Norwegian: Expression of amazement? [ ="no way!" or "you're kidding!"]

amw

New Member
English
If a friend/family member tells you something amazing, and good, like "I won the lottery" or "I'm getting married", what would be your response? What is the Norwegian expression (east or west) for this reaction?

In English (American at least) there's:
  • "no way!"
  • "you're kidding!"
  • "oh my god!"
(often an interjection of "f*king" between words 😅)

and sometimes even just
  • "DUDE!!!"
 
  • serbianfan

    Senior Member
    British English
    There are lots of things you could say in Norwegian, and I'm sure you'll get some suggestions here, but what strikes me is the rather "off-hand" way Americans seem to react, if these phrases are typical. I think both UK speakers and Norwegians would tend to use words like "wonderful" and "fantastic", and especially if the speaker's getting married "congratulations!". And I don't think they'd normally add expletives!
     

    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    There are lots of things you could say in Norwegian, and I'm sure you'll get some suggestions here, but what strikes me is the rather "off-hand" way Americans seem to react, if these phrases are typical. I think both UK speakers and Norwegians would tend to use words like "wonderful" and "fantastic", and especially if the speaker's getting married "congratulations!". And I don't think they'd normally add expletives!
    In Norway you will of course find many subcultures, dependent on age, social standing, place of living, education, and so on. So vulgar expletives like "ikke fan!", "ikke kødd med meg", or many others may be encountered in one end, and "fantastisk!", "utrolig, bra!", "gratulerer", "det er ikke til å tro!" in the other end.
     

    serbianfan

    Senior Member
    British English
    In Norway you will of course find many subcultures, dependent on age, social standing, place of living, education, and so on. So vulgar expletives like "ikke fan!", "ikke kødd med meg", or many others may be encountered in one end, and "fantastisk!", "utrolig, bra!", "gratulerer", "det er ikke til å tro!" in the other end.
    Yes, I'm sure you're right. But I seem to have missed out on the subculture where people say "ikke fan!" when someone says "Jeg skal gifte meg!", even though I was a teenager in Norway many decades ago. :)
     

    amw

    New Member
    English
    Maybe the marriage thing was a poor example 😅 more like a statement of amazement and disbelief combined.
     

    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    In Norway you will of course find many subcultures, dependent on age, social standing, place of living, education, and so on. So vulgar expletives like "ikke fan!", "ikke kødd med meg", or many others may be encountered in one end, and "fantastisk!", "utrolig, bra!", "gratulerer", "det er ikke til å tro!" in the other end.

    Yes, I'm sure you're right. But I seem to have missed out on the subculture where people say "ikke fan!" when someone says "Jeg skal gifte meg!", even though I was a teenager in Norway many decades ago. :)
    I agree with you, that it is not so often you can hear "ikke fan" as a response to "I'm getting married", but
    1. I thought about a general expressions of surprise or amazement, not marriage plan in particular.
    2. I don't have any personal contact with youth subculture, my daughter is too adult, and my granddaughter to young.
    3. Think about a dude meeting his girlfriend he does'nt finished completely yet, and telling her about marrying someone else.
     

    serbianfan

    Senior Member
    British English
    So, amw, it depends on the age and characteristics of the person speaking and the people listening. But a general expression you could probably use with all ages, people and sub-cultures would be "Er det sant?", often with "Nei": "Nei, er det sant?" And the amount of amazement you express will depend on your intonation and how much you raise your eyebrows :)
     

    winenous

    Senior Member
    English - British
    So, amw, it depends on the age and characteristics of the person speaking and the people listening. But a general expression you could probably use with all ages, people and sub-cultures would be "Er det sant?", often with "Nei": "Nei, er det sant?" And the amount of amazement you express will depend on your intonation and how much you raise your eyebrows :)
    Or similarly, "Si du det?" - again with or without the preceding "Nei,"
     

    winenous

    Senior Member
    English - British
    Sier du det?
    Now corrected to avoid any possible confusion to anyone stumbling across my post.

    Muddling the infinitive and present tense where the infinitive ends in a vowel is a common error of mine. It just comes out wrong, and in quick speech you can get away with it. Or at the very least people understand ;)
     

    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Now corrected to avoid any possible confusion to anyone stumbling across my post.

