For a more indepth look at the influence of Old Norse on the English language take a look at the series: How Vikings Changed the English Language: Intro The English language has certainly been a heavy influence on many languages around the world - including modern Norwegian. Thanks to 'internationalisation' from the Internet, TV and film, Norwegians frequently use words like baby, drink, cool, jeans, web and chips - to name a few. But once upon a time it was the other way around. Many English words actually come from old Norse language - brought by Vikings to England in medieval times. Here are some words you have probably uttered without realising you are speaking Norwegian!
  • Anger - from angr ("trouble, affliction")
  • Bag - from baggi. Norwegians use the word bag today but, ironically, with an English pronounciation. The word has actually been re-imported from English!
  • Berserk - from berserkr ("bare shirt"). Fierce warriors who fought without armour (and ate magic mushrooms for courage).
  • Crawl - from krafla ("to claw").
  • Dirt - from drit ("feces").
  • Gun - from gunn ("war, battle")
  • Hell - from Hel, the ruler of the Underworld in Norse mythology.
  • Hit - from hitta ("find"). Another example of a re-imported word.
  • Husband - from husbondi ("master of the house").
  • Knife - from kniv, kvifr. You may have guessed this one already. In fact, any word starting with kn- is probably from old Norse.
  • Raft - from raptr ("log"). Today we use the (English) word rafting in Norway when talking about the popular sport.
  • Reindeer - from hreindyri. In modern Norwegian: reinsdyr.
  • Scare - from skirra ("to frighten").
  • Steak - from steik, steikja ("to cook, roast"). Curiously, the word steak house is common in Norway today.
  • Town - from tun, referring to the open space between buildings.
  • Ugly - from uggligr ("dreadful").
There you have it - no need for a dictionary when travelling in Norway. All you need to do is roll your R's and you'll be speaking Norwegian fluently! 🙂 

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