Sometimes I have to blink my eyes three times when I hear things that come out of Norwegian people’s mouths.
I imagined this dialogue between me and a Norwegian for Norwegian native speakers to see what your expressions sound to our delicate (and foreign) ears.
Ola: There is something muffens here, it seems like there are owls are in the moss.
Me: Why would owls be eating muffins in the moss? A new organic recipe of muffins made of moss?
Ola: His red and blue T-shirts “I <3 King Harald” have been selling like minced shit, and his treasure declaration shows almost no benefit. So he probably has pigs on the forest.
Me: Does shit cost more when it is minced? Why are the pigs on the forest and not in the forest? And what does that have to do with a treasure?
Ola: This guy seems to be high in the hat. We really need to catch him, bu you know what they say, “Everything makes a difference said the mouse pissing in the sea”. We might end up once again with the beard in the mailbox.
Vocabulary list for confused foreigners:
muffens: muffens is often mistaken for “muffins” (the little cake). It actually means sometimes mysterious is going on.
ugler i mosen: there is something fishy going on (comes from the Danish expression “ulver i mosen” or “ulver i myra” – not sure)
skatt: treasure, and most importantly, tax.
selges som hakka møkk: Sells very well (“comme des petits pains” – like little breads in French). I have no idea why minced shit is seen to being sold very easily in Norway, probably a long time ago, for agriculture purposes??
å ha svin på skogen: to have pigs in/on the forest means that you have something to hide. It comes (according to the eminent language specialist NHR) from Norway under Danish rule where Danes came to count the pigs of each family and collect the tax. The people would send their pigs in the forest so that they would not have to pay tax for all their pigs. Norwegians were therefore screwing the tax system!! But it was a long time ago so it is now forgiven (I guess).
alle monner drar, sa musa så pissa i havet: something you say when something does not make a difference at all (like when a mouse pisses in the sea)
å stå med skjegget i postkassa: is equivalent in English to the expression “to hold the bag”. This means that you are left in a position where you are blamed for something, or in a way trapped. (I am not entirely sure about the meaning of this one, got different answers from people)
å være høy i hatten: is used for someone who feels he or she is on top of the world or thinks quite highly of him/herself.
Inspired of my discussions with my Norwegian friends and this website Språkrådet. For more on language in this blog, see More proof that Norwegian is a difficult language and How to become fluent in Norwegian (or die trying).