Norwegian: cremation

Discussion in 'Nordic Languages' started by Grefsen, Jun 4, 2013.

  1. Grefsen

    Grefsen Senior Member

    Southern California
    English - United States
    I'd like to translate "cremation" into Norwegian and am not sure which word is most appropriate to use. :confused:

    Here's a sample sentence:

    Several of my friend's family members prefer cremation as an alternative to having their body buried in a coffin or casket after death.

    Her er mitt forsøk på norsk:

    Flere av min venns familiemedlemmer foretrekker *cremation som et alternativ til å ha sin kropp begravd i en kiste eller skrin etter døden.

    Two Norwegian words I've found for cremation are "likbrenning eller kremasjon."

    Can I use either of these two words in my example?

    På forhånd takk!
  2. NorwegianNYC Senior Member

    New York, NY, USA
    Likbrenning refers to what you do to the body (what one physically does), and it does not necessarily have to refer to human beings.
    Kremasjon is a funeral rite and solemn event

    As for you sentence - you are making overly complicated. This one works better:

    "Kremasjon er et alternativ til begravelse i en kiste" = Cremation is an alternative to being buried in a coffin

    There is no need (in Norwegian, at least) to mention "kropp" or "etter døden", since it is implied.
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2013
  3. Grefsen

    Grefsen Senior Member

    Southern California
    English - United States
    Tusen takk for det, NNYC! :thumbsup:

    I thought that likbrenning probably referred only to human beings because two of the online dictionaries I checked listed "corpse" as one of the translations for lik. I next made the assumption that "lik + brenning" was a compound word meaning "corpse burning."

    Here's an explanation (forklaring) of lik given by one of the online dictionaries:

    a dead (human) body

    død (menneske) kropp
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2013
  4. raumar Senior Member

    Oslo, Norway
    You are right, Grefsen. Likbrenning has sometimes been used as a synonym for kremasjon. The first Norwegian Cremation Act was called Lov om ligbrænding, see

    But NYC is definitely right, too: these words are not interchangeable today. We use kremasjon for cremation in a crematorium. Likbrenning may be used, but then we are usually talking about foreign cultures or earlier times. You would not describe the cremation of friends or family members as likbrenning. For many Norwegians, that word sounds a bit too direct and crude, maybe even macabre.
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2013
  5. Grefsen

    Grefsen Senior Member

    Southern California
    English - United States
    Jeg er enig! :thumbsup:

    Also in English too. My example was definitely "over complicated." :eek:

    Takk for lenken! :thumbsup:

    So perhaps likbrenning would more appropriately be used to describe something like a traditional Hindu funeral pyre (mass cremation)?
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2013
  6. sdr083

    sdr083 Senior Member

    Norwegian (NN)

    That was my immediate association. "Likbrenning" is also used in Norwegian historical texts describing e.g. funeral rites before the Viking Age.
  7. NorwegianNYC Senior Member

    New York, NY, USA
    Yes, and nowadays it has a certain "poetic" quality - as opposed to "kremasjon", which is the officially sanctioned and clinical method of disposal

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