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Lesson Transcript

Filip: Hi everyone, I am Filip.
Becky: And I’m Becky. Welcome back to NorwegianClass101.com. This is Lower Beginner, Season 1, Lesson 6 - Make Sure your Norwegian Compliments are Sincere!
Filip: In this lesson you’ll learn how to use some set phrases and adjectives, and there’s also a small bonus on Verb-Subject-Object questions as well. We’ll also teach you how to compliment others, and how to receive compliments.
Becky: That’s right. Norwegians like compliments, and receiving them even better. In fact I think we all should become better at giving compliments to each other, real compliments that is.
Filip: Definitely! The conversation is a continuation of the short reunion between Kjersti and Lars.
Becky: Let’s listen to the conversation.
Filip: The way compliments work in Norway nowadays is a sad state of affairs.
Becky: Oh?
Filip: Yes. Few people, like our characters in this lesson’s dialogue, actually give sincere compliments anymore. Instead they compliment for the sake of complimenting, or for the sake of being nice.
Becky: I can see what you mean. I always believe it’s best to be sincere when you give compliments, and not just give them for the sake of politeness.
Filip: Indeed, but Norwegians enjoy receiving compliments, and I believe that’s what has spread this behaviour. Although, now they can easily tell when a compliment is being given just for the sake of it, or when it is actually sincere.
Becky: If you can’t find something to compliment someone on immediately, try instead to find something you like about the person, and compliment them later at a better time.
Filip: Right, that’s also a nice tip for dating. And I think this lesson will also be very useful for helping you compliment Norwegians when you’re on a date.
Becky: (laughs) yeah. Listen closely, because we’re going to reveal how to succeed with your Norwegian date.
Filip: Don’t advertise this in the wrong way now!
Becky: Right, right. Sorry. Let’s move on to the vocabulary.
Becky: Let's have a closer look at the usage for some of the words and phrases from this lesson. Filip, I notice there are some words we can expand a bit on, though.
Filip: Yes. Listeners, as you might have noticed already, there was a familiar interjection in the dialogue. I’m talking about ‘Åja’.
Becky: I don’t think it was hard to guess the use of it. Kjersti was surprised by the fact that Lars was going to a baptism, and immediately got the idea that it might be for his own children. So she said ‘Åja’ to express a sort of interested surprise.
Filip: The next two words are also interjections, the first one’s a bit easier to explain than the other, so let’s start with that one. ‘Jo’. ‘Jo’.
Becky: It means “yes” just like ‘Ja’. But it’s confirming something in a different way. It’s like saying “Yes, I agree with you to a certain extent, but...”
Filip: ‘Jo’ is usually also followed up by an explanation of some sort. The next interjection is a bit more difficult. Kjersti says at one point - ‘Nei, så nydelig!’ The ‘nei’ here can be a bit confusing, because she is not saying “no”.
Becky: As you may know, ‘nei’ means “no”, but when used as an interjection like this, it’s more like an exclamation of positive surprise, and sometimes slight disbelief. There is more to it than that in other context and other tones.
Filip: But for now, we can equate it with “no, really?” or “wow” “Awww”. Because it is immediately followed up by ‘så nydelig’, the whole sentence becomes...
Becky: “Oh how sweet”
Filip: Finally, the adverb/adjective ‘godt’ is a bit of a tricky one. When you say ‘du kler det godt’, it means “it suits you well”, but when you say ‘smaker godt’, it means “tastes delicious”. It is derived from the word “good”, in Norwegian ‘god’
Becky: Yes, and it usually carries the positive connotation that something is nice or good. Okay, let’s look at some examples.
Filip: jeg likte filmen godt
Becky: I liked the movie a lot
Filip: Åja, er det deg igjen?
Becky: Oh, is it you again?
Filip: Nei, så fin den var. - Jo, den er fin
Becky: Oh wow, how beautiful it is. - Yeah, it’s beautiful.
Filip: Okay, let’s move on to the grammar now.

Lesson focus

Becky: In this lesson, you’ll learn how to give compliments. Now Filip, the easiest way to give someone a compliment is?
Filip: Say ‘Du ser [positive adjective] ut.’
Becky: Nice. This would translate as “You look [adjective]. Now break this up for us, please.
Filip: Well, the structure here is a noun or a pronoun, then ‘ser’, which means “to see or to look”, [adjective] ut’ which literally means (“Out”). The verb here is ‘å se ut’ and translates as “to look like” or just “to look”.
Becky: Right, now you should also know that this verb is in the present tense when we use it.
Filip: Knowing that the verb ‘å se ut’ is in the infinitive, ‘ser ut’ is the present tense, and ‘så’ being the past tense, we can now create a lot of different compliments, using both present and past tense.
Becky: Right, let’s give it a try.
Filip: Han så flott ut
Becky: He looked elegant.
Filip: Hun ser hyggelig ut.
Becky: She looks nice. Now since we can freely switch pronouns or even nouns, this could make for a lot of different sentences, not just compliments.
Filip: Den så kul ut
Becky: It looked cool
Filip: Agatha ser pen ut
Becky: Agatha looks beautiful
Becky: So if you receive a compliment, what’s the best way to answer?
Filip: It’s simple. Just say ‘takk for komplimentet’, ‘tusen takk’ or just ‘takk’.
Becky: So “Thanks for the compliment”, “Thank you very much”, and “thanks” respectively?
Filip: Exactly. But just saying ‘takk’ isn’t really going to inspire any more compliments from that person - it doesn’t really sound like you appreciated it that much!
Becky: (laughs) That’s true. Alright, now on to to our little bonus for this lesson.
Filip: VSO questions.
Becky: VSO is the abbreviation for Verb-Subject-Object. It refers to the order in which the words build the sentence. In this case, Verb comes first, followed by a Subject, and then an Object. In Norwegian and English, this structure usually forms a question.
Filip: In the dialogue, we had two such questions. One was ‘er det ditt barn?’
Becky: “Is it your child?” As you can see, this is a completely intelligible question in English as well.
Filip: And the second one was ‘er du ofte aktiv?’
Becky: Literally “Are you often active?” This makes sense in English too. So the VSO questions we’ll look at now are all like that last one. In other words “verb”, pronoun, adverb, and an adjective. Filip, take it away
Filip: Er hun ofte dårlig?
Becky: Is she often sick (or bad)?
Filip: Er du veldig sulten?
Becky: Are you very hungry?
Filip: And finally; Er han sjeldent glad?
Becky: Is he rarely happy?
Filip: Great! Listeners, feel free to try to make some of your own. Just look at these examples and you’ll soon see how you can experiment some more with this questions.


Becky: Well, that’s it for this lesson. Take your time to listen again and make sure to read the lesson notes. And we’ll see you next time!
Filip: Bye in Norwegian!