Norwegian: "-er" vs. "ende"

Discussion in 'Nordic Languages' started by personguything, Feb 5, 2013.

  1. personguything

    personguything New Member

    Connecticut, USA
    English - American
    These seem to be the same thing to me.
    I read that "[norsk verb]+ende" is equivalent to "[engelsk verb]+ing"
    ...but I've also read that "[norsk verb]+er" is equivalent to "[engelsk verb]+ing"

    If I use google translate to translate "I am eating" from English to Norwegian, it says "Jeg spiser"... I would have said "Jeg er spiser"....but then I read about the "ende" ending... so yeah, I'm confused :S.
  2. mosletha Senior Member

    Haugesund, Norway
    Well the difference is simple.

    en rullende mann = a rolling man (rolling = adjective)
    mannen ruller = the man is rolling (rolling = verb)

    Please specify language in the thread's title.
  3. myšlenka Senior Member

    The difference between "I eat salmon" and "I am eating salmon" in Norwegian is not expressed the same way as in English and the distinction is not obligatory. Both of them translate into Norwegian "jeg spiser laks" (in most cases). It's like mosletha says:

    -er is the present tense suffix.
    -ende is a verbal participle used as an attributive adjective (or adverb).

    "Jeg er spiser" is simply not Norwegian but a construction transferred from English.
    "Jeg er spisende" is something I would interpret as "I am edible" (with my dialectal background).

    Generally don't use English modals/auxiliaries and verbal constructions as a model for other languages apart from English.
  4. personguything

    personguything New Member

    Connecticut, USA
    English - American
    Oops! I forgot about the language ^^.

    Thank you!

    This was super helpful! Tusen takk!
  5. NorwegianNYC

    NorwegianNYC Senior Member

    New York, NY, USA
    The -ing form is a fairly "recent" addition to English. Old English did not have it, and at the time of Chaucer, it was just entering the language. The form itself is a corruption of Old English -ende (which was a gerund, or verbal adjective)(as it indeed is in Norwegian today), and with the loss of the final -e, "-end" became nasalized into "-eng" and than -ing. The usage, however, is probably (according to Prof. J. Worther et al.) taken from Celtic, and Middle Welsh in particular. The Celtic languages all distinguish between (the equivalent of) "I eat" as a general activity, and "I am eating" as a current activity - just like English. It is not a Germanic feature - no other Germanic language has it - and the only Germanic language to sustain prolonged contact with Celtic is English, so it is probably a borrowing.

    Next to -ing forms, another feature English probably borrowed from Celtic (Middle Welsh) is the use of 'do'. Whereas an non-English Germanic speaker will say (the equivalent of) "eat you fish?", and English speaker will say: "do you eat fish?". This is also a non-Germanic construct.

    As a seasoned Norwegian teacher in an English-speaking country, I have endured many a struggle with the tendency to use "be + -ing" or "do + verb" in Norwegian. Just remember that English is the odd one out here - not the other Germanic languages!
  6. Dan2

    Dan2 Senior Member

    English (US)
    Excellent responses from all.
    I would just add that I think the source of the OP's confusion is this:
    I'd say that this is simply incorrect. Rather, "[Norwegian verb] + er" is (often) equivalent to "am/are/is + [English verb] + ing".

    Or, more complete,
    "[Norwegian verb stem] + (e)r" is equivalent to
    "[English verb stem] (+(e)s in 3rd person sing.)"
    "am/are/is + [English verb stem] + ing".
  7. personguything

    personguything New Member

    Connecticut, USA
    English - American
    I NEVER expected this many replies, or aannything close to this level of insight. I am seriously half-laughing/smiling IRL. This is sooooooooo awesome guys; it really clears a massive number of questions up.

    Seriously, I love you guys. Thank you, everyone who responded, so so so so so so soooooooo much!!! :D
  8. bicontinental Senior Member

    English (US), Danish, bilingual
    Your sentence caught my eye and piqued my curiosity. :) I’ve always found it interesting that hand lotions and creams are being marketed as ‘fast absorbing’ (hurtigt absorberende), whey protein as ‘the fastest absorbing protein’ when both items are clearly the agents being absorbed (therefore being absorbable.) I’m afraid I fail to see the logic behind the use of the present participle…an active verbal form…in such examples; fast absorbing items would be paper towels and sponges.
    That’s why I found your sentence interesting. I would reason that edible (i.e. something that can be eaten) is spisbar(t) or spiselig (passive), and not spisende (active) as would be the interpretation based on your dialectal background. What would you think of the other examples I mentioned above?

    PS. For "I'm eating salmon" I might say something like, "jeg er ved at spise laks" "jeg er i gang med at spise laks" (in Danish) . I don't know if there's a similar construction in Norwegian?
  9. myšlenka Senior Member

    I see your point with the 'fast absorbing' hand lotions and creams and I agree with you, it should be absorbable :)

    As for the interpretation of Norwegian -ende, I should have clarified a few things. I don't think Norwegian -ende can be interpreted as English -able because when I read the sentence out loud in Bokmål, it's just a syntactically ill-formed sentence. However, -ende is not the present participle ending in my dialect. I would use -anes and this ending makes the sentence syntactically well-formed with the meaning "I am edible". In fact, if I say something like papiret er absorberanes (note that this participle ending is non-standard) it can mean both absorbing and absorbable. I wasn't aware of this at all :)

    To express English be + V-ing I would maybe use "å holde på med å...." or "å drive å....."
  10. bicontinental Senior Member

    English (US), Danish, bilingual
    Now, there's a useful suffix! :)

    Thanks for the explanation; I appreciate it,
  11. NorwegianNYC

    NorwegianNYC Senior Member

    New York, NY, USA
    I believe the technical difference here is that spisende is the present participle and indicates action: "Vi gikk spisende nedover veien", whereas the Passive equivalent spisendes can only be a verbal adjective: "Maten er ikke god, men den er spisendes"

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