Norwegian: ressurssterk, ressurssvak

serbianfan

Senior Member
British English
At least one dictionary gives 'resourceful' as a translation of 'ressurssterk' but the same dictionary gives 'socially deprived' as the translation of 'ressurssvak'. Not very logical! In one of those sites that gives a lot of translations in context (often bad translations!), 'ressurssterk' becomes 'resourceful' almost every time. But to me, a 'resourceful family' is 'oppfinnsom', good at finding solutions, etc. and they could of course be working-class and still have that quality. To me, 'ressurssterk' should be translated by 'socially advantaged', 'well-educated', 'with high socio-economic status', 'with (educational) resources', etc. Or am I missing something?
 
  • raumar

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    To me, 'ressurssterk' should be translated by 'socially advantaged', 'well-educated', 'with high socio-economic status', 'with (educational) resources', etc.
    I agree, except that "ressurssterk" is a broad concept that may include different kinds of resources. Usually it refers to money, education etc, but dictionaries also include "evner" (abilities, such as intelligence). For example, Bokmålsordboka has this definition:
    ressurs|sterk a1; el. resurs|sterka1 som har store ressurser
    ressurssterke bedrifter
    ressurssterke mennesker som har god økonomi, god utdanning, gode evner osv.
    Bokmålsordboka | Nynorskordboka

    But I agree that "ressurssterk" is not used to describe a person that is good at finding solutions. Here I would use "oppfinnsom" as Serbianfan mentions, or AutumnOwl's alternative "snarrådig".

    I sometimes see that some of my colleagues write "resourceful" in English texts, when they mean "ressurssterk". I have thought that this is a mistake, caused by the similarity of these two words, and I have asked them to find another word (unless it is too late to correct the text). So my basic understanding is the same as Serbianfan's.

    However, when I checked my English-Norwegian dictionary, I found that it has two separate meanings of "resourceful": both "oppfinnsom" and "ressurssterk".
    resourceful riˈsᴐːsful adjective
    1. snarrådig; som ikke er opprådd; oppfinnsom
      he’s very resourceful (inventive) in making tasty dishes;
      she’s very resourceful hun vet alltid en råd (,utvei)
    2. (with plenty of resources) ressurssterk;
      he’s an alert person, who is intelligent, resourceful and not afraid to act han er en oppegående person, som er intelligent, ressurssterk og handlekraftig
    (Fagbokforlaget - Stor engelsk ordbok, accessed via Clarify)

    So I would like to ask the English native speakers on this forum: is "resourceful" actually used in both ways in English? I see that only the first definition is included in the WordReference dictionary:
    resourceful - WordReference.com Dictionary of English

    the Norwegian words I find for the Swedish 'rådig' are 'ressursfull' and 'snarrådig'.
    "Snarrådig" is a good translation, but I doubt that the word "ressursfull" exists in Norwegian. I don't think I have heard it, and I can't find it in any dictionaries. It looks like a bad attempt to translate "resourceful".
     

    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    I agree, except that "ressurssterk" is a broad concept that may include different kinds of resources. Usually it refers to money, education etc, but dictionaries also include "evner" (abilities, such as intelligence). For example, Bokmålsordboka has this definition:

    Bokmålsordboka | Nynorskordboka

    But I agree that "ressurssterk" is not used to describe a person that is good at finding solutions. Here I would use "oppfinnsom" as Serbianfan mentions, or AutumnOwl's alternative "snarrådig".

    I sometimes see that some of my colleagues write "resourceful" in English texts, when they mean "ressurssterk". I have thought that this is a mistake, caused by the similarity of these two words, and I have asked them to find another word (unless it is too late to correct the text). So my basic understanding is the same as Serbianfan's.

    However, when I checked my English-Norwegian dictionary, I found that it has two separate meanings of "resourceful": both "oppfinnsom" and "ressurssterk".

