This post is a long time coming. As you have likely noticed by now if you’ve had any experience with Norwegian, there are many cognates between the Norwegian and the English languages. Several reasons account for this, such as the fact that Norwegian is a Germanic language and Norweigan grammar is probably the simplest grammar one can find in European languages.
When I began to think about just how many cognates there are, my mind happened to focus on the natural world. I was on a bike ride in the country, riding alongside fields and trees, so I suppose that makes sense. There are typically a few different ways beginning Norwegian learners can identify cogantes: either the words look similar, sound similar, the context gives a clue, or any combination thereof. For many cognates, just one letter is different. Maybe it is the first, the last, or one in the middle. As Norwegian has several foreign characters that do not exist in the English language, sometimes this makes it less obvious that a word is a cognate. Keep in mind that æ, ø, and å are all vowels. The letter ‘y’ in Norwegian is also considered to be a vowel, so remember that too. Knowing these things makes it easier to identify cognates. So let’s look at some…
tre…..tree (a letter difference). Tre is pronounced “tray” more or less, with the flipped ‘r’
busk…bush (a letter difference). Busk is pronounced kind of like “boosk” but to get the ‘u’ sound, you have to make your mouth into a circle shape and say ‘u’
gress…grass (one letter difference). Gress is pronounced “gress” just like it appears, but flip that ‘r’
hund…dog (think hound) is pronounced like it looks, but keep that ‘u’ trick in mind.
katt…cat (ok, a couple letters off) is pronounced like the English word “cot” but make sure the vowel is really short
mus…mouse (couple letters off) is pronounced as it looks, keep the ‘u’ trick in mind and it’s a long ‘u’
regn…rain (looks similar and sounds even more similar) is pronounced like the “Rhine” river
snø…snow (couple letter different) pronounced “snuh”
vinter…winter (one letter difference) pronounced exactly as in looks, with a flipped ‘r’
sommer…summer (one letter difference) pronounced sew-m (as in to sew a button on) mer with a flipped ‘r’
Were any of the above words difficult to identify?
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