Norwegian Language Blog

Colour your tongue! Posted by on May 28, 2016 in Uncategorized


(Photo by Morten Oddvik at Flickr, CC License.)

Can you imagine a day without farger (colours)? It’s no wonder that many language courses are quick to introduce a few colours. Here are the basic ones in Norwegian – can you guess the meaning of the words?

1 rød

2 blå

3 gul

4 grønn

5 brun

6 oransj [oRANSH]

7 lilla

8 svart (or sort)

9 hvit [veet]

10 grå

Yes, that’s right: red – blue – yellow – green – brown – orange – lilac – black – white – grey. Except for gul, I guess they’re quite transparent for an English speaker (svart is, historically, the same word as ”swarthy”). You’re also bound to meet the word rosa, which means rose-coloured or pink.

Se min kjole (Look at my dress) is a children’s song which uses a lot of colour words:

Se min kjole, den er grønn som gresset,
look at my dress, it’s green like the grass
alt hva jeg eier, det er grønt som den
all that I own is green like it
Det er fordi jeg elsker alt det grønne,
that’s because I love everything green,
og fordi en jeger er min venn
and because a hunter is my friend

Se min kjole, den er blå som havet (the ocean)
alt hva jeg eier, det er blått som den.
Det er fordi jeg elsker alt det blå,
og fordi en sjømann (sailor) er min venn

Se min kjole, den er hvit som sneen (the snow)
alt hva jeg eier, det er hvitt som den
Det er fordi jeg elsker at det hvite,
og fordi en møller (miller) er min venn

Se min kjole, den er rød som rosen (the rose),
alt hva jeg eier, det er rødt som den
Det er fordi jeg elsker alt det røde,
og fordi et postbud (postman) er min venn

Se min kjole, den er sort som kullet (the coal),
alt hva jeg eier, det er sort som den
Det er fordi jeg elsker alt det sorte,
og fordi en feier (chimney sweep) er min venn

The song is a bit old-fashioned so it uses a word like sneen instead of snøen. Maybe you’ve also remarked that some colour words have strange declinations, such as blå becoming blått with a double T in the neuter. But let’s save the grammar talk for another post! 🙂


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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.


  1. Chris:

    Great post! Perfect way to help learn the colors (which are recognizable already if you know English and German), some grammar, and some new nouns. Cute song too. The kids singing are adorable.

    • Bjørn A. Bojesen:

      @Chris @Chris Thanks for the feedback, much appreciated! 🙂