1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Norwegian (Bokmål)
  4. >
  5. "De tre vise menn besøker spe…

"De tre vise menn besøker spedbarnet."

Translation:The three wise men are visiting the baby.

November 5, 2015



Could you tell me why it is not "de tre vise mennene"?


Because it's an allusion to an old text, and it used to be normal to write things like "den mann" but nowadays the noun should also be inflected, so "den mannen" would be preferred.


Could it also be because of the number 3? My norwegian teacher taught us that the noun should be in ubestemt form if it's following numbers higher than 1 Also after mange, noen...


Well, it should also be in the ubestemt form following the number one?


The version without the redundant definite form is typically Danish. Norwegian has less Danish influence these days, so it sounds old-fashioned.


it's still obligatory at least in Bokmål


I guess you're saying that the redundant definite form is obligatory in Bokmål. This is clearly not the case: the above sentence is in this Bokmål course, and yet it does not have the redundancy.

It would be more accurate to say that the usual modern standard is to include it in line with the way most Norwegian dialects work (plus Nynorsk and Swedish), but that older styles which exist within Bokmål tolerate the more typically Danish construction.


Well I'm not sure whether we are talking about the same thing or not, but I was taught what I'm talking about under the name "double definite" and it consists in leaving a word in the definite form even when paired with a demonstrative adjective, as in "denne hunden". Is it this you're talking about?


Yes, kinda. We're talking about the double definite phenomenon that occurs when an adjective precedes the noun, as in de vise menn[ene]. In such sentences, the definite article at the beginning is obligatory, and the definite suffix on the noun is optional.

The use of that definite suffix is the norm in most Norwegian (and Swedish) dialects, resulting in it being the standard construction in Nynorsk, Bokmål and Swedish. However, Bokmål is Danish-influenced, and thus old-fashioned sentences may lack the definite suffix, as in Danish. This exercise is an example of that.

The double definite construction with demonstratives is basically similar to this, in Norwegian anyway.


Is there a rational explanation for the REDUNDANT Double Definite? Is there a Swedish dialect that doesn't require the annoying Double Definite?


This is an important explanation. takk.


what is the difference between "babyen" and "spedbarnet"?

  • 2727

Spedbarnet is infant, babyen is baby. Though I'm not sure if there is any temporal factor when one would prefer one over the other, as in spedbarnet for newly born.


Det handler om hellige tre konger: Kaspar, Melkior og Baltasar, ikke sant?


"the babe" is quite traditional, too


You know how there's a "give lingot" option? I think there should be a "take lingot" option for spectacularly dumb posts.


"The three magi" betyr det samme på engelsk.

Learn Norwegian (Bokmål) in just 5 minutes a day. For free.