In English we have "eats" and "is eating." In many languages, there is only one verb tense for both English tenses. Just like in French, "il mange" means "he eats" or "he is eating." So the Norwegian verb can be translated either way. English has more verb tenses than Norwegian.
You stopped by your best friend's house so she could show you her new adorable dog. The subject of the story (her dog) was introduced to you and she told you its name was Lars. After playing with him and running around, she poured water into his bowl. Then you said Den drikker vann because the word "dog" in Norwegian is of masculine gender (en hund).
You can't say Det drikker vann in this situation because you already know that the dog is drinking water, not some kind of amorphous blob. If her pet were an insect, then you could say Det drikker vann because it's of neuter gender (et insekt).
For over a year people have pointed out the audio is flawed in the slow version & nothing has been done to correct it. :(
Some objects are attributed a gender (there often is not a distinction between masculine and feminine), referred to as common gender, represented by the pronoun «den» and the article «en», and forming the definite with «-en» (or sometimes in the case of the feminine, using the indefinite article «ei» and forming the definite with «-a»). Other objects are gender neutral, or ‹neuter›, represented by «det» (like English «that» or «it»), using the indefinite article «et», and forming the definite with «-et». There is not an easy way to predict the gender of a noun, so instead when you learn nouns, you should learn the gender with them (much like in French or Spanish), for example, «et dyr», «en kvinne». In the sentence «den drikker vann», without context all we know is that the subject, «den», is masculine or feminine (perhaps «mannen drikker vann» or «hunden drikker vann»).
So let me see if I got this: there are two kinds of gender in Norwegian, common gender and neutral gender. The common gender can be masculine, feminine or none of them, and the three sub-categories use the pronoun "den" (when it is a "thing", of course) and the article "en/-en" (feminine can use "ei/-a"). The neutral gender uses the pronoun "det" and the article "et/-et". The only way to know the gender of a noun is by memorizing it, because it is not a clear distinction like the one between "he/she" and "it" in English. Am I correct?
I am used to French and Spanish gendered objects because I am a native Portuguese speaker (we also have it here), but in French and Spanish we only have to memorize what is masculine and what is feminine, not all of those different genders. (it's actually very interesting, though)
There is a distinction between use of ‹den› (it) and use of ‹han/hun› (he/she). When ‹den› occurs as a subject it is used to refer to a previous subject of common gender (for instance, we have already been talking about an elk, ‹en elg›, and now it is drinking water; if we do not have something to refer to with ‹den›, ‹det› is used because it is gender neutral, like ‹it›). Memorising gender in Norwegian is the same as in French or Spanish or Portuguese, certain nouns have certain genders, and aside from people and animals of specific gender (‹en man›, ‹ei jente›, ‹ei katte/en katt›), one simply must learn the gender with the noun. If you know the gender of the noun, you know whether you would use «den» or «det» to refer to it, much like knowing if, for example, in French you wanted to find something, if it were a masculine or neuter object, «trouvez-le», a feminine object, «trouvez-la». The principle difference between gender in Norwegian and in Italic languages is the use of the common gender.