Norwegian Classroom:Articles and Demonstratives

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Norwegian Articles and Demonstratives

There are two indefinite articles (corresponding to a and an): en and et. En is used with most of the nouns (words denoting people almost always use en), but you will just have to learn which article goes with which noun. 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)
en fisk a fish fisken the fish
en baker a baker bakeren the baker
en hage a garden hagen the garden
Et words (neuter)
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.)
Noun conjugation

Take a look at some Norwegian nouns:

Singular Indefinite Singular Definite Plural Indefinite Plural Definite
masculine en gutt a boy gutten the boy gutter boys guttene the boys
feminine ei jente a girl jenta the girl jenter girls jentene the girls
neuter et hus a house huset the house hus houses husene the houses
From the table we can figure out the following rules:
  • The indefinite articles in Norwegian are en, ei, and et.
  • A big difference from English is that the definite article is added in the end of the word as a suffix. The singular suffixes are -en, -a, and -et. If the nouns originally ends with a vowel, you remove it before adding the suffix.

  • To make the indefinite plural in Norwegian you add the suffix -er, except for most one-syllabled neuter nouns, which often don’t get any suffix at all.

    Everything can be illustrated clearly with a table:
    Gender Singular Indefinite Singular Definite Plural Indefinite Plural Definite
    masculine en – -en -er -ene
    feminine ei – -a -er -ene
    neuter et – -et -(er) -ene
    As you can see, this is not difficult if you know the noun’s gender. Try to memorize this, and write it down if you have a notebook.
Irregular nouns
Some nouns are irregular, which means that they don’t follow the rules in table we made earlier in this lesson. This is a well known problem also in English, for example “men and “women. In both of them the vowel changes in plural, and they don’t get any -s in the end. These are the most important irregular ones in Norwegian:
man en mann mannen menn mennene
tree et tre treet trær trærne
brother en bror broren brødre brødrene
sister ei søster søstera søstre søstrene
These should just be memorized, but if you don’t bother doing that right now, you can write them down and take a look them when you need them.
Many nouns end with -er in Norwegian. These are always masculine (except “sister“, of course), and their conjugation is slightly different in plural:
player en spiller spilleren spillere spillerne

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