Norwegian Words of Healing

Posted on 25. Nov, 2015 by in Norway and the world, Vocabulary

Hope candles. (Photo courtesy of Len Matthews at Flickr, CC License.)

Hope candles. (Photo courtesy of Len Matthews at Flickr, CC License.)

Det er en vanskelig tid for mange (it’s a hard time for many [people]). Uskyldige mennesker (innocent people) have been killed in Bamako, Paris, Beirut and other places. That’s when we need our languages to comfort each other and show that we care about each other. Words can hurt, but more importantly – ord (words) can heal…

Hvordan går det? (How are you?)
Har du det bra? (Are you okay?)
Lenge siden jeg har hørt fra deg… (Long time no hear…)
Trenger du hjelp? (Do you need any help?)
Hvordan går det med foreldrene dine? (How are your parents?)

Jeg håper dere har det bra. (I hope you guys are doing fine.)
Jeg tenker på dere. (I’m thinking of you.)
Jeg har vært bekymret for dere. (I’ve been worried about you.)
Jeg er glad i deg. (I care about you.)
Jeg tenkte bare jeg ville høre om alt stod bra til? ([I just thought] I wanted to hear if everything’s okay?)

Huff og huff! (Alas!)
Nei så tragisk! (That’s tragic!)
Stakkars deg! (Poor you!)
Det er forferdelig, forferdelig. (It’s terrible, terrible.)
Jeg skjønner at det er veldig vanskelig for dere. (I understand it’s really hard for you guys.)

Jeg kondolerer. (My condolences.)
Jeg beklager. (I’m sorry.)
Jeg føler med dere! (I feel your pain!)

Vil du ha setet mitt? (Wanna have my seat?)
Vil du bli med til fest med vennene mine? (Wanna join a party with my friends?)
Skal vi ta en prat? (Wanna talk?)
Du kan alltid ringe dersom det er noe. (You can always call if there’s something [on your mind].)

Opp med humøret! (Cheerie up!)
Der det er liv, er det håp! (Where there’s life, there’s hope!)
Dette skal vi greie! (We’ll make this!)
Kom igjen! Vi gir oss ikke! (Come on! We don’t give up!)

Meet the Monster

Posted on 31. Oct, 2015 by in Language, learning, Vocabulary

(Image from

(Image from

Monsteret er løs! (The monster is ”loose”!) Right now, it is doing everything it can to prevent you from learning norsk! Men fortvil ikke… (But don’t despair…) There is a way to get through Halloween alive First of all, you must kjenne din fiende (know your enemy)!

Of course, the Norwegian night is full of demons… Pronunciation, Word Order and Strong Verbs are just some of the beasts that are vying to make you run away screaming!

However, monsteret over alle monstere for Norwegian-learners has to be … Variety! Just consider the following examples:

• You want to tell somebody about your favourite book. But should it be min bok, boken min or boka mi?

• You and your friends want to order seven drinks. Should you ask for sju or syv, or just give up and order åtte?

• You want to tell someone you like them. But how should you introduce yourself without sounding like a wannabe native: jeg, je, i, eg, æ?

As language learners, we want quick fixes. We want 1 spelling for neither … nor. Then our dictionary tells us that it can be either verken … eller or hverken … eller. Both are correct, and we want to bang our head into the nearest wall! :-)

Happy Halloween to all readers who celebrate it! (Image from

Happy Halloween to all readers who celebrate it! (Image from

But here is the thing… Learn one word at a time, and use it! Pick the easy solutions – you are not going to sound like a Native from day 1 anyway! For example, if you find it difficult remembering which words are feminine, stick to masculine forms (boken and solen or boka and sola). Noone is going to hate you; people tend to be very understanding and helpful towards language learners.

If you are living in a Norwegian town and are planning to stay for a long time, talk to the people around you, learn their dialect! :-) Otherwise, just stick to the words and forms of the written language – which is often bokmål Norwegian (as in this blog).

Unlike dialect speakers of countries like England or Germany, Norwegians rarely switch to a ”standard language” when talking with people from elsewhere. So, if you’re hanging out with a group of Norwegians and finding yourself misunderstood (maybe you got the pronunciation wrong?), you may be met with many different ”whats”: Hva (sier du), Kæ (seie du), Ka (du sei)?

English-speakers from Scotland and California don’t use exactly the same words or pronunciaton, but they can still communicate. If possible, spend some time in Norway, listen to Norwegian radio stations. In a while, all the ”gibberish” will make sense… Remember, you don’t have to speak 5 different dialects yourself – just to get the gist of what folk sier (people are saying).


• pick your favo(u)rites

• keep it simple

• accept that Variety is there to stay

Now, go ahead and meet that monster. Are you ready? :-)

Norwegians Love Kos

Posted on 23. Oct, 2015 by in Leisure, Nature

Peiskos! (Photo courtesy of Sigrun & Ragnar at Flickr, CC License.)

Peiskos! (Photo courtesy of Sigrun & Ragnar at Flickr, CC License.)

Nå skal vi kose oss! (Now let’s cozy up/enjoy ourselves!)

In Iceland, I’ve been told, they have this vits (joke) about the stereotypical Norwegian being a hyperactive sportsman: Always trekking, skiing or running around in the most expensive and chic sportswear! Well, it’s certainly true that mange nordmenn elsker friluftsliv (many Norwegians love outdoor life). And people in Norway often joke about being født med ski på beina [furt meh shee paw BYEnah] (born with skis on their legs). But sometimes, especially when it’s høst (autumn) and cold outside (and no snow yet, mind you!), even serious athletes like å kose seg (to cozy up, to enjoy oneself) indoors.

Kos (coziness) is a nice little word. You can attach it to almost any other noun to describe a social setting where you’re relaxing and having a good time with vennene dine (your friends) or familien din (your family). Peiskos means enjoying life in front of a peis (open fireplace). A pleasant barbecue session can be described as grillkos – and so on! :-)

Kos can be turned into the adjective koselig (cozy, nice). If you’re the expressive kind of person and your friends and you are enjoying some tv-kos (”television coziness”) with a spennende tv-serie (exciting tv serial) and a bowl of snop (candy) and some glasses of brus (lemonade), you may exclaim: Å, så koselig! (Oh, how cozy [it is]!)

Det er veldig koselig på hytta (it’s very cozy in the cabin). Especially when it is dark and rainy outside and you can light some candles, drikke en kaffetår (take a sip of coffee), lese ei god bok (read a good book), legge kabal (play solitaire) or spille kort (play cards). Should all this hjemmekos (”stay-at-home-coziness”) make you feel just a little bit suffocated, there’s no need to worry: Naturen (Nature) is just outside døra (the door), and soon snøen (the snow) will be there! :-)