Norwegian Language Blog

Norwegian – Getting Started Posted by on Dec 19, 2012 in Language

For those who are new to Norwegian, the whole language may seem a bit intimidating: There are so many words and dialects, so what is correct and what isn’t? And those bell-like but impossible-to-pronounce Norwegian sounds, won’t the Norwegians just be laughing behind my back as soon as I open my mouth (and they hear my saucy, Texan accent)?

The good news is that Norwegian really isn’t that complicated. I’ve heard standard bokmål Norwegian (as taught here at Transparent) has one of the most straightforward grammars of any European language. Furthermore, being used to a great number of dialects (even in formal settings like official broadcasts), Norwegians are exceptionally tolerant when it comes to language variation. They’ll enthusiastically help you in your first, rambling conversations – even if you make hus rhyme with ’loose’.

The following phrases might help you getting started:

Hei, jeg heter Gordon… [hay, yi HEHTer] Hi, my name’s Gordon…

Hva heter du? [va HEHTer doo] What’s your name?

Jeg kommer fra USA/Canada/England. [yi KOMer frah oo es ah/CAHNahdah/ENGlahn] I come from the US/Canada/England.

Hvor kommer du fra? [vor KOMer doo frah] Where do you come from?

Er det første gang du er i Norge? [erh deh FIRST-eh gahng doo erh ee Nore-gheh?] Is it your fist time in Norway?

Ja, det er første gang jeg er i Norge. Yes, it’s my first time in Norway.

Jeg er sulten/tørst/trøtt. [yi erh sooltn/tirst/tret] I’m hungry/thirsty/tired.

Jeg må på do. [yi maw paw doh] I need a toilet.

Hvor er toalettet? [vor erh toh-ah-LET-eh] Where’s the toilet?

Kan jeg låne telefonen? [kan yi LAW-neh teleFOHN-ehn] May I borrow the phone?

Du er søt. [doo erh surt] You’re sweet.

Hva koster det? [va KOSTer deh] How much does it cost?

Det koster 100 kroner. [deh KOSTer HOONDreh KROHNer] It costs 100 Kroner.

Værsågod! [VARE-saw-goh] Here you are!

Takk. Thanks.

Ingen årsak. [EENG-ehn AWR-sahk] You’re welcome.

Ha det bra! [hah deh bra] Good bye! (Literally: Have it good!)

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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.