Norwegian: Hjelp meg i engelsk [+ variants]

Ptak

Senior Member
Rußland
Please, tell me, which variants are possible.

Hjelp meg i engelsk
Hjelp meg med engelsk
Hjelp meg med engelsken min

or other ones?

Thank you!
 
  • Myha

    Member
    Norway and Norwegian
    The last one sounds the most correct. The preposition in (i) as in the first suggestion could sound like you want help with an English subject at school, but to my ears it sounds foreign. The second one also sounds foreign, so I would definitely use the last one.
     

    Grefsen

    Senior Member
    English - United States
    The last one sounds the most correct. The preposition in (i) as in the first suggestion could sound like you want help with an English subject at school, but to my ears it sounds foreign. The second one also sounds foreign, so I would definitely use the last one.

    Tusen takk for your very complete explanation Myha. If this had been a multiple choice test, I would have selected the second option, but that is probably because I am foreign. ;)
     

    Ali Blabla

    Member
    Norwegian
    The last one sounds the most correct. The preposition in (i) as in the first suggestion could sound like you want help with an English subject at school, but to my ears it sounds foreign. The second one also sounds foreign, so I would definitely use the last one.

    Assumed that you're asking for help with your English grammar at school the sentence "Hjelp meg i engelsk." is perfectly spoken Norwegian. Compare with e.g. "Hjelp meg i matte." Although it isn't a very polite way to ask for help because it sounds more like an order than a question. A more polite (and usual) way of asking for help is "Kan du hjelpe meg i engelsk?".
     

    Grefsen

    Senior Member
    English - United States
    Velkommen til Nordisk Forum Ali Blabla! :)

    Ogs
    å tusen takk for contributing so much during your first day posting here. :thumbsup:

    Compare with e.g. "Hjelp meg i matte." Although it isn't a very polite way to ask for help because it sounds more like an order than a question.

    So what would the English translation for this
    be?

    A more polite (and usual) way of asking for help is "Kan du hjelpe meg i engelsk?".

    This was one of the most useful phrases that I learned when i first started studying Norwegian. :cool:

    Exactly one year ago I was living with a Norwegian family and the favorite expression of their two small was Kan du hjelpe meg? :D
     

    Ali Blabla

    Member
    Norwegian
    "Matte" is an informal Norwegian word that means "matematikk" (mathematics). Perhaps that example didn't give any extra information, but as far as I can remember from school it's easier to ask for help in mathematics than in English because we Norwegians tend to think we are experts in English. :D

    Please note that even if the expression "Hjelp meg i engelsk" is grammatically correct it's very direct and a bit impolite so it's only used orally and when talking to friends.
     

    amw

    New Member
    English
    This seems a good place to ask.
    Which phrase is correct?

    "But your English is perfect."
    Men engelsken din er perfekt. (why "engelsken" here?)
    Men engelsk din er perfekt.
    Men din engelsk er perfekt.

    If all are grammatically correct, is there a dialect difference?

    Takk
     

    serbianfan

    Senior Member
    British English
    I think a Norwegian would be more likely to say 'Men du snakker jo helt perfekt engelsk!' than any of the three alternatives. If you add 'din' after the noun, the noun will normally be in the definite form: 'hunden min' (the dog my = my dog), 'huset mitt' (the house my = my house). So No. 2 is definitely wrong.

    As for the difference between 'din engelsk er...' and 'engelsken din er...' (or 'min hund' and 'hunden min', that's a bit complicated, with different Norwegians giving you different opinions. I think I might say either 'din engelsk' or 'engelsken din', but I would almost always say 'hunden min'.
     
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    raumar

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    As for the difference between 'din engelsk er...' and 'engelsken din er...' (or 'min hund' and 'hunden min', that's a bit complicated, with different Norwegians giving you different opinions.
    It also depends on what you intend to say. For me, "din engelsk" only works if you emphasize "din". As in "Broren din snakker dårlig engelsk, men din engelsk er perfekt".

    Except for such cases, I would use "engelsken din er ...". I might write "din engelsk er ...", but not say it. It is too formal for me, almost stilted.
     
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    myšlenka

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    The questions that have been asked in this thread have been answered, so the following comments will be somewhat on the side of things. However, I felt the need to share them as they might interest other contributors to the forum. By writing this, it will at least help me sort out my thoughts on the issue, an issue that I have thought about many times.

