Publisert av: For the Little Prince - Per | mars 9, 2008

Starting a List of Speaking Tips for the Norwegian Language

Speaking Tips for the Norwegian Language 2ndDraft


If you call a taxi in Hamar, you are ‘på Hamar‘.

You are on top of it, but it’s o.k. to be on top of Hamar.

If you call a taxi in Bergen, you are ‘i Bergen‘. [ i= long e]

You are within the city limits. And, that’s o.k., too.

If you tell the taxi driver that you are ‘på skole’,

that is o.k.

If you tell the taxi driver that you are ‘på banken’,

that is o.k.

If you tell the taxi driver that you are ‘på kino‘,

that is o.k.

But, please don’t call a taxi from the top of the theatre or ‘på

teatre‘. If you tell the taxi driver that you are going ‘

teatre‘, he is going to call the fire department. ‘På teatre‘ is on

top of the theatre. ‘I teatre‘ is going to the ‘teatre’. Remember:

King Kong sits on top of buildings.

You can’t and you won’t and you shouldn’t. Don’t do it.


You may want to learn the difference between ‘i’ and ‘‘:


I think that the best rule of thumb is that in the city,

we use the word ‘i’ to describe where we are.

In the country, or inland, we use the word ‘‘ to describe

where we are. If you are sitting in the middle of a farm,

you are ‘på gård’. If you are at a museum in Oslo, you are ‘i



In America, we go on trips. In Norway, they walk or

‘ to and from places. But, Norwegians don’t ‘GÅ’ to far-

away places in Norway. In Norway, to go or a gå means to

walk. It never means to travel.


TO GO is associated with walking, driving, flying, biking and

hiking in America. In Norway, ‘GÅ’ has limited functions.

If you say that you will ‘GÅ’ to Norway, there is an

implication that you can WALK on water. You can

NEVER ‘‘ to Norway, you must fly. And, if you take a

/FLEA/ to Norway, that is entirely alright. A /FLEA/

is a plane in Norway. The spelling is different, however.

[Plane=fly] It is pronounced like the word ‘flea’.




Don’t start walking right off the bat when you get to Norway.

Ask the taxi or bus driver to get you where you want to go.

It is a long way from Stavanger to Oslo!


Another rule of thumb:

Walking is for parks and picnics. You ‘gå’ to and from and [you

gå] around a park. You can not ‘gå’ from Oslo to Bergen any

more. You must take the train.


But, also remember, that if the distance is LESS than

five miles, you had better get on your walking shoes!

Norwegians and Norwegian-Americans have differing opinions

on what is considered strenuous exercise.


You can run into some logistical nightmares

if you offer to walk places, ‘å gå til noen steder’, when you

probably need to hire a taxi. Go to church, go to school,

go to the bank, go to the theatre but don’t GÅ to Sweden.

Du trenger til å kjøre bil til Sverige.

You need to drive a car to Sweden.

[Examples coming soon to a website near you]


Be careful when you get in the habit of repeating every

phrase you hear just because some one else says it.

When you greet and meet: Hei, hei! God Morgen! God

Natt! God Aften! Hvordan går det? Hei pa deg! are acceptable.

‘Takk for sist’ is fine for some one you know.

It is not acceptable for new friends or acquaintances.

This is because ‘Takk for sist!‘ means ‘Thanks for the last

time!’ And, since you’ve never met before, ‘Takk for nå

is the best choice of words. Thanks for now. But, be careful.

‘Takk for noe….’ means ‘thanks for something’. No big deal.


The other reason to use words and phrases with caution is

that some words and phrases are slang and some words and

phrases are proper Norwegian.

‘Jeg gi ikke blaffen!’ means I don’t give a damn. [Sorry!]

Don’t say it at a church picnic in Norway. There is a

better phrase. ‘Det er ingen årsak!’ is the best way to say,

‘It’s no big deal.’ Perhaps, you could use it to say, ‘No worries!’

‘Ti stille’ might mean ‘be quiet’ to you, and it might mean

‘Shut up, you idiot!’ to another. Just wanted you to know.


Don’t repeat what little kids say either. Remember

when it was fun to have a foreigner say a REALLY dirty

word or phrase. It’s still fun.

«You’ll never know the trouble you’re in…..»

(To the tune of: «You’ll never know the trouble I’ve seen….»)


