Norwegian: What the heck

  • Svenke

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    Some Bokmål alternatives for what the heck, with increasing degree of vulgarity:

    hva i alle dager
    hva i all verden
    hva søren
    hva pokker
    hva fanden
    (faen)
    hva i helvete
    hva satan


    -- and more!

    Similarly with hvem for who the heck.
     

    Jaybeard

    New Member
    English USA
    Some Bokmål alternatives for what the heck, with increasing degree of vulgarity:

    hva i alle dager
    hva i all verden
    hva søren
    hva pokker
    hva fanden
    (faen)
    hva i helvete
    hva satan


    -- and more!

    Similarly with hvem for who the heck.
    Wow - thanks a million!
     

    serbianfan

    Senior Member
    British English
    Interesting list. My feeling is that in Norwegian families that don't swear and tell their children that it's very wrong to swear (especially the f-word), only the first two would be entirely acceptable. If the teenage son used no. 3 or 4, that's a bit more of a grey area (the parents might not like it, but they wouldn't go through the roof). On the other hand, nos. 5-7 are definitely NO-NO! :mad:
     

    Jaybeard

    New Member
    English USA
    Interesting list. My feeling is that in Norwegian families that don't swear and tell their children that it's very wrong to swear (especially the f-word), only the first two would be entirely acceptable. If the teenage son used no. 3 or 4, that's a bit more of a grey area (the parents might not like it, but they wouldn't go through the roof). On the other hand, nos. 5-7 are definitely NO-NO! :mad:

    thank you, Sir (I think)

    Your seasoned acumen in this area is well appreciated!

    tack så mycket (yes, I’m one of those - well, kinda….)
     

    winenous

    Senior Member
    English - British
    Interesting list. My feeling is that in Norwegian families that don't swear and tell their children that it's very wrong to swear (especially the f-word), only the first two would be entirely acceptable. If the teenage son used no. 3 or 4, that's a bit more of a grey area (the parents might not like it, but they wouldn't go through the roof). On the other hand, nos. 5-7 are definitely NO-NO! :mad:
    Yes. Usage varies in both English and Norwegian, but my feeling is that "hva søren" is the closest in intensity to "what the heck". "Hva i all verden" is an almost literal translation of "what on Earth", and is equally mild.

    "Faen" was widely used in my workplace and peer group (this was in the 1980s and I was in my 20s), but I had to be warned-off using it in the presence of my girlfriend's parents :)

    It seems that since then Norway has acquired a new vocabulary of sexual obscenties, which are employed in much wider contexts than they would be in Britain.
     

    Svenke

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    I disagree with serbianfan about hva søren. I don't think many Norwegians would consider søren rude. Pokker is a bit worse, although it has no literal meaning anymore. Moving on to faen and the rest, they are clearly swearwords.
     

    Svenke

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    Søren is apparently just on the border of what is accepted usage in parliament, which is severely regulated.

    From a parliamentary debate 2002:

    A representative from the Labour Party:
    Mange pasienter jeg har truffet, har sagt: Jeg ønsker egentlig at jeg dør under operasjonen til uka, for jeg har en god forsikring, og da er i alle fall familien min sikret økonomisk for framtida. Det er dagens virkelighet. Det er for meg helt uforståelig at verken SV eller Fremskrittspartiet kan støtte dette forslaget. For det hjelper søren meg veldig lite å snakke med høy stemme for dem som har det vanskelig i samfunnet, når man ikke kan være med på forslaget om å be om en utredning.

    The President of Parliament:
    Presidenten er noe i tvil om hvorvidt uttrykket «søren meg» ligger trygt innenfor grensen av parlamentarisk språkbruk, men vil for sikkerhets skyld antyde at man med fordel kan unnvære bruk av uttrykket i Stortingets debatter.


    Also from 2002, Labour Party representative:
    Men det viktigaste spørsmålet for meg er: Kvifor søren – unnskyld uttrykket, president – har det teke eit halvt år å koma med den fyrste saka til Stortinget?