    As for the difference between 'din engelsk er...' and 'engelsken din er...' (or 'min hund' and 'hunden min', that's a bit complicated, with different Norwegians giving you different opinions.
    The difference between these two different types of possessive constructions has been discussed in another thread and it seems that the consensus is that putting the possessive in front of the noun ('min hund') gives some kind of emphasis or focus on the possessive. Some of them also mention a difference in degree in formality. I am not sure what kind of different opinions serbianfan has come across, but the emphasis aspect is also what showed up in the linguistic literature I was able to dig up on the topic. This is also raumar's view (and mine):
    It also depends on what you intend to say. For me, "din engelsk" only works if you emphasize "din". As in "Broren din snakker dårlig engelsk, men din engelsk er perfekt".

    Except for such cases, I would use "engelsken din er ...". I might write "din engelsk er ...", but not say it. It is too formal for me, almost stilted.
    Just like raumar says, constructions with the possessive preceding the noun only work if the possessive is emphasised, but emphasis is also possible if the possessive follows the noun (emphasis with capital letters, regular neutral phrasal stress with acute accent):
    1) (Húnden min) er ute (neutral stress):thumbsup:
    2) (Hunden MIN) er ute (contrastive focus):thumbsup:
    3) (Min húnd) er ute (neutral stress) :thumbsdown:
    4) (MIN hund) er ute (contrastive focus):thumbsup:

    They all sound perfectly natural in my ears, except sentence 3), which sounds very strange. I see that some would describe sentences like c) as formal, and I do understand the hunch, but I am not sure that this is a good term because I think there is more going on here. That is, in some cases I can feel the formality whereas in others it feels 'foreign'. Compare (acute accent as above):
    5) (Min húnd) er ute :thumbsdown: (does this even sound Norwegian??)
    6) Jeg reiste dit med (min kóne) :thumbsup: (formal, old-fashioned, stilted)

    While looking through the literature, I also came across another sentence that I would struggle to classify as formal:
    7) John var rasende. Noen hadde stjålet hans bil. (I would mark this as :thumbsdown:, or at least as very awkward)

    Putting the possessive in front of the noun just like in 6) seems to be a tendency in written language, but I am not sure it is a kind of formality that I would be able to transfer to situations for spoken language. I cannot imagine any situation that would compel me to use constructions like 6) also in spoken language, not even for very formal ones.

    That being said, I have pondered the question whether the two constructions are actually equivalent. Do they have the same meaning? Can they be used interchangeably? I used to think they were different, but I have landed on the conclusion that they are essentially the same, at least I am not able to see any difference between 2) and 4) above. Nor would 6) change a lot with a different word order (except for the formality). Nevertheless, there are certain cases where you have to use one while the other is impossible. For instance, in vocatives (when calling someone) you can only use the version with the possessive following the noun while other expressions only work with the possessive preceding the noun:
    8a) Hei, gutten min/jenta mi! :thumbsup:
    8b) Hei, min gutt/mi jente! :thumbsdown:
    9a) (De) pårørende hans :thumbsdown:
    9b) Hans pårørende :thumbsup:

    As for meaning differences, I think I am able to detect a few in a handful of cases but the meaning opposition might only be a tendency and less stable than I think (if the possessive comes first, it is emphasised as already mentioned):
    10a) Mitt syn - my perspective, point of view
    10b) Synet mitt - my vision (ability to see)
    11a) Min mening - my opinion
    11b) Meningen min - my intention
    12a) Min tur - my turn (when playing a game)
    12b) Turen min - my trip
    13a) Min skyld - my fault, mistake (single events)
    13b) Skylden min - my guilt (accumulated. Religious notion perhaps)
     
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    winenous

    Senior Member
    English - British
    I seem to remember, when I was first learning Norwegian, I read it sounds more respecful to say "min mor" than "moren min" (or presumably "mora mi") - and for other relatives. But I can't say I have particularly noticed that in everyday usage, so I am sceptical. Does anyone have an opinion on that?

    Perhaps, as you say in 6), @myšlenka, that is just "formal, old-fashioned, stilted". I learned in the 80s, and my textbook was written 2 or 3 decades before then!
     

    amw

    New Member
    English
    Wouldn't it be great if textbooks taught real languages instead of textbook languages? 😅
     

    serbianfan

    Senior Member
    British English
    I think there's a lot more use of the 'min ...' type than many Norwegians (want to) realise. There seem to be about the same number of Google hits for 'vår lille tulle' as for 'den lille tulla vår' (which both mean 'our (cute) little girl'). Of course, you have to be careful in counting Google hits, but I had a closer look at them.

