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’s “Svensk-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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