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Swearing expressions do not translate well

Many years ago I taught Norwegian language evening classes for the Edmonton School Board.

Many years ago I taught Norwegian language evening classes for the Edmonton School Board.

The course was designed to teach simple Norwegian phrases to enable the students to ask for directions if they travelled to Norway, or they could engage distant relatives to correspond in simple Norwegian.

Most of my students were past 50 years of age, and some of them had specific requests for me to either translate a Norwegian phrase or teach them some swear words.

I refused to translate the swears, but I got tricked into translating English words to Norwegian, that resulted in pronunciations that became very amusing to the students. Swearing in Norwegian is totally different than our Canadian swears.

There are three groups of Norwegian swear words, “almost swear, light swear, and heavy swear.”

Norwegian swears revolve around the devil for the most part, where he lives and what you want him to do to you or others, depending on the situation.

However, I would like to teach you some interesting Norwegian phrases instead and when to use them:

• Gå ta banen!

This is often used to express excitement. It literary means “Walk off the field!” (Playing field that is). In Canada we would simply say: Wow! That’s exciting! But what fun is that?

• Fyfl ate!

An expression used when one is slightly disgusted with an individual or a situation. It means “Fie to the level!” It is similar to the Canadian expression: “Ugh!”

• Klinkokos!

It is used to describe a person that is a dare devil or slightly crazy.

It translates to “nutty as a coconut.”

I guess in Canada we would describe that person to be “slightly off the bubble!”

• Hærendøttemeg!

This is a Norwegian almost swear. It is used in mixed company when you want to emphasize something, but don’t want to swear. It means “The army push me!”

What can I say, Norwegians knows how to be polite!

• Kokkelimonke!

It is used to describe the dirty tricks done by a politician.

I have no translation for this expression, and I’m at a loss for what the Canadian expression would be other than “attack ads” at election time.

• Hentesveis.

It is used to describe Donald Trump’s hair style. The translation would be “fetch a hairstyle.” In Canada we call it a “comb over.”

• Ola Dunk.

This phrase is descriptive of low class behaviour. If the behaviour deteriorated further, it would be called Swedish.

It is similar to our hillbilly or red neck description.

• Døgenikt.

This label describes a lazy or useless person. The word does not translate to English, but in Canada I guess he would be called a “slouch.”

• Rosinenipølsa.

This phrase is used to describe a happy ending. It translates to “the raisin in the sausage – a delightful and sweet surprise at the end.

• Full.

This word describes a person that has loaded up on too much alcohol, and has achieved the status of being drunk.

I made a mistake while visiting Norway many years ago. My older brother drove us to visit relatives in the southern part of Norway, and we were invited for supper.

It was a non-alcoholic event, so all we had to drink was a glass of water.

When I was offered a second serving of the main course, I politely declined by saying in Norse English, “Neitakkjeger full!”

The conversation died, all the guests put down their cutlery and stared at me.

My brother wondered out loud if our hostess had spiked the water with Vodka, because what I had just said was “No thank you, I’m drunk!”

There are many more strange phrases, but I’ll get to those in a later lesson.

It is important to know that some swears can land you in hot water or worse in jail, if uttered against an officer of the law.

One young man in Northern Norway ended up in jail after comparing the highway patrol officer that had pulled him over, to a certain part of a stallion located between the legs at the opposite end of the horses face!

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