1.1 – The Norwegian Language

2 februar 2021 | 10 minutes

Episode’s Transcript

Hi! In this first episode, we will talk about the Norwegian language. The transcript for the episode is available at the website for the podcast; you can find a link in the description below. The episode is divided in two: First a Norwegian part, then a part in English explaining the Norwegian part and looking at some key words. Let’s start!

Det norske språket

Norsk blir snakka av fem millioner. Fem millioner mennesker snakker norsk. Det er ikke så mange. Det finnes mange språk som er større enn norsk. Norsk er et lite språk sammenligna med kinesisk, engelsk og spansk. Likevel er norsk et stort språk sammenligna med alle språkene i verden. Det finnes over 3000 språk i verden. Norsk er blant de 200 største språkene i verden. Mange språk er altså mindre enn norsk.

Hvor snakker man norsk? Nesten alle som snakker norsk bor i Norge. I Norge bor det litt over 5 millioner mennesker. Størsteparten av dem snakker norsk. De aller fleste i Norge snakker altså norsk. Det er ikke mange utenfor Norge som snakker norsk, i hvert fall ikke som morsmål. Morsmål er det samme som førstespråk. Det betyr det språket man vokser opp med. Jeg vokste opp med norsk som morsmål. Mine foreldre snakka norsk til meg da jeg var baby. Jeg lærte norsk mens jeg var liten. Norsk er altså morsmålet mitt.

Norsk er i den indo-europeiske språkfamilien. Norsk er et indo-europeisk språk. Den indo-europeiske språkfamilien er en familie av språk som er i slekt med hverandre. De indo-europeiske språkene ligner på hverandre. De fleste språkene i Europa er indo-europeiske språk. For eksempel er russisk, spansk og engelsk alle indo-europeiske språk. Innenfor den indo-europeiske språkfamilien finnes det greiner med språk. Det indo-europeiske språktreet består av flere språk-greiner, altså språkgrupper.

Norsk er en del av den germanske språkgreina. Engelsk, tysk, nederlandsk, svensk og dansk er også germanske språk. Disse språkene er altså nært i slekt med hverandre. Norsk har mange likheter med engelsk, tysk, nederlandsk og de andre germanske språkene. Norsk er likest svensk og dansk. Svensk og dansk er likere norsk enn engelsk, tysk og nederlandsk. Sverige og Danmark ligger nærmere Norge enn Tyskland, Nederland og England. Dette gjør at norsk er likere dansk og svensk. I tillegg er norsk et nord-germansk språk, og det er også svensk og dansk. Norsk, svensk og dansk kom alle ifra norrønt. Norrønt var det språket vikingene snakka i Norge, Danmark og Sverige for tusen år siden. Norsk, svensk og dansk utvikla seg fra norrønt.

The Norwegian language

So, a quick summary:

Norwegian is spoken by five million, which might sound like a small number compared to Chinese and English, but Norwegian is actually among the 200 most spoken languages in the world. There are about 3000 languages in the world. But where do they speak Norwegian? Mainly in Norway, especially when looking at natives. I am a native since my parents are Norwegian.

Norwegian is an Indo-European language together with most European languages. Within the Indo-European language family, Norwegian is a Germanic language. Other Germanic languages are Swedish, Danish, Dutch, German and English, and Norwegian share similarities with all of them. Nonetheless, Norwegian is most similar to Danish and Swedish, which is quite natural, seeing that the Scandinavian countries are so close to each other. The Scandinavian languages have the same ancestor, Norse, which was the language spoken by the Vikings one thousand years ago.


Now, let’s look at some important vocabulary:

Sammeligna med… – Compared to…

Likevel – Nevertheless

Blant – Among

Nesten alle – Almost everyone

Størsteparten – The majority

i hvert fall… – At least…/particularly…

Morsmål – Native language

Vokse opp med… – Grow up with… (childhood)

Mens – While

Altså – Therefore OR that is

I slekt med hverandre – Related to each other

Ligner på… – Similar to…

Innenfor – Within

Grein – Branch

Likheter – Similarities

Ligger nærmere… – Is closer to…

Utvikla seg fra… – Evolved from…

Thanks for listening to the the episode. You can contact me via email. The email is posted in the description below. I would recommend you to now go back to the Norwegian part and listen to it again. I hope seeing you in the next episode

31 Replies to “1.1 – The Norwegian Language”

  1. Tusen takk for en av de beste episodene dine. Ingen venstrevridd propaganada, ingen hjernevasking. Stå på!

  2. Mange takk for kjempefin episoden! Veldig interessant.

    Piotr, Jeg lagt til ordboka mi ‘hjernevasking’ 🙂

    1. Takk for det! Fint å se at du kan lære nye ord av andre kommentarer, haha!

  3. Can you tell me what “man” in *Hvor snakker man norsk?* means? That’s the fisrt time I came across this structure.

    1. Great question! “Man” is here used as an indefinite pronoun, similarly to how “one” is used in Englihs. For example: “Where does one speak Norwegian?” = “Hvor snakker man norsk?”. In Norwegian, there is also the option of using “en” as in “Hvor snakker en norsk?”. To me, it seems like these kinds of structures are more common in Norwegian than in English.

