: Lesson 0

Hei! Welcome to this free interactive Norwegian course. We’ll start from scratch and teach some Norwegian to you, and then we'll ask you to write certain things in Norwegian in the form below. You’ll need to type in the answers before moving on.

Norwegian comes from the same family as English does so it is very similar to English. Moreover, contrary to popular belief, Norwegian is also pretty easy to learn for English speakers. You will find both of these things out in the course of this course. Let’s get to learning now.

Norwegian for I is jeg.

Norwegian for to have is å ha.

It’s practically the same as in English, just å is to and ha is have.

The next word is almost the same as well:

Norwegian for it is det.

Look carefully at this word det: it ends with et. This et is neutral (you will learn what that means soon). You'll also learn it can also serve as the word for a or the. Anyhow, what we need to know for now is that det means it.

To put this all together, let’s learn the basic rule:

To make to do into any other form (I do, you do, etc.) you simply remove the word to (which is å) in Norwegian and add an r on the end of the word.

Could you work out how to say:

?I have it.|Jeg har det.+

Well done so far!

Norwegian for informal you is du.

This form du is just the same as in German. There is also a formal way to say you in Norwegian but the informal way is catching on rapidly and is used a lot currently, especially among the younger people.

How would you say:

?You have it.|Du har det.+

As we are learning easy words, let’s learn the word for we which is the same as you pronounce it in English:

Norwegian for we is vi.

So knowing that it also follows the same ending as I, you or all the other forms, how would you say:

?We have it.|Vi har det.+

Norwegian for not is ikke.

Previously in English, they used to say they have not instead of they don’t have, they know not instead of they don't know and so on. That still is the case in Norwegian. Therefore to say I don’t have it you are actually saying I have it not (pay attention to the word order).

How would you say that:

?I don’t have it.|Jeg har det ikke.+

Alright. Let’s learn more Norwegian words:

Norwegian for to be is å være.

Now that’s a mouthful, but you don’t have to worry about pronouncing it very often: just like in English, the words am and are are spelled and pronounced differently from to be. The good news is, they are a lot less different in Norwegian:

Norwegian for am, are, is is er.

You could imagine that the word to be å være is å e instead, and then add the ending r to it.

Try this out in a sentence:

?I am Johan.|Jeg er Johan.+

I cannot resist giving you these words which are practically the same in Norwegian and in English, so have another one:

Norwegian for here is her.

When asking questions, Norwegian also follows a very similar word order to that of English. So, for example, even you are becomes are you? if you are asking a question. How would you ask:

?Are you here?|Er du her?+

Norwegian for no is nei.

Thus you can answer the question that you have just asked:

?No, I am not here.|Nei, jeg er ikke her.+

Norwegian for yes is ja.

This is the same ja in German or Dutch, and is it also closely related to yes.

Thus, your other option of answering the question whether you are here would be:

?Yes, I am here.|Ja, jeg er her.+

Norwegian for he is han.

In fact, it is also related to the word for she:

Norwegian for she is hun.

You can remember these two words by thinking of the word handgun. Hand hun. He she.

So how would you say:

?She isn’t here.|Hun er ikke her.

?She doesn’t have it.|Hun har det ikke.+

Good going so far!

Norwegian for because is fordi.

Because I have a Ford, right?

Knowing this enables us to say longer things (just remember that your word order will be she has it not:

?She doesn’t have it because it’s not here.|Hun har det ikke fordi det er ikke her.+

Norwegian for to speak is å snakke.

It’s almost like å spakke except it’s å snakke. The link is still very close.

Norwegian language names tend to end in sk. For example:

Norwegian for Norwegian is norsk.

How would you say:

?He speaks Norwegian.|Han snakker norsk.

?Do you speak Norwegian?|Snakker du norsk?+

Here is another name that ends in sk:

Norwegian for English is engelsk.

Think: Karl Marx probably spoke English with Engels.

You will also need to know the following:

Norwegian for and is og.

And now you can say many things:

?I speak English and Norwegian.|Jeg snakker engelsk og norsk.

