Dialogue - Norwegian



gjøre do
hva what
businessreise business trip
jeg I
å hete to be called
du you
ferie vacation
her here
hyggelig pleasant (Nice to meet you)
å være to be

Lesson Notes



The Focus of This Lesson Is Basic Introductions.
Hei, jeg heter Kjersti. Jeg er på ferie.
"Hi, my name is Kjersti. I am on vacation."

First off, if you followed our Absolute Beginner Series, then you might already be familiar with or remember how to introduce yourself in Norwegian.

It can be as easy as simply saying your name while shaking the other person's hand, or you can elaborate on the introduction by adding words or phrases like Jeg er... ("I am..."), Jeg heter... ("I am called..."), or Mitt navn er... ("My name is..."). The common way we Norwegians introduce ourselves is simply by saying our name or using Jeg heter. Of course, adding a hei ("hi") first is always good practice.

After our name, we usually add either hyggelig å møte deg ("nice to meet you"), or the shorter form, hyggelig ("pleasant"), to add a bit more courtesy. Norwegians don't always include this extra phrase; we do it when we feel comfortable and like being pleasant.

For Example:

  1. Hei, Kjersti. Hyggelig.
    "Hi, Kjersti. Pleased to meet you."
  2. Hei, jeg er Ole.
    "Hi, I am Ole."
  3. Hei, jeg heter Kjersti. Hyggelig å møte deg.
    "Hi, my name is Kjersti. Nice to meet you."
  4. Hei, mitt navn er Ole. Hyggelig.
    "Hi, my name is Ole. Pleased to meet you."

It's fairly easy to understand how this works, and it's best to think of them as phrases, as some of these aren't full sentences, and some words have very specific meanings applied to this context. That means you shouldn't try to break up these sentences and use some of the words or word orders in other sentences as it might end up not making any sense in another context. For example, a common greeting Hei, Kjersti, heter jeg changes the whole sentence structure from what you are used to. It's like listening to Yoda saying "Hi, Kjersti, named am I." It is perfectly OK to use this greeting, but in any other context, this would just confuse people.

For Example:

  1. Hei, Ole, heter jeg.
    "Hi, Ole, named am I." ("Hi, I am called Ole.")
  2. Bussjåfør er jeg.
    "Bus driver am I."

The first greeting is perfectly safe when introducing yourself. The latter only makes sense in one very specific context, which we would have to explain at a later stage. Otherwise, the latter sentence would only sound weird to the listener.

Cultural Insights

Watch Your Tone When Speaking Norwegian

It is funny how we look at formal language and informal language in Norwegian. Most foreigners tend to be very formal when speaking Norwegian in order to sound polite. However, most Norwegians speak with their feelings. That isn't to say that when we're happy we become formal, but when we're angry, we get very informal. It's partly true that Norwegian depends heavily on body language and tone when speaking. If your tone is light, your language can still be informal but sound pleasing to the listener. And if your tone is really condescending, not even the most formal language will please the listener. That's why when you speak Norwegian, don't think so much of how formal your vocabulary is; instead, think of your body language and the tone you speak in.

