Danish: Det er sgu da løgn

pellefygert

Member
Norwegian
Hi again,

I have a few questions about the phrase "Det er sgu da løgn".

I know it litterally means something like "It must be a lie."
But in the context where I saw it, it is unreasonable to think the speaker actually accuses the other person of lying. He is just expressing disbelief.
I wonder if it not often might as well be translated as "You're kidding!"?

My second question is about the word "sgu". Again, the litteral meaning is not what I have a problem with. I am wondering if it is actually considered to be cursing in Danish?
It is so commonly used, that I suspect Danish speakers hardly notice it, and that it would not be right to translate it with a swear-word, no matter how mild.

What do you think?
 
Last edited:
  • Raigeki

    Member
    Danish
    1: Yes, it can often be translated as "you're kidding!". If somebody is watching television and his smoke detector begins beeping because he left his pizza in the oven for too long, he might say: "Det er løgn!" and run to the kitchen to attempt to save his precious pizza. Or if somebody pays for your meal in a restaurant and you find out later, you can say "det er løgn!". The important thing is how you say it. If you say it with a happy voice, a smile and a rising intonation, it's a positive statement. It's like saying: "It's so amazing that I can't believe it". But if you do the opposite, "det er sgu da løgn" literally means "that's a fucking lie and you know it", so be careful.

    2: It depends on the situation. If you are using "sgu" when accusing someone of something, or when defending yourself when somebody accuses you of something, it's a swear word. "Jeg sagde sgu da at du skulle slukke for ovnen!", "Du skal sgu ikke tale til mig når jeg arbejder", "jeg har sgu da ikke sagt noget".
    On the other hand, if you are just making a friendly statement with a smile and shortening the "sgu" a lot, it can easily be a friendly sentence. Most people won't notice the "sgu" anyway. "Jeg flyttede hjemmefra sidste måned. Det er sgu lidt svært at stå op om morgenen, men jeg gør mit bedste". I would have no problems using this sentence with "important people" like teachers, old people, bosses, employers, policemen, doctors and so on.

    I personally only ever SAY sgu. I never type it - not even when I'm messaging my friends on facebook. In text, it feels much stronger and more serious.
     

    bicontinental

    Senior Member
    English (US), Danish, bilingual
    You’re right, the speaker is not accusing anyone of lying but is using this idiom as an interjection…to express surprise, shock and/or disbelief in a particular situation. In English we’d say… “you gotta be kidding (me)!”… “get out of here!”, or something similar. The “sgu’ has been watered down from being a swearword to being a filler word used by many for emphasis in contemporary Danish.
    Bic.
     

    Sepia

    Senior Member
    High German/Danish
    You’re right, the speaker is not accusing anyone of lying but is using this idiom as an interjection…to express surprise, shock and/or disbelief in a particular situation. In English we’d say… “you gotta be kidding (me)!”… “get out of here!”, or something similar. The “sgu’ has been watered down from being a swearword to being a filler word used by many for emphasis in contemporary Danish.
    Bic.
    I'd say, it is still swearing. It is the swearing as such that has been watered down in its degree of being taken seriously. Depending on context and the complete athmosphere of the situatiation I'd tend to translate it as "come on, that's fucking lie". But then again, you can swear a lot more in Scandinavia without being considered rude, than you can say "fuck" or "fucking" in an Anglophone environment.

    Watch a few Scandinavian TV-series and you'll understand what I mean. They don't beep-out words either, let alone pixellate their mouth - except as satire with reference to US-television.
     
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