Norwegian forest dialogs

12 Jan

Found a great article convincingly explaining why Norwegian is the easiest language for English speakers to learn.

So, since my English speaking readers should be able to understand and enjoy them, I thought I’d relate a couple choice forest conversations I’ve had.

The first happened last Sunday. I was skating on the crowded trail that goes from Frognerseteren to Ullevålseter. A twelve year oldish looking kid saw me coming and decided to skate as fast as he could to race me. I poured on the power, sidestepped him and almost instantly put 50 meters between us with some very smooth V2/dobbeldans. Relaxed for a second, rethought that, and then skated hard to the right. So hard I went right over the tipping point and literally fell on my face.

Me: embarassing fall.

Kid: Drømmer du?

Hints: Norwegian verbs are like colloquial American Black English, not conjugated by grammatical subject (1st person, 2nd person…). The most common ending for the present indicative is “er”. Also, any funny letters correspond to multiple vowels in the English rendition of words inherited from Old Norse.

The second exchange happened last night. I was free skating back down a long hill at about 35km/h when I saw a dog running right at me. Seemed like the horrible thing with its tongue hanging out wanted to play chicken. When I juked to the right, he veered to left, maintaining the collision course. When I swerved to the left, he did the same thing going right. At that point I think I just shut my eyes and braced for impact.

Somehow I missed him, but since my quick turns sapped my speed the dog was able to make a U-turn and catch up with me, barking its idiot head off. At that point I fully expected it to latch its teeth on my leg and raised my pole to spear if it made that sort of move. I also hollered at it to go away.

This continued for a good two hundred meters with the owner nowhere in sight. Here’s the exchange I had with him when he finally appeared:

Me: Du må kontrollere hund!

Dog owner: Du må ikke skrike til hund!

Me: Faen ta deg!

Hints: The consonant blend “sk” always gets spelled “sh” in English words inherited from Old Norse. Like from “fisk” to “fish”. However the Norwegian pronunciation arbitrarily and capriciously varies between “sh” and “sk”, depending on the the particular word. The word “fisk” is pronounced the way you’d think it should be, with a hard “k” sound.

You’ll never get the last one. It’s literally “The Devil take you!”, which I would be tempted to translate as “Go to Hell!”. But it’s not that, since the latter exists in Norwegian quite straightforwardly as “Dra til Helvete!”. The expression is therefore always translated as “Fuck you!”. The rest you should be able to figure out.

Speaking of “faen”, here’s a funny guide to Norwegian’s most used curse word:

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