Differences between Swedish grammar and Norwegian

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Nordika
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Differences between Swedish grammar and Norwegian

Postby Nordika » 2018-03-05, 12:18

Hi I'm English and learning Norwegian.

As I can get by in Swedish having lived there for a few years I'm already able to recognise quite a lot of words and get the general meaning, but wondering if there's any major differences in grammar to watch out for or is it OK to keep the same overall structure as in Swedish....?

Thanks

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Woods
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Re: Differences between Swedish grammar and Norwegian

Postby Woods » 2018-03-07, 19:17

Same thing, but you need to add:

1. Seven types of plural instead of three (what is -er in Norwegian can be -er, -ar, -or or -en in Swedish). Strong plurals work the same way, except that sometimes Swedish uses plural with a suffix instead of the strong one (barn-barnor instead of barn-børn - this is actually Danish, but I guess Norwegian would be the same?).

2. Present verbs end in either -er or -ar, whereas in Danish/Norwegian it's always -er. I don't know how to find out which one to use besides being used to it - the only thing I know is that whenever the present is with -ar, the imperative has an -a as well (it looks exacly like the infinitive) - Danish doesn't have -e in the imperative, so I'm pretty sure Norwegian doesn't have it either

3. Past participles concord with the gender of the noun and therefore have two or three forms, whereas in Danish (and again I'm pretty sure it's exactly the same in Norwegian), there's only one form

4. The letter ä is used almost everywhere you hear the sound /ɛ/. In Danish æ is used only when a distinction has to be made or etymologically, and Norwegian has removed æ almost altogether.

These are the differences that I'm aware of. Indeed I just outlined them in my previous post called "Why is Swedish so messy and complicated" and this annoyed Johanna - the most knowing person here, so now she's not answering :mrgreen:

Indeed I'm not sure I got you right - I first got the impression that you know Norwegian and are trying to learn Swedish, but now as I reread your post I think it's the other way around? This would be easier.

By the way there's also a Norwegian forum if that's the case.

Nordika
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Re: Differences between Swedish grammar and Norwegian

Postby Nordika » 2018-03-08, 12:00

Thanks a lot, and thanks for the suggestion about the Norwegian forum too as I wasn't sure which one to start with. And yes learning Norwegian.... :)

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Johanna
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Re: Differences between Swedish grammar and Norwegian

Postby Johanna » 2018-03-08, 16:44

Woods wrote:1. Seven types of plural instead of three (what is -er in Norwegian can be -er, -ar, -or or -en in Swedish). Strong plurals work the same way, except that sometimes Swedish uses plural with a suffix instead of the strong one (barn-barnor instead of barn-børn - this is actually Danish, but I guess Norwegian would be the same?).

It's actually
Swedish: ett barn - barnet - barn - barnen
Bokmål: et barn - barnet - barn - barna/barnene
Nynorsk: et barn - barnet - barn/born - barna/borne
Danish: et barn - barnet - børn - børnene

Which of these is the most regular? In Swedish "barn" is perfectly regular, taking into account that it's neuter and ends in a consonant. In Bokmål, the word is too, it's just that there is more than one variety, and Nynorsk suffers from this as well. Danish... OK, an umlaut isn't exactly irregular, but it's not really predictable either.

The -or suffix is actually very regular, it's pretty much restricted to common-gender nouns ending in -a in the singular indefinite, like en flicka - flickan - flickor - flickorna. The one exception that comes to mind is ros, it doesn't end in -a in the singular indefinite, but is instead conjugated like this: en ros - rosen - rosor - rosorna.

Prefer Danish by all means, but please don't lie.

(Study up on weak vs strong nouns in Old Norse and its descendants)

Woods wrote:2. Present verbs end in either -er or -ar, whereas in Danish/Norwegian it's always -er. I don't know how to find out which one to use besides being used to it - the only thing I know is that whenever the present is with -ar, the imperative has an -a as well (it looks exacly like the infinitive) - Danish doesn't have -e in the imperative, so I'm pretty sure Norwegian doesn't have it either.

Now we're talking!

This is definitely a complication, but there is an upside to it: A Swedish -ar verb is always weak and completely regular. The majority of verbs belong to this group.

So, there is both an upside and a downside, the upside being that if you know that the present tense form of "jump" is hoppar you also know that the other forms are att hoppa - hoppar - hoppade - hoppat -- hoppa!

At the same time, there is no way to know that "play" is weak and "sover" is strong.
att leka - leker - lekte - lekt -- lek!
att sova - sover - sov - sovit -- sov!


In Danish on the other hand...
at hoppe - hopper - hoppet - hoppede -- hop!
at lege - leger - legede - leget -- leg!
at sove - sover - sov - sovet -- sov!

Confusing or what?

--------------------

Apart from this... Past participles work like adjectives, so there is more than one form for each verb, but if you do know the rules for adjectives, it's not a problem :)
Swedish (sv) native; English (en) good; Norwegian (no) read fluently, understand well, speak badly; Danish (dk) read fluently, understand badly, can't speak; Faroese (fo) read some, understand a bit, speak a few sentences; German (de) French (fr) Spanish (es) forgetting; heritage language, want to understand and speak but can't.


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