Skip main navigation

Definite and Indefinite form of the nouns

Hi everybody, and welcome to this video about the definite and indefinite form of the nouns. Generic reference - indefinite form
We use the indefinite form of a noun to introduce new, unknown information: That is, when we refer to something in generic terms. We then talk about generic reference. We can use the indefinite form of a noun in both singular and plural
Take a look at the following English sentences: We got a new teacher I met a boy yesterday Tickets on sale here All the 3 sentences are referring to something very generic. We called this “generic reference” and we then use the indefinite form of the noun to express it.
Indefinite form in Norwegian: Ubestemt form The indefinite form in Norwegian is called In the singular, it’s made by using the article, which identifies the gender, in front of the noun En gutt = a boy Ei jente = a girl Et barn =  a child In the plural, it is usually made by adding ”ER” as a suffix to the noun. En gutt = a boy To guttER = two boys Ei  jente = a girl Tre jentER = three girls But there are exeptions.
Like in one-syllable neuter nouns: Then we have Et barn =  a child To barn = two children In this case the form is the same as in the singular indefinite Indefinite form with no article In Norwegian, it’s also possible to make the indefinite form without the article, just by using the plain form of the noun.
This happens when we speak or write in very generic terms, or when we refer to: Profession titles Nationality or Religious titles
English and Norwegian differ when it comes to profession and religious titles in singular:
In English, you will have: In Norwegian we don’t have any article in front of the noun! He’s a student Han er student (NO article) She’s a teacher Hun er lærer (NO article) Carl is a Buddhist Karl er buddhist (NO article) But English and Norwegian behave quite similarly with nationalities as well as professions
and religious titles when used in plural: She’s American Hun er amerikaner They are students/teachers De er studenter/ lærere They are Buddhists De er buddhister There are NO indefinite articles in Plural!
In this case, we just use the plural indefinite form of the nouns: Boys = Gutter Girls = Jenter Students = Studenter Children = Barn Specific reference – Definite form We use the definite form of the noun when we write or speak about known information, or when our interlocutors and readers can understand what we are referring to out of the situation contest, common cultural references or because we are referring to a specific concept which is a unicum, or a sole existing exemplar. That is, when we write or speack about something in specific terms. We then talk about specific reference.
We can use the definite form both in singular and in plural: The boys (I mentioned previously) are Norwegian. Can you pass me the salt? (the salt is on the table, I can see it, I’m talking about a known contest) The weather is awful today (the weather is a common known concept) I’ve been at the library (I’m referring to the library everybody knows about) Slide 8 Definite Form in Norwegian – Bestemt form The definite form in Norwegian is called
In the singular it’s made by adding the article as a suffix at the end of the noun: EN gutt              guttEN = the boy I take the indefinite article from the front of the noun and I add it to the tail of the
noun: gutten ET barn              barnET = the child
Pay attention to the pronunciation here: it’s /barne/ not barneT. The “T” at the end is silent. For the feminine, however, the article changes in to –a in the definite form singular EI jente              jentA = the girl The definite form plural is the same regardless of the gender of the noun and is made by adding the suffix  -ene at the end of the nouns. GuttEN = the boy                        GuttENE = the boys JentA = the girl JentENE = the girls EplET = the apple EplENE = the apples Some exeptions may however occur as in BarnET = the child BarnA = the children = the children
OBS: Note that this is not to be confused with the –a used as suffix for the definite form in feminine singular!!
It’s not the same as: JentA  =  the girl (the one I know) We can organize all the substantives’ forms in the following table.
When you’re looking for a new word in Norwegian, you should learn the new word with all the 4 forms of the noun: Singular indefinite, Singular definite, Plural indefinite and plural definite.
For the masculine that would be: En gutt, gutten, gutter, guttene
For the feminine: Ei jente, jenta, jenter, jentene
For the neuter: Et eple, eplet, epler, eplene
For the neuter one syllable: Et barn, barnet, barn, barna
I hope that you found this presentation useful, and that it will help you solve the related grammar exercises.

In Norwegian and English, we distinguish between an indefinite form and a definite form of the nouns.

But what is the difference? And how do we use these two forms correctly in Norwegian?

You will find your answers by simply watching the video above.

This article is from the free online

Norwegian for Beginners 1

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now