    I would guess that the language of texting and chatting is pretty close to oral language, even though it's written. However, it may be that the person who texts 'vår lille tulle' might actually say 'den lille tulla vår' if he/she was sitting with a friend looking at some pictures.
     

    myšlenka

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    I seem to remember, when I was first learning Norwegian, I read it sounds more respecful to say "min mor" than "moren min" (or presumably "mora mi") - and for other relatives. But I can't say I have particularly noticed that in everyday usage, so I am sceptical. Does anyone have an opinion on that?

    Perhaps, as you say in 6), @myšlenka, that is just "formal, old-fashioned, stilted". I learned in the 80s, and my textbook was written 2 or 3 decades before then!
    I think the textbook you used point to something that escaped me when I wrote #13. Having the possessive precede the noun is acceptable for kinship and family terms ('min kone') while parallel constructions with other types of nouns sound degraded ('min hund'), at least to me. Is it more respectful? That depends on usage and the associations such a construction carries. To me, a construction like 'min kone' feels like it would be accompanied by polite pronouns (De), a two-gender system (thus no feminine a-endings), no a-endings for the preterite etc. It makes me think of a time with more hierarchical social relations, the bourgeoisie and more traditional social norms. It is a register that is foreign to me and I think that is the case for most Norwegians. It seems that it has got more to do with social class than with respect.
     

    raumar

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    Thanks for your detailed response in post 13, myšlenka!

    But isn't the construction "min hund" or "min kone" basically a result of Danish influence over the Norwegian language? As such, it may sound either foreign or old-fashioned - and associated with "more hierarchical social relations, the bourgeoisie and more traditional social norms"?

    "Old-fashioned" language may be preferred in some context - it is more solemn or poetic. Take, for example, the song "Vårt lille land". "Det lille landet vårt" would simply not work in this context. It is too down-to-earth.

    But this construction does not always look old-fashioned or poetic. Take serbianfan's example with "vår lille tulle" and "den lille tulla vår". Even though I would prefer "den lille tulla vår" in a spoken sentence, I could use "vår lille tulle" as a caption for a picture. In that context, it is just shorter and simpler.
     

    winenous

    Senior Member
    English - British
    I think the textbook you used point to something that escaped me when I wrote #13. Having the possessive precede the noun is acceptable for kinship and family terms ('min kone') while parallel constructions with other types of nouns sound degraded ('min hund'), at least to me. Is it more respectful? That depends on usage and the associations such a construction carries. To me, a construction like 'min kone' feels like it would be accompanied by polite pronouns (De), a two-gender system (thus no feminine a-endings), no a-endings for the preterite etc. It makes me think of a time with more hierarchical social relations, the bourgeoisie and more traditional social norms. It is a register that is foreign to me and I think that is the case for most Norwegians. It seems that it has got more to do with social class than with respect.
    I was writing from memory before, but I have just checked the book, and to be precise it says that with family members the possessive precedes the noun "as a matter of courtesy". So maybe that does hint more at what you are saying.

    The course, originally written in the 1940s and published as a book in the 60s, does very much teach the use of De and Dem, but it also taught what must have been quite radical forms for the time - limited use of feminine nouns for example, snø rather than sne, which turned out to be problematic when reading Aftenposten in the 80s! But I have never needed De or Dem in everyday life.

    The book gives the examples:
    Min far har ofte snakket om Dem
    Kjenner De min mor også?
    Dette er min kone
    Og dette er vår datter, Anne-Marie
    Er ikke Deres far doktor?
     

    myšlenka

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    But isn't the construction "min hund" or "min kone" basically a result of Danish influence over the Norwegian language?
    There is no doubt about that, but my point was that there is a stark contrast between:
    a) (Min KONE) er ute.
    b) (Min HUND) er ute.

    where the first one is acceptable (and in my ears dated) while the second one is beyond what I would classify as native Norwegian (with the emphasis on the noun indicated by the capital letters.)
    "Old-fashioned" language may be preferred in some context - it is more solemn or poetic. Take, for example, the song "Vårt lille land". "Det lille landet vårt" would simply not work in this context. It is too down-to-earth.
    I agree, but I struggle to use such expressions as subjects/objects in full phrases. The solemnness seems to stop there. I may be wrong of course, but I get the feeling that "Mitt lille land" (the original title) is a way of exalting the country as if it were some kind of higher spiritual entity, as if it had a soul or an existence on an abstract plane. The meaning changes slightly so this could possibly be added to my list in #13. In any case, it's weird to use it in a predicate:
    c) Mitt lille land ligger i Europa. (I don't perceive any solemnness here, it is just an odd sentence)