    (Fagbokforlaget - Stor engelsk ordbok, accessed via Clarify)

    So I would like to ask the English native speakers on this forum: is "resourceful" actually used in both ways in English? I see that only the first definition is included in the WordReference dictionary:
    resourceful - WordReference.com Dictionary of English


    "Snarrådig" is a good translation, but I doubt that the word "ressursfull" exists in Norwegian. I don't think I have heard it, and I can't find it in any dictionaries. It looks like a bad attempt to translate "resourceful".
    It has been a trend among Norwegians to translate 'resourceful' as 'resurssterk'. I met this translation many times, for exemple in translations of the (in)famous line by George W. Bush "Our enemies are resourceful ...".
     

    winenous

    Senior Member
    English - British
    However, when I checked my English-Norwegian dictionary, I found that it has two separate meanings of "resourceful": both "oppfinnsom" and "ressurssterk".

    (Fagbokforlaget - Stor engelsk ordbok, accessed via Clarify)

    So I would like to ask the English native speakers on this forum: is "resourceful" actually used in both ways in English? I see that only the first definition is included in the WordReference dictionary:
    resourceful - WordReference.com Dictionary of English
    I would say "resourceful" is a broader concept that just "inventive", but it always refers to mental resources. It could also mean "wily", "cunning", "smart", "ability to live on your wits", "problem-solving ability", but would tend to exclude formal education and book-learning. So not just being able to "make tasty dishes", but to be able to make them cheaply and/or from very few ingredients. If you made them from a store cupboard full of expensive ingredients, you would not be resourceful; you would just have many resources.

    In Norwegian you might possibly need the two words "oppfinnsom" and "ressurssterk" to cover the range of meaning, but to me as a native English speaker "resourceful" seems like a single concept. (NB: I have just edited this sentence to change emphasis, and reflect better what I now think.)

    If you are talking about education, money and contacts, the word is "advantaged", which I think is used more as the negative "disadvantaged".
     
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    serbianfan

    Senior Member
    British English
    but I doubt that the word "ressursfull" exists in Norwegian. I don't think I have heard it, and I can't find it in any dictionaries. It looks like a bad attempt to translate "resourceful"
    I agree that it's not a normal Norwegian word. But just to show how unreliable Google hits can be, there are actually 136 hits for the word. So if someone a bit naive was learning Norwegian they might think "Wow! 136 hits - that must be a normal Norwegian word". If you look closely, however, you can see that they are mostly - maybe all - bad translations from English.

    "ressurssterk" is a broad concept that may include different kinds of resources. Usually it refers to money, education etc, but dictionaries also include "evner" (abilities, such as intelligence).
    I think "ressurssterk" may sometimes have a slightly different meaning when referring to individuals - I was thinking in terms of "ressurssterke/svake familier" which I heard so many times when working in education and social work in Norway. For an individual it may be about "evner" and perhaps about "resourcefulness" but that would only be part of the individual's character, not a straightforward translation: "ressurssterk" = "resourceful"

    So not just being able to "make tasty dishes", but to be able to make them cheaply and/or from very few ingredients. If you made them from a store cupboard full of expensive ingredients, you would not be resourceful; you would just have many resources.
    Yes, that's a good example. And in poor countries, we often see that people with little education and money (ressurssvake) are very resourceful in finding ways to make ends meet.

    Finally, are "ressurssterk" and "ressurssvak" euphemisms for "middle-class" and "working-class"? Class officially "doesn't exist" in Scandinavia (ha ha), but people, especially educators, still need a word to describe the families who are well-educated, help their kids with their homework, are interested in their schooling, etc. and another word to describe the opposite kinds of families.
     

    raumar

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    Thanks for your replies!

    Judging from your answers, I think we can conclude that there may be a small area where the Norwegian word "ressurssterk" and the English word "resourceful" overlap to some extent, but that they mostly mean different things.

    And I believe that the second meaning from my English - Norwegian dictionary, "resourceful 2. (with plenty of resources) ressurssterk", can be misleading. Together with the fact that they give "resourceful" as one of the translations of "ressurssterk", as Serbianfan pointed out in post #1, this may lead Norwegians to write "resourceful" when they mean "advantaged".

    Finally, are "ressurssterk" and "ressurssvak" euphemisms for "middle-class" and "working-class"?
    Well, maybe "ressurssterk" means "middle-class", but I think "ressurssvak" is a much more narrow concept than "working-class". In line with the dictionary translation of "ressurssvak" as "socially deprived", I would rather say that it is an euphemism for "poor". When it is used to describe individuals, "ressurssvak" might also be an euphemism for "mentally impaired" (or whatever the correct term is).
     

