Norwegian: verb in: "jeg kan målet nå"?

Discussion in 'Nordic Languages' started by barefootfiona, Jul 13, 2013.

  1. barefootfiona Member

    English & German
    One of the ways I use to learn languages is, silly as it sounds, to listen to Disney songs in that language. Listening to a song from Hercules, I came across this sentence:

    "jeg vandrer hvor som helst hvis jeg kan målet nå"

    The first part is easy enough to understand - "I will/would walk anywhere if I can/could..." - but then I got confused. The translation provided is "...if I can reach the goal".

    As far as I understand, "kan" is acting as a modal verb here so there will have to be another verb, but the only words left are "målet" and "".

    In my limited understanding of Norwegian, verbs do not end in -t, and so "målet" must be a noun meaning "the goal" rather than deriving from some verb "*å måle".

    But this leaves "", which I know as an adverb meaning "now", in the position of a verb. Is "å nå" a verb? And if so why does the object precede it? Why not "hvis jeg kan nå målet"?

    Any help would be much appreciated!

  2. mosletha Senior Member

    Haugesund, Norway
    Yes, "nå" is also a verb and it means "to reach". Its declension goes like this: å nå - når - nådde - har nådd.

    It is not strange that this sentence really confused you. The verb somewhat irregular, the word can also mean "now", and finally: the verb has a very strange placement in the sentence. Most Norwegians would very rarely (if ever) form a sentence like this (placing the verb on the end, kind of like what you see in German), but with these songs the translators often need to do some magic to have it all make sense musically.
  3. NorwegianNYC

    NorwegianNYC Senior Member

    New York, NY, USA
    "nå" in Norwegian is a cognate of "near" in English and "nähe" in German, but is used as a verb.
  4. JohanIII

    JohanIII Senior Member

    Musical (or rhythmic, in poems - and music) adaption is certainly the reason.
    Though I'd say not only translators do it - in many songs (poems) the word order is switched around, and this is a very good example.
    (I sing in a Nordic choir :) )

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