Norwegian Language Blog

Flink med båter Posted by on Feb 5, 2010 in Culture, Norway and the world

Clever with boats.  Before Columbus’ time, Norwegians bygde og seilte (built and sailed) the fastest, most maneuverable boats of the Viking and Early Middle Ages.  It is no surprise, really, when one considers the sparce arable land and great åpent hav (open sea) that the Norwegians would become sophisticated seafarers-they simply had to make do with the resources provided to them.  With an abundance of tømmer (lumber), it was no problem to find materials to build these incredible båter.  Offshore fishing soon turned into distant voyages that required excellent håndverk (craftsmanship). 

Vikingskipene (the Viking ships) were lange (long), trange (narrow), bygd av tre (wooden), og hadde to forstavner (and had two prows), en på baugen (one at the bow) og en på akerstavn (and one at the stern).  Forstavnene were often carved into shapes such as et drakehode (a dragon head) eller hodet til et annet dyr (or the head of another animal).  Accordingly, skipene had names that reflected the shape of forstavnene, such as ”Snake of the Sea” or ”Dragon Fire.” 

The body of the boats were of course made of ved, but more importantly they were clinker-built, meaning plankene (the planks) overlapped each other.  Not only did this provide exceptional holdbarhet (durability) and styrke (strength), but sauull (sheep’s wool) dipped in tjære (tar) was used to fill in the gaps mellom plankene (between the planks) to make the boats regnfrakk (waterproof)flink igjen.  Several other features that made these boats magnificent included kjølen (the keel) that allowed the boats to cut through the water quickly and provided stabilitet (stability) in rough weather.  In clear weather with ingen vind (no wind), årene (the oars) were used to move the boats. 

Nordmenn var veldig flinke med båter, ikke sant?

Keep learning Norwegian with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it

About the Author: kari

I attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, where I majored in Norwegian and History. During college, I spent almost a year living in Oslo, Norway, where I attended the University of Oslo and completed an internship at the United States Embassy. I have worked for Concordia Language Villages as a pre-K Norwegian teacher and have taught an adult Norwegian language class. Right now, I keep up by writing this Norwegian blog for Transparent Language. Please read and share your thoughts! I will be continuing this blog from my future residence in the Norwegian arctic!