Norwegian Nouns and Articles

How to say a, an, the, this, that, these and those in Norwegian

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Norwegian Nouns

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 (a or an) 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 definite article (the) is not a separate word like in most other languages. It is simply a form of the indefinite article attached to the end of the noun. Note that en words ending in a vowel retain that vowel and add an -n instead of adding -en. And et words ending in -e just add -t. Furthermore, the t of et as an indefinite article is pronounced; however, the t is silent in the definite article -et attached to the noun. (For feminine nouns, the indefinite article is ei and the definite article that is attached to the noun is -a. In theory, this gender does still exist in Bokmål, but in practice, it is rarely used and the feminine nouns are inflected like masculine nouns, i.e. add -en instead of -a for the definite form.)

En words (masculine)
Indefinite
Definite
en fisk a fish fisken the fish
en baker a baker bakeren the baker
en hage a garden hagen the garden
 
Et words (neuter)
Indefinite
Definite
et vindu a window vinduet the window
et barn a child barnet the child
et hus a house huset the house

Demonstrative Adjectives

masculine denne dressen this suit den dressen that suit
neuter dette skjerfet this scarf det skjerfet that scarf
plural disse skoene these shoes de skoene those shoes

Notice that the noun that follows a demonstrative adjective must have the definite article attached to it. (The feminine form of demonstratives is identical to the masculine; denne and den.)

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




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