One thing you may notice when traveling or comminucating internationally is that every country has their own way of placing dots, commas and other symbols. Norway certainly is no exception. Here is a short list of “the Norwegian Way” of writing:
Norway does not use commas to separate thousands, millions etc. Instead, they use spaces:
5 033 952
In Norway, a comma is used instead of a dot as the decimal symbol:
Mathematical Operators (this is where it gets confusing):
The (÷) sign is actually used to signify a negative value in Norway, not as a division symbol. This tends to confuse Norwegians when using pocket calculators, as there are suddenly two buttons with “minus” symbols on them. For division, Norwegians use a (:) colon or a (/) stroke between the dividend and divisor.
Ticks and selections:
If you find yourself filling out a Norwegian questionnaire, you will soon discover that ‘no’ means yes and ‘yes’ means nothing. An (X) is used to check a box, whereas a checkmark/tick is normally not used for anything. To mark a box as “no”, it’s normal to use a (/) stroke or (-) dash or just leave it blank.
In international trading, the standard three-letter code for Norwegian Kroner is NOK. In everyday terms, the symbol for Norwegian money is (kr.) with lowercase k and is written before the amount:
For round amounts, instead of writing kr.xx,00, a comma and dash is used:
Titles and Headlines:
Only names of people, places and trademarks have an uppercase first letter in a sentence. Other than those, only the first letter of the sentence is written with an uppercase first. This also applies to titles and headlines.
For example, ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ would be written ‘Haikerens guide til galaksen’.
Weekdays, Months and Holidays:
Weekdays, months and holidays, like Christmas and Easter, are generally written with a lowercase first letter, unless, of course, they are at the beginning of a sentence: mars, juli, oktober etc. Since months are often abbreviated to the first three letters, “jul” (July) can often be confused with “jul” (Christmas) – “God jul” does not mean ‘Good July!’
Time and Date:
The day of the month (and all other ordinal numbers) are signified with a dot (.) after the number. Other than that, no commas or other symbols are used when writing a date:
‘Lørdag 28. november 2009’
When writing a time of day, always start with (kl.) – short for ‘klokka’. Also, Norwegians use a 24-hour clock with a dot between hours, minutes and seconds:
‘Lørdag 28. november 2009 kl. 19.30’
Some people use a colon (:) instead of a dot when writing times, but the official convention in Norway is to use a dot.
Regular phone numbers (8 digits) are written in sets of two:
26 91 07 22
And are read out like: “twenty-six, ninety-one, o-seven, twenty-two”.
Phone numbers starting with 4 or 9 (mobile phones) and 8 (marketing/toll-free) are written in sets of three, two and three:
819 47 922
And are normally read “eight-hundred-and-nineteen, forty-seven, nine-hundred-and-twenty-two”.
Four- and five digit service numbers are written in one lump:
04440 (Dolly Dimple’s Pizza – recommended!)
and are read “o, forty-four, forty”.
Norway abolished the use of regional numbers in 1998 so all phone numbers, whether local or long distance, are dialed in full. Charges for local and long-distance are also the same.
That’s just a selection of peculiar Norwegian writing standards. There are certainly others – feel free to write them in the comments below.
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