    The same representative the year after:
    Frå 1. oktober til 1. juni har dei føreslått ekstra vegtiltak på rundt 50 milliardar kr, litt etter korleis ein reknar. Så spør eg: Kor søren er resultata? Orsak, om det ikkje var eit parlamentarisk uttrykk!


    2015, a representative from the Socialist Party:
    Men jeg mener helt seriøst at det er stor forskjell på ulike politikeres engasjement for ulike teknologier, for ulike visjoner. Noen sier «drill, baby, drill», noen sier vi skal til Nordpolen, og andre sier at vi søren meg skal sørge for å ta Norge over til fornybarsamfunnet. Jeg vil si at det er helt forskjellige politiske engasjement, men jeg vil ikke gi noen karakter til de ulike politikerne.
     

    Sepia

    Senior Member
    High German/Danish
    So what would a typical Norwegian sailor’s curse be?

    He would probably be swearing in Tagalog or Thai.

    In Scandinavia it really works like this: Moderat cursing in English = Hvad fanden ... and so on. University professors, Wallander, factory workers, doesn't make much difference.
     

    serbianfan

    Senior Member
    British English
    In Scandinavia it really works like this: Moderat cursing in English = Hvad fanden ... and so on. University professors, Wallander, factory workers, doesn't make much difference.
    I haven't got any statistics to back me up on this (but there probably are some somewhere), but my impression is that there are a lot more Norwegians who never swear than Danes or Swedes. You will find them amongst both professors and factory workers, but I guess they're more common among the former.
     

    serbianfan

    Senior Member
    British English
    There was apparently a "nordisk banneordskonferanse" in Copenhagen in 2012. But there has been very little research on the subject - one researcher said: "Det har vært en angst for å beskjeftige seg med banneord, og man har kanskje blitt redd for ikke å bli tatt seriøst. Folk ler når en forteller at man jobber med temaet". Yes, well, that figures. So the researchers are wondering "om det er mer banning i dag enn før i tiden, har tonen i banningen blitt råere enn før, banner man mer i Danmark enn i Norge, og banner man mer i Nord-Norge enn i Sør-Norge". I would say "yes" to all of those. Other opinions?
     

    winenous

    Senior Member
    English - British
    I would expect strongly religious countries, areas and people to swear less - certainly that works with Christians and Muslims, and I suspect Jews also. They would not use religious swear words, and that taboo seems to extend to vulgarity too. Would you say that correlates with the Scandinavian regions you mention @serbianfan?
     

    AutumnOwl

    Senior Member
    Swedish, Finnish
    About a conference about swear words (as menrioned in post #12), here's a report from one later on in 2017: Svordomar har blivit en konsumtionsvara
    Swearing is more common, and to some extent English swear words are used, and perhaps not seen as crude as the native ones.

    When it comes to religion and swearing, even if the percentages of Christians in statistics maybe high in the Scandinavian countries, in many cases that depends on the fact that the Lutheran church is/have been a state church here, and people haven't always bothered to leave, even when they don't see themselves as believers. For example, depending on what survey you look, between 46 - 85% of Swedes see themselves as atheists, agnostics, or non-believers. In Norway 33% of the members of the Church of Norway considered themselves as atheists/non-believers, and in Denmark up to 48% (among men as many as 55%) see themselves as atheists/non-believers.
    Religion i Sverige - Kristendomen är störst men de flesta är ateister
    Många ateister i norska kyrkan - Nyheter (Ekot)
    Hvor mange ateister er der i Danmark?

    As for myself, I don't swear often (only when I get very frustrated when things continue to go wrong for a long time), and then it could be using the Swedish versions of the three last words on the list in post #2 if very angry/frustrated, in milder cases "sablar", and if children are present, "snablar" (meaning (elephant) trunk).
    I wouldn't react if people use swear words sometimes when they speak, only if they use swear words in more or less every sentence.
    (I'm a woman in my early 60ies, an I grew up with a father who used to swear a bit, the Finnish word for "fuck" was heard sometimes.)
     
