https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AKS308634

Clarification: døra / døren

Hi,

I wonder if there is someone who would be able to clarify the difference and rules around usage of "døra" and "døren". I see both used in exercises and am a bit puzzled as to what the rule is for choosing one over the other.

For example: "Han ser en elg utenfor døra"
and "Det er to aviser utenfor døren"

Any clarification would be greatly appreciated!

Mange takk.

July 30, 2019

17 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/fveldig
Mod
  • 326

'dør' is a feminine noun, and all feminine nouns may be inflected as if they were masculine. So the singular definite form is either 'døra' or 'døren'. Both have the exact same meaning.

Which one you use is up to you, but you'll have to be consistent with your choice. You can't use 'døra' in one sentence and 'døren' in the next one. The choice is usually dependent on whatever form is the closest to the one the speaker use in their dialect.

'døra' and 'døren' are both common, with 'døren' being slightly more so.

July 30, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AKS308634

Ok thank you, this is a great explanation. Funny, I'd noticed and thought interesting earlier on in the course that for example "en kvinne / kvinnen" took the masculine indef. article, so thought something might be up with how gender forms were used...anyway. Thank you. Very helpful.

I will err on the side of døren for now.

Takk.

July 30, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/fveldig
Mod
  • 326

While 'kvinne' can be considered a feminine noun, it more often considered a masculine noun. 'kvinnen' is roughly 10x more common than 'kvinna'. The feminine form of 'kvinne' isn't even taught in this course :)

The masculine indefinite article is commonly used even if the definite form is feminine, so you can say 'en dør' and 'døra' in the same sentence.

July 30, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/karasu4

The feminine a-endings are becoming more popular to use tho, especially in media. Some writers even use them so much they confuse masculine and feminine nouns, giving masculine nouns a-endings. I've seen 'penna' for 'pennen' for instance, in a news report.

This is also pretty common on Norwegian Wikipedia, as far as I've seen.

July 30, 2019

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

Many dialects have "penn" as a feminine noun.

July 31, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/karasu4

It doesn't work in Bokmål though.

July 31, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/fveldig
Mod
  • 326

It's possible you have a selection bias, I can see no trends for the feminine forms overtaking the masculine forms on the Norwegian n-gram for newspapers. I didn't find any n-gram for Wikipedia. (However, there is no Wikipedia for Bokmål, but rather Bokmål and Riksmål.)

It's possible that the writers are influenced by their own dialects, as feminine nouns are more prevalent in some dialects. The usage often seems to be a stylistic choice, though, as it may sound more natural.

I didn't intend to say that feminine forms were becoming unpopular, just that the feminine form for 'kvinne' is uncommon. For certain words, such as 'jente', the feminine form is much more common than the masculine form.

July 31, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/karasu4

Maybe it's a bit of a bias, i don't know.

The top article in Dagbladet right now uses feminine forms: https://www.dagbladet.no/nyheter/flere-veier-sperret-og-skadet-etter-rasene/71445556

And so does the first major Wikipedia-article I randomly opened: https://no.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyskland

I just feel like this is the trend, but I haven't researched it.

The one with 'penna', btw, was from NRK: https://www.nrk.no/sport/sa-sint-ble-carlsen-1.12603109

(Funny that they write 'kastet penna' and not 'kasta penna', while they're at it.)

Agree that 'jenta' is more 'natural', so to say', than 'kvinna'. I usually try to follow the common/neuter-standard 100%, but having to write 'jenten' really makes me cringe...

July 31, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AKS308634

So, in cases where both feminine and masculine forms are commonly used like this 'døra' / 'døren' example , is it safe to say that it's mainly a stylistic choice, as in one just sounds better than another in a given sentence? (Unlike 'kvinnen' / 'en kvinne', which is almost always given the masculine article?)

It's a really interesting aspect of the language.

If one wants to be more formal, for example in writing professional documents, is the gender of the article more fixed than it is in more casual contexts?

