"I know the city."
Translation:Jeg kjenner byen.
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"Jeg kan litt norsk." is fine, much better than to say: "Jeg kan norsk" and you have just arrived in Oslo. People will be more helpful and they will speak slowly.
If you say: "Jeg kan norsk." and you can some Norwegian but not enough to have a normal conversation, people will be less helpful. I say this from my own experience in France.
Hey Jan, minor correction. Someone corrected me on this a while back, so apologies that I’m paying it forward!
In “Jeg skal til byen”, you’re leaving out a verb like “å dra” after an auxiliary. So far, so good.
But Norwegian tends to do this mainly with verbs of motion. What’s happening in “Jeg kan norsk” is actually something slightly different.
In “Jeg kan norsk”, “å kunne” is a fully fledged verb in its own right. If you look it up in a dictionary, it will have a separate listing. It’s not an auxiliary with some other verb implied. “Å kunne” in the sense of “to be able” and in the sense of “to have practical knowledge of” came from the same root verb, but evolved into different words.
Compare the verb “to ken” used in Scots. You can say things like “I ken mathematics well”.