Norwegian - English 'gripe nerven i et menneske'

orinoco910

Member
English - England
I'm translating a Norwegian passage about a Sámi artist. It says that 'joiken er en kunstform som kan gripe nerven i et menneske.' I'm assuming this means something like it can move you, touch you etc, but not entirely sure? Thanks!
 
  • Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    I'm translating a Norwegian passage about a Sámi artist. It says that 'joiken er en kunstform som kan gripe nerven i et menneske.' I'm assuming this means something like it can move you, touch you etc, but not entirely sure? Thanks!
    Your assumption is correct!
     

    raumar

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    Well, I am not so sure about that. The sentence may be a bit ambiguous, and I think your interpretation is possible. But "nerve" can also mean "core, essence", and I would rather read this as something like "a form of art that can capture the essence of a person".

    Joik is a form of singing that is used to describe a person (or an animal or landscape). This description is not done with words; the singer uses the melody and rhythm to characterize or embody the person. As Wikipedia describes it:

    This type of song can be deeply personal or spiritual in nature, often dedicated to a human being, an animal, or a landscape as a personal signature.[3] Improvisation is not unusual. Each joik is meant to reflect a person or place. The Sami verb for presenting a joik (e.g. Northern Sami juoigat) is a transitive verb, which is often interpreted as indicating that a joik is not a song about the person or place, but that the joiker is attempting to evoke or depict that person or place through song – one joiks one's friend, not about one's friend (similarly to how one doesn't paint or depict about a flower, but depicts the flower itself)
    Joik - Wikipedia

    On this background, I understand "menneske" in your text as the person who is depicted, not the person who listens to the joik. Do you have more context that could make the meaning clearer?
     

    orinoco910

    Member
    English - England
    Well, I am not so sure about that. The sentence may be a bit ambiguous, and I think your interpretation is possible. But "nerve" can also mean "core, essence", and I would rather read this as something like "a form of art that can capture the essence of a person".

    Joik is a form of singing that is used to describe a person (or an animal or landscape). This description is not done with words; the singer uses the melody and rhythm to characterize or embody the person. As Wikipedia describes it:


    Joik - Wikipedia

    On this background, I understand "menneske" in your text as the person who is depicted, not the person who listens to the joik. Do you have more context that could make the meaning clearer?

    I think your interpretation is right! Because the sentences before this talk about how a joik is a way of describing things or animals or other people. So it would make sense for this to be followed by how it can capture someone's essence. Thank you!
     

    bicontinental

    Senior Member
    English (US), Danish, bilingual
    interesting idiom....it sounds a lot like the English, hit (or touch) a nerve with somebody, but I guess it's a false friend.
     
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