Norwegian: pårørende

serbianfan

Senior Member
British English
Well, I don't feel like discussing "oppfølging" any more, but here's an interesting one, also related to healthcare. I didn't know until very recently that "pårørende" not only referred to family members of a patient but could also be e.g. a good friend. Same thing in Danish, it seems, but the word doesn't appear to exist in Swedish. I wonder whether this is patently obvious to Norwegians and Danes, or whether many of them think it only refers to relatives (as I did).

Certainly in English, I don't believe you can include "good friends", whether the word you use is relatives, family or next of kin. Probably not in other languages either. Perhaps only in a situation where the patient has been living for many years with a "wife" or "husband" without being officially married.
 
  • winenous

    Senior Member
    English - British
    Maybe I am being naive (perhaps as only a non-native speaker could be), but the meaning of pårørende seems clear to me - isn't it derived from the verb røre, meaning 4 in the dictionary here?

    Thus, it is probably best translated literally by the phrase "those who are deeply affected". But what would actually be used in English depends on the context.
     

    serbianfan

    Senior Member
    British English
    Swedish have 'anhörig', which usually is interpreted as a member of the family or a relative, but it can also mean close friends, if a person/patient wants to include some.
    Yes, I see what Anhörigas Riksförbund says about this, but maybe the idea of including friends is not so widespread in Sweden, or is more recent, compared to Denmark and Norway. The Swedish dictionary SAOL just says 'nära släkting', while Den danske ordbog says for pårørende 'person som tilhører den nærmeste familie eller på anden måde er nært knyttet til en person der er syg, har været ude for en ulykke el.lign.' and the Norwegian NAOB says 'person som tilhører noens nærmeste familie eller på annen måte står denne nær (særlig brukt i forbindelse med sykdom, ulykke eller død)', which is pretty similar.

    If you asked 'the average Swede' what 'anhörig' means, do you think they would just say 'a (close) family member'?
    Maybe I am being naive (perhaps as only a non-native speaker could be), but the meaning of pårørende seems clear to me - isn't it derived from the verb røre, meaning 4 in the dictionary here?

    Thus, it is probably best translated literally by the phrase "those who are deeply affected". But what would actually be used in English depends on the context.
    I think, unlike me, you thought about the basic meaning, whereas I just heard it used about e.g. people closely connected to a patient, and as these are usually relatives, I assumed it meant 'relatives'. NAOB says the word comes from Old Danish paarøre 'stå nær, være i familie med'.

    It would seem, in Norway at least, that you can officially appoint a good friend as your 'nærmeste pårørende', instead of e.g. your wife or brother, so that if you end up in a bad state in the ICU, your friend will express your wish to turn off the life-prolonging equipment, even if your relatives disagree.
     

    AutumnOwl

    Senior Member
    Swedish, Finnish
    It seems that 'pårørende' in Norwegian and Danish is only used when it comes to the care of a person who is ill. In that case the Swedish word is 'vård av närstående', and it covers family and relatives, but also close friends and even neighbours who are taking care of a person who's ill. See: Vård av närstående
     

    raumar

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    It seems that 'pårørende' in Norwegian and Danish is only used when it comes to the care of a person who is ill.
    Not necessarily. 'Pårørende' is often used in the context of deaths, for example in accidents. After terrorist attacks, for example, we talk about helping and supporting survivors and 'pårørende'.

    In this context, I would say that 'pårørende' is limited to close relatives. And for me, the sentence 'Avdøde hadde ingen pårørende' would means that he had no close relatives. Not that he was without friends.
     

    AutumnOwl

    Senior Member
    Swedish, Finnish
    Not necessarily. 'Pårørende' is often used in the context of deaths, for example in accidents. After terrorist attacks, for example, we talk about helping and supporting survivors and 'pårørende'.

    In this context, I would say that '' is limited to close relatives. And for me, the sentence 'Avdøde hadde ingen pårørende' would means that he had no close relatives. Not that he was without friends.
    Are the understanding from the quotes from Den danske ordbog and NAOB in post #4 wrong? Or does 'pårørende' cover both the Swedish 'anhörig' and 'närstående'?
     

    winenous

    Senior Member
    English - British
    In this context, I would say that 'pårørende' is limited to close relatives. And for me, the sentence 'Avdøde hadde ingen pårørende' would means that he had no close relatives. Not that he was without friends.
    Not even a "significant other" or partner - samboer for example?

    I think, unlike me, you thought about the basic meaning, whereas I just heard it used about e.g. people closely connected to a patient, and as these are usually relatives, I assumed it meant 'relatives'. NAOB says the word comes from Old Danish paarøre 'stå nær, være i familie med'.