July 31, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/fveldig
Mod
  • 326

It can be a stylistic choice, but it may also just depend on the dialect of the speaker. Because feminine forms are common for some words in most dialects, a writer could use them to make a character sound more natural. Using only masculine forms may sound more conservative/formal, so some may prefer it, but it's not a rule you have to adhere, just a choice.

July 31, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DanielAlla828604

I’ve been through this before here and was berated for advising fellow learners to learn both forms for exams. I am following Norwegian 2/UiO and they insist we make the distinction. And they are not the only ones. En kvinne isn’t accepted. It’s ei kvinne. The fact that your course does not teach the feminine is a lack on your part. Please, fellow learners, avoid shortcuts and take the extra time to recognize that “feminine” is an integral part of the Norwegian language. D. P.S.: It’s not a question of whether kvinne is masculine or feminine. It’s feminine.

July 30, 2019

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

Do not forget that bokmål is a written language only (even though some dialects are closer to 'spoken' bokmål - the latter is something that really only occurs in language courses). In spoken Norwegian there is at least one major dialect which doesn't have feminine forms at all. For that reason, and others, it's always safe to fall back to masculine if you only know that the word isn't neuter. It follows that what's important is to be able to recognize the neuter nouns.

July 31, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AKS308634

How many major dialects are there? I found a map on Wikipedia that shows regional boundaries for bokmål, nynorsk and nøytral (going to make a really wild guess and say this means "neutral" ). But obviously this doesn't give the whole picture...

July 31, 2019

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

The bokmål/nynorsk boundaries don't really define dialectical regions. They just show which (sometimes arbitrary) choice was made for the'default' written form to teach in schools etc. in that particular area. My mother grew up not that far from where I did but hers was a nynorsk area while mine was bokmål.

There are many many dialects. There's a continuum as you travel along (in particular) the coast where dialects gradually change. The changes are smaller along the coast because communication was always easier with the sea nearby. As soon as you move to where travel used to be more difficult you can find more abrupt changes in dialects over a shorter distance. I remember an English book about a travel to Norway taking place in 1880. Travel by sea from Newcastle to (what is now called) Oslo took two days or less, while continuing over land from Oslo to Lillehammer took three weeks (two or three hours by train, now). Before roads, land travel took time, thus you ended up mostly talking to your neighbours. That's something that used to affect how dialects developed, in a mountainous country like Norway.

But even in a coastal area covering, say, a couple of thousand square kilometres you can have a lot of dialects, with their own particular forms. My own and my parents' dialects are different enough that people from elsewhere who can understand me just fine may have trouble with their dialects. But it'll come with exposure. When I was 18-19 years old I had huge problems understanding some of my co-students when I moved to another city to go to college. But a year later I could understand every dialect I've since encountered, and in some cases pinpoint them exactly to small regions.

It must also be mentioned that dialects are changing a lot these days, with TV and modern communication. The dialect of my home town is now gone, non-existing, as far as the current young generation is concerned. It's not that they have been adopting some other dialect, it's just a mix of I don't know what. Oh well.

July 31, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AKS308634

Thank you. This is really eye-opening and helps give really good context, culturally speaking, for learning modern Norwegian. I imagine there's a lot of effort to document these unique regional variations before they evolve out of use.

July 31, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DanielAlla828604

“Safe”. Is there a danger here in using the feminine form. Punished? Put in the stocks, banned from the village, burned at the stake ...

July 31, 2019

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

:-) No burning at the stake, I sincerely hope... The only real issue is with the neuter nouns, with only a few exceptions it'll always be "wrong" using masculine or feminine for a neuter noun. 'ei hus', 'en hus', 'en bord' etc. For the rest of the nouns.. nah, you'll be able to get away with almost anything, although people may have a hard time pinning down which dialect you're using. I just suggested that using the masculine form as a fallback is the most obvious solution because, as I mentioned, in some places all nouns that are not neuter are masculine. In contrast, there are no dialects or regions which use only feminine and neuter.

July 31, 2019
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