  4. Takk så mye til podcasten din. I wanted to listen to native speakers and ended up listening to Bibi Blocksberg in Norwegian on YouTube.. 🤦‍♀️. Glad to have found better material now! Looking forward to diving into the Norwegian language, culture, literature and traditions.
    Hilsen, Astrid

    1. Så kjekt å høre at podkasten er nyttig 🙂 Bibi BLocksberg might not be the most engaging material, haha. Good luck with learning Norwegian!

      Vennlig hilsen
      Marius 🙂

  5. Tusen takk for alt du har gjort med podcastene dine. De er veldig flinke til å hjelpe meg med å studere norsk og de beste norskspråklige podcastene jeg har funnet til nivelen min. Godt gjørt!

  6. Hi! I had a question: is it sammenligna, sammeligna, sammeligne or sammenligne? Is it based on dialect or is it just a typo? Great episode!

    1. It is “å sammenligne” og “har sammenligna” (past tense). You can also say “sammenlignet” for past tense. Sammeligne or sammeligna are typos.

  7. Why is it ” den indo-europeiske sprakfamilien” and “det indo-europeiske spraktreet”? “Familien” and “treet” already have -en and -et in the end, why is it necessary to wite den or det in the beginning of the sentence?

    1. That is just how Norwegian works. In this case, it works similarly to “the” in English, and the ending of the words have to agree with this (definite case). But I can’t really give you a good answer as to why Norwegian works like this.

  8. Thank you so much for making this available! This is exactly what I have been looking for!

  9. Thank you so much, Marius, for making this podcast! This is a wonderful and informative resource. I have a few questions about this episode, hope that you can clarify them for me if you have the time.
    1. I notice that some regular verbs have both -a and -et as suffixes for preterite (for example, snakka-snakket, utvikla-utviklet). Is this a regional differences or something else? And which one is used more often?
    2. What’s the difference between ifra and fra, for example, in terms of usages?

    1. 1. You can choose one or the other; there is no difference in meaning or usage. “-et” is often seen as more formal, whereas people tend to use “-a” while speaking. However, I prefer to use “-a” myself as it’s what I use in my dialect and also the form that is used in Nynorsk.
      2. I recommend this article which explains it really well: https://toppnorsk.com/2020/07/09/fra-ifra-gjennom-igjennom-osv/

      1. Hello Marius,
        First of all, thank you for the beginner podcast it’s alredy proven invaluable to me and I have only listened to the 1st 2. I am also loving the comments.
        On this one about fra and ifra (1st time I had even heard of ifra), doesn’t the use in the podcast “Norsk, svensk og dansk kom alle ifra norrønt.” go against the “rule” mentioned in the post on Toppnorsk mentioned above?
        It seems to be that ifra, here, is a preposition and not an adverb and therefore should be “uten i”.
        Not that it really matters since I gathered there is no hard and fast rule about it but I am interested to see if I understood the article on Toppnorsk and ifra here is actually a preposition.
        Thanks again for all your work,

  10. ¡Hola Marius!

    Muchísimas gracias por todos estos contenidos. Ten por seguro que pienso darles buen uso para mejorar mi nivel de noruego.

    ¡Feliz Año 2023!

  11. Tusen takk for making this podcast and being able to put the transcript. It helps me to learn Norwegian cause I’m a beginner!

  12. This is a very helpful podcast! My listening skills are nowhere near my +- B1/B2 reading/understanding skills. Love it. Thumbs up and keep doing them 🙂

  13. Excellent resource Marius for beginners. Most beginners courses follow the same pattern of instruction, at the airport, at the shops, visit to the doctors etc. Very boring, don’t really encourage the learner to push themselves with their studies. Although it’s only been a couple of weeks since I started learning Norwegian, I’m really looking forward to working with these podcasts!
    Tusen takk 🙏

  14. Hey, thank you for this podcast! Sometimes I find it difficult to understand spoken Norwegian because some words/phrases get glued or shortened together. For example, your third sentence “det er ikke så mange”: when you read it slowly, the pronunciation is clear. The second time, however, you read the phrase as “de’k så mange”. I haven’t found any guide, list or rules for the most common shortened phrases. Does anyone know one? Or could you create one? Tusen takk.

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