Swedish: Allt har varit i säck innan det varit i påse.

Discussion in 'Nordic Languages' started by Rejzko, Mar 23, 2013.

  1. Rejzko Senior Member

    From the film "Call Girl". A police chief has a job for a police inspector whom he considers to be very good. He says: "Det är inget man kan ge till vem som helst. Ett enmansjob." After a while he adds:
    "Allt har varit i säck innan det varit i påse." I know what the phrase means but I am not sure I know what it means in this context. The only explanation that comes to my mind is that the first sentence is a sort of fraze which is often said in a similar situation. But I am not sure.
  2. JohanIII

    JohanIII Senior Member

    He could be ruminating on something else with the second phrase.
    I can't get it to relate to phrase one really.

    You might want to give your explanation for a check-out.
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2013
  3. Rejzko Senior Member

    Maybe it could also relate to the situation they had spoken about just before. For a long time they had known about a call-girl network but they had no evidence. And now they have some evidence and can begin to investigate the case. Could the phrase relate to this? Something like: "What we have now is not new for us."
  4. JohanIII

    JohanIII Senior Member

    I think so.
    Not quite.

    You didn't give your take on the phrase, but always please do, else we helpers need to guess what you understand or not, and in general just takes more work.
    Anyway, the general meaning of the säck/påse-phrase is that whatever is now have earlier been (started) as something very alike, but is now somewhat more developed/bigger.
    Säck = satchel, påse = bag (or thereabouts).

    Either girls like this have done something alike before, or well... I thought about #1, that the "very good" inspector was once just an "ordinary" one - have developed.

    Maybe the film is great and I should watch it, but I won't do it just to clear this up :) .
  5. Rejzko Senior Member

    Sorry I didn't give my take on the phrase. Actually I looked it up in the dictionary and the explanation was: ngt som sägs har tidigare sagts eller tänkts av ngn annan. And they have an example: en del av artiklens innehåll har utan tvivl varit i säck innan det kom i påse. So I thought the phrase in this context could mean: What I've just said ("Det är inget man kan ge till vem som helst. Ett enmansjob.") has somebody already said, that it could be a sort of police cliche or so. But I wasn't sure at all. The definition you gave me is quite different. I wouldn't agree with your first explanation about the girls. But let me give you more context. The film is based on real events from the 1970s when "bordelmamman" Doris Hopp ran a call-girl network used by top politicians. The film dialogue takes place at a point when police found out about politicians being involved in the network. So could it mean: We thought it was only about a call-girl business but now we have a political scandal?
  6. Sepia Senior Member

    High German/Danish
    I would rather say it is a detective story cliche. In real life detective work is more about teams than single persons doing their own thing. In detective stories it is the other way around.
    Could it be that the case he is given was considered relatively simple at the beginning and it then turns out it is not?
  7. Rejzko Senior Member

    I don't think so. It's not a detective story. I rather think that it could mean what I wrote in my previous post. That it originally seemed to be only a simple case of procuring, but now it turns out to involve politicians so it could lead to a political scandal which can even threaten the security of the country, sice some of the call-girls worked for Polish intelligence services etc.
  8. AutumnOwl Senior Member

    According to the last post here: http://forum.vof.se/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=2872 , it means "it's nothing new, it's already been around", the expression is found in the SAOB (Svenska Akademiens OrdBok), an old expression from 1807.

    In this case, I would guess it means that the discovery that men with power are using women for sex is nothing new, it's been done before. As for the first part, that it's a "enmansjobb", the person doing the investigation has either to be someone very discreet, or very honest, depending on whether they want to hide the fact or expose the fact that politicians are using call-girls, to let the public know about it or not.
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2013
  9. Rejzko Senior Member

    Thank you. I've found the expression in Svensk ordbok (utgiven av Svenska Akademien), and they have: "it was already said or thought by someone else" which mislead me a bit. Now it makes sense.

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