Norwegian Phrase of the day – 26/03/2009 (livsfarlig)

Today’s word: livsfarlig

  • English: perilous, dangerous
  • Pronunciation: lishs-faa-li

First attempt:

I et par uker skal jeg
ta en tur til Kjellsås. Der
finner vi mange ting å klatre!
Det er noen som sier at klatring
er livsfarlig, men jeg synes at det
er jo mulig å ha en kjempe fin dag
uten problemmer hvis man er forsiktig


  • First line, I should be om. Stupid mistake because I generally know these rules but it’s a good one to highlight. In these cases, using i is like saying “during a few weeks” rather than om which would mean “in a few weeks”.
  • The next point is a little bit more to do with how the sentence sounds, since I am going to Kjellsås to climb, I want it to sound a bit less like a tourist brochure and more “natural” and human. Replacing “der finner vi mange ting å klatre” with “fordi der er det mange ting å klatre” achieves this.
  • Klatre cannot be used alone in this context, so we replace it with klatre opp. There may be a better way in “climbing lingo” to say this, but this is the “correct way” for now.
  • synes at det er jo mulig is too informal, and could only really be spoken or used as a Twitter or Facebook status (for example). Removing the “at” helps to formalise it for writing, and in this context the “jo” is also unnecessary.
  • kjempe fin should be written and used as one word
  • Problemmer is spelt problemer
  • Some dialects may replace the final hvis with så lenge, but hvis is also fine

Final text:

Om et par uker skal jeg
ta en tur til Kjellsås, fordi
der er det mange ting å klatre opp!
Det er noen som sier at klatring
er livsfarlig, men jeg synes det
er mulig å ha en kjempefin dag
uten problemer hvis man er forsiktig.

English translation:

In a *few weeks I will
take a trip to Kjellsås because
there are many things to climb there!
There are some that say climbing
is dangerous, but I believe that
it's possible to have a really fine day
without problems if one is careful.

* “et par” is literally “a couple”, but generally not used literally in Norwegian

Phrase of the day – 25/03/2009 (persienne)

Today’s word: en persienne

  • English: blind, shutter (as in window blinds)
  • Pronunciation: pæ-shi-ehn-ner

First attempt:

Om sommeren solen skinner
så mye, derfor hvis jeg
vil sitte og jobbe ved
siden av vinduet må jeg
dra ned persiennen! Noe
ganger er det fint å ta den
opp og se på den pen utsikten.


  • solen skinner should be skinner solen – one of the easy mistakes English speakers make with sentence ordering
  • derfor does not “sound right” in this context, the sentence flows better replacing the comma and derfor with at
  • ved siden av literally means “by the side of” but in Norwegian is a little more specific, so you really would have to be sat right next to the window for this to work. Simply using ved (by) is more appropriate here.
  • noe should be noen – I’ll write an article about this later
  • pen is refering to a definitive article (utsikten – the view) so should be pene

Corrected text:

Om sommeren skinner solen
så mye at hvis jeg
vil sitte og jobbe ved
vinduet må jeg
dra ned persiennen! Noen
ganger er det fint å ta den
opp og se på den pene utsikten.


In the summer the sun shines
so much that if I want to sit and work
by the window I must take down
the blinds! Some times it is nice to
take them up and look at the beautiful view.

Phrase of the day – 24/03/09 (rekkverk)

Introduction to phrase of the day

I have lived in Norway for a year and a half now, and I really am not using the language enough. Recently I started doing “word of the day” where I’d flick through my small dictionary, find a word I didn’t know and write it on the whiteboard. All day I would glance at it and commit it to memory – thus slowly increasing my vocabluary.

The problems with this approach soon became apparent, progress was slow, I was forgetting some of the words a few days later, and crucially they were not helping me to progress with my grammar, or help me to structure sentences for talking, which is my weakest area at the moment

So “Phrase of the day” is born – somebody (normally a Norwegian colleague) will pick a word, I then (without help) have to make a phrase or sentence to put that word into context. We then discuss the mistakes and I am more likely to remember the word. I hope to bring a new phrase as often as possible, and if you are interested, you can subscribe to an rss feed: just the phrases, or everything I come across whilst learning Norwegain. Since I am learning this from an English perspective, these phrases may be useful to highlight “common pitfalls for English speakers”.

Today’s word: et rekkverk

  • English: a railing
  • Pronunciation: rehk-værk

First attempt:

I går var jeg på besøk
hos Trysil. Jeg lånt 
et snøbredd og var nesten
drept når jeg treffet
et rekkverk med hodet mitt!


  • “hos Trysil” should be “i Trysil” – hos is a little bit like chez in French, it means “at” but really means “at the house of” or “at the place of”. When talking about a generic place we use “i” for “in” or “på” for on/at. Unfortunately these can sometimes be confusing, as with English. For example I live in Oslo but at Bjerke. (i Oslo men Bjerke).
  • lånt is past perfect, here we should use lånte which is past participle
  • snøbredd is mis-spelled, and should be snøbrett (was a guess)
  • var should be ble – In English we would say “I was almost killed” but in Norwegian you use “I became almost killed”
  • når should be da – A slip here because I knew this. Når and da can cause confusion for English speakers who would use “when” in both situations. There is a good blog post about this here:
  • å treffe is an irregular verb – past tense is traff
  • hodet mitt is unnecessary because in this context, it is obvious you are talking about your own head!

So the correct (I think) text:

I går var jeg på besøk
i Trysil. Jeg lånte 
et snøbrett og ble nesten
drept da jeg traff
et rekkverk med hodet!


Yesterday I was visiting
Trysil. I borrowed
a snowboard and was almost
killed when I met
a railing with my head!

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