Norwegian Language Blog

Remember the words you forget Posted by on May 13, 2015 in Uncategorized


(Photo courtesy of Cyron at Flickr, CC License.)

Together with my students at a language course, I recently found a great way of activating det passive ordforrådet (the passive vocabulary). I wrote a simple word on tavlen (the blackboard), asking my students to find its motsetning (opposite). Then we picked another word, found its ”opposite”, and the game went on and on and on… The students were surprised how many words they knew! 🙂

Let’s play this game here on the blog. I’ll add only one translation, the other you’ll have to add in your mind!

god (good) – dårlig

sulten (hungry) – mett

tom (empty) – full

full (drunk) – edru

liten (small) – stor

dag (day) – natt

kvinne (woman) – mann

mørk (dark) – lys

hvit (white) – svart

her (here) – der

trist (sad) – glad

tung (heavy) – lett

enkel (easy) – vanskelig

ute (outside) – inne

ung (young) – gammel

tynn (thin) – tykk

å gråte (to weep) – å le

sunn (healthy) – usunn

fiende (enemy) – venn

krig (war) – fred

hat (hate) – kjærlighet

spørsmål (question) – svar

klok (knowledgeable, wise, clever) – dum

fjell (mountain) – dal

syk (ill) – frisk

farlig (dangerous) – trygg

vakker (beautiful) – stygg

varm (hot) – kald

kjedelig (boring) – gøy

å huske (to remember) – å glemme

Now, that isn’t too vanskelig, is it? 🙂 Many words have a ”twin” or a ”partner” that somehow is linked to it without being an actual opposite. Take for instance

hund (dog) – katt

å spise (to eat) – å drikke

å skynne seg (to hurry) – å vente

Do you agree with those? What are the opposites or ”partners” of

is (ice)

hav (sea)

ansikt (face)

fot (foot)

stillhet (silence)

kjøtt (meat)

å smile (to smile)

å prate (to talk)

furu (fir tree)

snø (snow)


Sometimes, words seem to come in sets of 3 or 4: pappa, mamma, barn (dad, mum, kids) – sol, måne, stjerne (sun, moon, star) – nord, sør, øst, vest (N, S, E, W) – øre, nese, øye, munn (ear, nose, eye, mouth). Maybe we could ”gamify” those sets as well…

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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. Alberto:

    That was a neat tip, Bjørn! Thanks.

    • Bjørn A. Bojesen:

      @Alberto @Alberto
      You’re welcome! 🙂