Norwegian: word order in clauses

optimistique

Senior Member
I have a question about the word order in Norwegian clauses. I find it quite unclear what the correct order is and if there may be multiple possibilities in some cases.

For example in the following sentence, do you place the verb at the end or do you keep the order of the main clause?

- Han tenkte at du gikk bort OR - Han tenkte at du bort gikk ???

And if the first is correct, is there ever a case when the verb is put at the end of the sentence?

Thanks in advance for any replies:)
 
  • Annwn

    New Member
    Swedish - Skånska;Portuguese - Portugal
    I´d say the first sentence is correct, Han tenkte att du bort gikk sounds a bit weird to me..."Bort" is a kind of continuation for the verb, because it suggest where the person went..no? It may be logical that the verb would come first...

    But let´s wait until someone can actually explain why it is that way (if it indeed is...):p Since I have no grammatical knowledge of norwegian...just giving my humble opinion. ^^ hihi

    ***
     

    optimistique

    Senior Member
    Thanks for your comments.:)

    I guess so, that the first sentence may be the good one (btw, I now think that it's "tenket" and not "tenkte" but I'm not sure.).

    Still I'm really interested if there are any situations in Norwegian where there is verb-final in the clause (the verb is put at the end of the sentence).
    Are there no native(-like) speakers of Norwegian to comment?
    It would be greatly appreciated.
     

    sdr083

    Senior Member
    Norwegian (NN)
    Heihei!

    The first sentence is the best, but using the word "tenke" in this context is a bit weird in Norwegian. It doesn't mean exactly the same as English "think". "Trodde" (from "tro") is much better.

    Norwegian is generally a V2 language, meaning that the verb is usually the second syntagm in a sentence.

    Han gikk. ("Han" = first syntagm, "gikk" = second syntagm)
    I går gikk han. ("I går" = first syntagm, "gikk" = second syntagm)

    Verb-final clauses are not common in Norwegian.

    Sometimes a verb can be split (like German), which changes the word order, but not the meaning:

    "Han omset" - He translates
    "Han set om" - He translates

    Notice that the verb is second in both cases. ("Gå bort" however, cannot be spelt as one word.)

    There are exceptions from the V2-rule, but I'm Norwegian and follow the rules of the grammar automatically, so it's a bit difficult for me to formulate them... Will help you out if you give me concrete examples.
     

    optimistique

    Senior Member
    Takk for svåret ditt, sdr083!:)

    My native language Dutch is a V2 language as well, but in the sub-ordinate clauses its a verb-final language. In my learning book it didn't say anything about Norwegian being a V2 language, so I assumed that it was not, but it seems it is. My book didn't say anything about word order in sub-ordinate clauses as well, so that is why I am always unsure about it.

    Isn't it so that 'ikke' (and related words) takes the second place in a sub-ordinate clause? However I have the feeling that when there's an auxillary verb, that then 'ikke' is placed between that verb and the main verb, is that true?

    So:

    Jeg tror at han ikke er stor.
    Jeg tror at han skal aldri bli stor.

    Han vet at du var i går i sentret. ---> are these sentences possible?
    Han vet at du i går var i sentret. --->
    ?
     

    elroy

    Imperfect mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    My knowledge of Norwegian is very limited, but as far as I know the verb does not go to the end of a subordinate clause (as it does in Dutch and German).

    As for the examples you give, here are my thoughts. I am very ready to be wrong, though! :D

    optimistique said:
    Jeg tror at han ikke er stor. :tick:
    Jeg tror at han skal aldri bli stor.
    I would have said "at han aldri skal bli stor." I have not heard of an exception with auxiliary verbs. My grammar books gives the following example sentence: "Studentene sier at de ikke vil snakke tysk."

    Han vet at du var i går i sentret. ---> are these sentences possible?
    Han vet at du i går var i sentret. --->
    Assuming "i går" functions like other adverbs, I would consider only the second of these correct. But perhaps "i går" is different.
    ?
     

    sdr083

    Senior Member
    Norwegian (NN)
    Ingen årsak! :)


    Assuming "i går" functions like other adverbs, I would consider only the second of these correct. But perhaps "i går" is different.
    "Ikke" and "i går" are not the same kind of adverb and the rules about where they should be placed are not the same (just like in English). "I går" (time), "på senteret" (place), "med gaffel" (instrument) will usually be placed at the end of the sentence. "Sentence-adverbs" like "ikke", "aldri", "alltid", "ofte" will be placed earlier in the sentence:

    "Han vet at du ikke var på senteret i går"
    "Han liker at du ofte er på senteret"
    "Han vet at han aldri vil være på senteret"
    "Han vil at du alltid skal bli værende på senteret"

    The auxillary verb and the main verb should in this case not be split. In a main sentence however, they should:

    "Han vil aldri være på senteret"
    "Han skal alltid bli værende på senteret"

    In infitive clauses you have two options when it comes to the placing of the adverb:
    "Han insisterer på å ikke ha vært på senteret" or
    "Han insisterer på ikke å ha vært på senteret"
    (Both meaning: "He insists on not having been at the centre")
    Both are correct, but I would not use the second one when I speak (that might be a dialect thing though. There's always a dialect thing...)