    Segorian

    Senior Member
    Icelandic & Swedish
    resourceful riˈsᴐːsful adjective
    1. snarrådig; som ikke er opprådd; oppfinnsom
      he’s very resourceful (inventive) in making tasty dishes;
      she’s very resourceful hun vet alltid en råd (,utvei)
    2. (with plenty of resources) ressurssterk;
      he’s an alert person, who is intelligent, resourceful and not afraid to act han er en oppegående person, som er intelligent, ressurssterk og handlekraftig

    It seems to me that the way in which this particular dictionary distinguishes between two meanings of resourceful is plain wrong. In the sentence “he’s an alert person, who is intelligent, resourceful and not afraid to act” the word simply means the same as in “she’s very resourceful”. It certainly does not mean ‘with plenty of resources’. As already pointed out, the “resources” meant are inner ones: inventiveness, initiative or the like.
     

    AutumnOwl

    Senior Member
    Swedish, Finnish
    <snip>
    Well, maybe "ressurssterk" means "middle-class", but I think "ressurssvak" is a much more narrow concept than "working-class". In line with the dictionary translation of "ressurssvak" as "socially deprived", I would rather say that it is an euphemism for "poor". When it is used to describe individuals, "ressurssvak" might also be an euphemism for "mentally impaired" (or whatever the correct term is).
    Is "middle-class" in Norway seen only as people with "white-collar jobs", or does it mean people with a certain material/economic standard? If it's about a certain living standard, there are people with what is considered as "working-class jobs" who has a living standard as high as those with "white-collar jobs", depending on income.
     

    serbianfan

    Senior Member
    British English
    Is "middle-class" in Norway seen only as people with "white-collar jobs", or does it mean people with a certain material/economic standard? If it's about a certain living standard, there are people with what is considered as "working-class jobs" who has a living standard as high as those with "white-collar jobs", depending on income.
    Well, you're not supposed to talk about class in Norway. But, yes, both 'middle-class' and 'ressurssterk' are mostly about 'white-collar jobs' and education in Norway, not so much about money, I would say. Even in the UK, which is a much more class-ridden society than Norway, there are plenty of working-class people with money. I know one who has a successful building business, but he can't spell properly. But he's still working-class and might be considered 'ressurssvak' because he can't help his kids with their homework when he can't spell himself!
     

    AutumnOwl

    Senior Member
    Swedish, Finnish
    I don't think that a person's work (being "white-collar" or "blue-collar") decides whether they are "middle-class" or not, for me it's what kind of living standard they have decides whether they are to be considered "middle-class" or not (I have what could be considered as a "white-collar" job and educational level, but there are many "blue-collar" workers who earn more than I do, and whose living standard is more "middle-class" than mine.)
     

    winenous

    Senior Member
    English - British
    I don't think that a person's work (being "white-collar" or "blue-collar") decides whether they are "middle-class" or not, for me it's what kind of living standard they have decides whether they are to be considered "middle-class" or not (I have what could be considered as a "white-collar" job and educational level, but there are many "blue-collar" workers who earn more than I do, and whose living standard is more "middle-class" than mine.)
    What are the Scandinavian words for the "middle-class" that you are describing?

    You are using an English word, but your description does not conform to the common British understanding of it, which certainly is dependent on occupation, so I am not quite sure what you are trying to say.
     

    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    In my perception both "resurssterk" and "ressurssvak" are euphemisms coined for the sake of political correctness. I think that "ressurssvak" was coined by the state welfare organizations to denote people who have problems with their life because of their poor school achievements (often caused by low intelligence, but this is a taboo term), mental disorders, lack of stamina, addictions, and/or antisocial personality. "Ressursterk" was coined later to denote opposite qualities: socially well adapted people with normal or high intelligence, hard working, resourceful (oppfinnsom), well behaved, having a good profession and earning enough money to support their family.
     

    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    What are the Scandinavian words for the "middle-class" that you are describing?