Don’t repeat your Grandpa’s Norwegian in church.

Maybe Grandma used her Norwegian on special days as well.

Remember that many Norwegian-American grandparents

said things in Norwegian as a way to keep the children ‘in the

dark’. Some kids figured the words out and passed them on to

their own kids. Many words were just not very nice.


Our grandparents probably learned to swear in Norwegian

first, and then then they went to Confirmation Classes which

was also taught in Norwegian.


A helpful tip: ‘Fuglen basher pa tunge!

is a nice way to say ‘Keep your tongue in your mouth.’ ‘Don’t

stick out your tongue at me.’ But, remember

that it also literally means, ‘The bird will poop on your tongue;

keep it in your mouth.’

Why would you say that to little kids? Why?! :O


Some things are funny when you tell a story. ‘You’d never

believe what I said in Norway!’ is commonly heard. But,

when you are giving a presentation at a Norwegian University

class or when you are speaking at a wedding or funeral, it

helps to know what is correct grammar and what is not.

has shared some of her very own discoveries while

in America. Those Norwegian-Americans can really get

themselves in a pickle. Translate that!


I will never forget seeing people bursting out laughing when

I was dead serious regarding this, that or another topic.

Sometimes the words that I said could not be

translated easily because the words were RATED R.

‘Don’t ask what you said’ is good advice. Laughter is good for

people. Consider this: You just gave them a gift of endorphins.


I will ALWAYS be learning and I am HUMBLE enough to

admit that there is always the chance that I may put my

foot in my mouth.


My friends will giggle and they can’t wait to tell you about the

time I was caught [saying] ‘washing my face in the toilet’.

There is a difference between ‘du’en‘ and ‘vaskeromet’. It is

the difference between washing your face in the toilet or

washing your face in the bathroom[sink]. Du’en is the

American word for can. Remember when it was cool to hang

out in ‘the can’. You can do it, but don’t wash your face in it.

Vaskeromet is the word for bathroom.


When you are done eating, never admit to all of the liquor

that you have consumed in a day! Just say, ‘Takk for

maten. ‘ Saying, ‘Jeg er full‘ suggests that you are very

drunk. I know that we say, ‘I am full’, often here. Det var

deilig. That was delicious. Jeg har det godt. (I have it fine.) I’m

good. Takk for maten. Thanks for food. Jeg er full. I am very

intoxicated. Det var deilig. That was delicious. Remember that

Det var darlig means ‘That was awful’. Det var darlig can be

easily interchanged with Det var deilig. That was delicious.

Please don’t insult the cook.


Vær forsiktig! Be careful. You are walking on egg shells. ‘Du

går på egg shells’. But, don’t say that because it doesn’t mean

any thing to those Norwegian folks.

(I’ll find the equivalent a bit later, thanks.)


Here is a list of words you probably shouldn’t say, not because

they are bad words but, because our pronunciation is so poor.

Your Norwegian friends will likely blush.

might be able to help me finish this list.

I’ll ask her.


Clothing styles in Norway are similar to those in other

European countries. Clothing in Europe is influenced by those

countries that are closest to where they live. England, Sweden,

Spain and Italy have a greater impact on Europeans styles

than American clothing. You could say that Americans are

wearing ‘the hand-me-downs’ of the fashion world. You would

have to see it to understand. I didn’t really believe the

people who told me either.


Note to self:

Shorter than five miles-walk. Longer than five miles-don’t.


You take a taxi, bus or plane for longer distances.


Also; remember that it is FAVORABLE for natives

and foreigners in Norway to walk if the distance is

shorter than FIVE miles. You may ride your bike,

which I did overseas, but it is customary to WALK,

WALK, WALK every where you go.

————————————————————– ©2008 Sandy S. Zoo


In Norway, the words for affection are used differently.

To love or ‘å ‘ is something reserved for children, parents,

siblings, and grandparents.

To like or ‘å like’ is something that is actually closer to

the phrase we use meaning to love-‘å like’.


This is my first draft. I will go through and collect the extra

pieces of punctuation at a later date. Takk!


My favorite children’s rhyme:

Det var en gang, en mann som kom klappende, trappende

opp over bakken og tar lille Peter i nakken.


Once upon a time, a man came climbing the stairs up over

the back and [tar] tickled the little boy on his neck. Cute!


Sandy S. Zoo©2008


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