Say hello to Norway’s Nessie!

Posted on 09. Jun, 2015 by in Geography, Holidays, Nature


Sign at Seljord Camping: SJØORMFARE (Sea Monster Danger) [Photo by Bjørn A. Bojesen]

Alle kjenner (everybody knows) Nessie – the Scottish lake monster from Loch Ness. But did you know Norway has its own sjøorm [shuh-ohrm] (”sea worm”)? I recently was lucky enough to … well, see innsjøen (the lake) where it’s supposed to live! :-)

Telemark fylke (county) is a beautiful and varied place in the summer season, full of blomster (flowers). It’s less mountainous than Western Norway, and much less populous than the Oslo area, so of course people from hovedstaden (the capital) and other nearby cities come here to camp, play sports, (wait for the sun to appear to they can) sunbathe and swim in innsjøene or at the short coastline. For some reason, noone was swimming in Seljordsvatnet (the Seljord ”water”) when two family members and I were passing by…

There are many accounts of a huge orm (worm) living in the narrow lake next to the town of Seljord in central Telemark. Some people even claim to have taken foto (photos) of Seljordsormen (the Seljord worm), or Selma, as the beloved mythical beast is also called! (Well, the ones I’ve seen look more like bølger – waves – but who knows!)

Selma on the arms of Seljord. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons, CC License.)

Selma on the arms of Seljord. (Drawing from Wikimedia Commons, CC License.)

Even prominent people, such as former mayor Solveig Sundbø Abrahamsen, claim to have seen Seljord’s number one unseen tourist attraction. Maybe that’s why ormen is featured in the kommunevåpen (town arms).

Sola var varm (the sun was hot) above the lake when we were there, and to our great delight there was a skilt [sheelt] (sign) pointing to a sjøormtårn (sea worm tower) – built of wood next to the water just like a fugletårn (bird hide, literally ”bird tower”)!

Unfortunately, the worm was too shy to reveal itself to alle turistene på stranda (all the tourists at the beach). If you ever go there, bring a kikkert (binoculars) and et åpent sinn (an open mind). And oh, don’t rush it like we did. Sjøormer certainly seem to be creatures that take their time!

(Next week we’ll be looking at some phrases that might be more ”everyday-ish”, so stay tuned!)

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


(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…