Norwegians might not be the nation eager to talk someone’s ears off, but they never miss the opportunity to greet each other in the friendliest way possible. They have many different ways of doing this in Norway, so arm yourself with the most suitable Norwegian greeting for any occasion.
Apart from learning how to say “hello” in Norwegian, you’ll pick up other essential Norwegian phrases such as “good morning”, “how are you” and “goodbye”. Let’s get started.
“Hi” in Norwegian – Hi or Hei
How do you say “hi” in Norwegian? Let’s begin with the most common one. A simple Hi or Hei is always a way to go. This salutation is appropriate in most informal and semi-formal situations. What’s even better is that it’s impossible to mispronounce it. The English “hi” and “hey” both work perfectly fine. As long as you stick to this one, you can hardly be mistaken.
“Hello” in Norwegian – Hallo
Another way of saying “hi” in Norwegian – as you might have guessed by now – is the same old Hallo. This is the one you’re surely familiar with, and if you ever find yourself uncertain about which phrase to choose, this is your safe ground. Same as in English, you’ll use it both for answering your phone and trying to reach out to someone. Hallo!
“Good morning” in Norwegian – God morgen
If you want to add some time context to those Hi’s and Hellos, do so by adding parts of the day to your greetings. Suitable for all early-birds, God morgen can be used from the moment the sun rises until noon. In case you still haven’t had your first cup of coffee, a simple Morn will do.
“Good day” in Norwegian – God dag
Apart from these, perhaps the most customary salutation you’ll hear while roaming the streets of Oslo is God dag. Even though it has a formal tone to it, feel free to use it as long as it is daytime. But keep an eye out – the day in Norway passes by quicker than you’d think.
“Good evening” in Norwegian – God kveld
From about 6pm to bedtime, express your kind wishes upon meeting with God kveld, a Norwegian version of “Good evening”.
“Good night” in Norwegian – God natt
Finally, when you’re about to call it a night, address your close ones with God natt. They can then respond with Natta – a shorter version of this phrase – and wish you a good night’s sleep by saying Sov godt (“Sleep well”).
“How are you” in Norwegian – Hvordan har du det?
There’s a slim chance you would ever describe an average Norwegian as a chit-chatterer, but don’t give up initiating the conversation right away. It’s actually quite common to hear them asking each other Hvordan går det? (“How’s it going?”) or Hvordan har du det? (“How are you?”). Don’t sweat it, you will never get someone’s life story as an answer.
Living in one of the happiest countries in the world, Norwegians are mostly feeling well. They express this by saying Det går bra, which is also used when you want to assure someone that everything is okay.
―Oh my God! I spilled my coffee all over you!
―Det går bra.
“Thank you” in Norwegian – Takk
Congrats! You’ve made it through the greetings! Now, I propose we take a little break before we learn how to say our farewells. Let me give you some firsthand, inside info on Norwegians: they’re extremely polite! Now, let’s delve into all the different ways Norwegians are being polite to each other.
―Would you like a piece of cake?
“Thanks for last time” in Norwegian – Takk for sist
If you happen to hear someone thanking you, and you haven’t even started your conversation yet, keep in mind that Takk for sist is the Norwegian way of saying ‘thank you for the last time we had together’. It basically means “It’s nice to see you again”, so don’t let yourself be confused, and feel free to respond in the same manner.
You may wonder how you would thank someone at the end of your get-together, but right after it happened. Help yourself with Takk for i dag, which means “Thanks for today”. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have spent the whole day with someone, but it’s a nice way of thanking them for their time. It can also be used on some formal occasions, for example at the end of a lecture or a meeting.
“Thank you for the food” in Norwegian – Takk for maten!
Takk for maten! is not to be omitted before leaving the table after your meal. If you get invited for dinner, “Thank you for the food” is a nice way to express your compliments to the chef. However, this is the phrase you would rather use at a family table than in a restaurant, so play it safe with ordinary takk when eating outside.
Now that you have mastered that one can never be thankful enough in Norway, let’s move on to the things you could say in return.
“You’re welcome” in Norwegian – Bare hyggelig
Bare hyggelig is a polite way of responding to being thanked and it means “My pleasure”.
The word hyggelig bears the meaning of something pleasant and enjoyable. This is why Hyggelig! is also used as “Nice to meet you”. Of course, there are some alternatives to this one, such as Ingen årsak or Ikke noe problem meaning “No problem”. Norwegians tend not to sound grandiloquent, so no matter how enthusiastic you were to do someone a favor, one of those three responses will do.
If you, on the other hand, would like to ask someone to do you one, you’d need Vær så snill! meaning “Please”. This one is not to be confused with Vær så god, which bears quite the opposite meaning – “Here you go”.
“Goodbye” in Norwegian – Ha det bra!
It’s about time to wave goodbye to Norwegian greetings, but not before we learn how to do so!
Whether someone’s finishing their phone call or heading out, Ha det bra! is the phrase you’re going to pick up overall. It literally means “Have it well”, but it’s the most common way of saying “Goodbye”. The shortened version Ha det! is mostly used as a response and the other way around. More often than not, you’re going to stumble upon some variations, such as Ha det godt! or Ha det fint! which both have the same connotation. Try out any of those and you’ll be on the right foot.
Furthermore, if you expect to see or talk to your Norwegian friend sometime soon, you can check out by saying Vi sees, meaning “See you soon” or Vi snakkes, which is “Talk to you soon”. This is more of an informal phrase, suitable for both eye-to-eye talk and written correspondence.
“Have a nice day” in Norwegian – Ha en fin dag!
And last but not least, since there is no such thing as being too kind in Norway, be sure to wish people something nice on your departure. Ha en fin dag! would match the English “Have a nice day”, while Kos deg! is the Norwegian way of saying “Enjoy yourself” or “Have fun”. So don’t forget to be generous with wishes and go for some of the above.
There you go! You can now dive into your northern fairytale and make some true friends on your journey. Some may say Norwegian friendships happen to feel a little distant. However, based on my experience, that’s not completely true!
Can you see yourself breaking the ice with some of the phrases above? What do you say, maybe this outlandish language isn’t that far-off after all?
Now, if you’d like to learn more than just “hello” in Norwegian, look into this list of best apps to learn Norwegian.
Lykke til! – “Good luck!”