?I am Norwegian.|Jeg er norsk.

?Are you English?|Er du engelsk?+

We haven’t really talked about how to say they so let’s learn it now, because it is just so easy:

Norwegian for they is de.

Another thing: if you are using the word norsk for Norwegian and you are talking about more than one person, you need to add an e to the word norsk to get its plural form: norske. Same with the word engelsk. Try.

?They are English.|De er engelske.

?They don’t speak Norwegian because they are English.|De snakker ikke norsk fordi de er engelske.+

There is another word we want to know. When you have de er or they are, if you switch the letters of the word er you get de re or actually dere. Dere means you (plural) that is you all or you guys in Norwegian.

So you use du when you are speaking to one person and you use dere when you are speaking to more than one person.

How would you say:

?Are you guys Norwegian?|Er dere norske?

?Do you guys speak English?|Snakker dere engelsk?+

Now we know all the main pronouns: jeg (I), du (you), han (he) and hun (she), vi (we), dere (you guys) and de (they). We are merely getting started, though.

Norwegian for to want is å ville.

I want to have it, therefore it is my ville to have it.

You would expect it to become jeg viller for I want, but in fact there is an exception with this word. This exception works in our favor, though, because the word becomes even more like the one we have in English: vil.

If you want to say I want to have it in Norwegian you don’t have to say the word to (which was å in Norwegian) anymore, so you say I want have it.

Try to say it:

?We want to have it.|Vi vil ha det.

?We don’t want to be here.|Vi vil ikke være her.

?I want to be Norwegian.|Jeg vil være norsk.+

Let’s learn another similar word, which we use for the same function in English as we do in Norwegian:

Norwegian for to be able to is å kunne.

Literally it is to can. You don’t say to can in English but you do in Norwegian. What’s more, this word doesn’t follow the pattern of becoming jeg kunner either, but it follows the same pattern as å ville - vil does. In fact, even more than that, because the Norwegian word for can is just the same as in English: kan.

What is:

?I can be here.|Jeg kan være her.

?They can’t speak Norwegian.|De kan ikke snakke norsk.+

Good. We have learned two combinations: å ville - vil and å kunne - kan.

While we are at it, I want to introduce you another two further words which are very similar to the å kunne - kan combination.

Norwegian for should is skulle.

You should leave that skull at home next time.

How would you say:

?I should have it.|Jeg skulle ha det.

?I should speak Norwegian.|Jeg skulle snakke norsk.+

If kunne becomes kan, and skulle follows the same pattern, what do you think the word skulle changes to?

The word skulle changes to skal, which means shall in Norwegian and it is used to form the future tense just like the English shall was used for the future tense!

English kind of stopped using the word shall for the future and, most of the time, will is used. But Norwegian hasn't. You use skal where the English will (or sometimes shall) would be when you are talking about the future. How would you say:

?I will have it.|Jeg skal ha det.

?I will speak Norwegian.|Jeg skal snakke norsk.+

Let's learn one more word:

Norwegian for to do is å gjøre.

And you can put it to immediate use now:

?You should do it.|Du skulle gjøre det.

?Do you want to do it?|Vil du gjøre det?

?We will not do it because we can’t do it.|Vi skal ikke gjøre det fordi vi kan ikke gjøre det.+

Summarizing everything: we have learnt å ville (to want) - vil (want), å kunne (to be able to) - kan (can), then skulle (should) and skal (shall/will) and now we also know the word gjøre. Good going!

Norwegian for something is noe.

How would you say:

?I have something.|Jeg har noe.+

If you want to say I want something in Norwegian, you would usually say I want to have something. Try applying this:

?They want something.|De vil ha noe.+

Norwegian for to need is å trenge.

Think of of the phrase we need to trein to remember it

How would you say:

?I need something.|Jeg trenger noe.

?I need it because I do not have it.|Jeg trenger det fordi jeg har det ikke.