    Besides, it suspect this kind of "besjeling" is the reason why it works for first person possessors (mitt lille land), while it is odd with second and third person possessors (ditt lille land, hennes lille land, deres lille land).
    But this construction does not always look old-fashioned or poetic. Take serbianfan's example with "vår lille tulle" and "den lille tulla vår". Even though I would prefer "den lille tulla vår" in a spoken sentence, I could use "vår lille tulle" as a caption for a picture. In that context, it is just shorter and simpler.
    That particular word ('tulle') is probably around a hundred-and-fifty times more likely to be found in written contexts (birth announcements, caption for pictures, family letters) than to be spoken. It is used for a subset of all girls for a very limited period of time in the girls' lives, so it's not an average noun. Moreover, the construction is not the same because there is also an adjective (lita/lille) that seems to be stuck to the noun. I suppose it could be classified as a collocation, precisely for the contexts I listed. If you remove the adjective and then try to write the caption for a picture, I am not surprised if your preference changes to the longer and more complicated forms:
    d) Vår tulle versus tulla vår
    e) Vår prins versus prinsen vår
     
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    raumar

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    Thanks again, myšlenka! I agree with all of this (and the song title was of course "Mitt lille land").

    The course, originally written in the 1940s and published as a book in the 60s, does very much teach the use of De and Dem, but it also taught what must have been quite radical forms for the time - limited use of feminine nouns for example, snø rather than sne, which turned out to be problematic when reading Aftenposten in the 80s!

    I don't think these forms were radical for the time, it was official language standards. During the post-war years, the official language policy in Norway was to create "samnorsk" - a unified Norwegian language somewhere between Bokmål and Nynorsk. As a step in that direction, more radical forms were taught in the schools. Conservative parents protested, and collected more than 400 000 signatures for a petition against "samnorsk", see
    Protest og politisk aktivisme

    "Snø" was definitely the officially recognized form in the 1960s. In 1962, a meteorologist insisted on saying "sne" instead of "snø" in his weather forecasts at the NRK. The Ministry of Education ordered that he should be taken off the air, but the meteorologist (known as the Abominable Snowman) took the case to the courts, and won the case:
    Sigurd Smebye – Wikipedia

    Of course, Aftenposten had their own standards, different from the Ministry of Education. They stuck to "sne" until the 1990s.

    The point is that language (also within Bokmål) at that time was a conflict-ridden and politicized field, with competing norms. That is much less the case today. The use of "De" and "Dem" is a different issue. Most people used "De" and "Dem" (or the corresponding Nynorsk forms) at that time, regardless of their position in the language conflicts.
     

    winenous

    Senior Member
    English - British
    Thanks again, myšlenka! I agree with all of this (and the song title was of course "Mitt lille land").



    I don't think these forms were radical for the time, it was official language standards. During the post-war years, the official language policy in Norway was to create "samnorsk" - a unified Norwegian language somewhere between Bokmål and Nynorsk. As a step in that direction, more radical forms were taught in the schools. Conservative parents protested, and collected more than 400 000 signatures for a petition against "samnorsk", see
    Protest og politisk aktivisme

    "Snø" was definitely the officially recognized form in the 1960s. In 1962, a meteorologist insisted on saying "sne" instead of "snø" in his weather forecasts at the NRK. The Ministry of Education ordered that he should be taken off the air, but the meteorologist (known as the Abominable Snowman) took the case to the courts, and won the case:
    Sigurd Smebye – Wikipedia

    Of course, Aftenposten had their own standards, different from the Ministry of Education. They stuck to "sne" until the 1990s.

    The point is that language (also within Bokmål) at that time was a conflict-ridden and politicized field, with competing norms. That is much less the case today. The use of "De" and "Dem" is a different issue. Most people used "De" and "Dem" (or the corresponding Nynorsk forms) at that time, regardless of their position in the language conflicts. what I meant. I think the course probably used the
    That is all pretty much what I said, or at least intended to say. I didn't mean to imply that anything outside the Bokmål norms was being taught, and I understand it is a separate issue from the use of De/Dem. I just thought the De/Dem pronouns and the vocabulary made an interesting contrast in terms of the longevity of what I was taught.

    Anyway, the main point is that I will bear in mind what @myšlenka said, and consider pre-noun possessive pronouns for familial relationships to be in the same category of De and Dem - something not to use in everyday speech.
     

    myšlenka

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    Anyway, the main point is that I will bear in mind what @myšlenka said, and consider pre-noun possessive pronouns for familial relationships to be in the same category of De and Dem - something not to use in everyday speech.
    Just a point of clarification (I don't know if it's necessary :)):

    Prenominal possessives for kinship terms are dated, but I have heard people using it. No one would lift an eyebrow if you expressed yourself that way, but it would send off a message (or a hint) about you in terms of social class, lifestyle and political sympathies etc. As for De/Dem, I don't think I have ever heard someone using it. But eyesbrows would be lifted if you insisted on using these pronouns.

