Norwegian Lingo

This page is designed to help you brush up on the basics of the Norwegian language.  Whilst all Norwegians can speak English (some better than we can!) I get the impression that the Norwegians really appreciate it if you try to speak their language.  I think they’re probably more surprised than anything else!  So here’s a quick guide to the basics and the important phrases…

Good morning
God morgen (guh morn)

Good evening
God kveld. (guh k-vell)

Hello (informal)
Hei (hi)

How are you?
Hvordan går det? (vord-an gor dey?)

Fine, thank you
takk, bare bra (tack, bar-eh bra)

What is your name?
Hva heter du? (Var heter du)

My name is ______
Jeg heter ______  (jeg he-ter _____ )

Please.
Vær så snill (ver so snill)

Thank you very much
Tusen takk (toosen tack)

Yes
Ja (ya)

No
Nei (ney)

Excuse me (getting attention)
Unnskyld meg  (Unn-shull my)

Goodbye
Ha det bra! (Ha dey bra)

I can’t speak norwegian.
Jeg snakker ikke norsk. (jeg snakk-er ikk-er norshk)

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Responses

  1. Our Norwegian classes are a revelation! We are the only Brits in our course. The rest of the class is made up of Polish, Lithuania’s & Latvian’s. I take my hat off to them, as they all speak perfect English and enbarking on their 3rd langauge.

    We find when we do speak Norwegian, the answer is usually in English. We must stand out like sore thumbs!

    Donna x

    • Brilliant! I know – they learn Norwegian via English – incredible. Do you find that they pick up the grammar quickly? We struggled so much with the grammar but the other ‘foreigners’ picked it up easily.

      • Hi Sarah

        Yes, we struggle with the grammar and today we must do some revision as we have our exam on Tuesday! The classes are expensive (isn’t everything)? £300 each for a 10 week course and they through in a couple of public hols too!

        I would love to join a choir but so far haven’t come across anything in Tønsberg. Have you managed to get tickets for the Eurovision Song Contest? It seems crazy not to go if it’s on your doorstep.

        We’ve got tickets for Paolo Nutini and Crowded House on June 13th and 15th in Oslo. Wondered if you were going?

        I had to laugh at the list of food items you miss so much from the UK: Top of my list has to be Marmite, Lincolnshire sausages, decent chedder cheese and branston pickle, but we’ve discovered the chinese supermarkets which are much cheaper than the likes of Meny & Kiwi – Have you tried Pataks Mango chutney- it’s lovely with Roquefort cheese.

        I’ve lived in Norway for 1.5 years and would love to meet some new friends but find it difficult as I don’t work. I’m pursuing a career in photography and have a vast collection of photographs waiting to be made into postcards! We live on an island called Nøtterøy and it’s very beautiful. What we can’t get over, is the number of boats! How can they all afford a boat?

        Hope to hear back from you soon!

      • Hey Donna – good to hear from you again. Yesterday I got tickets for the Eurovision – they’ve released a load more because of the ash cloud – they’re not sure if everyone can fly in so if you’re still interested, go online to Billetservice and get some. Would be good to see you there! The cheese/chutney combination sounds good. I have visitors this weekend so may just give that a try! If you send over some photos I’ll add them to the blog and see if I can promote your “soon to be printed” postcards!

  2. The most useful term I’ve found so far is “Jeg snakker ikke norsk” at which point I usually get a beaming smile and perfect English back to me :)

    But seriously, I’m very keen to start learning Norwegian. I have an audio course to get me started but can you recommend any classes in Oslo? I think I would really enjoy the interactive environment…

    • Yes – that’s a term Eliot and I still use often – even after 2 years! I’m ashamed. I would recommend starting with Folkeuniversitetet (http://www.folkeuniversitetet.no/). We did 3 terms with them. You need to buy the book På Vei from a bookstore as they work through that but it’s a good course. If you sign up, see if you can join a class run by Hege Hermansen (if she’s still there). She is a superb teacher! We met lots a great friends through that course too.

  3. I’m making a card for a Norwegian girl for her Confirmation, can anyone tell me how I would write “on your confirmation day” in Norwegian. Thank you

    • Sorry for the delay Charlotte – I’ve been checking out card shops and the greeting seems to just have “Konfirmation” on the front. I thought it would be “Gratulerer på konfirmation” but that doesn’t seem so. Perhaps some other readers may be able to help?

      • Hi, I hope this isn’t too late, though I’m sure it is. You would normally say “Gratulerer med konfirmasjonen!”. So it was close, Sarah!

    • This is way late, of course, but you could say “på konfirmasjonsdagen” if it’s mid sentence like that. Otherwise I agree that “Gratulerer med konfirmasjonen” would be a good choice. I am a native Norwegian living in the US. Nice blog!!

      • Sorry for the delay on my reply – thanks for the update. It’s that season again so this may come in useful for many :-)

  4. Trondheim Uni has a great online course that’s free:

    http://www.ntnu.edu/now

    It can take you to about A2 level.

    Best,

    Jenny
    formerly of Canada

    • Cool – thanks for the tip Jenny


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