Lesson Transcript

Filip: Hi everyone, I am Filip.
Becky: And I’m Becky. Welcome to NorwegianClass101.com. This is Lower Beginner, Season 1, Lesson 1 - Reviewing the Norwegian Basics. This series is aimed at continuing slowly from the Absolute Beginner Series, and you will learn a little more about the workings of Norwegian.
Filip: We will introduce a new main character in this series, Kjersti. We will follow her as we proceed through the series.
Becky: This first lesson is aimed at being a more in-depth review of some of the basics of introducing yourself. For those of you that have gone through the Absolute Beginner series, you might remember some of what we cover here.
Filip: And for the new listeners - don’t worry! This will be easy to follow. In the conversation, Kjersti is introducing herself to a stranger on the train. They are using casual Norwegian.
Becky: Let’s listen to the conversation.
Becky: That wasn't too hard to understand, I hope!
Filip: Not at all. But it’s nice to know, and you’ll learn all about it in this lesson. But when Norwegians speak to each other we are not so concerned with how formal our language is, but instead how our body language and tone would be perceived by the other person.
Becky: Right, so what you’re saying is that in this conversation, there isn't that much formal language.
Filip: No, it’s quite casual, especially from Kjersti’s side. There are no really formal phrases used in the dialogue, even though that would be natural in some other languages.
Becky: So basically, it’s a lot like English, and the common ways of greeting each other in native English-speaking countries. The emphasis lies more on body language and tone, rather than on using formal phrases and words.
Filip: Exactly. Norwegians often observe the body language of the speaker, because it is a better indication of the speaker’s mood and intentions than their language is.
Becky: So keep that in mind, listeners. Ok, now it’s time for the vocab.
Becky: Let's have a closer look at the usage for some of the words and phrases from this lesson. Since this is the first lesson in this series, let’s go over some of the vocab items with several meanings attached to them.
Filip: ‘Hyggelig’ is one of these. ‘Hyggelig’ is an adjective...
Becky: ... Which means “pleasant” or “nice”. But when used between people introducing themselves, it takes on the meaning of the phrase...
Filip: ‘Hyggelig å møte deg.’
Becky: “Nice to meet you.” It’s a shorter and more casual way of saying this phrase.
Filip: As we mentioned, casual Norwegian doesn't mean its rude. People tend to find it a bit easier to use casual speech, and the receiver reads the tone and the body language to figure out how to respond.
Becky: Our next word is...
Filip: Å være.
Becky: “To be”. The hard part about this verb is that it is irregular, and thus conjugated in an unusual way.
Filip: ‘Å være’. Conjugates as ‘er’ in present tense and ‘var’ in past tense.
Becky: Let’s look at some of the examples here.
Filip: First we have the infinitive. ‘Kan du være her.’
Becky: Which means “can you stay/be here?”
Filip: Next is present tense. ‘Jeg er her.’
Becky: Which means “I am here”.
Filip: Then finally we have past tense. ‘Jeg var her.’
Becky: I was here.
Filip: Alright, let’s move on to the grammar now.

Lesson focus

Becky: In this lesson, you’ll learn more about basic introductions. If you listened to our Absolute Beginner series, you might remember some of the greetings we learned.
Filip: Don’t worry if you didn't, though. In this lesson, we will give you a few common greetings and explain them.
Becky: Greetings in Norwegian can be as simple as saying your name and shaking the other person’s hand, or they can involve more and more elaborate phrases...
Filip: Like ‘Jeg er’
Becky: “I am”.
Filip: Jeg heter
Becky: “I am called”
Filip: or ‘Mitt navn er’
Becky: “My name is.”
Filip: The most common way Norwegians greet people is either by saying only our names, or adding ‘Jeg heter’ in front of our names.
Becky: Of course, adding ‘Hei’ which means “Hi” first in the sentence is always good manners.
Filip: After saying our name, we usually add ‘Hyggelig å møte deg’
Becky: Nice to meet you
Filip: Or just the short form ‘Hyggelig’.
Becky: Which could translate as “pleasant” or “pleased to meet you”.
Filip: To give you some examples we have...‘Hei, Filip, Hyggelig.’ This is saying only the name and then ‘hyggelig’.
Becky: What’s another way?
Filip: ‘Hei, jeg er Filip.’ This is using the ‘jeg er’, but with no ending. It’s not strange to leave out ‘hyggelig å møte deg’. We usually just say it when we feel like it.
Becky: And next?
Filip: ‘Hei, jeg heter Filip. Hyggelig å møte deg.’ This is one of the longer forms using ‘jeg heter’ and the full ‘hyggelig å møte deg’. It’s common to use this when you meet someone you were looking forward to meeting.
Becky: What’s last?
Filip: Last is ‘Hei, mitt navn er B. Hyggelig.’ This uses the ‘mitt navn er’ version and a short ‘hyggelig’. It’s common when you’re being introduced to a prospective business partner, or at nice dinners.
Becky: How these greetings work is fairly easy - it’s mostly the same structure and level of formality we would see in English. But don’t attempt to take any of the phrases out of context, or switch some words and use them in other ways. These are mostly incomplete sentences if you take them out of context, and they’d sound weird if they weren’t being used as introductions.
Filip: Take for example this greeting that sounds a bit like Yoda introducing himself. ‘Hei, Filip heter jeg.’
Becky: (laughs) that would directly translate as something like “Hi, Filip called am I”.
Filip: Exactly. This sentence structure sounds completely weird if you substitute the words with something else like, for example, ‘Bussjåfør er jeg.’
Becky: “Bus driver am I.” Yes, it definitely sounds like Yoda!


Becky: Well, that’ll do it for this lesson.
Filip: Thanks for listening. Make sure to check the lesson notes, and we’ll see you for the next lesson.
Becky: In the meantime, you can also leave us a comment on this lesson at NorwegianClass101.com!
Filip: Please do! See you next time! Hade.
Becky: Bye!