Lying, sitting, standing Posted by Bjørn A. Bojesen on Jun 20, 2013 in Uncategorized
In a Scandinavian language like Norwegian, there are so many things beside mennesker (humans) that sitter, ligger or står. Basically, you use the words to tell where something or someone is located. But, how do you go about?
- STÅR (past tense sto, past perfect har stått)
This is used for objects in an upright position.
De står i kø til konserten. They’re standing in line for the concert.
Bøkene står i hylla. The books are in the shelf.
Juletreet står i stua. The Christmas tree is in the living-room.
It’s even used when talking about letters or words. (I guess they’re somehow ”standing” on a line!)
Hva står i brevet? ”What stands in the letter?” What does the letter say?
Det står at… It says that…
- SITTER (past tense satt, past perfect har sittet)
Okay, you know when someone is sitting. The fun thing is that the word’s also sometimes used when something smaller is attached to something bigger, or is located inside it:
Knappen sitter på baksida. The button’s on the backside.
Hvor sitter blindtarmen? Where is the appendix located?
- LIGGER (past tense lå, past perfect har ligget)
This is used for objects in a horizontal or flat position.
De ligger og sover. ”They’re lying and sleeping.” They’re sleeping.
Boka ligger på bordet. The book’s lying on the table.
Treet ligger på jorda. The tree’s lying on the ground.
It’s also used to tell where something is on the map:
Norge ligger i Europa. Norway is in Europe.
Ever since I started to learn other languages, I’ve wondered why people in Scandinavia are so busy with positions. It’s often quite impossible to avoid the sitte-ligge-stå thing!
If somebody’s in the living-room, you could say Han er i stua (He is in the l-r). But in case he’s most probably sitting on the couch, for example, you’d automatically go for Han sitter i stua (He’s sitting in the living-room).
If some people are doing the dishes in the kitchen, you say
De står i kjøkkenet og vasker opp (They’re standing in the kitchen and doing the dishes).
If they’re eating at the same place, you say
De sitter i kjøkkenet og spiser (They’re sitting in the kitchen and eating).
Leaving out sitter and står in these sentences sounds just as weird as removing the -ing form would do in English.
So, Norwegians always keep an eye on whether you’re standing, sitting or lying! I think this is one of the strangest things about the language. However, all of you who didn’t grow up with Norwegian might see things better than me:
What makes Norwegian strange to you? What’s the oddest, weirdest, most bizarre, most fascinating thing about Norwegian?
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