Norwegian: “Kan vi gå på kafé nå?" - why not "kaféen"?


English - England
I am posting this on behalf of a fellow "memriser" (i.e. we both use memrise for learning languages). The person in question wrote this on the memrise forum for Norwegian, but nobody is answering so I thought I would try here:

"The gender “en”, common and “et”, neutral determine the endings of the noun:

“En kino” meaning “cinema” and “kinoen” meaning “the cinema.”
“Et hus” meaning “house” and “huset” meaning “the house.”

So, why is there an exception here:
“Kan vi gå på kafé nå?” meaning “Can we go to the cafe now?”
Why does she not say “Kan vi ga pa kafeen na?”, which, in this case, would seem more gramatically correct or is there a mistake in the Norwegian text, which should read “pa kafeen” and reads “pa kafe” instead?"

I have written back to the original poster, saying that I think Norwegian might work like Swedish in this case, and there is no need for the definite article, along the lines of "att gå på bio" where there is no need for a definite article, unlike in the English phrase, "to go to _the_ cinema".

But I don't know if my suspicion is correct, so I thought I would ask here. I shall also recommend this forum to her for future questions.
  • Svenke

    Senior Member
    Both are correct, but they mean different things.
    gå på kafé = 'go to (a/some) café'. This refers more to an activity of café-going than going to a specific place.
    gå på en kafé = 'go to a café'. This means going to a specific but unspecified place.
    gå på kaféen = 'go to the café'. This means going to a specified place.

    Yes, it is like Swedish gå på bio -- and Norwegian gå på kino.
    gå på kino 'go (to the movie theatre) and see a movie'