hvis eller om

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ich
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hvis eller om

Postby ich » 2017-06-05, 1:51

Hei!
I am hoping maybe you guys could help me out in understanding the difference between "hvis" and "om." They both mean "if" in English. I understand somewhat that "om" means "whether," but what confuses me is that I also understood that "ob" in German means "whether" as well, but I am finding out that "ob" in German and "om" in Norwegian are not interchangeable. So, now I do not understand where the line is between "hvis" and "om."

I have been using Duolingo as my source to learn Norwegian, and here are some examples that they have used. I am having troubles drawing any conclusions from their examples.

Om ikke oss, hvem?
If not us, who?
Wenn nicht wir, dann wer?

Vet du om katten er hjemme?
Do you know if the cat is home?
Weißt du, ob die Katze zu Hause ist?

Hva hvis det regner?
What if it rains?
Was, wenn es regnet?

Tusen takk for å hjelpe meg!

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Re: hvis eller om

Postby Johanna » 2017-06-05, 20:51

From my understanding, you don't have to use hvis, you could always use om instead. At least unless your style of choice is Conservative Bokmål.

It's very confusing for me as a Swede too, even though my native dialect is somewhere in the middle between Standard Swedish and the traditional Oslo dialect...
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Re: hvis eller om

Postby ich » 2017-06-06, 1:18

Thanks for the response.

I have a couple of follow-up questions.
Is it possible then to write something like: Hva om det regner? Or is the phrase "what if" as hva hvis" a fixed phrase?
To my second question: I had a thread earlier a year ago or so about the difference between boka and boken, for example. Which one of these is the more conservative usage? From what I understood from that thread, that would be boka. Am I correct? I would like all my usages to match.
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Re: hvis eller om

Postby Astrum » 2017-06-06, 5:57

ich wrote:Thanks for the response.

I have a couple of follow-up questions.
Is it possible then to write something like: Hva om det regner? Or is the phrase "what if" as hva hvis" a fixed phrase?
To my second question: I had a thread earlier a year ago or so about the difference between boka and boken, for example. Which one of these is the more conservative usage? From what I understood from that thread, that would be boka. Am I correct? I would like all my usages to match.
Tusen takk!

1. The German "ob" is always (in modern contexts) interchangeable with either "om" or "enten".
2. Johanna is correct in that one can always use "om" instead of "hvis" (except for when "hvis" means "whose" – confused yet? :wink:), although "hvis" might sound better in certain constructions.
3. "Hva om det regner?" is better than "Hva hvis det er regner?", in my opinion. Both are, however, correct.
4. "Boken" is more conservative than "boka" – if by "conservative" you mean closer to Riksmål.

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Re: hvis eller om

Postby ich » 2017-06-13, 0:50

Thanks for your input Astrum. A few new questions now come to mind.

Astrum wrote:Johanna is correct in that one can always use "om" instead of "hvis" (except for when "hvis" means "whose" – confused yet? )

I am. Hehe. On Duolingo, I was learning that "hvem sin/sitt/si/sine" is the form for "whose". Would you mind explaining the difference between "hvem sin" and "hvis" in the sense of "whose"?
Astrum wrote: "Boken" is more conservative than "boka" – if by "conservative" you mean closer to Riksmål.

Truthfully, I am not really sure if I mean closer to Riksmål. I read the info that your link sent me to, and it said that moderate Riksmål or Bokmål is preferred by 90% of Norwegians. If that is true, then moderate Bokmål/Riksmål would be the form of Norwegian that I would like to strive for. Is "boken" still considered moderate?
The varities of Norwegian are really getting me lost. :?

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Re: hvis eller om

Postby Astrum » 2017-06-13, 6:35

ich wrote:I am. Hehe. On Duolingo, I was learning that "hvem sin/sitt/si/sine" is the form for "whose". Would you mind explaining the difference between "hvem sin" and "hvis" in the sense of "whose"?

"Hvem sin/si/sitt/sine" is more common than "hvis", as "hvis" might be considered by some as somewhat archaic. It is, however, preferred in written Norwegian, and can always be used instead of "hvem sin/si/sitt/sine":

Hvem sin bok er dette? -> Hvis bok er dette? (Whose book is this?)
Hvem sitt slott er det? -> Hvis slott er det? (Whose castle is it?)

It can also be used to simplify certain sentences:

Han er en mann (som) jeg respekterer meningene til. (Bad sentence structure; ends with preposition ["til"].)
Han er en mann hvis meninger jeg respekterer. (Preferred – especially in written language.)
(He's a man whose opinions I respect.)

