Do you guys understand Danish and Swedish?? I'm from Denmark and I don't understand Swedish, but I understand some Norwegian.... Ps. I like your blog!!!

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Yes we do :P In Norway we grew up with Swedish tv shows (although nowadays the tv shows are mostly dubbed, sadly). And Danish isn’t really hard to understand unless it’s a weird dialect.

Thank you :)

okay so this is a submission from , and it is a very good read if you’re wondering about the differences between the Norwegian and Icelandic language.

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On that Norwegian-Icelandic topic: I’m doing Scandinavian Studies (in Germany…) and we had some lectures on the linguistic development of the Scandinavian languages. You already mentioned some of it, and those links from simonaline are very good! But I think some things might have been left out? My explanation below isn’t very linear. Sorry.

Like you said, Old Norse developed around 800. Around 900 this diverged into Western Norse (Old Icelandic, Old Faroese, Old Norwegian and Norn) and Eastern Norse (Old Swedish, Old Danish, Old Gotnic).
Bokmål was developed from 19th century middle-class Danish; Nynorsk from the old dialects, which would be closer to Old Norwegian and thus Old Icelandic, since Old Icelandic developed from Old Norwegian, spoken by the mostly Norwegian settlers in Iceland. Old Icelandic and Old Norwegian parted ways between 1300 and 1350, when there was less contact between the countries. So, up from 1350 we have Middle Norwegian, which gets heavily influenced by Danish and a little by Swedish because of the long Danish rule over Norway and also in the 19th century by the Swedes - and then we end up in the language debate.

In theory Nynorsk speakers should be more able to understand Icelandic, but (and that’s a rather big but) the fact that there are about 500 years between the division of both languages shouldn’t be underestimated. In that period there is the minimal development of the Icelandic language (to the point that Old Icelandic from around 1200 is easy to understand (i.e. read) for Modern Icelandic speakers) and the enormous influence from the Danish language and partly from Swedish on Norwegian implies that mid-19th century dialects would in general be very different from Old Icelandic, although there are dialects in Western Norway that should be similar and Northern Norwegian is easier to understand for Icelanders as well, but I do not know all Norwegian dialects by name (wow!) so I can’t really prove this either (it might be Sognamål, but it’s just a semi-educated guess).

Anyway, Nynorsk is rather different from Old and Modern Icelandic and both Nynorsk and Bokmål are now part of the Continental Scandinavian languages together with Danish and Swedish, not of some ‘Western Scandinavian’ together with Faroese and Icelandic (which are actually Insular Scandinavian). So today there’s a more ‘geographic’ distinction of the languages. Still, that doesn’t mean that any are easily understandable when spoken, since pronouciation changed much more than writing etc. Icelandic grammar is also indefinitely more complicated than Norwegian, since it retained much of the Old Norse grammar while Norwegian grammar got ‘simpler’ since it developed in a more ‘normal’ way than Icelandic. So understanding written texts is one thing, Icelanders understanding Norwegians (and other Continental Scandinavians) is another and Norwegians (and other C.S.) understanding Icelanders is again something completely different - not starting on actually speaking the ‘other’ language…

Uh. Since that anon mentioned a Disney song, I’d wager the guess that many words in it are similar in the way many Scandinavian words are (things like vattn, skatt, folk, vera, silfur, gull, etc.) - they are pretty understandable in writing in all those languages because the languages are closely related after all.

About the nynorsk thing, it was just and observation I made while listening to part of your world icelandic. Many nynorsk words there, check it for yourself.

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SCIENCE lol just kidding, might do

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Hei! I noticed that heaps of people asked questions related to Scandinavian linguistics. This are three links to introductory books that I read for a Scandinavian linguistic course. You might wanna share it with others :)  

Danish version:
Norwegian version:
Swedish version: 

I'm interested in learning Norwegian. Should I learn Bokmål or Nynorsk?

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for practical reasons I would recommend bokmål, as only 500K Norweigans write nynorsk and 4.5M Norwegians write bokmål. And also most text books are probably in bokmål as well. But of course, nynorsk is a much more beautiful language than bokmål so I guess there’s that…

Hey, I'm from England and I'm looking to move to Norway in the next couple of years (probably to either Trondheim or Bergen), I was just wondering if you had any tips for settling into Norwegian life? I know all the official stuff (immigration laws, employment and accommodation stuff), I just want some guidance on what day to say life would be like. Thank you!! :D

hmmm… this is difficult because I don’t really know how life in Norway differs from other places seeing I’ve only lived here my entire life and not anywhere else. But as an English person you should not expect people to be as polite to you as people typically are in England. Weather is pretty much the same, however Bergen has a lot of rain. 

You know what I can do? I can link you to my friend Ingeborg's youtube channel where she has a video called "10 Norwegian concepts you should know about" which is just a brilliant video! She also has a number of videos about Norway which you can watch to get a little glimpse of the Norwegian day to day life :)

To the last anon, I think those who write "nynorsk" understand icelandic better than those who write "bokmål". The latter is kinda based on danish, and nynorsk is based on accents in the 19th century. Most of us know both written languages because of school tho.

