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Norwegian is a North Germanic Language spoken in Norway. It is a decedent of Old West Norse.

Spoken in: Norway (Norge /(Nynosrk) Noreg)
Conworld: Real world
Total speakers: 4.8 million native.
Genealogical classification: Indo-European
North Germanic
     West Old Norse
Basic word order: SVO, OVS/V2
Morphological type: Isolating (mostly)
Morphosyntactic alignment: nominative-accusative
Writing system:
Created by:
unknown 1525 C.E.


The primary location where Norwegian is spoken is in Norway. The name Norway in English comes from the Anglo-Saxon name Norðweg meaning North-way. This is also seen in Old Norse in the word Norðmaðr which means both North-man and Norwegian (in that sense they might be one in the same).

Norsk svensk and dansk.png

Norwegian has two standards, Nynorsk and the more popular written variation Bokmål. Norwegian Orthography is very close to that of Danish, because for a long time the Danish had control over Norway. However, the spoken language is closer to Swedish. This means Swedish and Norwegian people would more easily understand each other in conversation, while Danish and Norwegian people would better understand each other's written languages. Danish speakers can understand Norwegian better than the reverse, due to Norwegian having a different phonetic structure to orthographic spellings. This makes Norwegian as a language dead center between Swedish and Danish.

Phonetics and Phonology


Bilabial Labiod. Alveolar Post-alv. Retroflex Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ɳ ŋ
Plosive p b t d ʈ ɖ k g
Fricative f v s ʃ ʂ ç h
Affricate ʦ (ʧ)
Approximants j
Trill r (ɽ) (ʀ)
Lateral Approximant l ɭ


  • Most of the letters are identical with their IPA equivalents, such as: b, p, t, d, f, v, j, h, s, l, r, m, and n.
  • When an r is in front of another consonant, it can make it retroflex these include rs /ʂ/, rt /ʈ/, rd /ɖ/, rl /ɭ/, and rn /ɳ/. This also differs by dialect, and can result in /ʀs/ /ʀt/, /ʀd/, /ʀl/, and /ʀn/ are used.
  • The orthographic k is pronounced /k/ except when in front of a i /i/, y /y/ or j /j/, where it becomes a /ç/. tj is also pronounced /ç/.
  • w is pronounced /v/.
  • sk is pronounced /sk/ except when in front of i /i/, y /y/, or j /j/, where it becomes /ʃ/ (except in some dialects). sj is also pronounced /ʃ/.
  • g is pronounced /g/ except when in front of i /i/, y /y/, or j /j/, where it becomes /j/. At the end of a word, g is often either not pronounced or becomes a /j/ sound.
  • In some dialects /v/ is pronounced /ʋ/ instead.


Front Central Back
Unround Rounded Unrounded Rounded
High iː - i yː - y ʉː - ʉ
Mid eː - e/ɛ øː - ø ə oː - o /ɔː - ɔ
Low æː - æ aː - a
All entries are: Long - Short

In Norwegian there is a separation between Long and Short vowels. There are minimal pairs such as tak /taːk/ roof, verse takk /tak/ thanks.

  • y is /yː/ and /y/.
  • ø is /øː/ and /ø/.
  • e is /eː/, /e/, /ɛ/, or /ə/.
  • i is /iː/ and /i/.
  • u is /ʉː/ and /ʉ/.
  • o is /uː/, /oː/ and occasionally /ɔ/.
  • a is /ɑː/ and /ɑ/.
  • æ is /æː/ and /æ/.
  • å is /ɔː/ and /ɔ/.




Norwegian originally had three genders, Masculine, Feminine, and Neuter. However, in many of the later stages and most of the modern dialects, the Masculine and Feminine genders have merged into a Common gender. However, even in Bokmål the feminine gender does occasionally exist. Because around 75% of nouns were once Masculine or Feminine, that is the amount which is Common, leaving 25% for the Neuter gender. The feminine gender does in


There are two numbers in Norwegian: Singular and Plural. Singular is the usual state of the noun, and the form found in the dictionary. The Plural is formed by adding -er to the end of the noun. In neuter nouns with one syllable, the plural can be identical to the singular.


