Learning Norwegian Starts Here

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English is the official language of both the company I'm going to work for and the project I'll be working on. But I want to make a real effort to learn Norwegian (strictly speaking Bokmål, the more widely spoken of the two Norwegian languages), to help me outside of work, even though most people in Oslo seem to speak pretty good English.

I've never seriously tried to learn a language outside of school, so I have no idea how I'll get on. At school I took to German more easily than French, which is a good sign as Norwegian is of the Germanic family.

Numbers, days of the week, greetings, yeah yeah in time. First I want to learn the important things:

The meatballs were great – Kjøttkaker var fint!

I don't want any brisket – Jeg ønsker ikke bryst kasse

How much? – Hva koster det?

Waiter! I'd like the roast reindeer – Servitør! Jeg vil gjerne ha reinsdyrstek

Wayne Rooney is a dickhead – Wayne Rooney er en Kukhode

Leave me alone! – vær så snill å la meg være i fred

That should get me off to a good start.

(thanks to Wendy for the corrections!)

About David Nikel

Originally from the UK, David now lives in Trondheim and was the original founder of Life in Norway back in 2011. He now works as a professional writer on all things Scandinavia.

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9 thoughts on “Learning Norwegian Starts Here”

  1. I’d like the roast reindeer – jeg skal ha/spise reinsdyr


    Most important phrases.

    “to øl, takk”

    or, when Dave is there as well,

    “tre øl, takk”


  2. I know what they mean without even needing to look it up. I am making progress.

    Now all I need is “Cheers”, “Fill em up”, “Same again”… and I’ll be sorted =)

  3. skål! = cheers (kinda pronounced like Skol as in the lager you used to get in UK… The one with the viking advertising 😉 )

    en til = 1 more
    to til = 2 more
    tre til = 3 more…


  4. Surely you mean:

    How much?… HOW MUCH?!!! Ohmygod, ohmygod…

    A high, strangled voice when picking up bills is the correct way. After a while, a sigh of resignation.

  5. I stumbled across this blog. I’m a Norwegian who has been living in several countries. I’m currently living in the US. I find this blog very nice and I give you kudos for trying to learn my native language. This was posted a while ago, but I’m sure you have noticed a few other mistakes here.
    -Kukhode is neutral, so et kukhode, without captial K (nasty word by the way, hehe).

    The meatballs were great = Kjøttkakene var gode
    “brystkasse” is spelled as one word
    I’d also leave out “vær så snill” in the leave me alone phrase. “La meg være i fred” is enough, depends on the context of course.

  6. Bokmål and Nynorsk are only written standards, they’re not spoken languages.

    What they teach foreigners is referred to as “Standard Eastern Norwegian” i.e. the dialect spoken around Greater Oslo.

    • Hi Andrew, I discovered this early on in my journey and blogged about it here.

      Thanks for your comment. It sounds like you would be interested in a new forum for expats currently being developed – XPAT.no – we are actively seeking contributors to the Knowledge Base particularly about language.


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