?They need to have it.|De trenger ha det.+

So we know how to talk about needing (å trenger), wanting (å ville), having (å ha) and so on. The problem is, we can’t use this knowledge fully until we learn to talk about the things that we are doing. For this reason, let’s learn some more words. On the upside, we will be learning words that are similar to those in English (because a lot of the words in Norwegian are anyway).

Norwegian for a house is et hus.

Look at this et again. This is the same et from det. This et actually stands for a (the indefinite article in English).

You could say:

?I want to have a house.|Jeg vil ha et hus.+

As we are talking about a house, let’s have a detour:

Norwegian for in is i.

It just couldn’t get any simpler than that, could it? How would you say?

?I am in a house.|Jeg er i et hus.+

Fine, let’s have another word that is almost the same as in English, plus funny:

Norwegian for a thing is en ting.

Wait, though! Why is a house - et hus but a thing - en ting?

Well, that’s because the word hus is of the neuter gender, and the word ting is of non-neuter gender. That is, it is either masculine or feminine (but which one of the two it is does not really matter for practical purposes) . You see, all words (or rather nouns) are of one of three genders in Norwegian: masculine, feminine or neuter. You can tell their gender by the article they have. For example, et hus has the article et in front of it and that means it’s neuter, while en ting has an article en in front of it so it’s not neuter.

So nouns can be either:

one, neuter if their article is et or

two, non-neuter if the article is en.

We won’t bother with genders and will just call the first group et-words and the second group en-words.

Having in mind that ting is an en-word, how would you say:

?I have a thing.|Jeg har en ting.

?I will have a thing.|Jeg skal ha en ting.+

Alright, now it is true that these sentences are quite unusual. When you talk about things you usually want to at least specify what things you are talking about, or at least say the thing or the house and so on. We run into a problem here, though:

Norwegian words for the are the same as their words for a: en and et.

So if you want to say the thing, you can’t say en ting because that would be the same as a thing, and it would quickly get so confusing that Norwegians would just quit this talking thing and go hide themselves in a fjord instead. Luckily, though, Norwegians figured out a way to solve this problem:

The Norwegian word for the goes at the end of the word instead of in front of it.

Now that clears up the confusion! For example, if you have an et-word hus, you could say et hus and that would mean a house, or you could put et in the end of the word and have huset to mean the house.

So how would you say:

?I have the house.|Jeg har huset.

?I need to have the thing.|Jeg trenger ha tingen.+

That solves it! Now you can talk about things and stuff. Let’s learn one more word:

Norwegian for time is tid and it’s an en-word.

Let's say a few things.

?I have the time.|Jeg har tiden.

?I have the house.|Jeg har huset.

?I have it.|Jeg har det.+

Now notice that last sentence: Jeg har det.. Do you see that et in det? That’s an et because it assumes you are referring to an et word, such as et hus, when you are using the word it. It is kind of the default case.

However, if you were to refer to a thing that is non-neuter (that is, to an en-word), det changes to den. So, how would you say talking about a thing - en ting:

?I have it.|Jeg har den.+

Since we have all the Norwegian words look almost the same as in English (hus, ting, tid), let’s learn one more to join the company:

Norwegian for good is god.

No, it’s not God, it’s god (Norwegian for God is Gud (en-word) for that matter).

How would you say:

?The thing is good.|Tingen er god.

?Something isn’t good.|Noe er ikke god.+

Finally, you could use the word god for greetings as well. The simplest Norwegian greeting is hey - hei. However, you could be more sophisticated and say, for example good morning if you knew that:

Norwegian for morning is morgen.

(Very similar to English and German).

So how would you say:

?Good morning|God morgen+

Another small detour:

If you use the word i with morgen (thus if you say i morgen), that literally means in morning. However, actually, it means tomorrow.

This is pretty logical, and most languages have their word for tomorrow related with the word for morning.

?I will have it tomorrow.|Jeg skal ha det i morgen.+

Norwegian for night is natt.

?Good night.|God natt.+

Alright, vi ha learned a god amount of norsk. But it's still not enough to really be able to shout at people. Let's learn some more:

Norwegian for me is meg.

Just what you would expect given the similarity to English, plus a g.

Norwegian for to help is å hjelpe.

