Norwegian: det er [adjective] med [noun]

Discussion in 'Nordic Languages' started by timtfj, Dec 1, 2012.

  1. timtfj

    timtfj Senior Member

    Northwest England
    UK English
    From a recent conversation. A response to my saying that I've always found dictionaries interesting:
    I'd like to know what range of meaning the construction det er . . . med . . . can have. All of these would fit the context of the original conversation:

    1. Yes, it's interesting about dictionaries ("dictionaries" is an interesting subject; what you said about them is interesting).
    2. Yes, it's interesting with dictionaries (the experience of dealing with dictionaries is interesting; the effect that buying a new one has on someone is interesting).
    3. Yes, dictionaries are interesting (dictionaries themselves are interesting things).

    Which of these can the original expression mean? And is is the range of interpretations of det er <adjective> med <noun> similar with different adjectives?
     
  2. NorwegianNYC Senior Member

    New York, NY, USA
    Norwegian
    I would say that "det er interessant med ordbøker" can be any of the above. The more precise (or equally ambiguous) translation is probably: Dictionaries are interesting (which is equally ambiguous)
     
  3. timtfj

    timtfj Senior Member

    Northwest England
    UK English
    Thanks! That one actually fits the context best, but I thought only (1) and (2) might be possible.
     
  4. henbjo Junior Member

    Valencia, Spain
    Norwegian
    In my experience, this is a good way to reply to someone when you don't have much more to contribute with on the topic, but you want to convey that you think that the point being made is valid and/or that the topic is interesting. It's very common in conversational Norwegian, especially with the adjectives "morsomt" and "interessant". So I'd say that the meaning is a mix of your numbers 1 and 3, but not so much number 2 - to convey this meaning you would have to be more specific:

    "Det er interessant å holde på med ordbøker"
     
  5. timtfj

    timtfj Senior Member

    Northwest England
    UK English
    Thanks---It sounds as though it's pretty much equivalent to saying "dictionaries are interesting" and not specifying whether that means "interesting things" or "interesting to talk about" . . . which is also the translation NorwegianNYC suggested.
     

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