Norwegian is a difficult language to understand. I can read something on paper or subtitles but when I hear the words they don’t often relate. The Stavanger dialect is also supposed to be one of the strongest accents. So basically, I have no chance of having a conversation with a local unless it’s in English.
Many English words are in the Norwegian language, but with completely different meanings and sounds. So I thought I’d have a bit of fun comparing some examples. Please bear in mind that I am not making fun of Norwegian here – I am just using some simple Aussie toilet humour because I can!
Farts-dempere. Speed humps. I’m sorry, but this makes me laugh. ‘Fart’ usually means speed, so the two words are not that unrelated when you think about it. An alternative is ‘fartsdump,’ which is even more amusing. Apparently, this is also a slang word for sleeping policeman. No respect! Following on from this, we have fartsplan (schedule) and fartskontroll (speed check). So no matter what you do when in Norway, farts will be part of your experience.
Slutt. Pardon me. ‘Slutt’ means ‘finished’ or ‘the end.’ I first came across this while watching the local football on television. As each match finished, the scoreline would be shown with slutt next to it. Being a huge sports fan, it didn’t take long for me to figure out what was going on. The word ‘sluttsentral’ also means local exchange, so I guess that’s where the hostel is located in town.
It’s pure coincidence that so many English swear words are in the Norwegian language. ‘Fukt’ means humidity. Look for this when watching the weather updates. This is particularly funny to me, because I spell the word this way in emails to get around companies that use word-sensitive blocks. The joke’s on you, Mr. Computer geek! ‘Hell’ means luck or success, so you can tell anyone to go to hell and you won’t get punched out.
At the crosswalk, we are told to vent until the man turns green. Thanks, don’t mind if I do: If I have to wait one more second here, I’m gonna start screaming! ‘Kylling’ is chicken, so there’s plenty of kylling going on in Norway. Kylling for lunch, kylling for dinner and even more kylling happening in the grocery stores.
‘Tannlege’ means dentist. Now this one got me when we first arrived, because some words are similar in both English and Norwegian. So being an average ‘Aussie Joe’, I assumed all the tannleges I was seeing were in fact, tanning salons. It made sense – the sun hates Stavanger, so of course everybody flocks to the salons because there is such a demand for them. It wasn’t until we actually needed a dentist that light was shed on the matter. I guess lots of people need to get their teeth cleaned, too!