There are two types of articles for English, Indefinite and Definite. The number also comes into play, the indefinite plural is mentioned above. The definite articles in Norwegian are attached to the end of the noun. The indefinite article would go before the noun. The Common form is en, and et for the Neuter form. So to say a dog it is en hund, and the dog is hunden. And to say a hotel it is et hotell, and the hotel is hotellet. In the plural, the informal ending is -er and the formal ending is -ene. So to say dogs it is hunder, and the dogs is hundene. And to say hotels it is hoteller, and the hotels is hotellene. In monosyllabic neuter nouns, the indefinite plural ending -er is not present, though all other forms are. So the singular form in the indefinite of a house is et hus and the plural indefinite form of house is just hus, with the definite being huset and husene in the plural. Quite a few Norwegian nouns have a irregular forms.


Old Norse, like its (sometimes distant) relatives Old English, Icelandic, and High German, had a complex series of cases that would be used for every noun. All of them had around four (Old English had the remnants of a 5th, which later died away) and were as follows: Nominative (subject), Accusative (direct object), Dative (indirect object), and Genitive (possessives). However, in modern Norwegian, like Danish and Swedish, the first three cases were merged into one, and the Genitive somehow survived (like in Modern English). The ending, similar to English, is -s.

Noun Paradigm

Indef. sing. Def. sing. Indef. pl. Def. pl.
Common en hund hunden hunder hundene
Neuter polysyllabic et hotell hotellet hoteller hotellene
Nt. Monosyllabic et hus huset hus husene


Adjectives agree with nouns according to gender, definiteness, and number. There is a Common indefinite, Neuter indefinite, and everything else (which all have the same form). The common indefinite form is usually the root of the adjective. The Neuter indefinite article often has an ending of -t. For everything else, such as indefinite plural, definite plural, definite common, and definite neuter, the ending -e is the regular ending. There are several forms which do not take the proper endings, such as forms which end with -ig or in most cases, -sk which don't have a neuter indefinite form, but does have the -e in the plural. There are also those which add -tt in the neuter indefinite, especially if its stem ends in a vowel and the vowel length must be preserved. Some have to convert the last consonant in words ending with two consonants, into a t. An example might be sunn to sunt.

Adjectives with articles

In the cases of the indefinite article, the normal article is added before the adjective, such as en god hund, et godt hotell, or gode hunder . However, in the definite cases, something new is added. In these cases, a definite article is used before the adjective. The normal definite article is added to the end, as well as this additional article. So the examples above become de gode hunden, det gode hotellet or de gode hundene.

Adjective Paradigm

Using god good.

Indef. sing. Def. sing. Indef. pl. Def. pl.
Common en god hund den gode hunden gode hunder de gode hundene
Neuter polysyllabic et godt hotell det gode hotellet gode hoteller de gode hotellene
Nt. Monosyllabic et godt hus det gode huset gode hus de gode husene


Most adverbs that are formed from Adjectives use the neuter form, so god good, becomes godt well. Another major ending for adverbs is -vis, with examples such as gradvis gradually. There are several other adverbs which have their own specific meanings and usages, such as the negation ikke not, now, lenge long, and alltid always.

Some adverbs change form depending on if the verb is a verb of motion or not. Most of the differences involve the suffix -e, but others such as her vs. hit here and der vs. dit there are a bit more irregular. Examples of this might be:
Komm hit! Come here! Jeg er her. I am here.


