Words for Well-Wishers

Posted on 17. Apr, 2014 by in Traditions, Vocabulary

If you find a firkløver in Scandinavia, you’re bound to have lots of luck! (Thanks to Ole Husby at Flick: https://www.flickr.com/photos/khianti/7438725780/in/photolist-bByAEb-ckkp9f-ckkq1L-6PGSsG [Creative Commons Licence])

If you find a firkløver in Scandinavia, you’re bound to have lots of luck! (Thanks to Ole Husby at Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/khianti/7438725780/in/photolist-bByAEb-ckkp9f-ckkq1L-6PGSsG [Creative Commons Licence])

Sometimes we use språket (the language) as a trylleformel (magical formula). Når noen nyser (when someone’s sneezing), most Norwegians will automatically react by saying prosit! [PROHsit]. In some strange way the little word changes the air, making the sneezer feel better. Below are a handful of other expressions used in order to wish somebody well:

Lykke til! (literally ”Luck to!”) is the thing to say to your friend who’s going to climb a mountain. You can also add jeg krysser fingrene (I cross my fingers) – in that case, you should remember to actually put your middle finger across your index finger, on one or both hands. Maybe it really is lykkebringende (”luck-bringing”).

Skål! [skawl] when you’re drinking beer or whisky.

Skitt fiske! [SHIT FISKeh] literally means ”bad fishing luck”, but when you say it to someone who’s walking towards the fjord with a fiskestang (fishing rod), you actually mean the opposite! :-) It is a bit like when you say ”break a leg” in English – of couse you don’t want anybody to actually break her leg! I suppose that people used to believe that fiskene kunne høre deg (the fishes could hear you). So, if you could fool them into believing that fiskeren hadde uflaks (the fisher was having bad luck) rather than flaks (good luck), then maybe they wouldn’t mind swimming around close to overflaten (the surface).

• If somebody’s ill, a nice thing to say is god bedring! [goh BEH-dring] (good improvement!). It is the equivalent of saying ”I hope you’ll be better soon”. Depending on the situation, you could perhaps add jeg håper du blir frisk snart! (I hope you get well soon!) or even opp med humøret! (cheer up!, literally ”up with the mood!”) or det går så bra, skal du se! (it’ll be all right, you’ll see!).

• There are many ways you can cheer on someone, including kom igjen! [come eeYEN] (come on!) and kjempebra! [H-YEMpehbrah] (very good!). A heiagjeng (heia gang) is a group of people who heier på (cheer on) an athlete or a team, often using the exclamation heia [HAI-yah]: Heia Kari! Heia Norge! (Go Kari! Go Norway!)

• It is not compulsory to wish your guests a good meal in Norway (like you do when saying bon appétit in English). If you feel like it, though, you can always say håper det smaker! (hope it’s tasty!). (If someone says something similar to you, remember to reply with a takk! or even tusen takk! [1000 thanks!].) BTW, when dinner is served, you shouldn’t start eating before the host has said værsågod! (please!, ”the food is ready”).

• When a friend leaves, you can wish her god tur! (good trip!) if she’s indeed going to travel a bit, or maybe simply ha det bra! (have it good!). In colloquial Norwegian, ha det bra is usually shortened to ha det! (bye!, literally ”have it!”).

• When somebody wishes you well, it’s easy to return the favour: Takk, i like måte! (Thanks, the same to you!)

Girls Smiling in Early Spring

Posted on 31. Mar, 2014 by in Leisure, Music

Bryggen in Bergen.

Endelig! (Finally!) Following a skikkelig dårlig vintervær (really bad winter weather) – where even the inland parts of Østlandet (Eastern Norway) had less snø (snow) than usual – many Norwegians have been able to enjoy a bit of vår (spring). According to NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting), this Saturday was one of the hottest mars (March) days in recent history. The temperature reached 15.3 °C in Bjørnholt in Oslo, while the people in Vats in Vestlandet (Western Norway) were blessed with an extreme 17.4 °C (63.32 °F). Members of my family told me the temperature passed 16 °C in Bergen, where people koste seg med utepils i sola (enjoyed themselves with ”outdoor lagers” in the sun) in the historical Bryggen area.

A dad smiling in early spring, while enjoying an utepils in vårsola [the spring sun]. (Thanks to Johan Simon Seland at Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/16875306@N03/4407698861/in/photolist-7HuBiX-e5Cpta – licence at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)

A dad smiling in early spring, while enjoying an utepils in vårsola [the spring sun]. (Thanks to Johan Simon Seland at Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/16875306@N03/4407698861/in/photolist-7HuBiX-e5Cpta – licence at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)

I don’t know if it’s årstida (the season) or just me getting nostalgisk… Anyway, i dag fikk jeg ei låt på hjernen (today a song got on my mind): ”Jenter” (”Girls”) by Di Derre (”Those  There”). It’s some years old, but already a modern classic in Norway. Anyone who’s spent a winter in Norway knows that våren (Spring) works miracles and makes hjerter (hearts) beat – no matter if you’re a gutt (boy) or jenteThe first verses run like this:

