Norwegian: tyskertøser and tyskerunger

beacher22

New Member
English
Hello. I have no knowledge of Norwegian grammar. I am editing a book in English and have encountered these two words in the context of the Lebensborn in WWII.

One sentence in the book is:

"He’d heard talk at school of the tyskerungen (German brats) and of their traitorous mothers, the tyskertøsen (German whores)."

Is that correct, or should it be tyskerunger or tyskerungene, and tyskertøser?

Which of the following is correct:

"How can I be a tyskerungen?"
"How can I be a tyskerunge?"

Thank you for any help!
Tom
 
  • beacher22

    New Member
    English
    Thank you so much, AutumnOwl.

    So if the -en ending is correct for the singular ("the German brat" and not "German brats"), what is the plural version to use in the first example sentence, "He'd heard talk ..."?
     

    raumar

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    So if the -en ending is correct for the singular ("the German brat" and not "German brats"), what is the plural version to use in the first example sentence, "He'd heard talk ..."?

    That depends on whether you want the indefinite or definite plural form. In the Scandinavian languages, the definite article is a suffix, not a separate word as in English. These are the English and the corresponding Norwegian forms:

    a German brat - en tyskerunge
    the German brat - tyskerungen
    German brats - tyskerunger
    the German brats - tyskerungene

    "He’d heard talk at school of the tyskerungen (German brats) and of their traitorous mothers, the tyskertøsen (German whores)."
    As you suspect, this is incorrect if the Norwegian words are meant to correspond to the English words in parentheses.

    If this is meant to be the indefinite form, it should be:
    "He’d heard talk at school of the tyskerunger (German brats) and of their traitorous mothers, the tyskertøser (German whores)."

    With the definite form:
    "He’d heard talk at school of the tyskerungene (the German brats) and of their traitorous mothers, the tyskertøsene (the German whores)."

    Which of the following is correct:

    "How can I be a tyskerungen?"
    "How can I be a tyskerunge?"
    The second one is correct. The first one has both an English indefinite article and a Norwegian definite article, so it would mean "How can I be a the German brat?"
     

    winenous

    Senior Member
    English - British
    It's tyskerungen = the German brat, and tyskertøsen = the German whore, one child and one mother.
    But could tyskerungen and tyskertøsen refer to generic types, rather than individuals? I don't know Norwegian well enough to be sure, but in the context of the question it seems possible to me.

    BTW unge is not necessarily negative in the same way as brat is in English - but in your context obviously there were negative conotations.
     
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    raumar

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    But could tyskerungen and tyskertøsen refer to generic types, rather than individuals?
    It may be possible, depending on the context, but it does not seem likely. In any case, a generic type does not seem to match the plural forms in this sentence: "their traitorous mothers"
     

    AutumnOwl

    Senior Member
    Swedish, Finnish
    But could tyskerungen and tyskertøsen refer to generic types, rather than individuals? I don't know Norwegian well enough to be sure, but in the context of the question it seems possible to me.

    BTW unge is not necessarily negative in the same way as brat is in English - but in your context obviously there were negative conotations.
    It was late and I used the same words the original poster used, there isn't any negative connotations with either unge nor tøs (or tyskerjente), the words mean "kid" and "girl" in themselves. The negative connotation comes when the words are combined with tysker-, when used in Norway and Denmark about those women, and their children, who had been involved with German soldiers during the German occupation of their countries.
    Tyskerjente – Wikipedia

    I can't find much in English about this, just:
    Horizontal collaboration - Wikipedia
     
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    raumar

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    there isn't any negative connotations with either unge nor tøs (or tyskerjente), the words mean "kid" and "girl" in themselves.
    That's true for unge and jente, but not for tøs. This word was a neutral term in earlier times, and it is possible that it still might be used as a neutral word in some dialects, but in modern standard Norwegian it can be translated as "slut". This is maybe be a difference between Norwegian and Swedish?
     

    beacher22

    New Member
    English
    Thank you, raumar and AutumnOwl, for clarifying. I had not realized that in Norwegian the definite article was a suffix, and I was trying to decipher the differing Norwegian word endings as though they were gendered/numbered as in French or Italian.