Subject Pronouns

Singular Plural
First jeg vi
Second du dere
Third Masculine han de
Third Feminine hun de
Third Common/Neuter den/det de

Object Pronouns

Singular Plural
First meg oss
Second deg dere
Third Masculine ham dem
Third Feminine henne dem
Third Common/Neuter den/det dem

Reflexive Pronouns

Singular Plural
First meg oss
Second deg dere
Third seg seg


The following is a list of prepositions:
av - of, from, by
blant - among, belong to
etter - after,
for - for,
fra - from
før - before
hos - at, with
i - in
med - with
mellom - between
mot - against, towards
om - about, around, concerning
over - over
- on, in
til - until
under - under, during
ved - at, with by


Coordinating Conjunctions

og - and
men - but
eller - or
for - for, because
samt- as well as
både...og - both...and
enten...eller - either...or
hverken...eller - neither...nor

Subordinating Conjunctions

at - that
da - as, when
fordi - because
siden - since
ettersom -since
dersom - in the case that
hvis - if
med mindre - unless
om - if, whether
skjønt - although
enskjønt - although
selv om - even if, even though,
når - when(ever)
etter at - after
før - before
innen - before, until
mens - while
fra - from, forth
så lenge som - as long as
for at - so that
- so that, so
så at - so that
silk at - such that
enn - than - the...the
Likesom - like
som - as, like
som om - as if
så...som -


Main Articles: Norwegian Verbs <i>
The infinitive in most Norwegian verbs is formed by the root and å before it (similar to English to) and by adding -e unless the word has one syllable, i.e. å kjøpe to buy, å skrive to write, å like to like, and å prøve to try. There are quite a few exceptions to this rule, such as if the root of the verb is different than the infinitive form (irregular), such as å være (to be, whose present form is er). For monosyllabic verbs, the root is the form given, and since almost all Norwegian verbs end with a vowel, these usually don't need the -e suffix. Examples include å se to see, å bo to live.

Four Classes
  • The first form, or class I, is a large class of verb and includes most verbs with the stem having a double consonant (gemminated or not) at the end.
  • Another large class is class II, which has a long vowel and a single consonant in the stem. Many in this category can end with ll, mm, nn, ld, or nd. The gemminated ones often drop the second one in the past tense.
  • Class III ends with a diphthong or -g or -v.
  • Class IV ends with a stressed vowel.


Norwegian verbs are not distinctive according to person and number in the subject. This means that the subject is required in order for the sentence to be understood. The verbs å være to be and å ha to have are important verbs that also do not make a distinction according to person and number. A few verbs have irregular forms in the present tense. Here are some examples, one from each of the four classes, with pronouns included:

Present tense
Infinitive å snakke to speak å like to like å prøve to try å bo to live
sing. pl. sing. pl. sing. pl. sing. pl.
1st person jeg snakker vi snakker jeg liker vi liker jeg prøver vi prøver jeg bor vi bor
2nd person du snakker dere snakker du liker dere liker du prøver dere prøver du bor dere bor
3rd person han/hun snakker de snakker han/hun liker de liker han/hun prøver de prøver han/hun bor de bor


The future tense is formed in Norwegian in a similar way to the way it is formed in English. It uses modal verbs, specially vil and skal, which are related to English will and shall. The former, vil which is related to German wollen as well, means more along the lines of want in the future tense, and shall is more like apathetic in nature. The expression kommer til å is another one used to express the future tense, which is equivalent to English to be going to. Here are the samples using the same verbs above.

Future tense
Infinitive å snakke to speak å like to like å prøve to try å bo to live
sing. pl. sing. pl. sing. pl. sing. pl.
1st person jeg skal snakke vi skal snakke jeg skal like vi skal like jeg skal prøve vi skal prøve jeg skal bo vi skal bo
2nd person du skal snakke dere skal snakke du skal like dere skal like du skal prøve dere skal prøve du skal bo dere skal bo
3rd person han/hun skal snakke de skal snakke han/hun skal like de skal like han/hun skal prøve de skal prøve han/hun skal bo de skal bo

Simple Past

This is used in a way similar to English

Past tense
Infinitive å snakke to speak å like to like å prøve to try å bo to live
sing. pl. sing. pl. sing. pl. sing. pl.
1st person jeg snakket† vi snakket jeg likte vi likte jeg prøvde vi prøvde jeg bodde vi bodde
2nd person du snakket dere snakket du likte dere likte du prøvde dere prøvde du bodde dere bodde
3rd person han/hun snakket de snakket han/hun likte de likte han/hun prøvde de prøvde han/hun bodde de bodde

†And alternate ending is -a instead of -et.