Fun fact: Because "hvis" in this sense isn't used by some people, The Language Council of Norway allowed for the use of "hvems" ("hvem" [who] + the genitive marker/enclitic "s") in 1991. This proved to be so unpopular that they had to remove it in 1997.

ich wrote:Truthfully, I am not really sure if I mean closer to Riksmål. I read the info that your link sent me to, and it said that moderate Riksmål or Bokmål is preferred by 90% of Norwegians. If that is true, then moderate Bokmål/Riksmål would be the form of Norwegian that I would like to strive for. Is "boken" still considered moderate?
The varities of Norwegian are really getting me lost. :?

Yes, "boken" is considered moderate (as opposed to radical) Bokmål, but "boka" is probably used by far more than 10% of the population – especially in spoken Norwegian. (There is also a sociolinguistic element to consider in Oslo – see the paragraph that begins "A-endings ("gata") (...)" here.)

Just let me know if there's anything else I can help with! :)

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Re: hvis eller om

Postby Johanna » 2017-06-14, 0:01

Astrum wrote:Han er en mann (som) jeg respekterer meningene til. (Bad sentence structure; ends with preposition ["til"].)

Is this a thing in Norwegian?! :shock:

In English it's bullshit. There is a so-called rule that is based in Latin that tells you not to, but you may notice that Latin is an Italic language while English is a Germanic one, not to mention that most of the descendants of Latin resemble English way more than they do their ancestor.

In Swedish, it's perfectly fine to end a sentence with a preposition, it's a Germanic language with the structure of one! If that doesn't hold true for Norwegian as well when looking at how the language is actually spoken (descriptive), I feel inclined to eat my hat... (Cap really, but still.)
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Re: hvis eller om

Postby Astrum » 2017-06-14, 1:59

Johanna wrote:
Astrum wrote:Han er en mann (som) jeg respekterer meningene til. (Bad sentence structure; ends with preposition ["til"].)

Is this a thing in Norwegian?! :shock:

In English it's bullshit. There is a so-called rule that is based in Latin that tells you not to, but you may notice that Latin is an Italic language while English is a Germanic one, not to mention that most of the descendants of Latin resemble English way more than they do their ancestor.

In Swedish, it's perfectly fine to end a sentence with a preposition, it's a Germanic language with the structure of one! If that doesn't hold true for Norwegian as well when looking at how the language is actually spoken (descriptive), I feel inclined to eat my hat... (Cap really, but still.)

Good question. I agree with you: There is no such rule in English, and no such absolute rule in Norwegian. Some expressions even require ending a sentence with a preposition: "Jeg likte ikke måten han ordla seg ." (Cf. the expression " en måte".) If you were to ask me "...på hva da?", I could simply answer "på måten han ordla seg".

If we look at the example in my previous post: "Han er en mann jeg respekterer meningene til." If you were to ask me "...til hva/hvem da?", the answer wouldn't be as apparent, because "til" is not part of a similar expression in this case. (The answer would be: "Til mannen, som han er.") This usually makes me wonder if there's a better way of structuring the sentence. And there is a better way, e.g.: "Jeg respekterer meningene til denne mannen. / Jeg respekterer meningene hans."

So you are correct in that the preposition is not problematic per se, but ending a sentence with a preposition (that is not part of an expression that requires said preposition) might very well be indicative of a problem with the sentence structure -- in this case, the subordinate clause was unnecessary, and should be removed in well-thought-out, written Norwegian, IMHO.

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Re: hvis eller om

Postby Johanna » 2017-06-16, 21:18

Honestly, just let Norwegian be Norwegian, I'm pretty sure that it won't ever be a problem. After all, in Germanic languages, you only really end a sentence with a preposition when called for after all, and Norwegian is very much Germanic.
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Re: hvis eller om

Postby Astrum » 2017-06-18, 1:56

I don't think I'm making my sentences any less Norwegian. And I think most Norwegians would agree with me in that "han er en mann (som) jeg respekterer meningene til" is bad sentence structure. But let's agree to disagree? :)

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Re: hvis eller om

Postby Ífaradà » 2017-09-03, 22:35

In English-speaking academia you want your text to be as clear as possible, hence the tendency to not end sentences in prepositions as these types of structure tend to diffuse the sentence and could be (as already mentioned) pointing at a problem with the sentence itself. Certain structures are prefered because they are also easier to read and grasp.

With that said, Norwegian does not have the same issue. In English you often see preposition + which to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition. Norwegian does to a large degree not use this type of sentence structure.

In formal English you would most likely not write 'a job I am willing to do anything for'. You would write: 'a job for which I am willing to do anything'.

In formal Norwegian you would write the former 'en jobb jeg er villig til å gjøre alt for'. There is nothing awkward or informal about this sentence.

But in the case of 'han er en mann (som) jeg respekterer meningene til' - strikes me as a rather odd sentence, but not because it ends with a preposition. It is odd because it's just a poor sentence in general. You could rewrite it in a myriad of better ways as already suggested.
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