Again, just what you would expect (but note the j and e).

How would you say:

?Can you help me?|Kan du hjelpe meg?

?He wants to help me.|Han vil hjelpe meg.+

Here is a word that you don’t need to learn:

Norwegian for is for.

How would you say using the general it:

Imagine you got a present:

?It is for me.|Det er for meg.

?Is the house for me?|Er huset for meg?+

Now you wouldn’t usually get a house as a present, but you might get a car. Surely, if you get a car as a present, later you also get the bill because:

?A car is en bil in Norwegian.

Thus you can ask:

?Is the car for me?|Er bilen for meg?+

Now let’s learn another word:

Norwegian for from is fra.

Just guess the word for England in the next questions (hint: it’s the same). Say:

?The car is from England.|Bilen er fra England.

?I am from England.|Jeg er fra England.+

Nice. The only thing missing is to learn how to ask questions:

Norwegian for what is hva.

Hwhaaaa did you say?

?What is it?|Hva er det?

?What is it for?|Hva er det for?

?What do you want?|Hva vil du?

?What do you have?|Hva har du?+

Nice. The next key word that we absolutely have to learn is very similar:

Norwegian for where is hvor.

We can use this immediately to ask people about things:

?Where are you from?|Hvor er du fra?

?Where is the house?|Hvor er huset?+

We have a lot of words based on hvor. For example, the Norwegian word for why is literally wherefor.

Norwegian for why is hvorfor.

It kind of makes sense because, in English, therefore means because, so wherefore should mean why?. Say:

?Why are you here?|Hvorfor er du her?

?Why do you speak Norwegian?|Hvorfor snakker du norsk?+

Great. Our next word to learn is also based on hvor too:

Norwegian for how is hvordan.

Literally wheredan, and just don’t ask me what dan means...

If you still recall, the Norwegian word for to do was å gjøre. How would you say:

?How do you want to do it?|Hvordan vil du gjøre det?+

The expression how are you doing is also based on the word how in English and in Norwegian. Except Norwegians say how do you have it? to ask this questions. So, how would you ask how are you? or literally how do you have it?:

?How are you doing?|Hvordan har du det?+

The usual answer is I have it fine. You already know how to say that. However, for the answer to this question, Norwegians traditionally use another word for good. Let’s learn it:

Another Norwegian word for good is bra.

Think all is good with my bra, thanks bra-the.

You can use both god and bra to mean good almost interchangeably but Norwegians tend to use bra in I am doing good (this is in contrast to Swedes, who use the word bra all the time). You could think of bra as the word for fine while, god is good if that helps you to remember it.

How would you answer to the question:

?I have it good.|Jeg har det bra.+

Good. You could also thank to make it nice in the end:

Norwegian for thanks is takk.

?I am doing good, thanks.|Jeg har det bra, takk.+

Alright. The last thing we need to know how to say is bye. When Norwegians want to say bye! they wish haveit good! (also using the word bra). You already have all the tools to make a guess what that is. So haveit good - bye:

?bye|hadet bra+

This ends our lessons for now. Let’s now have a simple Norwegian conversation to test our knowledge. Imagine a Norwegian car driver is in his job interview. Use hei for hi/hey/hello, and also know that Norwegian for Norway is Norge.

?Hey! How are you doing?|Hei! Hvordan har du det?

?Good morning. I am doing good, thanks.|God morgen. Jeg har det bra, takk.

?Where are you from?|Hvor er du fra?

?I am from Norway.|Jeg er fra Norge.

?Do you speak English?|Snakker du engelsk?

?No, I don’t speak English.|Nei, jeg snakker ikke engelsk.


?I am Norwegian...|Jeg er norsk...

?Do you have a car?|Har du en bil?

?Yes, I have a car and a house.|Ja, jeg har en bil og et hus.

?Where is the car?|Hvor er bilen?

?The car is in the house.|Bilen er i huset.

?Will it be here tomorrow?|Skal den være her i morgen?

?Yes. Thank you.|Ja. Takk.

?Take care.|Hadet bra.