NTNU - Norges teknisk-naturvitenskapelige universitet
Ansvarlig redaktør: Informasjonsdirektør
Anne Katharine Dahl

Tore Oksholen

Teknisk ansvarlig: 
Kenneth Aar

Stewart's Corner

Spørsmål angående engelsk kan stilles til språkrådgiver Stewart Clark, Studieavdelingen, e-post: stewart.clark@adm.ntnu.no,
tlf. 73 59 52 45 eller faks: 73 59 52 37

«Getting Your English Right»

As many people who have read this column since 1996 have requested, it is now in book form. «Getting Your English Right» is a 242-page book. About a third of it is adapted from this column, the rest is new. It is concentrated on typical word confusions for Norwegians (and others) in English, which we all know is a
tricky language. This book attempts to clarify the shades of difference between words that are easy to confuse, false friends, formal and informal usage, British and American English, as well as pronunciation traps. It is a guide to using English for Norwegian students, people in business and administration as well as teachers and researchers. The focus is on words, not grammar, because as was shown by a study which tested English by Swedish students on English native speakers, lexical errors cause the most serious problems in interpretation (Gothenberg Studies in English 44). An example of this is the well-educated Norwegian who once asked me to «fill in a blanket».
He was thinking of a form but I was thinking of something woolly on a bed.

«Getting Your English Right» is not a book of jokes. It introduces a lighter tone by using some amusing examples of Norwenglish and other confusions. This is a new approach to language guides which are typically heavy to digest. The whole point of the book is to help guide people through the maze of potential problems in English and humour is only used to reinforce the message. Fischel focused on this approach in a paper in English Teaching Forum entitled: «Why murder your pupils when they can laugh themselves to death?»

Tricky words

number, no.

Number (Norw. nummer) means an arithmetic value: «This is a round number».
It is also used to mean
quantity. If something is important, number is used to emphasize this fact:
«We will make this a
number 1 priority».

No. (Norw. nr.) is an
abbreviation for number. The plural of no. is nos.

In AE, the hash sign # is often used instead of no.
in street addresses and the like. No. is often capitalized in English: «The P.M. lives at No. 10».

number with «a»,
number with «the»

Number with «a» (Norw. antall) means several or some, and when it is
followed by a plural noun,
it takes a plural verb:
«A number of people are undecided».

Number with «the» (Norw. antall) means the size of the total, and when there is a following plural noun, it always takes a
singular verb: «The number of people outside is in-

One way to remember whether to use a plural or singular verb is the codeword PAST. This stands for Plural with A number, Singular with The number.

Enlightening Norwenglish

Las Vegas Travelog


Even a virtual trip to Las Vegas is worth it. With a web address where there are misspellings in both «foreign» and «Norwegian», you can guess what to expect. Some extracts:

« At Las Vegas Travelog, vi want til fortalte deg av all de fantastisk plasserer at eksistere i denne areal, langs med all aktivitetene og nearby plasserer at you'll want til plass på din visitasjon agenda.

Og isn't den forbløffe
hvordan mange people komme her rettferdig for opphisselsen av denne City av Cities? Nesten everybody i verdenen har hadde noe begjær til someday besøk de city at aldri lukker.

We're ikke bare stolt av Las Vegas proper, men vi føle at denne city og all omringe arealene are noe av de flest opphisse plasserer at en could noensinne bringe en familie.

- Helikopter Tours Grand Canyon 3 timene av opphisselse.»