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Reflections from a Swede in Norway.

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In my blog, I write about the general unfairness of life, about spam mail, vintage computers, board games, Norwegians, current and not-so-current affairs, technology and whatever else occurs to me — in other words, a glorious mess. All opinion expressed here are of course my own, and all similarities with any living people is of course intentional.

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Lack of words

Published: Saturday 2005-03-05.

Something I have been annoyed at for a while, almost even more than at the closing-down of the train connection between Norway and Sweden is a, in some way, on a related topic. As you have noticed I am trying to learn Norwegian, and if you want to learn a language it helps a lot if you have access to dictionaries. There are several good Norwegian dictionaries, and Norstedts published a really good Norwegian-Swedish dictionary in 1992. What is missing is a good Swedish-Norwegian dictionary.

As far as I know, only one Swedish-Norwegian dictionary has been published, namely Kunnskapsforlaget’sSvensk-norsk blå ordbok” from 1981. Unfortunately, neither is that dictionary very extensive (only about 20,000 words), it also contains several errors and hasn’t been updated for soon 25 years. When you, like me, has Swedish as the source language and want to find the corresponding Norwegian word, doing that is thus not always easy. Until now, I have tried to manage to get along by using my Norwegian and Norwegian-Swedish dictionaries, but then I still have to try to guess the right word. Because of this, I today bought a English-Norwegian dictionary, sine there are several of them that seemed nice. The one I bought was Kunnskapsforlaget’s dictionary, published in 2002 and containing 65,000 words and sold for the same price as their antique Swedish-Norwegian dictionary... It does, however, feel a bit stupid to have to take the detour through English to translate to Norwegian, but what can one do?

But, people seem to translate from Swedish to Norwegian anyway, despite the lack of dictionaries. Lyrics, for instance. Recently, Norwegian radio stations started playing a Norwegian song that I thought I recognised, but it took me a little while to place where I had heard it before. The song is a heavily popped up version of Niklas Strömstedt’s classic ”Om” (If) from 1990. In Norwegian Dina’s version, the song is of course called Hvis. Definitely a good 2005 version of this fifteen year old song, with its ever fresh lyrics. (Has it really been fifteen years? Gee, I feel old...)

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  • Datum: 2005-03-05 16.30.24 CET
  • Namn: Daniel
  • Sänt från: ***

När jag flyttade till Norge 98 så skaffade jag också den från Norstedts som du nämner. Men jag hittade inte heller någon bra svensk-norsk. Jag har den blå från 81 men det ser lite märkligt ut i bokhyllan när den norsk-svenska är ca dubbelt så tjock. Kanske norska helt enkelt har många fler ord :) Men jag känner att jag blivit totalt språkförvirrad sedan jag flyttade hit, nu både pratar och skriver jag ofta på det spännande språket Svorsk.

  • Datum: 2005-03-05 17.46.57 CET
  • Namn: Peter Karlsson
  • Sänt från: ************

Jo, "svorsk"-problematiken känner jag till, jag känner andra som har flyttat till Norge och har råkat ut för samma sak. Jag har dock försökt undvika det genom att faktiskt seriöst gå in för att försöka lära mig norska, för att försöka kunna hålla isär svenskan från norskan.

I skriftspråket går det bra, men jag märker att mitt talspråk har börjat glida lite. Jag kan fortfarande inte tala norska, så fort jag försöker så kommer det ut svenska ord ur munnen ändå, däremot anpassar jag ordförrådet till att fungera mot norrmän när jag pratar med dem. På sista tiden har jag dock lagt märke till att jag mer och mer använder norska ord i talspråket. Förhoppningsvis kan jag fortfarande tala förståelig svenska mot svenskar, även om jag börjar glida mot norska mot norrmännen...

Jag vet inte riktigt om jag håller med om att den blå ordboken ser märklig ut i bokhyllan, färgen passar bra ihop med Norstedts svensk-engelska och engelsk-svenska ordböcker, som också är blå...

I have a similar problem when it comes to Icelandic. There is no dictionary (neither direction) that is worth even opening. Which means that I have to go through English which sometimes adds an extra confusion level.

The biggest problem with this is that there are some words in Norwegian that are a lot like Icelandic words and some words in Norwegian that are a lot like English (and nothing like Icelandic). Then there are some that are like neither. The problem rises when I remember that the word was something like some other language but I cannot remember which one. I have made up some interesting words like that:-).

I think learning Norwegian would have been a lot easier if it hadn't been for the added complexity of going through English.

  • Datum: 2005-03-05 19.19.45 CET
  • Namn: Daniel
  • Sänt från: ***

Ja då är det väl bäst jag köper Norstedts sv-en og en-sv så jag får lite stil på bokhyllan :)

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