en / et / ei ?

Hello fellow learners of Norwegian,

I wanted to ask you if anyone has any information regarding which nouns are masculine / feminine and neutral?

I am a speaker of Swedish and Danish and was slightly surprised to encounter a third article (ei), when in both other Scandinavian languages we only know two indefinite articles (et(t) & en).

At first I thought I could draw a comparison with Swedish and that all words that in Swedish end with an "a" would be feminine in Norwegian (e.g. ei kvinne (en kvinna)), or that all nouns designating women would be feminin (e.g. ei jente, ei mor, ...), but are there other rules? I've just got stuck with "ei bok" which doesn't quite fit in my picture about Norwegian articles.

Any help would be appreciated.

Many thanks in advance!

April 10, 2016


Hello Norwegian learner! Be sure to consult the tips and notes section of the very first skill, Basics. There you'll discover a brief overview of the Norwegian grammatical genders, of which there are three, like what German or Russian have. The very word "ei," which signifies the feminine gender of a noun, is not even used in some parts of Norway, and many use the masculine article "en" in its place, which is perfectly fine to do. Both "en kvinne" and "ei kvinne" are equally grammatical.

Wow, both of your language lists are impressionable!!

I have consulted the tipps, made notes and everything, but I can not procede by ignoring the feminine form, even if it may not be used that frequently. There are possessive adjectives tied to feminine, god know what happens to adjectives... I can always decide not to use it, but first I need to understand it.

Ha' det!

The feminine form "ei" is rarely omitted in spoken Norwegian and it would sound a bit strange or pretentious if you were a native speaker who only used "en". In written language however, it is not that uncommon to just use "en".

Nope, I disagree. In Bergen, "ei" doesn't exist in the dialect at all. Also in my dialect (I'm from Asker, Akershus) it is frowned upon to use "ei". We always say "en ku", "en bok", "en jente" etc.

The "Ei" in Norwegian, shows why it is a Germanic language, because German has also a very similar definite word for the female article: "Eine". That was a bit off topic, but the norsk "ei" reminds me to the German "eine", so it's a nice mnemonic for anyone who knows some German as well

German also has "ein", which refers to a masculine noun though. ;)

Well, masculine / neuter, but that's a different story.

I was confuse too, but this note help.

En for something manly, and the words end with en. Ei is female and the words end with a Et is neither male or female ( like just a thing). En gutt- gutten means one boy-the boy. Ei jente-jenta means one girl the girl. Et gjerde - gjerdet means one fence, the fence.

Wow. I thought it was "one". Because your question, I've found out at Wiktionary, it is the feminine singular form of en:

'one' is 'én'(with the acute accent), although accents are (almost) always optional in Norwegian.

edit: for neuter and feminine it would be 'ett' and 'éi'.

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