I'm writing a fiction book. Some of its characters are Norwegians who exchange emails in English. I'd like to lightly stylise their texts.

What mistakes / peculiarities / word choice / sentence building are common for Norwegians speaking or writing in English (especially if they're not very proficient in it)?

[I might use so-called Heavy Metal Umlauts of course... sø åll the wørds wøuld løøk like thæt, but that would hardly classify as "light stylisation" ;)]

  • 4
    “Heavy metal umlauts” annoy me because no norwegian would write English with them. Oct 12 at 16:04
  • Of course. That was a joke. @QuintusCaesius-RM
    – Alexander
    Oct 12 at 16:32
  • Of course. and I am dense. Oct 12 at 17:50

What about translating literally some Norwegian expressions? I've heard someone says "it wasn't only-only" before now, with a thick accent of course. "only-only" is not a recognisable English phrase. It could only be a literal translation of "bare bare" (for those that don't know Norwegian, this is an idiomatic way to say "it wasn't easy", or "it wasn't a jolly " or some such).

Along the same lines, could be "I'm speaking from the liver" instead of speaking from the heart.

Also if ever there's a Norwegian word that sounds similar enough and means a similar thing, you could just substitute it. Like "bittelitt" for "little bit".

In English we've got words like "policeman" or "flowerpot", two words run into one, with no space in between, which are quite common in English. But these are extremely common in Norwegian; they are a staple part of Norwegian word formation. So if you look at the front page for Skolelinux, you'll see words like "softwareproject" or "schoolnetwork", another hallmark of English that's been written by a Norwegian.

  • That makes a lot of sense Omar, thank you! My Norwegian is intermediate so I'll be able to find and translate those sayings :)
    – Alexander
    Oct 13 at 9:13
  • Omar, skolelinux is German, not Norwegian... although Germans alsoloveextremelylongwords :)
    – Alexander
    Oct 13 at 11:36
  • @Alexander I think it started in Norway and then became international? I'm surprised it now has an URL ending in .de. I don't know exactly. But the point still stands :-)
    – OmarL
    Oct 13 at 11:46

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