Norwegian weak past tense verbs Posted by kari on Dec 29, 2010 in Grammar, Language
Now that jul is over and the end of 201o is very near, I find myself thinking about things that have happened this past year. You can never have too much practice with the past tense when you are learning a new language. If you are like me, learning verb tenses is not your favorite part of learning a foreign language. There is always a lot of memorization involved and Norwegian is no exception. There are weak verbs and there are strong verbs and unfortunately, there really isn’t any rhyme or reason as to which verbs are weak and which are strong. There are far fewer strong verbs, so it’s best to memorize those and learn the easily recognizable pattern that the weak verbs follow. There are 4 classes of weak verbs and they each have a different suffix that is added on to the root of the verb.
The following is a chart that I used when I studied Norwegian at St. Olaf College of the 4 classes of weak verbs. If you memorize what the four classes look like and how they are treated in the past tense, you will be good to go. I will write a separate post on the Present Perfect verb tense, so for now, concentrate on the past tense.
|Weak Verb Classes||Infinitive||Past Tense||Present Perfect|
|The root ends in two consonantsex.) vaske, snakke
-et (past tense)
(have washed)har snakket
|The root ends in one consonant, or in some specific two consonant combinations (ll, mm, nn, ng, nk)ex.) like, spise
ex.) spille, svømme, kjenne, trenge, tenke
-te (past tense)
(have liked)har spist
|The root ends in v or a diphthong, such as “ei”.ex.) prøve, leie, pleie
-de (past tense)
(have tried)har leid
|The root ends in a long vowelex.) bo, kle
-dde (past tense)
(have lived)har kledd
As I said, there is no rhyme or reason in the way verbs are categorized, but I do find that after you have learned them and used them for a while, you realize that if some of them had the suffix of another category, the word would sound funny. Does anyone else know what I’m talking about? For example, the 4th class (bo, kle…) would sound just wrong if they received the suffix “et.” The same goes for the verb å snakke-it would sound really strange if it was “snakkte” in the past tense. In my opinion, Norwegian grammar in general is fairly simple and straightforward compared to many other languages. That being said, it takes time to learn the classes of weak verbs and memorizing the strong verbs and their different forms.
Study this chart and really try to understand it and you will be glad you took the time to do it. Being able to make sense expressing yourself in a different language is far easier if you know verbs and their different tenses. The subject and object of course are very important, but most important is being able to describe the actions of the subjects and objects.
Happy studying! Next wil be strong verbs in the past tense:)