Gratulerer med 17. mai!

Posted on 17. May, 2015 by in Holidays, Politics, Traditions

17. mai-tale (May 17 th. speech) in action. Former Norwegian PM shared his words of wisdom with Norwegian soldiers in Afghanistan on May 17th 2010. (Image courtesy of Statsministerens kontor – The Prime Minister’s Office – at Flickr, CC License.)

17. mai-tale (May 17 th. speech) in action. Former Norwegian PM sharing his words of wisdom with Norwegian soldiers in Afghanistan on May 17th 2010. (Image courtesy of Statsministerens kontor – The Prime Minister’s Office – at Flickr, CC License.)

Kjære faste lesere, kjære tilfeldige internettsurfere,vi er samlet her på denne bloggen for å feire den norske grunnloven. Den 17. mai 1814 ble 112 menn i Eidsvoll enige om de lovene som et fritt og selvstendig Norge skulle bygge på. Idealene deres var frihet, likhet og brorskap, og ikke minst kjærlighet til fedrelandet.

Hvert år feirer nordmenn over hele verden denne dagen med norske flagg, bunader og allsang. 17. mai er barnas dag. Glade barn og voksne går i tog gjennom norske bygder og byer. Korpsene spiller, og russen lager liv i bakgrunnen. I Oslo kommer kongefamilien ut på slottsbalkongen for å vinke til barnetoget.

Her på Transparent Languages norskblogg er et 17 mai.-innlegg en fast tradisjon. Trofaste lesere har fått vite det meste om denne særnorske festdagen. Derfor tenkte jeg at det var på tide å presentere dere for en annen typisk 17. mai-tradisjon: 17. mai-talen. Lykke til med studiene, og takk for at dere kikket innom!

Gratulerer med dagen!

Dear regular readers, dear random Internet surfers,we are gathered here on this blog to celebrate the Norwegian constitution. May 17th 1814, 112 men at Eidsvoll agreed on those laws that a free and independent Norway should be built upon. Their ideals were liberty, equality and brotherhood, and, not least, love for the homeland.

Each year Norwegians all over the world are celebrating this day with Norwegian flags, bunader (Norwegian national costumes) and community singing. May 17th is the children’s day. Happy children and adults march in processions through Norwegian towns and cities. The bands are playing and the ”russ” (the 18- or 19-year-olds about to ”free” themselves from secondary schooling) are enlivening [the day] in the background. In Oslo the Royal Family enters the castle balcony to wave to the children procession.

Here at Transparent Language’s Norwegian blog a May 17th post is a regular custom. Loyal readers have got to know most things about this uniquely Norwegian festive day. That’s why I thought it was due time to introduce you to another typical May 17th tradition: the May 17th speech. Good luck with your studies, and thanks for dropping by!

”Congratulations with the day!” (The typical greeting between Norwegians on this day.)

Thanks to Cecilie Bakkelid for the inspiration!

Remember the words you forget

Posted on 13. May, 2015 by in Vocabulary

3040047_0de81f79fd_z

(Photo courtesy of Cyron at Flickr, CC License.)

Together with my students at a language course, I recently found a great way of activating det passive ordforrådet (the passive vocabulary). I wrote a simple word on tavlen (the blackboard), asking my students to find its motsetning (opposite). Then we picked another word, found its ”opposite”, and the game went on and on and on… The students were surprised how many words they knew! :-)

Let’s play this game here on the blog. I’ll add only one translation, the other you’ll have to add in your mind!

god (good) – dårlig

sulten (hungry) – mett

tom (empty) – full

full (drunk) – edru

liten (small) – stor

dag (day) – natt

kvinne (woman) – mann

mørk (dark) – lys

hvit (white) – svart

her (here) – der

trist (sad) – glad

tung (heavy) – lett

enkel (easy) – vanskelig

ute (outside) – inne

ung (young) – gammel

tynn (thin) – tykk

å gråte (to weep) – å le

sunn (healthy) – usunn

fiende (enemy) – venn

krig (war) – fred

hat (hate) – kjærlighet

spørsmål (question) – svar

klok (knowledgeable, wise, clever) – dum

fjell (mountain) – dal

syk (ill) – frisk

farlig (dangerous) – trygg

vakker (beautiful) – stygg

varm (hot) – kald

kjedelig (boring) – gøy

å huske (to remember) – å glemme

Now, that isn’t too vanskelig, is it? :-) Many words have a ”twin” or a ”partner” that somehow is linked to it without being an actual opposite. Take for instance

