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Heavy use of masculine form of feminine words in Norsk Duolingo course

Is there a particular reason why some words that are feminine are always written in masculine form, but some get written as both in the course, as well as some always in their regular feminine form? Many words I would not even know are feminine unless I look it up on outside sources because they only get used in a masculine form here. Is this a dialect thing where certain genders are preferred on certain words or what? I sort of get lost on which dialect is being taught.

December 2, 2015



Yes, there is a reason, and it is thoroughly explained here: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/9169298


Well that does explain which dialect is used. However it does not explain the inconsistent standard of feminine word usage taking three different routes. 1. Always feminine. 2. Sometimes feminine. 3. Always in masculine form.


In the example sentences the NTB standard is used (set phrases aside), and mostly it recommends masculine forms (and verb-endings with -e) unless the most widespread use of a word is feminine (like jenta and hylla, the girl and the shelf).

But when making English sentences for the translation we have to include all legal forms (for both directions). And sometimes DL will throw these alternate translations in your face, even when we try to teach that a shirt = en skjorte and later on it turns out you can write skjorta and it is also correct...

So there is a preferred translation (it should be just one!) and more often than not a number of acceptable translations (think any sentence with a verb in present tense in Norwegian will probably mean two translations into English, just because of the ing-form). The way DL work it will often leak acceptable versions back, rather than sticking with the preferred one. For instance if your suggestion is too far from the preferred one and there are several options to choose from that are closer to your answer, it might pick one of those instead.

It might be confusing but that is how bokmål is. There are several alternatives and they are equally correct. The incubators need a guideline to avoid scaring people away with the four different ways you can conjugate the four tenses of "nail"... NTB is a set standard easily accessible for anyone.


Okay but it gets me a bit lost still since I dont always know if a word has a feminine option without looking elsewhere because it is not even a visible option on duolingo for some words. The answer can be accepted but you cant always tell. For example "the cook" i never written as "kokka" and always "kokken" even though its feminine. If it were "a cook" then in the options it will just have "kokke" which does not let you know its gender because it doesnt have "ei kokke"and "en kokke" as options grouped together. Would be nice if duolingo had better ways to display gender of words.


I think it is on the drawing board to add something like that.

But now the main issue is that the conservative NTB-version has been chosen as "bokmål standard" (practical, as NTB publishes a dictionary) and the consern is that it will be confusing for a beginner to know of all the different forms.


All feminine nouns can be male. Example: jenta and jenten bother mean the girl, but moth are accepted. Hope this helps! If you want a more detailed explanation go to the skill: Basics 2!


I know that is the case but Im asking why certain specific words were chosen to only be represented a specific way in the answers, hover translation, and norsk to english translation exercise.


Maybe it is just used to show variety? Who knows, lol.


My impression is that some dialects are more conservative in marking words as feminine and others are less, and that the course tries to represent a typical speaker. In general more common words and words whose meaning is obviously feminine seem more likely marked as such, although there are exceptions.

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