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I’ve never heard that before. Are you sure??

Ah, thankyou so much for answering my question! That definitely makes much more sense now :) I think it's incredible that they can still speak much the same language that they did hundreds of years ago! I read somewhere that Icelandic was the closest language to Old Norse, hence why I asked the question. But you explained it very well. Tusen takk! og jeg håper du har en fin dag :D

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oh wow, no problem at all! :) Whenever I get the chance to show off my extensive knowledge on the Norwegian language I take it, haha! Takk takk, ha en fin dag selv :) x

If you’re interested (lol, again: I’m just showing off!), here are some old sayings in old norse and modern icelandic, and you can see how similar they are :)


May sound like a stupid question, but can Norwegians understand Icelandic? at least to some extent, like the way that Norwegian is similar to Swedish and Danish?

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Not really, but I guess you can spot similarities in words (like you can with f. ex. Norwegian, Dutch and German). But similarities in words doesn’t really make a difference when it comes to understanding the language. However, some people have corrected me on tumblr and told me that certain Norwegian dialects can understand Icelandic, but they never specified which dialects or gave me a source for this so I’m not 100% convinced of this.

But you cannot really compare Norwegian/Swedish/Danish with Norwegian and Icelandic. Iceland have lived isolated on their little island since the beginning of time (or since the end of the dark ages…). Norway and Iceland lost contact ca. 1300/1400 AD when Norway joined the Kalmar Union with the other Scandinavian countries. This is the reason why Norwegian developed in a more European direction whilst Icelandic very much stayed the same (and is still very, very similar to the language they spoke 800 years ago - which I find extremely cool!!).

(Not so) useful Norwegian phrases


Denne osten er full av mugg - this cheese is full of mold

Isbjørnen er en uttrydningstruet dyreart - the polar bear is an endangered species

Rumpa mi brenner - my butt is on fire

La oss plyndre England - let’s plunder England

Svigermor er kannibal - my mother in law is a cannibal

Månen er laget av sveitserost - the moon is made of Swiss cheese

Skogen er full av troll - the forest is full of trolls

Jeg skal ut på fisketur og det er ingenting du kan gjøre for å stoppe meg - I’m going out on a fishing trip and there’s nothing you can do to stop me

Slutt å mase - stop nagging

Jeg skulle ønske jeg var et dovendyr - I wish I was a sloth

Jeg elsker hjemmelagede knekkebrød med brunost - I love homemade crackers with brown cheese

Ostehøvelen er verdens flotteste oppfinnelse - the cheese slicer is the world’s greatest invention

hjelp! hvordan er man russ billigst og best mulig? og hva burde jeg bruke penger på? hva er best russedress eller russeservice? jeg er redd og jeg trenger all den hjelpen jeg kan få...

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Oki, lets get down to business! First things first: bruk russeservice!! Russedress har vist noen utrolig ekle holdninger når det kommer til bruk av rohypnol, (“herregud, det er jo bare en vits!!!” Ikke faen.) så av prinsipp vil jeg anbefale russeservice av hele mitt hjerte. For det andre: kjøp pakkeløsning hvor du får bukse, lue, tusj, russekort og fløyte. Det koster ikke så mye (men shippingen koster irriterende mye, men det er ikke noe du kan gjøre noe med, dessverre). Men du må huske å holde tidsfristen for bestilling og betaling!!
Når det gjelder arrangementer og sånt så var jeg (Louise) personlig ikke med på det, så jeg kan ikke fortelle noe om det. Det eneste jeg kan si er at jeg anbefaler å heller bruke penger på vin og mat under russefeiringen og heller feste hjemme hos venner og gjøre gøye ting sammen med dem. Dropp russebuss/bil - det koster sinnsykt mye, og noen jeg har snakket med har angret på hvor mye penger de brukte for kun noen få uker. Og i tillegg så viser det seg at mange av disse bussene er livsfarlige og selvantennende.

Mitt viktigste råd til alle kommende russ (og egentlig alle) er: aldri gjør noe du ikke vil!! Ikke gå på russearrangementer hvis det ikke er din greie, ikke heng med mennesker du egentlig ikke liker eller som har holdninger du ikke relaterer til, ikke la deg tvinge til å dra steder, drikke alkohol mot din vilje, ha sex mot din vilje (husk: alt som er imot din vilje, enten du er ved bevissthet eller ikke, er voldtekt. Vit dette!!! Hvis du er for full til å kunne si nei er det voldtekt).

Ha en fin russefeiring! Det er en utrolig bra periode av livet ditt hvor du føler deg litt uendelig og fri. Men husk at skolen fremdeles finnes, og gjør ditt beste med tanke på prøver, eksamen og lekser. Det er lov å tøye regler og normer, men ikke la dette gå ut over andre eller din fremtid. Og please: IKKE KIDNAPP FOLK OG BIND DE OPP ETTER FLAGGSTANGER. DETTE ER IKKE MORSOMT OG ER FAKTISK HELT GRUSOMT.

Ja. Jeg tror det var alt jeg ville si :)