Norwegian: å fange kuer

Discussion in 'Nordic Languages' started by ordentlig, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. ordentlig Member

    English - Canadian
    Hi everyone,

    I heard an interesting phrase recently: "å fange kuer." I believe the whole sentence was just "De fanger kuer om sommeren." Does this mean herding them, roping them, or what? I can't imagine cows are that hard to trap....Thanks!
  2. Cerb Senior Member

    Norwegian - Bokmål
    The only way I can make "å fange" to make sense in this context is if we're talking about catching them with lassos for sport. I agree that "å fange"/catch/trap doesn't make sense if we're talking about cows that have been put out to pasture. It could mean to herd them, but we have the Norwegian equivalent "å gjete" which would make a lot more sense to use in that case.

    I'm not familiar with it as an expression either and google returns pretty much nothing. Do you remember anything else about the context?
  3. ordentlig Member

    English - Canadian
    Hi Cerb,

    Thanks for your help! The discussion was in general about children playing on a farm during the summer and what summer activities they do there. It wouldn't be tipping cows, would it? I'm not sure if that's unique to North America.
  4. basslop

    basslop Senior Member

    We should have had some cow farmers to answer this:D
    When I was a child I had a friend who lived on a farm, so I try. They definitely did not use the expression "fange kuene" to fetch the cows from the fields to the barn for the daily milking. "Hente kuene" is the appropriate expression here. Btw: If we delayed the fetching say 10 minutes, the cows often came by themselves. These animals don't need a watch.

    Maybe "fange kuene" is when having cows at summer grazing as for sheep. These cows are for meat production only. Until quite recently milk production (daily fetching) was the only use of cows in Norway.
  5. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    It seems that the explanation may lie in a now outdated activity, when cows were taken to remote mountain pastures (seter), to exploit the resources of the nature. They obviously went often astray, and there was a need to track them and catch. The translation should then be "catch", not "trap".
  6. NorwegianNYC

    NorwegianNYC Senior Member

    New York, NY, USA
    A friend of mine, who grew up on a farm, referred to "catching cows" (fange kyr) as something they would have to do when (esp.) heifers and meat cattle were out grazing, and had to be brought back. These animals were not in milk production (either yet, or not at all), and unlike dairy cows, they were not particularly interested in human handling, so sometimes you would actually have to hunt them down.

    That being said (and as my friend added) - it was not a regular activity on the farm, and it did not really have name. It was just something one had to do ever so often. Perhaps someone who is a little more versed in heifers and bullocks/steers can shed light on this. Again - "de fanger kuer om sommeren" sounds like a regular activity, so I am not sure if it fits.

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