https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NuggetPls

Confused about lille

So as far as I know, lille is supposed to be the definite form of liten/lita/lite right? But I keep seeing lille used in non definite form. Now I don't have many good examples of this but the other day I was joking around with a norwegian and she said "hold kjeft lille scrub" (not very nice :P). I don't know if this applies to other adjectives used in a similar way either. I'd have a few more examples of this but the only ones I've seen are rather offensive and I don't think I should post them here. They all use "lille" in this way.

April 5, 2016

3 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Deliciae
Mod
  • 297

Being a native, I've never thought to question why we do this, but here's my attempt:

You know how Norwegian does this weird thing where the placement of the possessive decides the grammatical definiteness of the noun it modifies? Of course any noun modified by a possessive is essentially definite - even if the grammar doesn't match up. The adjectives are sensible enough to understand this, and so you get:

"Min lille bil" - note the indefinite noun, as it's following the possessive.
"Den lille bilen min" - definite noun, as it precedes the possessive.

What I think we're dealing with here, are omitted/implicit possessives. For example, we often say "Kjære X", but could also say "Min kjære X" (My dear X), the same with "(Min) lille venn" ((My) little friend) and quite a few other endearing forms of address. We do the same thing with, well, less endearing forms of address, except we use the possessive "din", so we get "(Din) lille scrub" for instance.

Interestingly, you can mix and match here, to create endearing insults (isn't that great?), so if your friend ever calls you "Min lille scrub", then you're probably doing something right after all. ;)

April 5, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NuggetPls

Tusen takk, du er den beste

April 5, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Deliciae
Mod
  • 297

Bare hyggelig!

April 5, 2016
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