Norwegian: summe seg

Discussion in 'Nordic Languages' started by torrobin, Mar 9, 2013.

  1. torrobin Senior Member

    Hi, I wonder how to translate the Norwegian expression 'å summe seg'. Like in this sentence:

    'Boken gjorde så sterkt inntrykk på henne at hun stadig vekk måtte legge den fra seg for å summe seg, puste dypt og tørke en tåre.'

  2. bicontinental Senior Member

    English (US), Danish, bilingual
    I would say,

    '...that she still had to put it down [in order for her] to compose herself/calm herself down/collect herself/regain control of herself, take a deep breath and wipe away a tear.

  3. torrobin Senior Member

    Thanks, Bic!
    Although you have several options I still feel that the meaning I wanted to express in 'summe seg' is not totally there. To me 'summe seg' is more of an inner process. I get the image of a chaos, like paper bits being thrown up in the air and then sitting quietly until they've all fallen down on the ground. And that is the process of 'summe seg'. Whereas the phrases you've given seem more toward the outer appearance, or an effort to put oneself into a certain state of mode, like in 'regaining control'.

    Correct me if I'm wrong.

  4. JohanIII

    JohanIII Senior Member

    pull herself together
  5. bicontinental Senior Member

    English (US), Danish, bilingual
    Hello again,

    I think I know what you mean…and I like your confetti analogy, by the way…:)

    I believe that ‘summe seg’ is equivalent to the Danish expression ‘at sunde sig’. A person may have to ‘sunde sig’ after a scare or a stressful event that has left him/her a little ‘shell-shocked’ or upset, or even exhausted from the experience. A person who needs to ‘sunde sig’ may pause to regain strength and recover from the event.

    This is a Danish definition: hvile sig lidt eller holde en pause for at komme sig oven på en anstrengelse, en forskrækkelse el.lign. ref: sig

    Here is a Norwegian definition: summe v1 (uspes. besl med *sammen, samle) refl: sanse (seg), samle (seg)få s-t seg etter en overraskelse / s- seg til å gjøre noe. ref:
    (I have highlighted synonymous verbs in bold print)

    The process of sunde sig/summe seg seems to include a pause to relax and settle down with the ultimate goal being to regain control of one’s self. Would you agree with that? I understand what you’re saying about an internal vs. an external process and I agree that some of the verbs I suggested above may have a stronger focus on the ultimate outcome of the process, i.e. that the person has (visibly) regained control after having ‘sundet sig’, but the expression ‘calm oneself down’ would be quite close in meaning, in my view. Or ‘settle down’, ‘recover’, ‘regain her wits/strength’. Alternatively, it might work better for you if you were to paraphrase the expression, ‘...that she still had to put it down and take a moment to rest and relax, take a deep breath…etc.

    Last edited: Mar 15, 2013
  6. Havfruen Senior Member

    English - American
    As for a translation, I agree "pull herself together" is an idiomatic expression which would be especially fitting given that she was crying. Or alternatively in a more formal register, "compose herself / regain composure".
  7. torrobin Senior Member

    Thanks, Bic and Havfruen!

    Thanks! :)

    Yes, it's 'pausing' that I feel is essential in 'summe seg'. It's like a 'time out'.
    I don't see the goal to 'control one's self' though, more coming into balance.

    Thanks for the additional suggestions. I find the last one to my liking; to paraphrase the expression into: '...that she still had to put it down and take a moment to rest and relax, take a deep breath...'

  8. bicontinental Senior Member

    English (US), Danish, bilingual
    Hi torrobin,

    Paraphrasing may indeed be the best solution in this case. I've been thinking about other possible translations since I wrote my last post, but I'm afraid nothing else comes to my mind...


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