hund (dog) – katt

å spise (to eat) – å drikke

å skynne seg (to hurry) – å vente

Do you agree with those? What are the opposites or ”partners” of

is (ice)

hav (sea)

ansikt (face)

fot (foot)

stillhet (silence)

kjøtt (meat)

å smile (to smile)

å prate (to talk)

furu (fir tree)

snø (snow)

?

Sometimes, words seem to come in sets of 3 or 4: pappa, mamma, barn (dad, mum, kids) – sol, måne, stjerne (sun, moon, star) – nord, sør, øst, vest (N, S, E, W) – øre, nese, øye, munn (ear, nose, eye, mouth). Maybe we could ”gamify” those sets as well…

Sweet Brother Jokes

Posted on 30. Apr, 2015 by in Humor, Norway and the world

Border crossing. (Photo by Karin Beate Nøsterud at Wikimedia Commons, CC License.)

Border crossing. (Photo by Karin Beate Nøsterud at Wikimedia Commons, CC License.)

– Vet du hvorfor svenskene står opp når de skal sove? (Do you know why Swedes are standing when they’re going to sleep?)

– Nei! (No!)

– De regner med å falle i søvn! (They think they’ll be falling asleep!)

Svenskevitser (Swede-jokes) like that are quite popular in Norway. In fact, nordmenn (Norwegians) love joking about their Eastern neighbours so much that the comedy band Trøste & Bære reached the 4th spot of the 1990 Norwegian hit list with their song Jag är inte sjuk (Jag är bara svensk) (Swedish: I’m not ill (I’m just Swedish)).

Norway’s flag during the union with Sweden. The union ”blotch” was jokingly called sildesalaten – the herring salad.

Norway’s flag during the union with Sweden. The union ”blotch” was jokingly called sildesalaten – the herring salad.

Why such an obsession with svensker? I’d guess it has something to do with history. While Sverige (Sweden) was busy being a European stormakt (Great Power), Norway was in a union with Denmark, which only ended in 1814, after about 400 years. As soon as the ties to Denmark were cut, Sweden became Norway’s dominant storebror (big brother) in a new union, which lasted until 1905, when Norway finally became fri som fuglen (free as a bird). Just look at Nobelprisen, which originated during the union (in 1895). Yes, Norway chooses the winner of fredsprisen (the peace prize), but all those fancy prizes of literature and chemistry and medicine and … are bestowed upon the world from no other place than Stockholm, the Swedish capital! Add the fact that there are about dobbelt så mange (twice as many) Swedes as Norwegians, and you’ve got a good reason to fight back with a dash of humour… :-) Funnily enough, Swedes also make jokes about Norwegians…

Outside of vitsene (the jokes), the relationship between Norwegians and Swedes is excellent. They share the same peninsula and forstår hverandres språk (understand each other’s languages – well, mostly, that is!) In fact, a Norwegian nickname for Sweden is söta bror, which means ”sweet brother” in ”Norwegian-Swedish” (in actual Swedish it would be söte bror, or so they told me!)

Because of oljen (the oil), Norway has somehow become Sweden’s rike lillebror (rich little brother). Lønningene (the wages) in Norway are much higher, and many Swedes have gone to Norway to work, often taking jobs that Norwegians themselves don’t care about (for example in hotels or kiosks). Norwegians, on the other hand, cross the border to go on harryhandel in Swedish towns like Strömstad. Harry- comes from the name Harry, which has become a negative expression in Norwegian. (”For en harry kjole!” means ”What a kitschy/unstylish/cheap dress!”) So, harryhandel is that kind of handel (shopping) where Norwegians go to Sweden just because alkohol, kjøtt (meat) and tobakk (tobacco) is so much cheaper there!