    However, I am not calling for the ban of prenominal possessives, neither in written lanuage nor in spoken language. They have their use in a number of fixed expressions as well as a productive usage in contexts of contrastive focus (already discussed at length).

    Neutral focus (when asked about what your father does)
    (My FATHER) is a lawyer.
    a) (Min FAR) er advokat. --> (only works for kinship terms). Carries additional information about you.
    b) (FARen min) er advokat. --> no additional hints about you.

    Contrastive focus (when asked about whose father is a lawyer)
    (MY father) is a lawyer.
    a) (MIN far) er advokat. --> These two are (more or less) equivalent.
    b) (Faren MIN) er advokat.

    So, feel free to use prenominal possessives! But if you use them in a non-emphatic way with kinship terms, you also convey the message that you most likely vote conservative. If that is the message you want to convey, go ahead! :)
     

    serbianfan

    Senior Member
    British English
    As for De/Dem, I don't think I have ever heard someone using it
    Presumably you're not as ancient as some of us here, Myšlenka :)
    I think De/Dem/Deres were quite common until about 1960 and then suffered a rapid decline to have practically disappeared by 1980. When I spent some months in Oslo in 1968, shop assistants (sometimes/often?) said De to older customers, and I remember being very occasionally addressed as De, even though I was a teenager. I also remember once when an old lady seemed to be leaving her bag behind on the tram, so what naturally came out of my mouth was 'Er det Deres veske?'

    Of course, this was Oslo - it might have been the same in Bergen at the time, but probably not in most other parts of the country.
     

    winenous

    Senior Member
    English - British
    I think De/Dem/Deres were quite common until about 1960 and then suffered a rapid decline to have practically disappeared by 1980.
    Maybe I'm a young whipper-snapper here too :) It's amazing how quickly a language can change, eh? In around 5 years in the early 80s I never came across De/Dem/Deres, nor felt the need to use the words. That was Oslo/Bærum, but I suppose I didn't mix much with older conservative people.
    So, feel free to use prenominal possessives! But if you use them in a non-emphatic way with kinship terms, you also convey the message that you most likely vote conservative. If that is the message you want to convey, go ahead!
    I think I sound so obviously foreign that subtleties of grammar are unlikely to affect people's view of me :( But I'll bear it in mind, and it is always good to know when I hear others speaking. To be honest I am not sure which form I have used in the past most commonly, I am pretty sure I have been affected both by what I initially learned and what I have heard around me.
     

    raumar

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    That is all pretty much what I said, or at least intended to say. I didn't mean to imply that anything outside the Bokmål norms was being taught, and I understand it is a separate issue from the use of De/Dem.
    I'm sorry if I pointed out something obvious. I got the impression that you were a bit surprised to find "radical" forms in the 1960s textbook, so that is why I tried to explain it.

    As for De/Dem, I don't think I have ever heard someone using it.

    I think De/Dem/Deres were quite common until about 1960 and then suffered a rapid decline to have practically disappeared by 1980.
    I feel really old now - but I have actually used De/Dem myself, and I can confirm that it lasted a bit longer - it was used into the 1980s, in some contexts. I had a part-time job as a shop assistant in the 1980s (in Oslo), and I said "De" to elderly customers. Not because they deserved more politeness than other customers, but because they belonged to a generation that was used to "De", and might be offended by "du".

    Since then, I have not heard "De/Dem" - until a couple of years ago, when an insurance salesman addressed me as "De". I was completely taken aback, and asked him to use "du". He made an attempt to say "du", but slipped back to "De" after a while. That was a weird experience!
     

    winenous

    Senior Member
    English - British
    I'm sorry if I pointed out something obvious. I got the impression that you were a bit surprised to find "radical" forms in the 1960s textbook, so that is why I tried to explain it.
    No apology needed - your comments are always welcome, and sometimes what might be obvious needs to be said. Maybe I misused the term "radical"? The forms I learned certainly would not be radical now.

    I feel really old now - but I have actually used De/Dem myself, and I can confirm that it lasted a bit longer - it was used into the 1980s, in some contexts. I had a part-time job as a shop assistant in the 1980s (in Oslo), and I said "De" to elderly customers
    My wife said in the 80s that she also used it with some elderly clients, when she worked part-time as hjemmehjelp. Also, she said it was useful for situations when she wanted to make it clear to younger people that an over-friendly approach was unwelcome. Shop assistants typically used the pronoun "you" with me :)
     
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