"Nei, vær så snill!"
It is not odd, in fact quite common in spoken Norwegean. It is for instance a phrase you could use if someone is not behaving well or is doing something that you find annoying and you want it to stop. You would then often pronounce it "Nei VÆR så snill!" with pressure on "vær".
Hi Wolf. 'Please stop' can be appropriate, but one might find oneself saying 'no thank you' as a way of correcting a child's behaviour. My point is that 'please stop' is linguistically a different phrase and would translate differently. I have left quite a few comments about the stilted quality of some of the English in the Norwegian Duolingo. I'm a native British English speaker with French and German, so used to translation
There are many ways to say the same thing:
- Kan/vil du være så snill å sende saltet?
- Vær (så) snill og send (meg) saltet.
- Vær så snill å sende (meg) saltet.
- Send saltet, er du snill.
- Send saltet, vær så snill.
- Vennligst send saltet
- Kan du være så vennlig å sende saltet?
- Kan du vennligst sende saltet?
And so on. Some may sound more polite than others. You might notice the difference: vær snill og [imperative] and være så snill å [infinitive]. Don't dwell too much on this, though. I'll try to cover this subject in more detail in a different thread.
The Norwegian course seems to be all over the map with recognizing typos. On some exercises, it when I am unsure about the spelling of the word, it gives me a correct! But the very next question, because I spelled "no" as a Swede would, nej, it marked the whole sentence wrong. Really annoying. If it were consistent, there wouldn't be a problem.
Apologies if someone has already said the same; 'vær så snill' isn't a perfect substitute for 'please', so it sounds odd to be saying 'no, please!' in English. 'Vær så snill' is adding exasperation to the 'no', and almost an element of begging, like you are trying to discipline a child. My Norwegian is very weak but I spent some of my childhood there, and this is how I'd hear it the most xD
Short article here that gives a nice overview of how to do politeness without a simple word for please :)
[In a busy pub, someone approaches my table and indicates an empty chair]
"Is anyone using this?"
Of course it's a fragment rather than a complete sentence, but in context, it's understood to mean "no, nobody's using it, please go ahead and take it". Perhaps it's a British thing.
Things clearly differ from one language to another. If you know any French, you'll know that the French for "please" is "s'il vous plait" or "s'il te plait". So it is not just Norwegian. Sometimes it happens the other way round - the non-English language has a shorter expression than English does. For example, "It is snowing" is simply "Neĝas" in Esperanto.
It would be rare to say this in both English and Norwegian! "Nei, vær så snill!" sounds like you're begging someone/arguing, which I assume is what they're trying to communicate with the exclamation mark. This would be very rude to say. It's useful to find other resources to use alongside Duolingo to listen to how Norwegian people speak (podcasts and that sort of thing).