Jeg traff henne på St. Hanshaugen sommer’n 89

I met her at St. Hanshaugen in Oslo during summer 1989

Hun gråt når hun var full og sang når hun var blid

She cried when she was drunk and sang when she was kind

Jeg elsket henne høyt, hun elsket meg villt

I loved her highly, she loved me wildly

Høsten kom, døra smalt og etterpå ble det stillt

Autumn came, the door slammed and afterwards it got silent

 

Så jeg traff ei lita jente en regnfull vår

Then I met a little girl in a rainy spring

Med bløte konsonanter og regnvått hår

With soft consonants and hair wet with rain

Hun lovet meg troskap, jeg lovet henne alt

She promised to be faihtful, I promised her everything

Vinter’n kom, troskap gikk og etterpå ble det kaldt

Winter came, faithfulness went and afterwards it got cold

 

Jenter som kommer og jenter som går

Girls coming and girls leaving

Jenter som glipper, jenter du aldri får

Girls vanishing/letting go, girls you never get

Jenter som smiler en tidlig vår

Girls smiling in early spring

Jenter og en litt sliten matador

Girls and a somewhat tired matador

 

Hey, hey!

Hey, hey!

Hey, hey, hey

 

The ”bløte konsonanter” thing indicates that the girl says things like ”bag” instead of bak (back, behind),  and ”båd” instead of båt (boat). So, if you know your Norwegian dialects, you can figure out she must be from Kristiansand or Stavanger or anywhere along the coast between those two cities! ;-)

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Everyday Norwegian

Posted on 30. Mar, 2014 by in Vocabulary

In Scandinavia, people sleep underneath ”pillow-ish” dyner (duvets, sleeping quilts) rather than blankets. (”Senga mi med ei norsk dyne” by aarsvoln on Flickr, licenced for commercial use according to https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ )

In Scandinavia, people sleep underneath ”pillow-ish” dyner (duvets, sleeping quilts) rather than blankets.
(”Senga mi med ei norsk dyne” by aarsvoln on Flickr, licenced for commercial use according to https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ )

How do I get to Preikestolen? How much is the entrance to Kon-Tiki Museet? Language courses are often geared towards tourists and travelling. However, if you really want to speak like a native, you also need words for all the little things you do every day:

Du står opp tidlig eller sent. (You get up early or late.) Most probably you’re in a seng on a pute (pillow) below a dyne (duvet) when vekkerklokka ringer (the alarm clock rings).

Du tar en dusj. (You take a shower.) Du vasker håret med sjampo. (You clean your hair with shampoo.) Du tørker deg selv med et håndkle. (You dry yourself with a towel.) Du klær på deg. (You put on clothes.) Du grer håret med en kam eller en børste. (You comb your hair with a comb or a brush.) Maybe you also sminker deg selv (put on make-up) or barberer deg selv (shave yourself).

Du spiser frokost. (You eat breakfast.) Maybe you eat alene, or maybe you eat sammen med familien din (together with your family). Du vasker opp (you do the dishes) – or: Du starter oppvaskmaskinen (you start the dishwasher). Du børster tenner (you brush your teeth), with a bit of tannkrem (toothpaste) on a tannbørste (toothbrush), which may or may not be elektrisk (electric, motorized).

Du sier ”ha det” til familien din eller katten din. (You say goodbye to your family or your cat.) Du kjører bil/sykler/tar bussen/tar trikken til arbeid eller skole. (You drive your car/go by bicycle/take the bus/take the tram to work or school.) Maybe you need to stop by a bensinstasjon (filling/gas station) in order to fylle opp tanken (refuel). Du jobber/studerer. (You work/study.) Du tar en pause. (You take a break.) Du spiser lunsj/matpakken din. (You eat lunch/your packed lunch.) Du drikker kaffe/te/melk. (You drink coffee/tea/milk.) Du snakker med kollegaene dine/de andre elevene/de andre studentene. (You talk to your colleagues/the other pupils/the other students.) Du drar hjem. (You go home.)

On your way you make a stop at the kjøpesenter (shopping mall), where you handler litt (do some shopping). Du betaler med Visa-kortet ditt. (You pay with your Visa card.) Du legger varene i pastposer. (You put your items into plastic bags.)

Du hilser på familien din eller katten din. (You say hello to your family or your cat.) Du lager middag. (You make dinner.) Du spiser middag. (You eat dinner.) Du rydder bordet. (You clean the table.) Maybe you’ve got lekser (homework) or husarbeid (chores) to do. It may be time to klippe plenen (mow the lawn), male huset (paint the house), støvsuge (vacuum) or vaske klær (wash clothes). Maybe you go out to møte venner (meet friends). Maybe you stay at home with your family, ser tv (watch tv), leser bøker (read books) or spiller spill (play games). Sooner or later it will be time to legge seg (go to bed, literally ”lay oneself down”). Kanskje må du legge barna først, og lese en godnatthistorie for dem. (Perhaps you need to tuck in the children first, and read them a bedside story.) Du kryper under dyna. (You snuggle down in bed. Literally: You crawl below the duvet.) Du sover. (You sleep.) Hopefully, you’re having some wonderful drømmer (dreams), so you’ll feel refreshed and energized for a new bustling dag (day)!