Norwegian: bee

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pacegiulia

Senior Member
English - England
Hello,

How would I translate this sentence into Norwegian: "I see a bee." (Sorry for the very simple sentence - I don't know enough Norwegian to think of a better one.)

My try is: "Jeg ser ei bie."

However, I am unsure whether "bie" is masculine or feminine.

Thank you in advance! :)
 
  • serbianfan

    Senior Member
    British English
    "Bie" is masculine. So "jeg ser en bie" is correct. Even if a word is/can be feminine, many people put "en" before it. So, both in speech and writing (especially writing), you will come across "Jeg ser en bok" in addition to "jeg ser ei bok".
     

    raumar

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    That is actually not quite right: "bie" is feminine. But masculine forms can be used for all feminine words in Bokmål, so both "Jeg ser ei bie" and "Jeg ser en bie" are correct.

    If you are unsure of the gender of a noun, you can look it up in Bokmålsordboka. Because feminine nouns can be treated as masculine, feminine nouns are marked both "m" and "f": Bokmålsordboka | Nynorskordboka
     

    pacegiulia

    Senior Member
    English - England
    That is actually not quite right: "bie" is feminine. But masculine forms can be used for all feminine words in Bokmål, so both "Jeg ser ei bie" and "Jeg ser en bie" are correct.

    If you are unsure of the gender of a noun, you can look it up in Bokmålsordboka. Because feminine nouns can be treated as masculine, feminine nouns are marked both "m" and "f": Bokmålsordboka | Nynorskordboka
    Thank you very much - that link is very helpful! :)
     

    serbianfan

    Senior Member
    British English
    Thanks, Raumar. When I read the question, my immediate thought was that it can be both, you can say "bien" or "bia". I checked in the online Det Norske Akademis Ordbok but it gave only "bien", so then I thought maybe "bia" is a dialect form not accepted in standard bokmål. That's why I said it should be "bien". But now I have checked some more words in NAOB, and there are others commonly used in the feminine such as "veske" where it only gives "vesken". On the other hand, it gives both "boka" and "boken". So either NAOB is very conservative or very careless!
     

    raumar

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    So either NAOB is very conservative or very careless!
    They aren't careless, they are conservative. The NAOB is based on Norsk Riksmålsordbok, which traditionally represented the more conservative versions of Bokmål.

    I tried to check some words in NAOB. If you click on the little plus sign after "Bøyning", you find "Genus: masculinum (femininum)" for "bie" and "veske", "Genus: masculinum/femininum" for "bok" and "geit", and "Genus: femininum" for "øy" and "jente".

    I don't know what the basis for this differential treatment is, but I suppose it reflects actual use, at least to some extent. The feminine form is more likely to be used for some feminine words than for others.
     
    Last edited:

    serbianfan

    Senior Member
    British English
    Interesting. "Actual use" is presumably written usage, and probably based on Internet hits. These are not entirely representative - I can imagine that a lot of hits for "vesken/a" are advertising, e.g. "denne lekre skinnvesken", more so than for "boken/a", and the language used in advertising tends to be more conservative. As for me, I can well imagine myself saying a sentence like "Jeg tror den boken ligger i den veska der borte".
     

    raumar

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    I don't know whether they have done any empirical research on actual use. It may just be their own feeling for how the language is used. Maybe also combined with a normative position on how it should be used.

    Regarding actual use, this may alo vary between the definite and indefinite form. I would write "boka" and "veska", but probably "en bok" and "en veske".
     
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