I’ve learnt that for me to learn Norwegian I need to know how to spell it. I learn through visualization, which means I learn language very slowly. But I have finally realized that that is ok. As long as I’m continually learning the language is what matters most.
Snøfnugg has been a hard one. It has only been the other week, since I got my 9 year-old dance kids to spell it out for me, that it has stuck. We are performing to Frost (better known as ‘Frozen’ in English) for our juleforestilling (Christmas performance) and the kids are snøfnugg, or snowflakes. This word is a little hard to get your tongue around, especially when you have to say it fast to cue little dancers, but seeing the word has made a great difference in pronouncing it.
The double consonant ‘g’ means the <u> is said with a short sound. But this rule doesn’t apply to everything – the ‘fn’ doesn’t make the <ø> sound short because it is actually two words put together ‘snø’ and ‘fnugg’. ‘Snø’ (snow) originally has no consonants at the end of the word and therefore the <ø> sound stays long. ‘Fnugg’ is used only in two contexts – to describe a snow flake or a measurement of how much you have understood something – nothing – as in ‘I can’t understand one fnugg of this’.
The trick to Norwegian is knowing when a word is original or made up of two smaller words. How can you tell? Context usually, but I mostly have to be told. I guess I’m going to have to learn every Norwegian word before I get it right!
But I must say, ‘snøfnugg’ is a very pretty word!