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How to be polite in Norway

Norwegian politeness

Profile odd2 Odd Bjerga

How to be polite in Norway

This video gives you seven dos and don’ts for behaving politely in Norway and words and expressions for speaking politely in Norwegian.

torsdag, 1. februar 2018

Yes, there is a way for Norwegians to be polite too.

However, we have our own way of being polite. There’s the awkward and theatrical way of being polite, and there’s the common, egalitarian way of being polite.

 

In this video, I will cover 7 dos and don’ts for behaving politely in Norway and words and expressions for speaking politely in Norwegian.

 

Before we begin, please remember: We have an egalitarian culture in Norway.

 

For example, we never use titles as Herr or Fru (Mr and Mrs), and we never address people by professional titles, such as doctor or professor.

 

Hey, we don’t even have any words for sir or madam.

 

It is perfectly okay to address people by their first name, even if you don't know them.

 

And if we don’t know them, we just say ´du´ (you).

 

So, unless you’re a member of the royal family, be prepared to respond (and not be offended) when someone says:

 

Hei, du!

 

So how do WE Norwegians express politeness?

 

Well, first of all it is about being aware and conscientious of those around you.

 

Here are a seven dos and donts on how to make sure you are don’t come across as rude in Norway:

 

1. Treat people as your peers

2. Do not brag.

3. Respect other people’s time.

4. Obey the traffic regulations.

5. Don’t speak loudly.

6. Respect personal space.

7. Avoid discussing religion.

 

Takk (thank you)

 

In Norway we use takk on many different occasions.

 

takk for maten

thank you for the food

This is mandatory if you’ve been served food.

 

takk for sist

It literally means thank you for the last time. But the sense is that I remember the last time we met and I appreciated it. You can say this when you meet somebody again after week or more.

 

takk, i like måte

thank you, likewise

It is a good response to a general compliment or when someone wishes you well.

 

takk som byr

thank you who’s offering

A bit formal expression you can use when someone’s offering you something to eat or drink. It means yes, please.

 

takk, det var snilt av deg

thank you, that was kind of you

You can say that when someone does a service.

 

tusen takk

a thousand thanks or many thanks

 

takk skal du ha

you shall receive thanks

It sounds formal when you translate it to English, but it is very common in Norwegian. It means just thank you.

 

takk, takk

thank you, thank you

It can also be nice alternative to please.

 

And then there’s the polite way of accepting or rejecting an offer:

 

Nei, takk – no thanks

 

Ja, takk – yes please

 

And here are some other words you cannot get by without:

 

unnskyld

I’m sorry or excuse me

 

beklager

I’m sorry or I beg your pardon

 

Beklager and unnskyld are used in similar situations and both can be used for “I’m sorry”. But beklager is more formal and serious than unnskyld.

 

Dessverre

unfortunately

 

vær så god

vær så god is difficult to translate. You can say this when you give someone a gift, or pass the salt. The casual meaning is 'here it is' or 'take it'.

 

It is also used as a reply to 'thank you' - like 'don't mention it'

 

And finally, we have

 

Vær så snill

Which means please. But don’t use it as please in English. It is formal and we use it only when we are seriously pleading for something.

 

That’s it for now!

 

I’m sure you’ve been shocked by the Norwegian bluntness. So please share what you have experienced with Norwegians in the comments below.

 

I’d love to hear it!

 

Takk og på gjensyn!