Norwegian Language Blog

Animal Talk Posted by on Jun 24, 2018 in Nature

(Free image from Pixabay; no copyright.)

Hunden er menneskets beste venn (the dog is man’s best friend), the saying goes. Some would disagree and say katten (the cat), or maybe even gullfisken (the gold fish) or kanarifuglen (the canary), if you’re that kind of person! In any case, dyr (animals) are fascinating – and you need words to discuss them with your fellow humans. Here is a selection of tamme og ville dyr (tame and wild animals) in Norway:

  • sauer (sheep) are common everywhere, particularly in Vestlandet (the west country). The male sheep is called a vær [vare], and the offspring’s a lam (lamb). Many sheep spend the hot season eating lots of yummy gress (grass) in the mountains – until it’s time for the autumn sauesanking (sheep gathering). A classic Norwegian children’s song goes: Bæ bæ lille lam, har du noe ull? (Baa baa little lamb, do you have some wool?)
  • geiter [yie-ter] (goats). Mmm, Norwegian geitost – need I say more? 🙂 The male is called a geitebukk, and the kid’s a kje. Keep an eye on your travel gear – goats eat everything!
  • kuer (or kyr – both mean ”cows”). I don’t know any country where people drink as much melk (milk) as in Norway, so obviously cows are popular! 🙂 The male is an okse (ox) and their little toddler is a kalv (calf).
  • Isbjørner (polar beers) only live on the islands of Svalbard, far north of the Norwegian mainland. (Free photo from Pixabay; no copyright.)

    ulv, bjørn, jerv og gaupe (wolf, bear, wolverine and lynx). Farmers hate these rovdyr (carnivores), because they sometimes take a sheep for lunch. As a tourist you probably have to travel far into nature and have a lot of luck to see one of these very rare animals…

  • reven (the fox) is more fredelig (peaceful) – even if nobody knows what it says! 🙂 It might snatch a høne, hane, kylling (hen, rooster, chicken) or a kanin [caNEEN] (rabbit), though. Also, watch out for ørner (eagles).
  • elger og reinsdyr (mooses and reindeer) are a bit more common – that’s why you see those skilter (signs) everywhere! 🙂
  • a hest (horse) is either a hoppe (mare), a hingst (stallion) or a føll (foal).
  • last but not least – hunder get valper (puppies); katter get kattunger (kittens)…
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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.