    If you have more than one adverbial phrase in a sentence the one that has to do with time is usually the last.
    If you are talking about a building, like a shopping centre, you have to use the preposition "på". If you are talking about the centre of a city it's "i sentrum".

    Jeg tror at han ikke er stor.
    Jeg tror at han skal aldri bli stor.
    The second sentence should be:
    "Jeg tror at han aldri skal bli stor" ("vil bli stor" is better though.)

    I hope this is not all incomprehensible! I know I am a lot more confused now than when I started writing this post...
     

    optimistique

    Senior Member
    Takk igjen! (bode sdr083 og elroy) ;)

    Now it is much clearer to me, and I finally have some rules to hang on to.

    yes, I meant in the centre of a city. My Norwegian vocabulary is not really large yet, and I know relatively too much pretty useless words for the level I'm still on. Oh well, I should learn it harder...
     

    DaleC

    Senior Member
    I consulted Åse-Berit & Rolf Strandskogen. 1995. Norwegian: an essential grammar. Routledge.

    In Norwegian, verbs as a group never come obligatorily after all other constituent types. (I already knew this was true of Swedish, and at this level of structure, Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian should be identical. But I have made sure about Norwegian.)

    According to the book, the finite verb and the subject are adjacent almost without exception (this makes word order in Scandinavian in a sense stricter than in English). In subordinate clauses only, they are separated by ikke (and perhaps by certain other adverbs, although the authors give no other examples). Not counting conjunction words, the verb is ALWAYS second except in questions. Just as in the rest of Germanic, the finite verb comes first in questions.

    But I would like to go beyond Norwegian and make a broader observation. I have studied in some depth about a dozen foreign languages from all over the world (although only three seriously) and have looked at grammatical sketches of many others. In addition, my hobby is linguistics (Europeans call it general linguistics.)

    I have found out that the two rules by which Dutch and German place verbs last are virtually unique in human languages. Now, languages in which the finite verb is consistently last are very common. Languages in which the finite verb is last in certain clause types may also be fairly common. But in my studies I have found no others that have the two rules alluded to, which are:

    1. In a subordinate clause, the finite verb is (with limited exceptions) placed last and the nonfinite verbs are grouped together and placed immediately before the finite verb, in reverse order of their mutual syntactic ranks (dass ich dieses buch nicht lesen müssen hätte).

    2. In an independent clause, the finite verb is (with very few if any exceptions) placed second, and all the nonfinite verbs are grouped together in last place, in reverse order of their mutual syntactic ranks (Ich hätte dieses buch nicht lesen müssen).

    Therefore, you should assume that neither of these rules applies in any other language until you receive confirmation otherwise.
     

    felicia

    Senior Member
    Norwegian, Norway
    sdr083 said:
    Ingen årsak! :)



    "Ikke" and "i går" are not the same kind of adverb and the rules about where they should be placed are not the same (just like in English). "I går" (time), "på senteret" (place), "med gaffel" (instrument) will usually be placed at the end of the sentence. "Sentence-adverbs" like "ikke", "aldri", "alltid", "ofte" will be placed earlier in the sentence:

    "Han vet at du ikke var på senteret i går"
    "Han liker at du ofte er på senteret"
    "Han vet at han aldri vil være på senteret"
    "Han vil at du alltid skal bli værende på senteret"

    The auxillary verb and the main verb should in this case not be split. In a main sentence however, they should:

    "Han vil aldri være på senteret"
    "Han skal alltid bli værende på senteret"

    In infitive clauses you have two options when it comes to the placing of the adverb:
    "Han insisterer på å ikke ha vært på senteret" or
    "Han insisterer på ikke å ha vært på senteret"
    (Both meaning: "He insists on not having been at the centre")
    Both are correct, but I would not use the second one when I speak (that might be a dialect thing though. There's always a dialect thing...)

    If you have more than one adverbial phrase in a sentence the one that has to do with time is usually the last.
    If you are talking about a building, like a shopping centre, you have to use the preposition "på". If you are talking about the centre of a city it's "i sentrum".


