Slice of Norge: Word Association

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!

This sign is everywhere in the suburbs.

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.

The speed limit is stated here, but can farts be measured?

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.

Slutts everywhere you look when watching this program.

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.

Vent while waiting to cross the road.

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!

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
10 years ago

It’s interesting that the Norwegian language is hard to decipher from spoken to written. I speak fluent Portuguese and I learned by association of words.

10 years ago
Reply to  Daniel

The trouble with learning Norwegian is the dialects – they are all so different from one town to the next.

10 years ago

Farts are always funny:)

Amusing cultural exchange 🙂 It’s the little things that often get me giggling.

10 years ago

As Ali mentioned there is tons of funny stuff in German. I speak it fluently enough to not even notice the funnybits anymore. Thankfully she points them out to me. Looks like you are keeping yourself entertained up there.

10 years ago
Reply to  Andrew

Gotta keep laughing, Andrew! Beer and signs are keeping me going…

10 years ago

Reading signs in foreign countries can be really funny, I spotted some very good ones in India 🙂

10 years ago
Reply to  Angela

I looove reading signs everywhere! Part of the experience for sure.

Thank you for working with Straigh To The Point.
Send this to a friend