Norwegian Language Blog

Summer Nights in Norway Posted by on May 31, 2021 in Music, Nature

(Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash; no copyright.)

Gratulerer med vel overstått! (Congratulations with a ”well passed” [birthday]!) This belated greeting – a handy Norwegian lifeline for forgetful people – will have to do for all you fans of Norway in 2021. Due to technicalities, I was unable to wish you gratulerer med dagen (happy constitution day) on May 17th. Beklager tradisjonsbruddet! (Sorry for the break with tradition!)

Here at the end of May Norway is at its most beautiful. My phone is brimming with shared blinkskudd (perfect shots = photos) of sunkissed mountain slopes and blooming apple trees. Temperatures are high, and the bravest ”Vikings” have been taking a swim in the green fjords. Without corona restrictions, tourists would be flocking to Norway right now.

Som et lite plaster på såret (By way of consolation, literally ”as a small plaster on the wound”) I’d like to share a beautiful, short vise [veeceh] (ballad, song) with you. ”Vi skal ikkje sova bort sumarnatta” (We Shouldn’t Sleep Away the Summer Night) perfectly captures the feeling of a warm Norwegian summer, I think. The lyricist Aslaug Låstad Lygre wrote the original poem in Nynorsk Norwegian, but with a little help I’m sure you’ll understand the meaning. 🙂

Vi skal ikkje sova bort sumarnatta1sommernatta,

ho2hun er for ljos3lys til det.

Då skal vi vandra i saman4i saman = sammen ute,

under dei lauvtunge tre5de løvtunge trær.

We shouldn’t sleep away the summer night,

she’s too bright for that.

Then we’ll wander together outside,

below the trees heavy with leaves.

Då skal vi vandra i saman ute,

der blomar6blomster i graset står.

Vi skal ikkje sova bort sumarnatta,

som kruser med dogg vårt hår.

Then we’ll wander together outside,

where flowers stand in the grass.

We shouldn’t sleep away the summer night

that frizzles our hair with dew.

Vi skal ikkje sova frå høysåteangen7høysåte = haycock; ange = fragrance

og grashoppespelet8gresshoppespillet i eng,

men vandra i lag under bleikblå himlen

til fuglane lyfter veng9vinge.

We shouldn’t sleep from the smell of fresh cut hay

and the grasshopper’s play in the meadow,

but we should wander together below the pale blue sky

until the birds will lift their wing(s).

Og kjenna at vi er i slekt med jorda,

med vinden og kvite10hvite sky,

og vita at vi skal vera11være i saman

like til morgongry12morgengry.

And feel we are related to the earth,

to the wind and the white cloud,

and know that we’ll be together

all the way till daybreak.

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    i saman = sammen
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    de løvtunge trær
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    høysåte = haycock; ange = fragrance
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About the Author: Bjørn A. Bojesen

I was born in Denmark, but spent large parts of my childhood and study years in Norway. I later returned to Denmark, where I finished my MA in Scandinavian Studies. Having relatives in Sweden as well, I feel very Scandinavian! I enjoy reading and travelling, and sharing stories with you! You’re always welcome to share your thoughts with me and the other readers.