    The second sentence should be:
    "Jeg tror at han aldri skal bli stor" ("vil bli stor" is better though.)

    I hope this is not all incomprehensible! I know I am a lot more confused now than when I started writing this post...
    Hei! Husk at "å ikke" er ikke riktig! "ikke" er en negativ, ikke en verb. "Å skrive, å danse, ja, men ikke "å ikke"!! TRANSLATION. Remember that "ikke" is a negative and not a verb, To write, to dance, but we cannot say "å ikke" ( to no or to not) it doesn't make sense and is incorrect. Another thing, remember that we have two official languages in Norway, both have equal status (if not equal prestige!!) But "bokmål is the one most widely used in East Norway, whereas nynorsk is mostly used in the West.
     

    felicia

    Senior Member
    Norwegian, Norway
    optimistique said:
    I have a question about the word order in Norwegian clauses. I find it quite unclear what the correct order is and if there may be multiple possibilities in some cases.

    For example in the following sentence, do you place the verb at the end or do you keep the order of the main clause?

    - Han tenkte at du gikk bort OR - Han tenkte at du bort gikk ???

    And if the first is correct, is there ever a case when the verb is put at the end of the sentence?

    Thanks in advance for any replies:)
    The verb is never placed at the end of a sentence in Norwegian. Then again the definite article is (den, det ) e.g. The door = dørEN, the table = bordET. No rules, has to be learnt by experience!!
     

    optimistique

    Senior Member
    felicia said:
    Hei! Husk at "å ikke" er ikke riktig! "ikke" er en negativ, ikke en verb. "Å skrive, å danse, ja, men ikke "å ikke"!! TRANSLATION. Remember that "ikke" is a negative and not a verb, To write, to dance, but we cannot say "å ikke" ( to no or to not) it doesn't make sense and is incorrect. Another thing, remember that we have two official languages in Norway, both have equal status (if not equal prestige!!) But "bokmål is the one most widely used in East Norway, whereas nynorsk is mostly used in the West.

    Takk for svåra/svårene (?) dine, felicia!
    Men jeg tror at sdr083 mente 'å ikke' ikke som en verb, men 'å ikke ha', bredvid 'ikke å ha'. :)
     

    optimistique

    Senior Member
    DaleC said:
    In addition, my hobby is linguistics (Europeans call it general linguistics.)
    You have a nice hobby. I'm studying it. ;) I like general linguistics best as well, from all types of linguistics.

    DaleC said:
    I have found out that the two rules by which Dutch and German place verbs last are virtually unique in human languages. Now, languages in which the finite verb is consistently last are very common. Languages in which the finite verb is last in certain clause types may also be fairly common. But in my studies I have found no others that have the two rules alluded to, which are:

    1. In a subordinate clause, the finite verb is (with limited exceptions) placed last and the nonfinite verbs are grouped together and placed immediately before the finite verb, in reverse order of their mutual syntactic ranks (dass ich dieses buch nicht lesen müssen hätte).

    2. In an independent clause, the finite verb is (with very few if any exceptions) placed second, and all the nonfinite verbs are grouped together in last place, in reverse order of their mutual syntactic ranks (Ich hätte dieses buch nicht lesen müssen).

    Therefore, you should assume that neither of these rules applies in any other language until you receive confirmation otherwise.
    Thank you very much for your information! I didn't know, it was really unique in Dutch and German. That's very interesting. I'm sure it exists in Letzebüergesch as well (Luxemburgian), but then that's almost German.

    A little side note: please notice how the placement of the finite verb in Dutch is slightly different from German:

    1. dass ich dieses Buch nicht lesen müssen hätte.
    dat ik dit boek niet had moeten lezen.

    2. Ich hätte dieses Buch nicht lesen müssen.
    Ik had dit boek niet moeten lezen.

    When there's a perfect particle involved, in Dutch you have a choice, where there's none in German:

    1. dass ich dieses Buch nicht gelesen haben würde.
    a). dat ik dit boek niet gelezen zou hebben.
    b). dat ik dit boek niet zou hebben gelezen.
    c). dat ik dit boek niet gelezen hebben zou.
    d). dat ik dit boek niet zou gelezen hebben.


    2. Ich würde dieses Buch gelesen haben.
    a). Ik zou dit boek gelezen hebben.
    b). Ik zou dit boek hebben gelezen.

    The Dutch variations are all completely equal, none is better or preferable, except for 1d), which I'm having my doubts about, but it is definitely heard in spoken language, and the more I think about it, the more normal it gets.

