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https://www.duolingo.com/sokola1

Suggested Improvement to Norwegian (Bokmål) Course

Hello!

I am not sure if the forum is the best place to submit suggestions, so if anyone knows of a better way, please let me know.

Even though it makes grammatical sense to use masculine articles for both masculine and feminine nouns, it does not help to distinguish the two. This is fine when discussing articles, but is troublesome for later topics, like possession.

For example, the word for "door" is first presented as "en dør", but does not indicate that it is actually a feminine noun. So you would not know that when using possessives, it should be written as "døra mi" or "mi dør."

Would it be possible to present new words with their gender specified? Or even just use ei for feminine nouns?

Thanks!

1 year ago

5 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Deliciae
Deliciae
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Now that the activity streams are gone, I'd say the forum is the best way to reach us mods. :)

Having the gender displayed in some way would be nice, but we're asked not to do so in the hints by the powers that be, and have no other way of making it happen. I've always thought colour coding new nouns would be a neat way of solving it, but that is not something that's currently supported by the site.

Using feminine forms for all feminine nouns is not something we're willing to do, as we think it paramount to teach you a form of Bokmål which is as neutral as possible, meaning that it's going to serve you well in both formal and less formal situations, and sound natural to as many natives as possible. While most Norwegians will use some feminine forms, both in speech and in writing, only a few dialects use feminine forms exclusively, and doing so in writing would be quite rare - especially in more formal texts.

What I would recommend is looking up all new nouns in Bokmålsordboka, the official Norwegian dictionary, where the gender will be given along with additional information about the words meaning and use. I know it's not as elegant a solution as you were looking for, but on the bright side you may end up learning something from the dictionary entries which you wouldn't have been able to pick up here on Duo.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sokola1

Thank you for the thorough response! It was very informative!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Deliciae
Deliciae
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Bare hyggelig! You phrased your suggestion in a way that invited a thorough response. :)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/angelicaschylur

I agree, I also think there should be a word list of all the words learnt sorted into categories and they could put the gender of each word next to where they are on the list.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/GisleHannemyr

The answer by the mod. Deliciae is not wrong, but when she says that "we think it paramount to teach you a form of Bokmål which is as neutral as possible", she glosses over the fact that this is a very controversial topic in Norway. There no such thing as a neutral version of bokmål! The fact underlying the controversy is that there are two main strains of Norwegian bokmål: conservative bokmål and radical bokmål, and which strain you use is a function of class, education and where you place yourself politically.

In conservative bokmål, there are no feminine nouns. Conservative bookmål instead uses masculine as a common gender for all nouns that are not neuter (same as danish and riksmål). So in conservative bokmål, it is actually "en dør", "døren", "min dør". (stressed possessive) , "døren min" (unstressed possessive).

However, in radical Bokmål there are both masculine and feminine nouns (same as nynorsk), and "dør is feminine. Hence, all of the following is correct: "ei dør", "døra", "mi dør" "døra mi".

If Duolingo first presents the word for "door" as "en dør", it has chosen to teach students conservative bokmål and if you want to be grammatically consistent you must treat it as masculine in all variants. In that case Duolingo should accept (and prefer) the possessives "min dør" and "døren min".

If it does not, it should be flagged as an error.

IMHO, Duolingo should also accept the radical forms. While the conservative forms unfortunately has become dominant in print, the radical version is still spoken by a lot of people (e.g. by the working classes, and by some intellectuals that are politically aligned with the left). Here is a link to an op-ed by Aslak Sira Myhre: Å stjele et språk ("To steal a language") that laments the disappearance of radical bokmål from print media.

PS: For the record, as a native speaker, I think the tips and notes about gender given in the Duolingo introduction to Norwegian are confusing when it states that "en kvinne" is a feminine form. This is a masculine form, and if you use this variant of bokmål (i.e. conservative bokmål), the possessive should be "min kvinne" - not "mi kvinne".

See also norsksidene.no: eiendomsord

1 year ago