Norwegian Language Blog

1-Word Norwegian Posted by on Jul 31, 2020 in Conversation

Hjelp! (Help!) (Free image from Pixabay; no copyright.)

Kake! [kah-keh] (Cake!) As a child I enjoyed watching the Norwegian version of the Sesame Street show (Sesam stasjon), where the blue Cookie Monster (Kakemonsteret) manages to express himself with that single word. Spending some holiday time with the Norwegian part of my family, which includes a couple of really small children, I was reminded that language learning isn’t always about eloquent phrases or grammatical correctness. In fact, you can get a long way with just one or a few words.

I guess few people want to end up speaking like Tarzan (Me Tarzan, you Jane!) Nonetheless, before you can run you need to take those baby steps. The examples below are ”childish” on purpose. See how little you need to say what you need! 🙂

1 word: Hallo!

Possible expansions:

  • Hallo! Jeg heter Gro. Hva heter du? (Hello! My name is Gro. What’s your name?)
  • Hallo! Hvordan går det? – Bare bra, takk. (Hello! How are you doing? – Just fine, thank you.)

1 word: Sulten! (Hungry!)

Possible expansions:

  • Jeg er sulten. (I’m hungry.)
  • Er du sulten? Når skal vi spise? (Are you hungry? When are we going to eat?)

1 word: Ikke! (Not!/Don’t!)

Possible expansions:

  • Jeg vil ikke (bade nå). (I don’t want to [go swimming now].)
  • Jeg har ikke lyst (å bade nå). (I don’t feel like [going swimming now].)
  • Nei takk, jeg liker ikke brus. (No, thank you, but I don’t like lemonade.)

1 word: Is! (Ice-cream!)

Possible expansions:

  • Vi vil ha is! (We want ice-cream!)
  • Når skal vi kjøpe is? (When are we going to buy ice-cream?)

1 word: Kjedelig! (Boring!)

Possible expansions:

  • Jeg kjeder meg. Kan vi ikke finne på noe gøy? (I’m bored. Can’t we make up/do something fun?)
  • Det høres kjedelig ut. Vi vil heller se film. (That sounds boring. We’d rather watch a movie.)

1 word: Hjelp! [Yelp!] (Help!)

Possible expansions:

  • Kan du hjelpe meg? Jeg sitter fast. (Can you help me? I’m stuck.)
  • Hjelp! Jeg er redd for krabber. (Help! I’m afraid of crabs.)

1 word: Trøtt! (Tired!)

Possible expansions:

  • Er du trøtt/sliten? Ja, jeg er veldig sliten. (Are you tired? Yes, I’m very tired/worn out.)
  • Vi er trøtte. Det har vært en lang dag. Vi skal sove nå. (We are tired. It has been a long day. We’re going to sleep now.)

1 word/2 words:

Ha det! [hah-deh] (Bye bye!)

Possible expansions:

  • Ha det bra! Ja, det var veldig koselig. (Goodbye! Yes, it was really nice [indeed].)
  • Hyggelig å møte dere! God reise hjem! (Nice meeting you [plural]! Have a good/safe trip home!)
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About the Author: Bjørn A. Bojesen

I was born in Denmark, but spent large parts of my childhood and study years in Norway. I later returned to Denmark, where I finished my MA in Scandinavian Studies. Having relatives in Sweden as well, I feel very Scandinavian! I enjoy reading and travelling, and sharing stories with you! You’re always welcome to share your thoughts with me and the other readers.