Norwegian lesson of the day:

Mannfolk, n. men, guys, males etc. May be used neutrally, or even (dubiously) positively (as in Jeg vil ha meg mannfolk i kveld – basically the same sentiment as “Gimme, gimme, gimme a man after midnight”), but is more often said with exhasperation or scorn. Mannfolk! It’s hard to get quite the same satisfaction out of the word “Men!” (not enough syllables).

There is a female equivalent, kvinnfolk, used perhaps most frequently in the phrase Kvinnfolk bak rattet – “Women behind the wheel”. Not a compliment.

More words

å lyve så man tror det selv, expression, literally “to lie so that one believes it oneself”, akin to “deceiving oneself” but implying a somewhat more voluntary – or conscious, if you like – deception than the english phrase. Changes with person/tense, obviously, and in my dialect I say juge, not lyve, so we have “Jeg juger så jeg tror det selv” (I am deceiving myself), “Han juger så han tror det selv” (He’s deceiving himself) and so on. In fact, once I’m on the subject of dialect, I suppose I would actually normally say either sjøl or sjæl, not selv (all just variations on the word “self”).

Norwegian lesson of the day

selvsagt, adv. of course, obviously, goes without saying, self-evident. Literally “self-said”. There is obviously some link here etomologically between the Norwegian word and the self-evident/goes without saying expressions in English.

It just seemed like an appropriate word today, don’t ask me why.


kjærring (or kjerring) married woman, wife or old woman. Female, definite ending -a. From old norse kerling, from karl according to my dictionary. The common understanding is that it comes from kjær “dear”. Not originally offensive, it has become so, specifically in the “old woman” meaning. Older men will still use it as an affectionate term for their wife, though to most women of the post-feminist era it smacks of patronising and/or demeaning undertones. Using it about someone other than your wife is now pretty much solely derrogatory, in a fight between two women the closest equivivalent to di kjærring! in English would be “you bitch!”

Voice on the stereo: Kim Larsen – Papirsklip


Norwegian lesson of the day: kjærringa mot strømmen, literally “the woman against the stream”, someone who is particularly stubborn, contrary. From the folk tale collected by Asbjørnsen & Moe about the woman who was so contrary about everything that when she eventually drowned in the river she was found upstream. (Note: You should not actually use “kjærringa” as a synonym for woman. It could get you into trouble.)

Voice from the television: Madonna – Die Another Day (a reasonably good song but hopelessly inadequate as a Bond-theme. A Bond song should be instantly recognisable as a Bond-song)

Stick a fork in me, I’m done

Having a hard time concentrating. Which is a problem, as my main task today is checking over documents that will end as attachments to a big deal we’re supposed to sign next week (I say “we”, I won’t actually be her, of course, I’ll be in Scotland. Which makes it all the more important that I identify any issues I need to raise NOW rather than when I get back – after people heve put their names on teh dotted lines). The documents, therefore, describe pretty much what I’ll be working on until some time next year. And I’m in charge of estimating how much time we’ll need to do the work, so if I don’t check the documents properly, I may find myself in all kinds of s**t come March. Not a pleasant prospect. My, this responsibilty thing is fun, isn’t it? (Ahem.)

But it is so hard to consentrate. I want to go home and pack!

Norwegian lesson of the day: Reisefeber n. Travel fever; an innocuous psychological affliction. the special kind of mostly pleasurable restlessness and flutterings of the stomach experienced in the days, weeks or months before travelling. A more frustrating variant of reisefeber can be experienced in cases of “travel by association”, when someone close to the afflicted person is travelling to either A. a place the afflicted person knows well or B. a place the afflicted person would really like to visit.

Voice in my head: Tangled Up in Blue