfriend/boyfriend?)

Nei, jeg er singel. (No, I’m single.)

Vil du bli med meg hjem? (Wanna come home with me?)

Hos meg eller deg? (My place or your place?)

Kan jeg få telefonnummeret ditt? (Can I get your phone number?)

Jeg har mistet telefonnummeret mitt… Kan jeg få ditt? (I’ve lost my phone number… Can I get yours?)

Gjorde det vondt da du falt ned fra himmelen? (Did it hurt when you fell down from Heaven?)

Jeg liker deg… (I like you…)

Jeg elsker deg. (I love you.)

And finally, the classic:

Vil du bli med meg hjem og se frimerkesamlingen min? (Wanna come home to me and see my collection of stamps?)

I can’t guarantee that any of these lines will work, but if you say them with a fun, foreign accent, I’m sure you’ll get a laugh … and maybe den neste dansen (the next dance)!

Snow Words

Posted on 30. Jan, 2015 by in Nature, Sports, Vocabulary

(Photo by Bjørn A. Bojesen.)

(Photo by Bjørn A. Bojesen.)

Det snør, det snør! (It’s snowing, it’s snowing!) For many Norwegians, januar has been a lot colder than desember. Many places around the country are still dekket av snø (covered by snow). Here’s a handful of snow words. Catch!

nysnø (new snow) is the fresh snow that has just fallen… If there’s already a snølag (layer of snow) på bakken (on the ground), conditions are perfect for a quick skitur [SHEEtoor] (ski trip).

snøball. Children throw snøballer at each other, and some voksne (adults) do, too. (Especially after being hit!) Other snow leker (games) include building snømenn (snow men; snømann in the singular) and snøborger (snow castles). If you lie down on your back and use your armer og bein (arms and legs) to trace a circle  on the snow surface, and then get back on your feet, you’ll be looking down at an engel i snøen (angel in the snow)…

snøskuter (snow scooter). This wheelless vehicle is used often used in the Norwegian countryside, for example to make spor (tracks) in skiområder (ski areas).

snøras (avalanche). Every year there’s at least one major snøras somewhere in Norway. In a country with gravity, plenty of snø, steep fjell (mountains) and deep daler (valleys), that’s pretty inevitable. Heldigvis (fortunately), it’s very rare that someone omkommer (perishes, loses their life). I’ve heard several historier (stories) of people having been miraculously found and dug out of snøen (the snow) i live (alive).

• Would you like to make a snølykt (snow lamp)? You’ll need some solid snø and a stearinlys (candle), maybe a telys (tealights). Make a small circle of snøballer. Place the candle in the middle. Add a smaller circle of snow balls on top. Make sure to light the candle before you legger på ”taket” (put on the ”roof”)! Now, come back when it’s mørkt (dark) and enjoy your little flickering fire in the starry snø

A snølykt (Photo by Mattias Jansson at Flickr.)

A snølykt (Photo by Mattias Jansson at Flickr.)