Sure, you promised yourself you were going to study Norwegian for three months when you first booked your trip to Bergen. And naturally, you did no such thing. It’s a story as old as time, and it’s not worth beating yourself up about. Especially when you can still learn a few key Norwegian phrases before your trip.
It’s a lot of bang for your buck if you think about it — by memorizing a few important phrases, you can enhance your experience abroad by a pretty big margin. And who knows? Maybe this entry-level crash course will motivate you to want to learn more when you return home.
If nothing else, this cheat sheet will come in handy as a reference guide you can use during your travels. If you want to dig a little deeper, the Babbel app has a Norwegian for your Vacation course you can take in relatively little time that covers all these topics and more.
Norwegian Phrases: The Ultimate Vacation Cheat Sheet
The Most Basic Basics
If you only take away one or two things from this guide, let it be words like “yes” or “thank you.” Note: In most cases where you’d normally say “please” in English, it’s more common in Norway to say takk (“thank you”) instead of the literal equivalent of “please.” When in doubt, just say takk to be polite.
ja — yes
nei — no
vær så snill — please
takk — thank you
unnskyld — excuse me
How To Introduce Yourself
There are few conversations that don’t begin with “hello.” It’s important to know how to offer a friendly greeting, no matter the context of the interaction. Though you can probably just remember that the Norwegian hei sounds a bit like “hey” in English, here are a couple extra greetings you can use at different times of the day.
hei — hello
god morgen — good morning
god kveld — good evening
god natt — goodnight
Next, you’ll want to be able to introduce yourself and get to know the other person. In Norway, it’s the norm to address people with du (the informal “you”) and their first name. Unlike in other European languages such as German and French that frequently use a formal form of address, the polite form Dere is only rarely used in official situations.
Jeg heter Niklas. — My name is Niklas.
Jeg kommer fra England. — I’m from England.
Hva heter du? — What is your name?
How To Order Food And Drinks
You’re going to get hungry at some point. Although you’ll probably need to study up on some basic food vocabulary, here are the Norwegian phrases you’ll want to use when interacting with a waiter.
Kan jeg få menyen, takk? — Can I have the menu, please?
Kan vi få bestille, takk? — Can we order, please?
Jeg vil gjerne ha en flaske vann. — I would like a bottle of water.
Hva vil du drikke? — What would you like to drink?
Kan jeg få regningen, takk. — Can I get the bill, please.
How To Ask For And Give Directions
We all get lost, even in places we think we know well. If and when your map can’t help you, it’s good to know how to politely ask someone for directions. It’s even better to be able to make out what they say to you in response.
Unnskyld, hvor ligger den nærmeste banken? — Excuse me, where is the nearest bank?
Kan du vise meg det på kartet? — Can you show me on the map?
Sving til venstre. — Turn to the left.
Ta første vei til høyre. — Take the first road on the right.
rett fram — straight ahead
How To Book A Hotel
While most hotel booking these days is done online, it’s still a good idea to know how to interact with, and understand, the front desk concierge. May your check-in go just a little more smoothly.
God morgen. Hva kan jeg hjelpe dere med? — Good morning. How can I help you?
Kan jeg få nøkkelen, takk? — Can I get the key, please?
Jeg vil gjerne ha et enkeltrom. — I would like to have a single room.
Jeg har bestilt et enkeltrom for to netter. — I have reserved a single room for two nights.
Når serveres frokosten? — When is breakfast served?
How To Take Public Transportation
If at any point you need to get around on public transportation, you’re going to be glad you know how to ask essential questions like where the nearest stop is, or how to get a ticket.
Hvor er den nærmeste trikkeholdeplassen? — Where is the nearest tram stop?
Hvor får jeg kjøpt et dagskort? — Where can I buy a day ticket?
Hvordan kommer jeg til Stortinget? — How do I get to “Storting”?
Ta den gule trikkelinjen til Slottsparken. — Take the yellow tram line to the “Slottspark.”
Toget går om fem minutter. — The train leaves in five minutes.
Hvor stopper bussen til sentrum? — Where does the bus to the center stop?