    You are using an English word, but your description does not conform to the common British understanding of it, which certainly is dependent on occupation, so I am not quite sure what you are trying to say.
    Here is adefintion of middle-class and middle class from Merriam-Webster dictionary:

    Definition of middle-class

    (Entry 1 of 2)
    : of or relating to the middle classespecially : characterized by a high material standard of living, sexual morality, and respect for property

    middle class
    noun
    Definition of middle class (Entry 2 of 2)
    : a class occupying a position between the upper class and the lower classespecially : a fluid heterogeneous socioeconomic grouping composed principally of business and professional people, bureaucrats, and some farmers and skilled workers sharing common social characteristics and values

    I can't see that this definition doesn't comply with the usage of Autumnowl.
     

    serbianfan

    Senior Member
    British English
    I hadn't realised this, but I think there must be a difference in what Scandinavians call "middelklassen" and what Brits call "middle-class". In fact, I rarely heard anyone say "middelklasse(n)" when I lived in Norway. I did sometimes hear people who did unskilled or semi-skilled work refer to "overklassen", by which they probably meant the same thing. Wikipedia's article on "middelklassen" says: "I henhold til en undersøkelse gjort av tidsskriftet Minerva i 2009, er det mer enn to av tre nordmenn mener de tilhører middelklassen. Selv et flertall av ufaglærte arbeidere og de med lav inntekt foretrekker nå å plassere seg i middelklassen". In the UK, I reckon very few unskilled workers would place themselves in the middle class.
     

    AutumnOwl

    Senior Member
    Swedish, Finnish
    As I said, I think here in Sweden it's often their living standard and not their work that decides whether a person sees themselves as working class, or middle class. In a survey in 2012 done by the Swedish Trade Union Confederation (LO), about 60% of their members considered themselves as working class, and about 40% as middle class. Among those in the survey who belonged to the Swedish Confederation of Professional Employees (TCO), about 20% considered themselves as working class, and 80% as middle class.
     

    winenous

    Senior Member
    English - British
    When I was talking about it I deliberately referred to Britain, and Merriam-Webster is of course an American dictionary, and American society is different.

    But my question was more relevant to this forum, and was about what words Scandinavians use for what @AutumnOwl was calling "middle-class" in English - the class that depends mainly on standard of living and earnings.

    @serbianfan answered that question by saying "middelklasse" is used in Norway, but rarely. And the Wikipedia quotation suggests that the term is maybe not even necessarily related to income, but that it is self-applied in an aspirational way.

    Without wanting to get too involved in a discussion of British and American culture here, it seems to me that the correspondence between "middle-class" (particularly in Britain) and "middelklasse" (in Norway) is rather weak - to the extent one that one should be careful about regarding the words as translations.
     
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    raumar

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    I am not sure whether Norwegians use the word "class" in a different way than the British, or whether it is just the case that we don't use the word much, and therefore don't have an established concept of "class" any more.

    Traditionally, the working class was the blue-collar workers, who did manual work on the factory floor, while the middle class was the white-collar people, sitting in their offices behind their desks, doing non-manual work. In this perspective, a worker on an oil rig in the North Sea could consider himself "working class", even though he had a higher income than many people in so-called middle-class professions. (There is no nobility in Norway, so the upper class was not really included in our system.)

    During the last decades, Norwegian society has changed a lot. Traditional industry has declined, and most new jobs are in the service sector - which does not fit easily into the traditional stereotypes of "working class" and "middle class". A kindergarten teacher, for example, would not feel at home in any of these stereotypes.

    In addition, political parties do not talk about class. The Labour Party does not talk about "the working class", but "ordinary people" (which of course includes most of the traditional middle class as well). And while the Labour Party and trade unions talked about the working class many years ago, no political party has ever talked about the middle class, or tried to represent the middle class. I think Norwegians regard tend to"class" as a rather quaint, Marxist concept.

    People still answer survey questions about which class they belong to, but the answers do not necessarily reflect any deeply felt class consciousness.

    Sociologists still use the class concept, but they tend to use a more complex class scheme than the simple division between middle and working class. And, as the sociologists would point out, there is a difference between subjective class (where you place yourself) and objective class (where the sociologist places you).
     
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