Norwegian Language Blog

Hello Goodbye! Posted by on May 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

Having your first conversation in a foreign language is always a feat. If you know how to say ”hello” and ”goodbye”, you have the tools to break the ice – and to sneak away, if the whole thing gets too embarrassing!

Hei! is the normal way to say ”hi!” The sound lies somewhere between English hey an hi (a bit closer to hi). Add a dose of jolly optimism, and you’ll sound very Norwegian.

If someone calls you and you can’t hear the person, your word-of-choice should be hallo?

Of course there are also the good something! kind of greetings. Like when you meet somenone in the morning, you say god morgen [goh MOORen], in the middle of the day the words to use are god dag [goh DAHG], and in the evening you go for god kveld [goh KVELL]. Please note that ”good day” doesn’t sound strange in Norwegian – it’s a totally natural thing to say.

If you’re in Norway and take a stroll after dark, however, it’s a bad idea to greet strangers with god natt [goh NATT] (good night), no matter how beautiful the stars are! They’ll think you’re leaving for bed, or expecting them to do it!


This brings us over to taking leave. The normal way to say bye in Norwegian is

ha det!

If you’ve only listened to Norwegian, you might assume it should be written ”hade” [HAHdeh], as that’s the way it’s pronounced. The expression actually comes from ha det bra! [HAHdeh BRAH], which means ”have it good!” You’re basically wishing someone a good time. Now, isn’t that a nice way to leave a person?

And I’ll end this post by saying vi snakkes! (talk to you later!) and wishing you lykke til (good luck) with your language studies.

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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. Stefanie:

    Tusen takk! 🙂

  2. Andrea:

    Hello, I’m 1/2-Norwegian and is like to represent it by getting a tattoo…can you translate this for me??

    I’d really appreciate it…and I could send you something in return…I just want the correct verbiage while representing the Norwegian culture on my body. I have a lot of respect and don’t want to look shameful.
    Thank you so much!!

    • Bjørn A. Bojesen:

      @Andrea Hi Andrea,
      the translation would be
      Tro. Styrke. Kjærlighet.
      (If you want to use Nynorsk Norwegian, it would be: Tru. Styrke. Kjærleik.)

      Good luck with your tatoo!

      PS I also drop you an e-mail with this text, just to be sure.