    I thought you might be interested in these specifications, if you didn't already know. :)

    Well, from now on I'll never assume anymore that these rules apply to any other language.
     

    felicia

    Senior Member
    Norwegian, Norway
    optimistique said:
    Takk for svåra/svårene (?) dine, felicia!
    Men jeg tror at sdr083 mente 'å ikke' ikke som en verb, men 'å ikke ha', bredvid 'ikke å ha'. :)
    Jeg refererte til setningen" ..."å ikke å ha vært på senteret" som var i teksten, men kanskje det var kun ment som et eksempel, som du sier. Takk skal du ha!
     

    sdr083

    Senior Member
    Norwegian (NN)
    Another thing, remember that we have two official languages in Norway, both have equal status (if not equal prestige!!) But "bokmål is the one most widely used in East Norway, whereas nynorsk is mostly used in the West.

    Skriv vanlegvis nynorsk (og er fanatisk nynorsk-forkjempar), men bestemde meg for å svara på bokmål sidan spørsmåla var stilde på bokmål. Litt vanskeleg for ein nybegynnar å henga på viss ein skiftar målform innimellom... :)

    Jeg refererte til setningen" ..."å ikke å ha vært på senteret" som var i teksten... QUOTE]

    Viss du sjekkar ein gong til ser du at setninga er "å ikke ha vært på senteret" utan den ekstra "å"-en du har putta inn. God norsk dette, sjølv om den andre setninga kanskje er vanlegare i muntleg språk.
     

    felicia

    Senior Member
    Norwegian, Norway
    sdr083 said:
    Skriv vanlegvis nynorsk (og er fanatisk nynorsk-forkjempar), men bestemde meg for å svara på bokmål sidan spørsmåla var stilde på bokmål. Litt vanskeleg for ein nybegynnar å henga på viss ein skiftar målform innimellom... :)

    Jeg refererte til setningen" ..."å ikke å ha vært på senteret" som var i teksten... QUOTE]

    Viss du sjekkar ein gong til ser du at setninga er "å ikke ha vært på senteret" utan den ekstra "å"-en du har putta inn. God norsk dette, sjølv om den andre setninga kanskje er vanlegare i muntleg språk.
    Hei! ganske riktig, det ble til en ekstra "å", jeg må ha blingset den dagen! Takkk skal du ha fordi du rettet på meg. Felicia. PS Jeg har også vært ivrig nynorsk kjempe, men ble utmattet da jeg flyttet til Østlandet!!
     

    CCG_student

    New Member
    Turkish/Turkey
    Hallo,

    optimistique said:
    Takk for svåret ditt, sdr083!:)

    My native language Dutch is a V2 language as well, but in the sub-ordinate clauses its a verb-final language. In my learning book it didn't say anything about Norwegian being a V2 language, so I assumed that it was not, but it seems it is. My book didn't say anything about word order in sub-ordinate clauses as well, so that is why I am always unsure about it.

    ?

    I'm wondering basic word order in subordinate clauses as well. In some 'academic' resources (written by Norwegian people from linguistic communities) it is stated that SVO word order is strict in subordinate clauses in Norwegian, but my informant found the following sentences grammatical:

    "Jeg tror at til Inge ga Gyrd boka"
    "At til Inge ga Gyrd boka tror jeg"
    "At boka ga Gyrd til Inge tror jeg" (interestingly, my informant found "Jeg tror at boka ga Gyrd til Inge" ungrammatical)

    I would really appreciate comments of native speakers about this issue.

    Takk du alle! (Hope I wrote it right)
     

    felicia

    Senior Member
    Norwegian, Norway
    CCG_student said:
    Hallo,



    I'm wondering basic word order in subordinate clauses as well. In some 'academic' resources (written by Norwegian people from linguistic communities) it is stated that SVO word order is strict in subordinate clauses in Norwegian, but my informant found the following sentences grammatical:

    "Jeg tror at til Inge ga Gyrd boka"
    "At til Inge ga Gyrd boka tror jeg"
    "At boka ga Gyrd til Inge tror jeg" (interestingly, my informant found "Jeg tror at boka ga Gyrd til Inge" ungrammatical)

    I would really appreciate comments of native speakers about this issue.