    Muddling the infinitive and present tense where the infinitive ends in a vowel is a common error of mine. It just comes out wrong, and in quick speech you can get away with it. Or at the very least people understand ;)
    Unlike the non rhotic English dialects the "r" is always pronounced in most Norwegian dialects (except of those that use the guttural "r").
     

    winenous

    Senior Member
    English - British
    Unlike the non rhotic English dialects the "r" is always pronounced in most Norwegian dialects (except of those that use the guttural "r").
    I agree it is not like English, where in "standard" pronunciation the "r" at the end of words simply does not exist.

    But in Norwegian it is not nearly as straightforward as you suggest. Let's confine ourselves to places where the gutteral "r" is not used. In the example of "Sier du det?", when listening I hear that the "r" and "d" often combine into one rather weak and indistinct tongue-tap consonant, especially when "det" carries a strong emphasis. I do admit though that, in slightly clearer speech, it seems that it is the "d" that is omitted, and think in writing I have sometimes seen the "d" replaced by an apostrophe. It's similar, and perhaps more common with "Har du det?".

    When initially learning Norwegian I found this quite odd, and spent a long time listening carefully to tapes to figure out what was going on. If you have more to say on it, I'd love to continue the discussion, but maybe in a new thread? If you have better things to do with your time, I understand that too :)

    None of this excuses my schoolboy error, of course, which sadly also occurs in clear speech as well as writing :(
     
    Last edited:

    serbianfan

    Senior Member
    British English
    I agree it is not like English, where in "standard" pronunciation the "r" at the end of words simply does not exist.
    The 'post-vocalic r', as it's called, does of course commonly occur when the following word begins with a vowel, cf. 'her book' vs 'her apple'. When I was in the early stages of learning Norwegian, I sometimes put in this 'r' by mistake, based on English, so I might say 'vi skal snakke' but 'vi skal snakker om det', where I added an 'English' 'r' because 'om' begins with a vowel.
     

    winenous

    Senior Member
    English - British
    I believe to hear it usually in all words ending with a vowel+r, at least in careful speech.
    Yes - in careful speech.

    Or at least if you count modifying of the following consonant as "hearing the 'r'". As in "Jeg er så glad" for example. Or maybe that is not careful speech?
     
    Last edited:

    winenous

    Senior Member
    English - British
    I agree it is not like English, where in "standard" pronunciation the "r" at the end of words simply does not exist.
    The 'post-vocalic r', as it's called, does of course commonly occur when the following word begins with a vowel, cf. 'her book' vs 'her apple'.
    You are quite right. As I was writing it I thought "I bet there are exceptions", but I could not think of any. It is so easy not to realise how you pronounce your native language in normal conversation. For example "handbag" naturally becomes "hambag".
    When I was in the early stages of learning Norwegian, I sometimes put in this 'r' by mistake, based on English, so I might say 'vi skal snakke' but 'vi skal snakker om det', where I added an 'English' 'r' because 'om' begins with a vowel.
    I would normally get that right in normal conversation I think. It is when I try to speak clearly that "r"s seem to appear or disappear, almost at random. Maybe the attention required to speak clearly interfers with the attention I need for the grammar.
     

    myšlenka

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    Unlike the non rhotic English dialects the "r" is always pronounced in most Norwegian dialects (except of those that use the guttural "r").
    Is this about present tense -r in general or about the particular verb å si?
    I believe to hear it usually in all words ending with a vowel+r, at least in careful speech.
    Actually, most dialects don't have any present tense -r. In my dialect for instance, it is retained only in a handful of cases. In particular in verbs with only one syllable in the infinitive (ha, bo, bli etc). In addition, "r" at the end of words is routinely fused with following consonants such as {s,t,d,n,l}, resulting in retroflex version of these consonants (for the dialects where this applies). I am not sure if you count that as being pronounced, but the presence of the "r" has in any case an effect on pronunciation. If it is followed by any other consonant, it is perhaps retained in more careful speech but is quite often dropped.

    Also in dialects that have a present tense -r in all verbs, this "r" is quite often subject to omission conditioned by various factors. In sum, this makes "r" the most vulnerable speech sound in Norwegian, prone as it is to deletion. In fact, it has quite a lot in common with the "r" in non-rhotic varieties of English, showing a preference for being in the onset of syllables and avoiding the coda.

    In this master's thesis by Eirik Olsen from 2011, the phenomenon has been investigated in more detail. Check out the dialect map on page 44 in the thesis, showing the distribution of present tense -r.
     
    Top