Norwegian (bokmål): én, ett

Discussion in 'Nordic Languages' started by Leopold, Mar 8, 2007.

  1. Leopold

    Leopold Senior Member

    Hello. Could someone explain to me what's the difference between "en" and "én" and between "et" and "ett"?

    Example: "Han er 13 år gammel og vet bare én ting"

    I don't have an example for "ett", but it was something like "ett vindu", I mean, it was used as an indefinite article.

  2. Pando

    Pando Member

    Finland: Swedish, Finnish, English
    It's an article similar to un/una in Spanish. However, in Norwegian the words aren't male or female, just en/et words. As far as I know a definite and logical rule by which the words are divided into the categories doesn't exist but there are some words that rules apply to.

    edit 1: Perhaps I should read the question better next time.

    edit 2: En/et is similar to the English article "a" whereas én/ett would be "one"

    Hope it was of any help.
  3. Lemminkäinen

    Lemminkäinen Senior Member

    Oslo, Norway
    Norwegian (bokmål)
    Yes, that's correct. A couple of examples to illustrate:

    a) Jeg ser et barn - I see a child
    b) Jeg ser ett barn - I see one child
    c) Jeg ser en hund - I see a dog
    d) Jeg ser én hund - I see one dog

    EDIT: Incidentally, the same difference exist in nynorsk, with the articles éin, éi and eitt.
  4. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Are the words en and et pronounced differently from én and ett?
  5. Lemminkäinen

    Lemminkäinen Senior Member

    Oslo, Norway
    Norwegian (bokmål)
    Én and ett are stressed. Also, the 'e' in én is longer, so a little more closed than the others.
  6. Leopold

    Leopold Senior Member

    Thanks, pando and Lemminkäinen. I guess it works the same as in English.

    I wonder if there's also an "éi" in bokmål.

    Jeg ser éi jente. (?)
  7. Lemminkäinen

    Lemminkäinen Senior Member

    Oslo, Norway
    Norwegian (bokmål)
    No, that doesn't exist as far as I know. In that case, the difference would only be when spoken (i.e. what part of the sentence was stressed), and it'd be written "jeg ser ei jente" (or "jeg ser én jente", as I would personally have written).
  8. Aleco Senior Member

    Råde, Norway
    Oh, how weird:confused: For me it would be natural to say "é jente", but since that's only because of my dialect, I would write "éi"... Really weird...
  9. Leopold

    Leopold Senior Member


    I've been told before that the most correct form for the feminine is "ei": ei jente - jenta, however the Norwegians I know say "en jente - ei jenta", "en gate - gata", etc.

    What do you think about that?
  10. Lemminkäinen

    Lemminkäinen Senior Member

    Oslo, Norway
    Norwegian (bokmål)
    Aleco, I guess you write bokmål? I'm not 100% sure it doesn't exist, but I don't think I've ever encountered it in a bokmål text.

    Leopold, I'm from western Oslo, so I treat most feminines as masculines :D

    But I think it sounds more correct using the same gender in both the indefinite and definite form (ei jente - jenta), definitely. However, at least in Oslo, it's quite common to use the masculine article in the indefinite (en gate), and the feminine ending, as you describe.

    I find it interesting. I think some people feel that using the feminine article would sound a bit too dialect-y, but at the same time, using the masculine ending sounds too formal/pretentious.
  11. ezi Member

    Oslo, Norway
    Interesting debate! since I am a Czech living in Norway, I am not a native norwegian speaker, but I always say en jente and always jenta:)

    This is one of those very confusing things about norwegian! It seems the rules are endless! Everything is possible, only if it follows some kind of system. !!
    And of course, everything has some exeption! :)
  12. Lugubert Senior Member

    Perhaps bordering on off-topic, I must make the comparison that westcoast Swedish (sufficiently close to Olso) sometimes retains a gender distinction that is incomprehensible to other Swedes. 'The small boy' has to be Den lille pojken to me; the Stockholm (etc.) Den lilla pojken sounds ridiculously hereabouts. I suppose I belong to the last generation supporting the difference. My nephews and nieces probably don't appreciate that a tram is masculine (den röe vagnen 'the red (tram line) car ', referring to to the colour of the displayed destination name) but a newspaper feminine (den lella röa 'the little red one', because it used to have a pinkish first page), and even if they did, they wouldn't know how to manage the different adjectives.

Share This Page