Norwegian Nouns

Norwegian nouns: Gender and Plural

Nouns in Norwegian (Bokmål) have two genders, masculine and neuter, which adjectives must agree with when modifying nouns. Technically there is a third gender, feminine (which Nynorsk retains), but since feminine nouns can be written as masculine nouns, I’m including feminine nouns in the masculine category. There are two indefinite articles that correspond with these genders: en for masculine nouns and et for neuter nouns. In the vocabulary lists, a noun followed by (n) means that it is a neuter noun and it takes the indefinite article et. The majority of nouns in Norwegian are masculine, so they take the indefinite article en.

The only case of nouns that is used in Norwegian is the genitive (showing possession), and it is easily formed by adding an -s to the noun. This is comparable to adding -‘s in English to show possession. However, if the noun already ends in -s, then you add nothing (unlike English where we add -‘ or -‘s).

Olavs hus = Olav’s house

Plural Nouns in Norwegian

Masculine nouns generally add -er or -r to the indefinite singular noun to form the indefinite plural, and -ene or -ne to form the definite plural. The names of jobs ending in -er only add -e and -ne in these cases. Neuter nouns that are more than one syllable form plural nouns the same way as masculine nouns. Neuter nouns that are only one syllable, however, add nothing to form the indefinite plural and either -ene or -a to form the definite plural.

Singular
Indefinite Plural
Definite Plural
en fisk fisker some fish fiskene the fishes
en hage hager some gardens hagene the gardens
en baker bakere some bakers bakerne the bakers
et vindu
vinduer some windows vinduene the windows
et hus hus some houses husene the houses
et barn barn some children barna the children

Irregular plural nouns in Norwegian

Singular
Irregular Indefinite Plural
Singular = Indefinite Plural
and ender duck(s) angrep (n) attack(s)
bok bøker book(s) besøk (n) visit(s)
bonde bønder peasant(s) eventyr (n) tale(s), story(ies)
fot føtter foot(feet) feil error(s), mistake(s)
hånd hender hand(s) forhold circumstance(s)
håndkle håndklær hand towel(s) høve (n) opportunity(ies)
kne (n) knær knee(s) kreps crawfish(es)
kraft krefter strength mus mouse(s)
ku kyr cow(s) mygg mosquito(es)
natt netter night(s) sild herring(s)
mann menn man(men) sko shoe(s)
rand render edge(s) spiker nail(s)
rot røtter root(s) ting thing(s)
sted (n) steder place(s) våpen weapon(s)
stang stenger bar(s)
strand strender beach(es)
tang tenger pincher(s)
tann tenner tooth(teeth)
tre trær tree(s)
tær toe(s)
øye øyne eye(s)



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Dr. Jennifer Wagner

PhD in Applied Linguistics, ESL/French teacher, author of two French books, and helping others to learn languages online at ielanguages.com.