    Takk du alle! (Hope I wrote it right)
    "Jeg tror at Gyrd ga boken til Inga" er vanlig hverdags-norsk. (subjekt/objekt) Det kan også være "Gyrd ga boken til Inga, tror jeg". "Boka" er nynorsk, "Boken" er bokmål men begge to er korrekt, avhengig av hvilket språk en snakker/skriver. Dessuten heter det "takk TIL alle", eller "takk skal dere ha!" (flertall) Bra at det er så stor interesse for det norske språket! Translation to English:"Boka" is nynorwegian, "boken" is bokmål, (the two main languages, not counting samisk) depending on which one you speak/write. It is "takk TIL alle" or "takk skal dere ha" (plural) Glad that there is such an interest in the Norwegian language!
     

    CCG_student

    New Member
    Turkish/Turkey
    Hi,

    felicia said:
    "Jeg tror at Gyrd ga boken til Inga" er vanlig hverdags-norsk. (subjekt/objekt) Det kan også være "Gyrd ga boken til Inga, tror jeg". "Boka" er nynorsk, "Boken" er bokmål men begge to er korrekt, avhengig av hvilket språk en snakker/skriver. Dessuten heter det "takk TIL alle", eller "takk skal dere ha!" (flertall) Bra at det er så stor interesse for det norske språket! Translation to English:"Boka" is nynorwegian, "boken" is bokmål, (the two main languages, not counting samisk) depending on which one you speak/write. It is "takk TIL alle" or "takk skal dere ha" (plural) Glad that there is such an interest in the Norwegian language!

    Thanks for the reply, it has been so hard for me to find Norwegian data up to now:) I know "Jeg tror at Gyrd ga boken til Inge" is the usual expression, but I am trying to construct a linguistic model of Norwegian and what I must know are possibilities, not usual preferences to say a thing. I just wonder if Norwegians can infer the proposed translations from the sentences I gave, learning these is vital for my hypothesis.

    Takk til alle
     

    felicia

    Senior Member
    Norwegian, Norway
    CCG_student said:
    Hi,



    Thanks for the reply, it has been so hard for me to find Norwegian data up to now:) I know "Jeg tror at Gyrd ga boken til Inge" is the usual expression, but I am trying to construct a linguistic model of Norwegian and what I must know are possibilities, not usual preferences to say a thing. I just wonder if Norwegians can infer the proposed translations from the sentences I gave, learning these is vital for my hypothesis.

    Takk til alle
    Hei! Modern Norwegian, like many other European languages, has a history which influences todays' language form. If you wish to really study modern Norwegian, both nynorsk and bokmål, you should have a look at the Old Norse "gammelnorsk", which is still taught to students who wish for further studies. The exam. used to be called Examen Artium but is now known as "study competance" (studie kompetanse) In the gammelnorsk grammar you will find some of the forms you ask for, including a special dativ. (don't know what "dativ" is in English, sorry) There are also several books on the history of the Norwegian language, and how it developed and retained many aspects of the original in spite of the 400 year long Danish influence (occupation) Althought linguists insist that Norway only has one language - norsk - (not counting the five or so samisk languages) there are in fact two, nynorsk which is the original "country language" (landsmål) and "bokmål" which used to be known as "riksmål". In all official documents, like tax returns, you can choose which "mål" you want on your forms, so each "mål" is regarded as equal. ("mål" is norsk for "language" as well as "språk"). Modern Norwegian has a very uncomplicated verb conjugation due to inter alia political decisions in the 19th century- Good luck . lykke til!
     

    CCG_student

    New Member
    Turkish/Turkey
    felicia said:
    Hei! Modern Norwegian, like many other European languages, has a history which influences todays' language form. If you wish to really study modern Norwegian, both nynorsk and bokmål, you should have a look at the Old Norse "gammelnorsk", which is still taught to students who wish for further studies. The exam. used to be called Examen Artium but is now known as "study competance" (studie kompetanse) In the gammelnorsk grammar you will find some of the forms you ask for, including a special dativ. (don't know what "dativ" is in English, sorry) There are also several books on the history of the Norwegian language, and how it developed and retained many aspects of the original in spite of the 400 year long Danish influence (occupation) Althought linguists insist that Norway only has one language - norsk - (not counting the five or so samisk languages) there are in fact two, nynorsk which is the original "country language" (landsmål) and "bokmål" which used to be known as "riksmål". In all official documents, like tax returns, you can choose which "mål" you want on your forms, so each "mål" is regarded as equal. ("mål" is norsk for "language" as well as "språk"). Modern Norwegian has a very uncomplicated verb conjugation due to inter alia political decisions in the 19th century- Good luck . lykke til!

    Thanks for your interest :) If only I had enough time to look at the sources you recommend, but I have to do something today, and seemingly I will trust Norwegian linguists and take the subordinate clause order as strictly SVO.

    Takk igjen (hope it is right, too)
     
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