Norwegian/Lesson 2

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Norwegian | Table of Contents - Introduction - Lesson 1 - Lesson 2 - Lesson 3

Lesson 2 ~ Grunnleggende grammatikk

Gender of NounsEdit

Norwegian Bokmål has three genders - feminine, masculine and neuter. Each noun is associated with one specific gender only. There are no simple rules for knowing which noun belongs to which gender; the only way of learning is to memorize it. However, nearly all feminine words can also be used as masculine words. In fact the dialect of Bergen, which is the second largest city in Norway, has no feminine gender, the same goes for the moderate version of Bokmål and Riksmål (the traditional written form of Bokmål which still is used by many). For example, the noun "dame" ("lady" or "woman") can be inflected as: ei dame/en dame - dama/damen (a woman - the woman), or ei dør/en dør - døra/døren (a door - the door). In addition, very few common words actually belong to neuter. This means that you can mostly assume that nouns are masculine, and just memorize those that are neuter.

In English, inflection of nouns can only be done using a/an/the. This is because the word "cat"/"cats" is the same in both the indefinite and the definite form. In Norwegian, this is done by inflecting the noun instead. Notice also that the ending 't' of the definite singular neuter is silent; it's not meant to be pronounced.

Basic Inflection PatternsEdit

Here are examples from each of the three genders. Inflection pattern is marked with bold text.

Singular Plural
Indefinite Definite Indefinite Definite
f ei skål skåla skåler skålene
m en hest hesten hester hestene
n et brev brevet brev breva/brevene

However, in Norwegian Bokmål, there's an alternative method of inflecting nouns, which basically turns feminine nouns into masculine. This is both accepted and common to do. If you choose to do this, you should also avoid using the a-form of the definite plural neuter.

When speaking, it is not unusual to mix the masculine and feminine inflection of nouns. For example, you could say: en klokke - klokka (a clock - the clock). Here, the indefinite singular form is in mascular ("en klokke" instead of "ei klokke") while the definite singular form is in feminine.

Singular Plural
Indefinite Definite Indefinite Definite
f en skål skålen skåler skålene
m en hest hesten hester hestene
n et brev brevet brev brevene

Check out Appendix 1: Advanced Noun Inflection to see all the ways the nouns can be inflected.

Definite and Indefinite ArticlesEdit

The Indefinite ArticleEdit

In English the indefinite articles are "a" and "an" (singular) or "some" (plural).

In Norwegian, the indefinite singular articles are dependent upon the gender of the noun being addressed. The indefinite plural article is the same for all genders. In the previous tables, you've already been introduced to the singular indefinite articles.

Singular Plural
f ei/en flere/noen
m en flere/noen
n et flere/noen

Personal PronounsEdit

These are very similar to the English personal pronouns. You'll quickly recognize them

Subject (nominative) Object (accusative)
Norwegian English Norwegian English
1st Person Singular Jeg I Meg Me
2nd Person Singular Du You Deg You
3rd Person Singular Han
1st Person Plural Vi We Oss Us
2nd Person Plural (also polite) Dere You Dere You
3rd Person Plural/
Polite 2nd Person Singular
De They Dem Them

The Polite 2nd Person Singular forms 'De' and 'Dem' and the Polite 2nd Person Plural form 'Dere' are always capitalized, unlike the other pronouns which follow normal rules for casing. For example, while "Jeg elsker dem" means "I love them", "Jeg elsker Dem" means "I love you". As a sidenote, the use of these polite forms is becoming rarer, and they are very seldom used in everyday language.

Both “den” and “det” mean “it”. If the noun is masculine or feminine, “den” is used, while “det” is used if the noun is neutral.


Learning verbs in Norwegian is easier than most other things you have learnt so far. Unlike English, verbs do not inflect depending on whether the subject is in plural/singular or 1st/2nd/3rd person. Here's an example - the verb "to be" and "to run":

  English Norwegian
I am      Jeg er
You are      Du er
He is      Han er
She is      Hun er
It is      Den/Det er
We are      Vi er
You are      Dere er
They are      De er
  English Norwegian
I run      Jeg løper
You run      Du løper
He runs      Han løper
She runs      Hun løper
It runs      Den/Det løper
We run      Vi løper
You run      Dere løper
They run      De løper