Norwegian: øve inn / øve opp

littlepond

Senior Member
Hindi
Hei hei alle sammen!

I am having a bit of a difficulty in understanding "øve inn" and "øve opp". "øve" itself, I understand, means to practise or to perform. Hence the online ordbok gives examples such as "øve seg på ski", which I understand to mean to practise skiing (oneself). Then the dictionary gives "øve inn en ny sang", which, I guess, means "to rehearse a new song". But why not just "øve"? And why "opp" in examples such as "øve seg opp til å bli blant de beste". Why not again just "øve"?

What different nuances do the extra "inn" or "opp" convey?

Thanks in advance!
 
  • myšlenka

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    Hi littlepond

    The extra meaning that is added by opp and inn is more or less transparent in my view.
    Øve inn - means to internalise an ability until you know it by heart or until it's automatic.
    Øve opp - means to increase an ability or get better at something.

    I am sure that others will additional comments.
     

    littlepond

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    Thanks a lot, @myšlenka! Why is there no "opp" then in a sentence like ""øve seg på ski": doesn't it mean to practise skiing in order to get better at it? Or is it that both can be used, with and without "opp": "øve seg på ski" and ""øve seg opp på ski"? So maybe in the first sentence, the person is just practising, one doesn't know the motive (of increasing the ability)?
     

    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    I think that to understand the role of the modifying prepositions you should notice that they are contractions of expressions that in English would require a longer phrase: øve inn = to practise until you have it firmly inside, øve seg opp = practise until you become much better. In "øve seg på ski" there is no expression of purpose, it just describes the activity of practising.
     

    winenous

    Senior Member
    English - British
    In an attempt to clarify (and ask for confirmation as I am not 100% sure), I think "øve" by itself could also mean "practise to become better at".

    However, adding the word "opp" emphasises the intention of improvement, as opposed to practising to maintain an existing skill level for example.
     

    JonTve

    Member
    Norwegian, Australia
    I don't think I have heard "øve opp" but "trene opp" sounds good to me.
     

    littlepond

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    Thanks, everyone! Though I don't think I am 100% sure still about the "opp" introduction, I hope with practice, I will get better at understanding this.
     

    raumar

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    I don't really think the dictionary example "øve seg på ski" looks natural. It could be used is when we talk about an absolute beginner, but in that case "lære å gå på ski" seems more natural.

    So if one is practising skiing to become better at it, would it be then "øve seg opp på ski"?
    I am afraid that "øve seg opp på ski" looks even less natural in that situation.

    Let me try to explain. First, "øve (seg)". In the context of skiing, it looks more natural to me if we speak about specific skiing techniques, such as "øve på fiskebein" or "øve på skøyting" - but only when we speak about beginners. We use "trene" to describe experienced skiers, and "trene" can also be used to describe beginners (but "trene seg" would be wrong).

    We can speak about "trene på fiskebein" etc. when we talk about improving specific skiing techniques/skills. However, "trene på ski" does not mean to practise to become a better skier, but to use skiing as a form of exercise (instead of jogging, for example).

    If you want to express that you practice to become a better skier in general, an option could be "trene på å gå på ski" if it is cross-country, or, if it is downhill, "trene på å stå/kjøre på ski". But skiing is like riding a bike: once you have learnt how to do it, you don't really need to practice to become better at it. Unless you are an athlete who participate in competitions.

    "Øve" is more often used in other areas than sports. When we describe musicians who practice, for example, we use "øve" and not "trene".

    What about "øve opp"? This term is translated as "train" in my dictionary. We can "øve opp" an ability or skill, or a part of the body (a specific muscle, for example). Some examples from Google: "øve opp evnen til å konsentrere seg", "øve opp luktesansen", "øve opp evnen til å tenke systematisk". In the context of skiing, "øve opp skiferdighetene" could work. In all these cases, "øve opp" can be replaced with "trene opp".

    Some of these examples could be rewritten with "øve seg opp", for example "øve seg opp i å bruke luktesansen" or "øve seg opp til å tenke systematisk". If "øve seg opp" stands alone, without further context, it usually means rehabilitation after an accident or illness. But in that case, I think "trene seg opp" is the standard phrase.
     

    winenous

    Senior Member
    English - British
    I think I notice a certain cultural bias in what you say @raumer, which is in a way inevitable I suppose if one is using Norwegian to describe skiing. Some of us foreigners living in southern Europe - England for example(!) - are more likely to spend a lifetime learning (and forgetting again) how to ski. But we would probably stick to English to describe our learning experience and ineptitude ;)

    Seriously - thank you for the lengthy and useful explanation.
     

    raumar

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    Well, Norwegians like to think that we ar born with skis on our feet.:)

    I didn't really answer the question about what "opp" in "øve opp" means. I agree with what myšlenka, Ben Jamin and winenous have said: it refers to efforts to get up to a higher level. That is clear in some cases, such as rehabilitation after an accident - when the aim is to reach the level you had before the accident. But, as littlepond's response has shown, the distinction between "up to a higher level" or not is not clear-cut, and it does not always give reliable advice about what words one should choose. I can just say that the idiomatic wording seems to vary between different contexts.
     

    littlepond

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    Thanks a lot @raumar for such a lengthy and wonderful explanation! I agree with @winenous that skiing for some of us requires a lifetime to learn and practise (in order to get better at it).
     
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