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A Vocabulary List of Norwegian Words for Teachers

By Heather Marie Kosur

Did you know that the Norwegian language is a cousin of the English language? Language arts teachers can use the following Norwegian word list and activity to teach students about the similarities in vocabularies that English and Norwegian share.

The Norwegian Language

Norwegian: Language of Norway The Norwegian language is a North Germanic language related to the other Germanic languages: Danish, Swedish, Icelandic, Faroese, German, Dutch, Frisian, English, Scots and Low Saxon. Norwegian is spoken by approximately 4.8 million people, mostly within the country of Norway. Language teachers can use a word list in the English classroom for teaching students about languages related to the English language. The following sections provide some basic vocabulary in Norwegian that allows teachers to teach about the similarities between the English and Norwegian languages.

Family Vocabulary

Begin by introducing the words for family relationships in Norwegian. Explain that Norwegian nouns express three grammatical genders via an indefinite article: en (masculine), ei (feminine) and et (neuter). The following list provides the vocabulary for relatives in en familie "a family" with the Norwegian word first followed by the English translation:

  • et barn – child
  • et barnebarn – grandchild
  • en bestefar – grandfather
  • en besteforelder – grandparent
  • ei bestemor – grandmother
  • en bror – brother
  • en brordatter – brother's daughter
  • en brorsønn – brother's son
  • ei datter – daughter
  • ei datterdatter – daughter's daughter
  • en dattersønn – daughter's son
  • en ektemann – husband
  • et enebarn – only child
  • en far – father
  • en farfar – paternal grandfather
  • ei farmor – maternal grandmother
  • en fetter – male cousin
  • en forelder – parent
  • en halvbror – half-brother
  • ei halvsøster – half-sister
  • en hustru – wife
  • ei kusine – female cousin
  • en mann – man, husband
  • ei mor – mother
  • en morfar – maternal grandfather
  • ei mormor – maternal grandmother
  • en nevø – nephew
  • en niese – niece
  • et oldebarn – great grandchild
  • en oldeforelder – great grandparent
  • en onkel – uncle
  • et pikebarn – female child
  • et stebarn – stepchild
  • en stebror – stepbrother
  • en stefar – stepfather
  • ei stemor – stepmother
  • en stesønn – stepson
  • en svigerdatter – daughter-in-law
  • en svigerfar – father-in-law
  • ei svigerdatter – daughter-in-law
  • ei svigerinne – sister-in-law
  • ei svigermor – mother-in-law
  • en svigersønn – son-in-law
  • en svoger – brother-in-law
  • en sønn – son
  • ei sønnedatter – son's daughter
  • en sønnesøn – son's son
  • ei søster – sister
  • en søstersønn – sister's son
  • et spebarn – infant, baby
  • en tante – aunt

Cardinal Numbers

Learning to count from zero to ten is an important step for learning. Next introduce the Norwegian word list for the first ten cardinal numbers in the language:

  • null – zero (0)
  • en, et – one (1)
  • to – two (2)
  • tre – three (3)
  • fire – four (4)
  • fem – five (5)
  • seks – six (6)
  • sju, syv – seven (7)
  • åtte – eight (8)
  • ni – nine (9)
  • ti – ten (10)

Days and Months

Finally, teach the vocabulary words for keeping track of the days of the week and the months of the year in Norwegian. The Norwegian words for the days of the week followed by the English translation are as follows:

  • søndag – Sunday
  • mandag – Monday
  • tirsdag – Tuesday
  • onsdag – Wednesday
  • torsdag – Thursday
  • fredag – Friday
  • lørdag – Saturday

The Norwegian words for the months of the year followed by the English translation are as follows:

  • januar – January
  • februar – February
  • mars, marts – March
  • april – April
  • mai – May
  • juni – June
  • juli – July
  • august – August
  • september – September
  • oktober – October
  • november – November
  • desember – December

Teaching Activity

Although erroneously identified as a language related to the Romance languages such as Latin and French due to the large number of borrowed words with Latinate origins, the English language is actually more closely related to other Germanic languages including the Norwegian language. Thus, English teachers can use a Norwegian word list to teach students about one of English's cousin, Norwegian. After introducing the vocabulary words, have the students identify which Norwegian words are similar or identical to the English translation either in spelling or pronunciation. Some examples include the following:

  • datter – daughter
  • sønn – son
  • søndag – Sunday
  • fredag – Friday
  • april – April
  • oktober – October

Or, for a more challenging activity, introduce the Norwegian words first and ask the students to try to guess the English translation. Either activity allows the English teacher to teach about the similarities between two related languages: English and Norwegian.