Present Perfect

The perfect tense is used with the verb ha + verb form.

Present Perfect tense
Infinitive å snakke to speak å like to like å prøve to try å bo to live
sing. pl. sing. pl. sing. pl. sing. pl.
1st person jeg har snakket vi har snakket jeg har likt vi har likt jeg har prøvd vi har prøvd jeg har bodd vi har bodd
2nd person dere har snakket du har likt dere har likt du har prøvd dere har prøvd du har bodd dere har bodd
3rd person han/hun har snakket de har snakket han/hun har likt de har likt han/hun har prøvd de har prøvd han/hun har bodd de har bodd

Passive Voice

The passive voice is formed two different ways in Norwegian. The first involves an auxiliary verb, å bli, meaning become or remain, and the past participle of the verb. The other way involves adding -s to the end of the verb.
With å bli:

Passive compound construction
Infinitive å snakke to speak å like to like å prøve to try å bo to live
sing. pl. sing. pl. sing. pl. sing. pl.
1st person jeg blir snakket vi blir snakket jeg blir likt vi blir likt jeg blir prøvd vi blir prøvd jeg blir bodd vi blir bodd
2nd person du blir snakket dere blir snakket du blir likt dere blir likt du blir prøvd dere blir prøvd du blir bodd dere blir bodd
3rd person han/hun blir snakket de blir snakket han/hun blir likt de blir likt han/hun blir prøvd de blir prøvd han/hun blir bodd de blir bodd

With -s:

Passive voice
Infinitive å snakke to speak å like to like å prøve to try å bo to live
sing. pl. sing. pl. sing. pl. sing. pl.
1st person jeg snakkes vi snakkes jeg likes vi likes jeg prøves vi prøves jeg bos vi bos
2nd person du snakkes dere snakkes du likes dere likes du prøves dere prøves du bos dere bos
3rd person han/hun snakkes de snakkes han/hun likes de likes han/hun prøves de prøves han/hun bos de bos

Modals and Auxiliaries

The Modal verbs and Auxiliaries have few forms, but they do including infinitives and past tenses. The Auxiliaries are necessary for a lot of things such as the perfect and passive formations They are as follows:

English Infinitive Present Past Perfect
to ought to, should å burde bør burde å ha burdet
to need to å få får fikk å ha fått
To be able, can å kunne kan kunne å ha hunnet
to have to, must å måtte måtte å ha måttet
shall, will, should å skulle skal skulle å ha skullet
to dare to å tore tør torde å ha tort
to want, will å ville vil ville å ha villet
to have å ha har hadde å ha hatt
to be å være er var å ha vært
to become å bli blir ble å ha blitt

Sources and Links

Janus, Louis. Norwegian: Verbs & Essentials of Grammar 1999. McGraw-hill.

This page is by Timothy Patrick Snyder

This article is one of quite a few pages about Natlangs.

Indo-european natlangs:

Balto-Slavic Natlangs: Czech * Russian
Celtic Natlangs: Revived Middle Cornish * Pictish
Germanic Natlangs:
North Germanic Natlangs: Norwegian
West Germanic Natlangs: Anglo-Saxon * Dutch * English (Old English * Middle English * Modern English * Scots) * German (High German * Low German)
Indo-Iranian Natlangs: Pahlavi
Italic Natlangs: French * Italian * Latin * Spanish
Debated: Cimmerian

Uralic Natlangs: Finnish * Khanty * Mansi * Mordvinic * Proto-Uralic
Altaic (controversial): Japanese
Sino-Tibetan Natlangs:
Uto-Aztecan Natlangs: Nahuatl


Isolate Natlangs: Basque * *
Hypothetical/debated Natlangs and Natlang families: Danubian * Europic (obsolete)