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    winenous

    Senior Member
    English - British
    Swearing is more common, and to some extent English swear words are used, and perhaps not seen as crude as the native ones.
    I surprised to hear "f*ck" in an early-evening TV news interview last time I was in Norway, something that would never happen in the UK. There, its use is mainly confined to late-night comedy shows, though it does seem to be creeping into some other programming.

    So it seems that, in Norway at least, it is a lot milder than it is in the UK - something that Scandinavians should be aware of when using English to communicate with native English-speakers!
     

    serbianfan

    Senior Member
    British English
    I would expect strongly religious countries, areas and people to swear less - certainly that works with Christians and Muslims, and I suspect Jews also. They would not use religious swear words, and that taboo seems to extend to vulgarity too. Would you say that correlates with the Scandinavian regions you mention @serbianfan?
    I would be very surprised to hear a Norwegian priest swear, though I think there are a few swearing priests in other countries (Denmark, Ireland, the US). According to Pew Research, the percentages who said they were "highly religious" in 2018 were: 17% in Norway, 10% in Sweden, 8% in Denmark, 24% in Ireland and 9% in the UK. From my knowledge of Norwegians, I would say it's highly unlikely that any of the 17% normally swear. Maybe a few "highly religious" people in the other countries, I don't know.

    You may have noticed that the usual Norwegian (and Scandinavian) swear words are connected to religion (the Devil and Hell), whereas many of those in the UK and other European countries are connected to "underlivet" (the abdomen).
     

    AutumnOwl

    Senior Member
    Swedish, Finnish
    I would say that "underlivet" is the lower abdomen, the part of the abdomen below the "livstycke" (bodice) in traditional dress. The part of the abdomen situated under the bodice (waistcoat for men) was called "veka livet".
     

    serbianfan

    Senior Member
    British English
    "Underlivet" is the term the swear-word researchers apparently used at the Copenhagen conference, to cover both sexual swear words and bodily function swear words. I'm not sure of a suitable word in English. Swear words can be categorised as (a) religious swear words, (b) ??? ('abdominal swear words' doesn't sound right!) and (c) others, such as 'bloody' in English.
     

    winenous

    Senior Member
    English - British
    You may have noticed that the usual Norwegian (and Scandinavian) swear words are connected to religion (the Devil and Hell), whereas many of those in the UK and other European countries are connected to "underlivet" (the abdomen).
    Indeed, though English underlivet loan words seem to be used with increasing frequency in Norwegian.

    Is dritseck an underlivet word or just a colourful metaphor? Back in 1993, it caused much amusement in the UK when John Gummer was called a dritsekk Thorbjørn Berntsen :)
     

    serbianfan

    Senior Member
    British English
    Is dritseck an underlivet word or just a colourful metaphor?
    Well, I think the basic meaning of 'dritt' is excrement. But it's used in all kinds of ways to express something negative. One of the most common is 'snakke/prate/preike dritt om noen', which Google translate (which is not known for its nuances) translates as 'talk shit about'. I think most people who are fluent in both languages (including me) would use 'snakke dritt om' quite broadly, maybe also when talking to very religious people, but would not use 'talk shit about' or be much more careful about using it.
     

    winenous

    Senior Member
    English - British
    What about drittsekk specifically? Would you use the word in polite company? Assuming of course you were not speaking literally.
     

    serbianfan

    Senior Member
    British English
    I think not, but then I don't use the word much anyway. Maybe the real Norwegians on this forum can offer their opinions on this, instead of a "fake Norwegian" like me. Or maybe they don't like all this "drittprat"...
     

    basslop

    Senior Member
    Norsk (Norwegian)
    As a norwegian I would say that "drittsekk" is vulgar in the mild end of the scale. It will not be accepted in the parlament, but a politician might get away with it e.g. in a TV-debate, depending on the context.

    If you use it frequently, say every firth sentence or so, you may be regarded vulgar, but if you use it conscious it may be accepted and you will also unerline you point. "Don't use iy you don't mean it"
     
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