    I believe generic is intended in the first example: "He'd heard talk at school of [German brats in general]," not "He'd heard talk at school of [specific German brats]." The subject does not know who his father was, but does not want to be identified as a tyskerunge.
     
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    AutumnOwl

    Senior Member
    Swedish, Finnish
    That's true for unge and jente, but not for tøs. This word was a neutral term in earlier times, and it is possible that it still might be used as a neutral word in some dialects, but in modern standard Norwegian it can be translated as "slut". This is maybe be a difference between Norwegian and Swedish?
    No, there's no connection between "tös" and "slut" in Swedish, it's a dialectical variant of "flicka" (girl).
    tös - Wiktionary (in 'gotländska' it's "töis", and "sork/sårk" for boy.)
     

    winenous

    Senior Member
    English - British
    It may be possible, depending on the context, but it does not seem likely. In any case, a generic type does not seem to match the plural forms in this sentence: "their traitorous mothers"
    I see what you mean. I was regarding the English as an incorrect translation of the Norwegian, but on reflection it was not necessarily a translation in either direction, and we don't know the context in which the Norwegian words were found by the author of the sentence.

    Anyway, thank you for clarifying that might be possible in other circumstances.
     

    serbianfan

    Senior Member
    British English
    I think most of us would agree that English is a richer language than Norwegian, but there are plenty of examples where Norwegian is richer: both 'en tyskerunge' and 'en tysk unge' could be 'German brat' and I can't think of any simple way of distinguishing between the two in English. So in the unlikely event that a German boy steals your wallet on your next trip to Hamburg, you might shout 'You German brat!' and then when a woman does the same in the red light district, you'd shout 'You xxxxx German whore!' (I am NOT speaking from experience :D )
     

    winenous

    Senior Member
    English - British
    I think most of us would agree that English is a richer language than Norwegian, but there are plenty of examples where Norwegian is richer: both 'en tyskerunge' and 'en tysk unge' could be 'German brat' and I can't think of any simple way of distinguishing between the two in English. So in the unlikely event that a German boy steals your wallet on your next trip to Hamburg, you might shout 'You German brat!' and then when a woman does the same in the red light district, you'd shout 'You xxxxx German whore!' (I am NOT speaking from experience :D )
    Good point. While appreciating the difference between 'en tyskerunge' and 'en tysk unge', I hadn't explictly noticed how Norwegian makes the distinction (if that makes sense).

    But isn't the usage a specific result of the German occupation? Are there equivalents for children with fathers of other nations and Norwegian women?
     
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    PoulBA

    Senior Member
    Danish
    To translate tøs as whore sounds very harsh in my Danish ears - wench would be more appropriate
     

    serbianfan

    Senior Member
    British English
    To translate tøs as whore sounds very harsh in my Danish ears - wench would be more appropriate
    Danish seems to use more polite words (tyskerpiger and krigsbørn), and the Danes treated these people much better than the Norwegians (see Hård opvækst for krigsbørn if you're interested).
    But isn't the usage a specific result of the German occupation? Are there equivalents for children with fathers of other nations and Norwegian women?
    I imagine there are equivalent words in all the languages of the countries occupied by the Germans. I expect Polish, with all its declensions, clearly distinguishes between "German child" and "child of a German". I wonder what the British would have said if the Germans had occupied the UK? "kraut slut" and "kraut brat"?

    The war was a special situation, but other derogatory terms could crop up in peacetime - someone who hates black people might call a girl with a black boyfriend "afrikanerhore". But it could only be for nationalities or ethnic groups that people hate or hated - nobody would say 'belgierunge' about a child of a Norwegian mother and a Belgian father.
     

    PoulBA

    Senior Member
    Danish
    My only objection was to translate tøs as whore. The young women who went out with German soldiers in Denmark, were also called tyskertøser in Danish. If the Norwegian or Danish text had had tyskerluder or tyskerhore - which I'm sure the were also called - German whore would be correct.
     

    winenous

    Senior Member
    English - British
    The war was a special situation, but other derogatory terms could crop up in peacetime - someone who hates black people might call a girl with a black boyfriend "afrikanerhore".
    They could crop up, but do they?

