Norwegian: Sammensatte substantiv

Discussion in 'Nordic Languages' started by hungpham, Apr 9, 2014.

  1. hungpham New Member

    Oslo, Norway
    << Topic: Sammensatte substantiv >>

    As far as I know, there are 3 ways to create a new noun from 2 other nouns:
    1. Merge directly.
    2. With -s- between them.
    3. With -e- between them.

    But I don't know when using which one. Can anyone help please?

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 10, 2014
  2. sjiraff

    sjiraff Senior Member

    Scotland, UK
    There is no particular pattern as far as I know, you just have to remember it.

    Dørkarm - door frame
    Vinduskarm - window frame

    Although I can only really say that for Norwegian, not sure of the other Scandinavian languages!
  3. Sepia Senior Member

    High German/Danish
    If there is a pattern it is more or less a phonetic one and not one based on the types of words or the meaning of the words.

    But even if you don't get it right, that is not going to blow your cover when you try to pass as a Dane.
  4. NorwegianNYC

    NorwegianNYC Senior Member

    New York, NY, USA
    There IS a pattern, but no official rules. The agglutinating -e- is a vestige from Old Norse, where it served as a possessive form. The words that take the -e- in a compound are usually one syllable words of Norse origin, and for some reason often linked to animals and people: jul, fisk, hund, katt, hjort, barn, mann, rev, bjørn etc.

    The -s- is a different story altogether. It is applied if the first element is originally a verb, or a compound. The latter might apply to words with noun-making suffixes as well. It might also be a reference to an infix possessive - meaning that stedsnavn is actually "et steds navn"
  5. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    What about the rule that prescribes inserting an "s" between the second and third element in the compound?
    This is not an absolute rule, but it is applied often.
  6. sjiraff

    sjiraff Senior Member

    Scotland, UK
    Ah, like "bjørnetjeneste"?

    What about words like "et svømmebasseng", where svømme is a verb but th ere is no -s- added?
  7. Sepia Senior Member

    High German/Danish

    I'd say, if there really is a rule in Norwegian, there must have been one in Danish too. (The question is, how far back?)

    In Danish it would be








    but also







    I have a feeling there may exist some kind of almost functionable pattern because usually I know if it sounds right or not. A lot of people, though, seem to have different feeling of what sounds right.

    One I have heard a lot in Copenhagen is "tændstiksæske". "Fodboldskamp" is not unusual either. But it is not standard Danish.

    But even if we cannot rationally determine a rule we often unconsciously have found. Isn't that the way language usually works?
  8. NorwegianNYC

    NorwegianNYC Senior Member

    New York, NY, USA
    Yes, that will count as a "compound". However, this is often determined by usage, not a rule per se
  9. NorwegianNYC

    NorwegianNYC Senior Member

    New York, NY, USA
    It is not an absolute rule! (or indeed a "rule" at all). Many words are spelled without, and many are optional. My guess, when it comes to "svømmebasseng" is that the -e- is interpreted as the agglutinating element.
  10. bicontinental Senior Member

    English (US), Danish, bilingual
    Svømmebasseng seems to be an example of a pattern (I didn’t say “a rule” :)) in which the first part of a compound noun is a verb (the verb root + -e = the bare infinitive) to which the second part is appended directly. Many verbs of movement and action verbs use this formula, e.g. kjørebane, kjøreskole, kjøreplan svømmebelte, svømmefugl, løpebane, løpeild, danselokale, dansesal, skøytebane, skøyteløp, lesesal, lesebok etc. etc.

  11. Ogago Member

    I Swedish we often use -s-, sometimes -e-, (cannot give an example here), but also -u- (like in 'gatuteater'), and -o- (like in 'kyrkoruin').

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