    It would seem, in Norway at least, that you can officially appoint a good friend as your 'nærmeste pårørende', instead of e.g. your wife or brother, so that if you end up in a bad state in the ICU, your friend will express your wish to turn off the life-prolonging equipment, even if your relatives disagree.
    Thank you. It seems that my "literal translation" was not so great. I must try to remember to use NAOB more.
     

    serbianfan

    Senior Member
    British English
    Not even a "significant other" or partner - samboer for example?
    I think 'Avdøde hadde ingen pårørende' is about deciding who will inherit the person's money and possessions if he hasn't made a will. Partners do have a lot of rights in Norway, but I don't know if they extend to inheritance if there's no will.

    In translating 'significant other', Norwegians (psychiatrists and sociologists) obviously don't want to use the good Norwegian word 'nøkkelperson' which everyone understands, but instead they use the clumsy 'en betydningsfull/signifikant annen' and 'betydningsfulle/signifikante andre', which may be ok for academic articles, but are quite unsuitable for talking to parents and other family members (you'd be surprised how often these 'experts' use highfalutin words with ordinary people!:mad:).
     

    raumar

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    Not even a "significant other" or partner - samboer for example?

    A "samboer" is certainly included. That is of course a stronger relationship than just friendship.

    Are the understanding from the quotes from Den danske ordbog and NAOB in post #4 wrong? Or does 'pårørende' cover both the Swedish 'anhörig' and 'närstående'?

    The way I understand "pårørende", it means the same as Swedish "anhörig". The NAOB definition is wider than my understanding of the word. But I would not say that NAOB is wrong. The border between "pårørende" and others may be fluid, changing over time, and varying between different contexts.
     

    bicontinental

    Senior Member
    English (US), Danish, bilingual
    It seems that 'pårørende' in Norwegian and Danish is only used when it comes to the care of a person who is ill.
    What raumar pointed out above regarding the use of "pårørende" in Norwegian is similar in Danish. I would say that pårørende gets used in any unfortunate or tragic situation that may befall a human being where family and/or close friends get involved (illness, accidents, death, hostage situations, etc.) In other words pårørende does not have a "happy" connotation...you do not invite pårørende to help celebrate your 40th birthday, for instance.
     

    winenous

    Senior Member
    English - British
    In other words pårørende does not have a "happy" connotation...you do not invite pårørende to help celebrate your 40th birthday, for instance.
    That's an interesting observation. I have not seen it explicitly stated before, and it is a point well worth making, as it could easily trip up learners
     

    AutumnOwl

    Senior Member
    Swedish, Finnish
    What raumar pointed out above regarding the use of "pårørende" in Norwegian is similar in Danish. I would say that pårørende gets used in any unfortunate or tragic situation that may befall a human being where family and/or close friends get involved (illness, accidents, death, hostage situations, etc.) In other words pårørende does not have a "happy" connotation...you do not invite pårørende to help celebrate your 40th birthday, for instance.
    This use of 'anhörig' is also common in Swedish, but it's also used when being asked for who is the 'closest relative' when filling in some kind of form, for example at work.
     

    winenous

    Senior Member
    English - British
    This use of 'anhörig' is also common in Swedish, but it's also used when being asked for who is the 'closest relative' when filling in some kind of form, for example at work.
    I'm not quite sure what you meant by the "but", but I think such information on forms is also usually required for possible unhappy circumstances - when people might need to be contacted quickly in case of death, the onset of serious illness, or accident.
     

    AutumnOwl

    Senior Member
    Swedish, Finnish
    I'm not quite sure what you meant by the "but", but I think such information on forms is also usually required for possible unhappy circumstances - when people might need to be contacted quickly in case of death, the onset of serious illness, or accident.
    At the A&E at the hospital where I work all patients are asked who their 'anhörig' is, even when the person is standing besides them, regardless how minor the reason for their visit is. For example during the covid epidemic only the patient could stay at the A&E, and sometimes the doctors or nurses might have to call the 'anhörig' to check something with them, or to tell them that the patient was coming home or was admitted, especially if the patient was elderly or had difficulties communicating.
     

    serbianfan

    Senior Member
    British English
    At the A&E at the hospital where I work all patients are asked who their 'anhörig' is,
    I've never worked or even been in an A&E in Norway, but I imagine the patients are not asked about their "pårørende" but something like "kontaktperson i familien". Probably the same in Denmark.
     

    PoulBA

    Senior Member
    Danish
    de pårørende will often be covered nicely by the bereaved - though the images are somewhat different; those who are touched or affected are often the same as those who are robbed of someone close to them.
     

    serbianfan

    Senior Member
    British English
    de pårørende will often be covered nicely by the bereaved - though the images are somewhat different; those who are touched or affected are often the same as those who are robbed of someone close to them.
    This seems to "touch upon" :) what Winenous mentioned earlier, whether the meaning of "røre" in "pårørende" has some sense of "those who are (deeply) affected". Is it just about the concrete meaning of "touch" (people who are connected to the patient) or also about the emotional aspect (people who are affected emotionally by the patient)?

    Of course, what the etymology says may not be the same as the way people think about the word today.
     
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