    It's no big deal, but I was speculating that the contruction using the plural noun of German was invented for the purpose of stigmatisation as a result of the German occupation, and it is not a generic way of implying a genitive rather than nationality (if that makes sense). But maybe it is more generic?
     

    serbianfan

    Senior Member
    British English
    They could crop up, but do they?

    It's no big deal, but I was speculating that the contruction using the plural noun of German was invented for the purpose of stigmatisation as a result of the German occupation, and it is not a generic way of implying a genitive rather than nationality (if that makes sense). But maybe it is more generic?
    Interesting questions - let's hope some of the Norwegians here give their views. It doesn't need to be negative: you can say "en arabergutt" or "en araberjente", although they sound a bit old-fashioned perhaps and less common than "en arabisk gutt/jente". But not negative per se. The other thing is that you can't use this kind of expression with all nationalities or ethnic groups - the equivalent of "en tysker" is "en franskmann" or "en nordmann" and "en franskmannunge" doesn't sound right!
     

    PoulBA

    Senior Member
    Danish
    winenous, an interesting thought that tysker might be a plural invented for stigmatization. Ain't so, I'm afraid. -er is a very common and fairly productive suffix that can make a noun from an adjective or another noun to mean "person from" or "pertaing to" - used in all the Germanic languages, I think - ie. tysk > tysker - German person, dansk > dansker - Dane, svensk > svensker - Swede, and (jokingly) fransk > fransker - Frenchman, norsk > norsker - Norwegian, and England > englænder - Englisman, Grønland > grønlænder - Greenlander, Holland > hollænder - Dutchman, ect.
     

    winenous

    Senior Member
    English - British
    winenous, an interesting thought that tysker might be a plural invented for stigmatization. Ain't so, I'm afraid. -er is a very common and fairly productive suffix that can make a noun from an adjective or another noun to mean "person from" or "pertaing to" - used in all the Germanic languages, I think - ie. tysk > tysker - German person, dansk > dansker - Dane, svensk > svensker - Swede, and (jokingly) fransk > fransker - Frenchman, norsk > norsker - Norwegian, and England > englænder - Englisman, Grønland > grønlænder - Greenlander, Holland > hollænder - Dutchman, ect.
    That much I understand - though I don't think all your examples work in Norwegian. (Edit: In fact, on reflection I don't think any are commonly used in Norwegian.)

    But I refer back to post #12 in this thread, where @serbianfan seemed to suggest there was a difference between "tysk unge/tøs" and "tyskerunge/tyskertøs". I admit I may have misinterpreted that comment, but I took it to mean that "tyskertøs" and "tyskerunge" were more insulting, and probably came to mean "slut used by a German" and "child of a tyskertøs", rather than simply a child or slut of Germany ethnicity.
     
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    AutumnOwl

    Senior Member
    Swedish, Finnish
    There is "russerunge" in Norwegian for those children born with a Russian father and Norwegian mother after the war. In Denmark the children that were evacuated there from Finland during the Winter War and the Continuation War are called "finnebørn".
    Krigsbarn – Wikipedia

    In Finland-Swedish "ryssunge" was used about children whose parents fought on the "Red side" in the Finnish Civil War in 1918.
    But I refer back to post #12 in this thread, where @serbianfan seemed to suggest there was a difference between "tysk unge/tøs" and "tyskerunge/tyskertøs". I admit I may have misinterpreted that comment, but I took it to mean that "tyskertøs" and "tyskerunge" were more insulting, and probably came to mean "slut used by a German" and "child of a tyskertøs", rather than simply a child or slut of Germany ethnicity.
    The question is how was "Xerunge" used before WWII in Norway (X being any arbitrary placename/country name), was it seen as a normal use of the word, or was it considered being insulting, and "tysk unge" was the normal (polite) use. That the use of "Xerunge" today can be seen as insulting (especially 'tyskerunge') is a result of the use after the war.

    Correcting spelling mistake
     
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