Norwegian : Short negative answer

Discussion in 'Nordic Languages' started by willem81, Oct 30, 2013.

  1. willem81 Senior Member

    As far as I know, the following negative construction must be correct:
    - Snakker du norsk?
    - Nei, det gjør jeg ikke.

    And what about this variant of short answer:
    - Nei, jeg gjør ikke.
    Is it correct also?

    For example, the first lines of "Peer Gynt" have a similar thing:
    Aase: Peer, du lyver!
    Peer Gynt (uden at standse): Nej, jeg gør ej!

    Will the latter phrase be 'Nei, jeg gjør ikke' in current Norwegian bokmål?
  2. myšlenka Senior Member

    You need the object too so I would judge "nei, jeg gjør ikke" as ungrammatical.
  3. willem81 Senior Member

    So, in order to be correct it needs an object to be added like this: Nei, jeg gjør det ikke.
    Is that right?
  4. myšlenka Senior Member

    Yes, that's right but it can't be added anywhere. The word order you proposed (grammatical in isolation) is weird in this context. Only two options are available for the context provided in #1:

    - Snakker du norsk?
    a) Nei, det gjør jeg ikke. (this is the most natural one to me)
    b) Nei, jeg gjør ikke det. (also possible)
    c) Nei, jeg gjør det ikke. (grammatical but awkward in this context)
  5. willem81 Senior Member

    Thank you for the explanation. That's interesting because to me all the three ones look quite equivalent. So, the answer (c) is grammatically correct but not suitable in this context. Could you please give an example of the context where this kind of answers suits well?
  6. myšlenka Senior Member

    There is a complex interaction between stress and word order, they are perhaps semantically equivalent but pragmatically different. Your native language, Russian, exhibits a lot more freedom when it comes to word order and I assume context will decide which one(s) to choose in Russian too.

    As for the answer c), it can be used if you want to express a contrast:
    - Snakker du norsk?
    - Nei, jeg gjør det ikke, men han derimot snakker norsk.
  7. willem81 Senior Member

    Thanks again, I think I understand now the usage of that kind of negative answer. And it is true that Russian theoretically allows any arbitrary word order in a sentence, unlike the Germanic languages, so the context is the main factor there.

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