Norwegian Language Blog

The new Gangnam style is Norwegian Posted by on Sep 27, 2013 in Culture

YlvisI first heard about Ylvis-brødrene (the Ylvis brothers) during my study years in Bergen. Vegard (born 1979) and Bård Ylvisåker (1982) had some shows, both onstage and on television. The local media were praising the very young, very talented comedians. I thought it was funny that their name sounded like a Norwegian ”Elvis” – with the very clear and pouty Norwegian Y sound.

A couple of weeks ago, the news finally hit me: Ylvis is back, and this time they’re going for world domination! Posted on YouTube September 3rd, the music video for their song ”The fox” has already been viewed by nearly sixty million people. Let’s help them beat Gagnam style (last year’s viral craze by the Korean artist Psy):

Obviously, the text is in English, so there isn’t much for Norwegian-learners here. (But you do get a chance to see how nice the sky can be when Norwegians stage a summer party, as well as a glimpse into a nice and wild Norwegian wood!)

We can only imagine what a Norwegian version would have sounded like. Ylvis’ question would have been: Hva sier reven? [va SEAer REVen] (”What say the fox?”)

In Norge, hunder (dogs) say voff, katter (cats) say mjau, fugler [FOOLer] (birds) kvitrer (tweet [verb]) or say kvitre-kvitre, mus (mice) piper [verb] or say pip [peep], kuer (cows) say , frosker (frogs) say kvekk, ender (ducks) say kvakk.

I can’t recall ever having heard fisker (fishes) or seler (seals) saying anything – at least I don’t know what they say in Norwegian. Elefanter (elephants) certainly make a lot of noise, but as there are only a handful of them in Norwegian zoos and circuses, the language doesn’t seem to have a word for their trumpeting. So, Ylvis, in case you’re reading this, you’ve got some more videos to make! 🙂

What do YOU say after having watched this video? Is it just plain sprø (crazy), or are the Ylvis brothers really onto something?


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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. Diana:

    Bjørn, this blog is superb! I love the entries about verbs, even though I’ve once memorized some rules, some things need to become a habit for using the rules correctly. Especially when you’ve been learning several languages in your life!
    Can you recommend any popular Scandinavian or particularly Norwegian social websites or groups for communications? reading the news, other than FB?

    • Bjørn A. Bojesen:

      @Diana Hei Diana
      Thanks for the comment! 🙂
      I don’t really use social media, so I’m afraid I can’t help you a lot there… You could try
      If you want to read news, go to
      It’s a website specialised in ”easy Norwegian”.

      Good luck!

    • Bjørn A. Bojesen:

      @eshaver1 Thanks for the link, Eshaver1!
      Have you seen the film? Is it good?

      I’m a bit confused by your disagreement. Do you mean this movie will be a greater hit than (the song) The Fox?

      Kind regards,


  2. Elena:

    Hei Bjørn

    Mange takk for sharing! There’s some magic in this song.
    Brought tears in my eyes, all of a sudden…

    “Tiny paws up the hill…”
    “…like an angel in disguise…”
    “The secret of the fox…
    …Ancient mystery”
    “you are my guardian angel…”

    Let me also take the opportunity to thank you for your helpful and interesting blog!

    Ha en fin dag og lykke til!

    • Bjørn A. Bojesen:

      @Elena Hei Elena!

      Tusen takk! Glad du liker bloggen. 🙂